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Child maintenance, am I in the wrong?

(111 Posts)
RR94 Wed 10-Apr-19 18:02:28

For a little bit of background I'm 24 and have a 5 year old and 3 year old with my ex. We broke up when child 2 was 6 weeks old. Although horrific at the time we managed to have a good parenting relationship afterwards and have always shared child care costs relatively equally.

I work 4 days a week - I pay 40% of childcare and my ex pays 60% (as I'm working for one day less). I have the kids 9 days of every 14.

My ex has been with his fiance for 2 years and she is pregnant.

I have been with my boyfriend for around 18 months. We are moving in together in June.

My ex now wants to reduce how much he pays as my boyfriend is 10 years old than me, has no kids and earns a significant amount more than my ex (and me). So he sees no reason to still pay as much. I said they are still his kids etc but his response was 'you wont have to pay for anything with the house or shopping when you live with him'. In my view this is none of his business....

Am I being unreasonable here?

CharityConundrum Sun 14-Apr-19 01:39:30

I'm glad you came to an amicable resolution and that you are holding him to higher standards than many fathers are expected to manage.

RR94 Sat 13-Apr-19 13:22:10

Just an update on this - met him for coffee this morning (minus the kids) and agreed to continue split of childcare until September then pay for our days of after school childcare when they are both at school.

I'm going to pay for swimming and dance, he's paying for gymnastics and Karate. Additionally agreed to split all school holiday childcare 50/50. Plus a small amount extra per month to cover the 'extra' kids costs.

Whole thing isn't far off what we originally agreed.

MaybeNew Sat 13-Apr-19 13:16:06

Exactly @inliverpool1, no one is prepared to say tell a useless father how badly they behave. They should.

If my son refused to live up to his responsibilities, then I would be having a very frank discussion with him and would feel like I had failed to bring him up properly.

Inliverpool1 Sat 13-Apr-19 12:20:40

Less resources due to something he couldn’t afford being produced. No different from buying a Porsche whilst the kids have holes in their shoes as far as I’m concerned.... if a mother did it the witch would be burnt but nobody will call men on it

Smumzo Sat 13-Apr-19 12:00:20

But either party could choose to have more children, take a lower paying job, not take care of their health and lose a job etc etc. One parent bad had their circumstances change and now has more "need" in that household. If the original couple were still together they could have gone on to have more children and their would have been less resource for the existing children. The ex isn't being asked to finance the additional child. She is going to have to accept their is less resource available to her kids.

SparklySneakers Sat 13-Apr-19 11:57:38

Legally via the cms you'd get very little due to how often he has the children. Courts don't get involved usually as that's what the cms is for.
My exH pays £400 a month for 2 children on a salary of 35K. Pays nothing towards uniforms, school trips or anything else. If I needed childcare he wouldn't contribute towards that. He pays for the activities they do whilst at his but that suits him as it means he doesn't have to spend time parenting them. He has them after school one day a week and they spend that time at karate. He also has them EOW and they spend that time doing two other activities and gaming. They are dressed in ragged clothes that don't fit or have holes, eat toddler sized portions as that's all there is hmmThey don't see much of him at all. He has 2 other kids and they get all his attention and money as he lives with them. Our two dc are my responsibility he says.

CanILeavenowplease Sat 13-Apr-19 11:57:16

Yeah. Great. That it can’t be dealt with legally is one thing. Expecting your ex to finance additional children - which is what it comes down to - is quite another.

Smumzo Sat 13-Apr-19 11:54:15

@CanILeavenowplease Both households will and can make decisions that will affect the other. That's just how it is when you split up and form two new households. If you couldn't agree how to run the household you had together you're not going to agree how to run two separate households. It's just not realistic. There is no appetite nor should there be to legislate into people's personal lives to that extent.

miranda1511 Sat 13-Apr-19 11:48:37

When my husband and his former wife separated my husband paid over and above what he was legally obligated to pay. He had his daughter 2 nights a week, more if required and did clothing, holidays as well. Because he wanted to take care of his daughter.

Silvanna Sat 13-Apr-19 11:40:02

The fact that you have someone else in your life doesn't change his parental responsibilities. However his payments should decrease when his new baby is born.

CanILeavenowplease Sat 13-Apr-19 11:34:38

was you and him having a third child then then your first two would have proportionately less spent on them- that’s just what happens when family size increases

It’s not the OP having ana editions al child, is it? What you’re saying is that it is fine to have additional children, reduce the income of a household who had no say in that decision to have additional children as a consequence and expect that other household to pick up the financial slack that causes.

He’s been over paying (much more than legally obliged) and has your children 5/14

Legally calculated child maintenance is widely agreed to not meet the sides when it comes to the true costs of bringing up a child. He also has his own children, not the OP’s children. It’s parenting, not some kind of babysitting as a favour.

itsnotso Sat 13-Apr-19 11:26:28

@Ncouttaembarrassment not if she moves in with her partner who is a high earner, she will get no tax credits regardless of whether new partner contributes to childcare or not.

Smumzo Sat 13-Apr-19 11:05:53

Those trying to ram their own version of what's fair won't do the OP a lick of good. Legally she is in a very weak position and it seems he viewed the amount he was giving her more like spousal maintenance which does take into account living with another partner and their income. A "deal in the round" is more like what she has. She would have been FAR better off having gone through court in the early days before the new partner to have the amount in an order. Now she hasn't got a leg to stand on legally and arguing with him is likely to damage what seems to be a decent coparenting relationship. By all means become politically active and try to change policy but this won't help the OP in her current situation.

MaybeNew Sat 13-Apr-19 10:15:10

The responses here show just why men get away with not paying properly or at all for their children and women are disadvantaged at work after children.

Let’s start from a position that society should be striving for equality.

2 people have sex, in doing so there is a mutual acknowledgement that the women might get pregnant. If you don’t want to have children, then be celibate or double up on contraception, have the snip or get sterilised. No man should ever complain that he has been trapped. Genuine accidents happen with all forms of contraception.

The baby arrives and the parents split up. Who should bring up and pay for that baby? Shouldn’t both parents make an equal contribution. Sometimes that will be one working more and paying more, whilst the other looks after the child.

Usually, it’s the mother who is primary carer and takes the hit in terms of time out of her career.

In the OP’s situation, she worked out her work and custody arrangements around the Ex’s need to have the children at the weekend so his DM could help as he could not cope on his own. A luxury which the OP was not allowed, she had to get on with it.

Now her Ex has decided that he wants another child and will reduce OP’s maintenance for the children. Why should he be allowed to do that? Why does his desire to have another child mean that he shouldn’t pay for the one’s that he has already got? If OP cannot afford to work or has to go on UC because of his decision, is that reasonable?

Is it reasonable that the Ex’s refusal to pay for childcare means that the OP has to get tax credits? Are tax credits really made available so that a man can avoid his responsibilities in the happy knowledge that the tax payer will pick them up for him.

His excuse is that OP’s new boyfriend has more money than him. How nice of the Ex to decide how the new boyfriend should spend his money. And how humiliating for the OP.

Perhaps the OP wants a relationship where finances are kept separate and she pays her way, like an equal. Does the Ex think that the new boyfriend should ‘keep’ the OP? What a pathetic specimen the Ex is if he really thinks that another man should be paying for childcare bills for his children.

In addition to all of this, the Ex wants the new arrangement to start before OP has even moved in with her boyfriend. Can there be any justification for that? It smacks of spite.

And all those posters who say that the OP should be grateful that the spineless man who left her when their mutual child was 6 weeks old has paid more than the bare minimum to date, then please reconsider your views. A man who has to be taken to CMS to pay the minimum for his children is no man at all.

YourSarcasmIsDripping Sat 13-Apr-19 10:08:00

* as would an ex marrying someone rich.*

New partner's income regardless of which side is not taken into consideration.

Inliverpool1 Sat 13-Apr-19 08:42:13

This is the trouble it’s ingrained into us that child support is a bonus, a nice to have lucky if you get it .... and that going from 100% of an average wage, £45,000 is nothing to write home about and probably just about managing to 15% is acceptable and it bloody isn’t. It is not what we signed up for when we had these children.

FudgeBrownie2019 Sat 13-Apr-19 08:34:03

I’m actually baffled reading this thread, your ex has been doing a thousand times more than any single dad I know! He’s been over paying (much more than legally obliged) and has your children 5/14.

He's been doing more? He's their Dad. He's amazing because he's paying over the minimum directed by CMS? Every Dad should if they're able. And they're his children as much as OP's, so you really need to remember that next time you want to crap on someone's post because you think they ought to be grateful that a miracle Father has paid over the odds for children but wants to reduce the monies because he expects another man to fund their childhood now. Ridiculous.

LemonTT Sat 13-Apr-19 08:33:56

There is value to the OP and their ex having an informal arrangement and it has benefited both the OP and her children. But of course informality means they could be interpreting and defining things differently and from different perspectives. It also means they are not using set rules and it’s not really fair to criticise how they express what they mean. The ex might be well aware of his actual obligation but has been willing to pay more to support the OP, a quasi form of spousal maintenance. Her new relationship would have bearing on that decision if it was the case. We don’t know if there was any other form of settlement when they split.

There is merit to a 50/50 share of costs arrangement but it does need to be affordable. This is why the new child is a new issue. As is choice of lifestyle.

The other factor that needs to be accounted for is not just cost of the children but income too. If the OP is getting benefits for the children then she should reduce the costs accordingly so the benefit is split if she wants to use this methodology.

My advice to the OP is to stop being offended by his need to reopen the discussion and to instead approach the need to renegotiate constructively. Defaulting to legal obligations could well see her very badly off particularly as she now faces being in a new relationship where she is disadvantaged by being a low earner and because she will have lost significant elements of her maintenance and benefits.

SD1978 Sat 13-Apr-19 08:31:28

I'm a bit confused. He mainly has them weekends now, and you want to stop that because he wants to decrease the amount of CMS he pays, as he has another child to budget for, and you want to stop weekends suddenly because you're mugged he can no longer afford what he currently pays?

Doobydoodah Sat 13-Apr-19 08:29:46

Don't set things up so he gets every weekend. Once your children are both in school you will never see them.

Ncouttaembarrassment Sat 13-Apr-19 08:27:53

She’s on 36 pro rataed for 4 days a week so that’s only 28800 and she should be eligible for some help with child care should she not?

Inliverpool1 Sat 13-Apr-19 08:24:27

I wouldn’t imagine so earning £45,000 each

Ncouttaembarrassment Sat 13-Apr-19 08:22:51

Are you claiming child tax credits/UC?

Inliverpool1 Sat 13-Apr-19 08:18:15

It might make some people stop and think if they can actually afford a second family if they were forced to pay the correct amount of raising the first

Guavaf1sh Sat 13-Apr-19 07:45:12

We need CMS as everyone always feels hard done by and this thread is a fine example. The OP would never be satisfied and sees it all from her perspective alone. There are plenty of threads with new partners upset that the maintenance going to an ex is too high. The CMS has some sound principles that make things fair - new children for example would obviously change the payment, as would an ex marrying someone rich. This is fair. Otherwise people make up moral rules that are ludicrous and mostly suit ourselves only, as the OP has done

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