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to ask for more maintenance? - sorry long

(20 Posts)
mum71 Mon 14-Sep-09 12:13:56

When we were going through our divorce 10 yrs ago we agreed maintenance. He is incredibly tight with his money and it was like getting blood out of a stone. I had gone back to live with my parents, had no outgoings as such, company car/mobile and a higher salary than him so we agreed £100 pm.

He kept the house and I walked away with nothing and had to start again from scratch. My choice, I had done nothing wrong, I just couldn't be bothered with arguing.

The maintenace has remained unchanged for 10 yrs. I now work for myself and still earn more than him but times are uncertain, I feel that I could lose everything at any moment, and he has a very secure job.

Our daughter started private secondary school last week. My choice, nothing at all to do with him, he has never seen a school play, done homework etc. He is fun Dad, I'm the one with all the education responsibilities. I don't even think he knows which school she is now going to.

I can afford the school fees but there will be sacrifices. For example, we didn't go on holiday this year but we went to both US and Europe last year.

The ex doesn't have a computer at home, like I said he is tight with his money and he can use a computer at work for free. My DD has her own laptop, bought by me, which she takes there on weekends. The other day, when he was picking her up, he asked her to pack it. She said "so you can look for holidays again?" and he said yes. He was put on the spot and said that they were thinking of going to the Carribean and could she go in school time because it was cheaper. I said no. Firstly, I'm paying for the school so she had better go there everyday. Secondly, why should I be the one to pay full price for a holiday?

I had never thought about increasing the maintenance before but I suppose now I feel that I am funding his lifestyle.

I think that the guidelines for payment should be 15% of his salary which would be £250-300pm.

AIBU or am I jealous? Probably both.

Boys2mam Mon 14-Sep-09 12:51:20

The reasons for asking for the increase are wrong - I don't believe you're 'funding his lifestyle', you pay for your own and your daughters, however, he should be supporting his daughter too and £100 per month, if he's earning what you say he is, is pitiful.

You need to ask him to review the amount to be more in line with what he earns now. How old is DD and how many days per wk does she stay with her father?

mum71 Mon 14-Sep-09 13:04:30

She is 11 and stays with him for 2 nights every other weekend. I supply all her clothes/toiletries for her visit.

I suppose I feel that he is always expecting me to sacrifice because he has less money than me. I've allowed him to take her out of school every year so he can have a cheaper holiday but I take her away during school holidays. He makes me feel that I should let him do things like this because he has less money yet he is looking at exotic holidays that I can't afford.

I paid something like £300 on school uniform (my choice, I know). I asked him to pick up something that I couldn't get but was available in a store near him. It was a £6 pair of shorts. He asked me for the money. The same weekend they went to a pet shop and bought an exotic pet because she wanted one.

mumoverseas Mon 14-Sep-09 13:10:59

Did you actually formalise the agreement you reached when you divorced (ie by way of a Consent order sealed by the Court) If not, and if you never actually resolved the financial aspects of your divorce, then there is the possibility that you could make a claim against the former matrimonial home to claim your share of the equity at the time you divorced (assuming you have not remarried)

If there is no formal agreement ref maintenance then you might be better off making an application to the CSA. In any event, even if you did have an agreement back then (incorporated into a consent order) you can reapply after a year has passed.

Tell him you are going to the CSA unless he starts being sensible.

And no, YANBU

gladders Mon 14-Sep-09 13:14:39

surely the £100 should have at least increased in line with inflation? was the agreement made in court or just unofficially?

have no experience of this at all - but surely your first port of call shd be citizens advice where they will be able to give you some professional guidance?

racmac Mon 14-Sep-09 13:18:29

As far as i can remember - if the child maintenance was agreed as part of a consent order it only stands for 12 months - you are quite within your rights after 12 months to cotnact CSA and ask them to assess.

MillyMollyMoo Mon 14-Sep-09 13:18:44

I'm in a similar position, he has paid £200 a month for the past 9 years and I'm scarred if I ask for more it'll just stop altogether.
I know so many people who get nothing at all, I just accept the money I do get and be done with it.

Boys2mam Mon 14-Sep-09 13:19:35

You're right about the 15%, but involving the CSA may be unnecessary. Just bring it up with him that it hasn't been reviewed in 10 years and its time now. Its none of his business that you earn more than him, most loving relationships are based on similiar imbalances in incomings but that doesn't mean he should get away with paying next to nothing to support his child.

If he refuses, then get straight on to the CSA.

mum71 Mon 14-Sep-09 13:28:01

thanks mumoverseas. I have remarried and he is now engaged to be married, she has one daughter too.

I didn't pursue the home at the time. i moved out because of his behaviour. I could have made him move out but I have a very loving family to turn to which he doesn't.

We tried agreeing the maintenance through our solicitors but he pleeded with me and reluctantly agreed to £100. This didn't even cover her creche fees. He said that, as I took the car (my company car that I worked bloody hard for) he would now have to pay for transport and couldn't afford anymore than that. He was earning £18-20k at the time and I was earning £30k.

I believe that the sum of £100 is shown on some documents from the court, I'm not sure what they are but I will take a look at them tonight.

mum71 Mon 14-Sep-09 13:46:34

Sorry things from 10 yrs ago are rushing back now and I'm getting annoyed.

I supported myself during maternity leave, I wanted more time off but knew I couldn't afford it. He, my husband!, loaned me the money to cover my expenses for an extra couple of months (we had separate accounts). I had to pay him back from my first months salary when I returned to work. I and my family paid for everything my baby had, clothes, furniture, everything. I paid for all the shopping, telephone, utilities, car. He paid the mortgage which wasn't huge.

The reason that my salary was more than his was because I had a good job and I had to work full time. I didn't want to but he wouldn't support me to go P-T.

I am in such a mood now! Thank god I met someone lovely

mumoverseas Mon 14-Sep-09 13:50:24

Bugger, if you've remarried you are barred from making a financial claim against him in respect of the matrimonial assets (unless any wiser lawyers out there know a way around it?)

With regards to the maintenance though, it doesn't matter if it was in writing at the time as once a year has passed you can apply for it to be varied.

You should write a formal letter to him and request him to increase voluntarily and if not, will go via the CSA.

BTW, sounds like you are well rid of him, what an arse!

mum71 Mon 14-Sep-09 14:10:33

Thanks mumoverseas, I'm going to write to him today, it's good timing as next month is exactly 10 years since he started paying me. We had split up a few months earlier but it took a while to agree anything, he didn't backdate it either, skinflint. I have a good idea of his salary so will ask him to increase to 15% and see how honest he'll be.

Yes he's an arse, and I was a pushover.

He's a great dad in that he gives her everything she wants and there are no rules but he is a rubbish parent IYSWIM. I've had to bite my tongue about bedtimes, diet, cleanliness, etc in the past but she's 11 now and realising that it isn't good that daddy says she doesn't need a shower after a long day on the beach or that she can just have crisps for Sunday lunch. She's also started high school this week and has had a lot of homework to finish by Monday. She said that she didn't want to go to his house until she it was done. She called him to let him know, he told her that he was upset that her school work was interrupting his time, can you believe it? But she said that she would never get anything done at his house and sent him a text to let him know she was finished a good 2 hours after he normally picks her up. I'm a proud mum, she's such a good, sensible girl despite everything.

sweethoney Mon 14-Sep-09 14:30:20

You have been incredibly reasonable for a long time and it understandable you are now getting frustrated and angry. However, your daughter appears to have a good relationship with her dad and I'm sure you both want to keep it like that (despite his faults re bedtimes, food etc).

Don't let your anger cloud the matter and try to present your view in a calm way. State that when you agreed the amount 10 years ago, you accepted it, but times have moved on and your daughter is costing more and more. It is time to reassess the payments he gives and have it more in line with CSA recommendations. State that you want to achieve an amicable result for both of you, but that if he is unreasonable and not prepared to compromise then you will have to go via the CSA.

This is not about who earns more or how you choose to spend your money on your daughter (re school fees), but about him fairly contributing to the upbringing of his daughter.

I hope you sort something out, don't back down, but don't drag up the past either, you want to move things forward and ultimately receive more maintenance and maintain a level of amicability (is that a word?) between you for the sake of your daughter.

mum71 Mon 14-Sep-09 15:22:37

Thanks everyone. Just to let you know there's a child maintenance calculator on the CSA website. You need to find out the net weekly wage, I know roughly the annual gross amount and there I googled a net income calculator. If I have done it correctly, based on £25k gross or £360 pw net, I should be getting £200 pm (it's reduced because there's another child living with him, his girlfirend's, though from experience I would be very surprised if he's making any contribution to her upkeep).

Thanks Sweethoney, I certainly don't want to upset anyone. For all my moaning we are on good terms and are both willing to compromise if it benefits her. I am going to read your post again as I'm writing to him later to remind me to be calm

curiositykilled Mon 14-Sep-09 16:42:57

It is more important to maintain good relationships between you, your X and your dd. If you, all of a sudden, start threatening CSA and demanding more money you could undermine these relationships significantly.

I think if the only reason you don't want your dd taken out of school is because you are paying for her education, and it is not that you object to her having time off during term time, then you should let him arrange it with the school. If he has parental responsibility for her you can't really choose those things all on your own. That works both ways, he should be contributing to school fees, uniform e.t.c. even if he has chosen a 'fun dad' role. If you were married still and he was 'fun dad' and wanted you to make those decisions then he'd still have to contribute financially wouldn't he?

If you feel your dd should be getting more maintenance then you need to sit down and talk about it like adults. Ten years is a long time to have the same arrangement. If you phrase it like you have on here (not that you will grin) then you'll probably get short shrift. None of the reasons you mention are particularly valid, they all sound angry (which I can understand - I have similar 'fun dad' ex).

It is money for your DD and she is entitled to a good deal but it is pointless wasting your time and energy with anger if he doesn't pay you well because it is not your money IYSWIM. You are not funding his lifestyle, your dd is if anyone. He will have to face his own conscience at some point.

dailymailrus Mon 14-Sep-09 17:01:22

He would also get a reduction if he has DD for more than 52 overnights per year. Which would make it £160 per month, I reckon.
So that needs considering as well.

mum71 Mon 14-Sep-09 17:32:21

Thanks Curiosity

I wouldn't dream of telling him the things I've said today on MN. I'm also not going to go to the CSA, I just wanted to know the amount I could get because he's not going to pay me a penny more than that, he'll make sure of it.

I have let him take her out of school before because he has said that it was the only way that he could afford a holiday. But now he is saying that he wants to go to St Lucia and he can save himself £1k if he goes in term time. Why should her education suffer to save him money and if anyone is going to save some money by taking her out of school (which I have never done) why shouldn't it be me? Why is there an expectation that I can pay full price and do things properly? Why can't he go somewhere that is within his budget?

As for him contacting the school, he doesn't know the name of her school or where it is. He wouldn't know the name of any teacher she has ever had. Fun Dad doesn't do school. he has never asked about it. He doesn't want to know anything about her life if it doens't include him. He doesn't ask her about holidays, friends, family, etc. He's never seen a school play, when he found out that her last play (which she was very proud of and asked him to attend) was about 2 hrs long but she wasn't in it all the way through, he said he wouldn't bother!

He doesn't know that she goes to an independent school. If I mentioned it he would probably say he doesn't approve but only because he would be afraid that I would ask him to pay towards it.

I haven't thought about increasing the maintenance these past 10yrs because he always makes out that he's broke. To find out that he and his new family are all using my DD's laptop that I purchased to book exotic holidays makes me mad. If they have so much money then why can't they buy their own computer for a start. They even make calls on her phone when she goes there! So in a way I do feel like I'm funding their lifestyles.

curiositykilled Mon 14-Sep-09 17:55:34

yes, totally agree. MN is good for venting all the stuff you can't say to their faces.

He could take her away on a fantastic holiday in the UK during term time. Her education shouldn't suffer. I think he probably doesn't think about anyone but himself. If he has never really been a parent to dd he probably won't understand about any of these things being important and the most thought he will have given you is - well you could take her away in term time. I don't know what the fuss is about - yes exactly, you don't know... Gah...

I still think he should have to contribute more, I agree with you. I think if he is not willing to have input into the decisions you make for dd he should have to tolerate it if you make one he doesn't like i.e. he is still responsible for contributing to uniform, fees e.t.c.

I'm following this line with our 'fun dad'. I used to give him opportunities to have input which he could never be bothered with but he is still expected to contribute financially. He has now agreed to let my DH adopt our children when we have been married for 5 years so that he has no responsibility for them anymore but I have made it clear he has to contribute until then.

I never let my children bring anything I/DH have bought to their dad's and he keeps his things at his. We've amicably had this arrangement all along. If he was coming to take them out when dd was a baby he had to bring his own pram/carrier or he couldn't take her. Sounds harsh but it was to prevent the relationship being undermined. If he broke my pram or the pram broke by accident in his care I'd be livid as I'd shelled out £600 for it out of my own pocket when he was not paying any maintenance.

God, this is the nastiest I've been about XP in a looong time. Normally I am diplomatic and respectful! lol

sweethoney Tue 15-Sep-09 09:55:43

I understand your frustration re term time holidays. My DC go to independent school and so unless it is absolutely necessary, I don't take them out of school in term time. We make sacrifices to send them (our choice) and so want them to have full attendance.

Also because they have such long holidays too. However, I find the independent schools break up a few weeks before main schools and so often you can get some cheaper holiday deals. Can't your ex take your daughter away then?

pregnantpeppa Tue 15-Sep-09 10:19:23

It will be 15% of his net salary less 1/7 if she stays overnight with him on average one night a week (you said she stays two nights on alternate weekends). Plus if he lives with his new partner & her child, it will be 15% of his net salary less 15% of that, less the 1/7. He gets a 15% deduction for each additional child he supports.

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