Soon to be ex-wife is asking for £550 per month child support (£150 on top of what I've been paying for the 2.5 years) and refusing to sign a consent order to finalise our divorce unless I pay it. She says I should pay our three children's expenses (childcare etc) on the days I look after them on top of the £400 I pay her every month. I earn just over £2100 (take home) per month and I look after the children three out of four nights per week. I live with my partner.
I feel like I'm being held to ransom as I want a divorce some time this century (we have been separated since 2012) - I have had to push it constantly to get anything to happen as she refuses to pursue it even though she petitioned in the first place.
Is she being fair? If I go to court what are the possible outcomes? Voices of experience greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Doh! I meant I look after them 3 nights per week on average.
I have plugged rough figures into the cms calculator and you are already paying over the minimum. You could check and put in accurate figures.
It is normal to pay their expenses when they are with you.
Thanks for taking the time, Lonecatwithkitten!
Yep, you're getting a reduction on what you need to pay in terms of child maintenance because they assume you pay their expenses on the nights they are with you.
Thanks Bellemere - I think the issue lies with what you regard as expenses. E.g she pays childcare and lunches for 2 (I pay the other one's lunches). She recently ran out of money and wasn't paying the childminder so I asked for figures on what she pays monthly for all their various clubs and things but she refuses to give the figures. This makes it difficult for me to work out how she has come up with what she wants me to pay. And if I don't agree to pay it I can't get divorced. She also has stated that she wants to include holidays in the monthly maintenance. She takes the kids on holiday about three or four times a year. I've suggested we alternate taking them away but she has refused this too.
Thanks for the messages though may I observe the answers I have so far contradict one another. I'm paying above the rate in what should be one monthly payment; I should pay their expenses on my days. If it's one payment, it is supposed to cover everything isn't it, so it should already be covered in the payment. The reduction is because I have expenses of my own in looking after them half the time. Thoughts appreciated.
If they are at childminders when you are responsible for them, then you should pay for those days.
The CMS calculator assumes a discount for the days you are doing because you are responsible for childcare/costs on those days - which will reduce when they go to school.
Yes, seems to make sense Carol. They are all at school. One doesn't have childcare he's at secondary. The others have an hour after school and breakfast club - for my days, this is only Monday and every other Friday. I think I'm just struggling to work out how childcare, dinners and clubs add up to the claimed £11K per annum...
Also, I'm a teacher so during the school holidays when they're not actually away I am actually the person doing the childcare...
CMS calculator suggests around £100/week, so £450 a month for 3 kids. Add in £50 a month for pre and after school care and half a persons extra lunch comes to c£500.
So, more than you pay, less than she wants.
Thanks Carol - maybe an offer is in the offing. I pay £470+ overall already including my son's lunch so wouldn't make much difference to me. The £70 is my eldest son's lunch. However, she seems to want £550 and for me to to continue to pay that (on her days too!) Effectively she wants £620.
No less than that over the year (£600) but you see what I mean. Thanks for all the comments!
Although I should just add in the interests of reality that if it wasn't for the fact that I was living with a partner I wouldn't be able to pay anywhere near this and would be totally skint forever. Effectively I wouldn't be able to afford to see my kids.
Enforcing the bloody thing is virtually impossible anyway, if you haven't got it you can't pay it
If you didn't see them you would pay more - them's the breaks when you choose to have 3 children and split up with the partner.
Followme have had legal advice? As all the legal advice has I have had has said that courts are reluctant to put maintenance in consent orders and even if they do it is only set for a year and then either party can insist it return to CMS figures. I would put your own pretax and NI figures into the calculator see what it says present this with your counter offer to your Ex.
Though if she's genuinely running out of money and you aren't the ethical thing to do is to make sure that doesn't happen. Any chance of some mediation? Don't you have to fill in form Es to finalise the divorce settlement? She would have to declare all her expenses on that.
Thanks Carol - although I would probably pay less if I didn't see them (- I wouldn't have to rent a 3 bedroom house, buy their food, clothes etc etc etc - ) even though I'd pay more to her.
Thanks Lonecat - I have a solicitor. I would rather avoid court that's all and she's refusing to sign the consent order.
Yes I agree Morganly - I don't want her to run out of money. But I also think it's out of order for her to spend spend spend and then expect me to pick up the tab. E.g. as far as I can gather she's spent over £2000 on holidays this year. But she wasn't paying the childminder. We've done mediation - she's just started disagreeing with what we agreed then.
If she is being unreasonable over money then put your foot down and let a court decide if she is entitled to extra or not. I know you are probably reluctant to go to court but sometimes it's the only way. She certainly shouldn't be blackmailing you in this way by stalling the divorce. That is not acceptable. It sounds as if you are being more than reasonalbe. Hope you sort things out.
My belief is child maintenance isn't set by the divorce court.
She can make you agree to whatever she wants in court, but you go to the cms and they can over-rule the court.
When my Dh divorced his ex had similar demands- he pays for her and the kids to go on holiday, pays this, that and the other. It went to court, they dealt only with division of marital assets. Child support was referred to the Csa (as was then) if an agreement couldn't be reached. If you are paying over the minimum she can't force you to pay more.
I'd check with your solicitor.
£2000 for holidays for a family of four isn't unreasonable at all tbh.
Would you have minded the holidays if you were going too ?
My ex seems to think the life we had as a family should be nothing but a distant memory and hop sacks and bread and water issued upon him paying - only he isn't but you get the jist - keep asking yourself, are the kids getting what they need, if the answers yes then that's that.
Newbrummie - I can't stand going on holiday generally speaking. But that's just me, apparently! Yes it's not unreasonable cost wise. But that is a guess, it's likely to be much more, though all these costs are apparently secret. I wouldn't mind taking them on holiday - I've done a couple of short breaks with them. But I can't afford it. And quite apart from that they go away three/four times as year. How many holidays do kids need?
thanks Micah and Viviennemary - my solicitor says the money shouldn't even be an argument and should refer to CSA rates. If it has to be court fine - it just seems such a silly waste. And if I was rolling in cash I'd just pay the extra to get it done and keep her happy...!
Well if you don't like going on holiday no wonder she takes them on more, sounds like sour grapes tbh
What do you want for your kids, life's minimum ie CSA calculation because that's what required to keep them alive not give them a life, what would they have had if you had stayed together that's what you need to ask yourself. None of this is their fault
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