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Child maintenance - advice on what it is for.

(8 Posts)
weekendninja Mon 10-Oct-16 14:47:21

H and I separated 18 months ago. My DC stay with me for 5 nights a week and are with him for 2. We are yet to start the ball rolling regarding a divorce but that will change in the near future.

My ex pays me the amount that is recommended by the child maintenance calculator, but I want to check if his contribution towards other things is acceptable or not as I don't want to rock the boat.

At present he contributes 50% of the cost of things such as the DC'S birthday parties, school trips, trainers, football boots, winter coats. I feel that we should share the cost of these things as it makes financial sense for us not to buy two of both. All clothes etc that they wear when are with me are bought by me. I use their child maintenance for afterschool activities, clothing, food and days out etc.

Am I right in taking this additional money for these things? I guess my main reason for asking is is it fair to him? I know that if I didn't sort these things the school trips would not get paid, the coats would not be bought as he is awful with money and doesn't see these kind of things as a priority. He also has a new partner so I have a feeling his opinion on his contributions may change.

millymollymoomoo Mon 10-Oct-16 18:33:23

From a pure legal perspective he only needs to pay cms minimum. Anything else is a 'bonus' for you. Not saying that's fair or right but is the current system

However, you might be able to get something related to other costs 're the financial settlement for the divorce? I would seek advice on that.

LineyReborn Mon 10-Oct-16 18:38:39

Most of the child support I ever received went towards paying for the roof over the children's heads, as I got custody of the mortgage, the gas bills, the electricity bills, the childcare costs ... you get my drift?

The actual nuts and bolts of maintaining a permanent three bedroom family home as a lone parent are expensive, on one wage.

WiseUpJanetWeiss Wed 12-Oct-16 21:06:09

CM is a blunt instrument. If your ex pays the CMS amount, then he doesn't have to contribute any more apart from the childcare he uses on "his" days.

If he's a low earner your CM will not be enough to cover "extras" for your DCs and it seems right to me that he should chip in for these according to whether you can both afford it. If he's a high earner the CM plus childcare should be more than enough.

My DH (fairly high earner) pays his ex the CSA rate for a 3/4 split plus childcare, plus half of clubs and hobbies etc. The amount he pays in CM alone is enough to feed and clothe DS at his DM's twice over. However this way DSS gets a similar standard of living with his DM as he does with us, which is what it's all about.

In lower income situations I think CM fails everyone. sad

Abhorsen Sat 15-Oct-16 07:28:26

My ex pays the full CMS amount (actually he pays slightly more as we set it when he had less nights and he's never changed it). He also pays 50% of activities like guitar, swimming lessons, football etc and 50% of 'big' school trips (usually anything more than £10/£20).
The 50% was written into the financial settlement, the maintenance was as well but he will be able to request a revision to be inline with CMS at any point. I was worried that it was unfair for him to technically overpay but when I look at his disposable income compared to mine I stopped worrying!

gettingtherequickly Sat 15-Oct-16 08:18:32

My DH pays over the minimum CM rates (about 50% more) and covers all extra curricular activities, school trips etc. Plus clothing. We have the kids 5 nights out of 7.

He doesn't have to, but we want the kids to enjoy a good level of education and experience, and the kids need a roof over their heads when they're with mum. Their mum is troubled with ill health now, there's no point in adding stress of not being able to afford the mortgage on top of that.

inchoccyheaven Mon 17-Oct-16 01:29:14

My ex only pays what he was told to by cms. It is based on him have dc 3 nights a week so is a reduced amount.
However ds2 hasn't stayed overnight in 2 years and rarely visits at all, and although ds1 stays every 4 days to coincide with his days off work, he doesn't provide him with anything for his house that wasnt there when I left. I buy all clothes, school stuff, sports clubs etc. Ds1 wouldn't ask him for anything but will ask me.
This means his contribution doesn't cover half at all. I have asked in the past for extra towards the sport as it can get costly but I have never received anything and I won't beg him.

weekendninja Mon 17-Oct-16 21:07:13

Thank you for your replies. It certainly seems like there are many ways of doing things. I think I will keep accepting this 50% help because of some things are just so costly.

The ex is a high earner, far much more than I could ever earn. It just feels a little strange getting used to accepting the CM. It's almost like he makes me feel he is doing me a favour by having it when the reality is its contributing to keeping a roof over our heads, clothing and a days out. I bought an Amazon fire stick for 30 odd quid the other day. He saw the packaging and sort of give me a 'can't be that hard up' look. It leaves me feeling like my spending is being judged when in reality if he spent wisely and didn't buy so much alcohol he could do the same, and some.

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