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How to decide value of child maintenance?

(26 Posts)
6079SmithW Wed 12-Jun-19 00:36:22

Trying to sort out child maintenance and really don't know where to start ...
ExH and I previously worked in same industry at a similar level so money has never really been an issue. We are trying to reach an agreement about maintenance for DC (two under 9yo).
The government calculator is suggesting he pays £378 per month. He is fairly well paid and this equates to around 12-13% of his net monthly income. Currently I'm not working due to redundancy and ill health. I receive around £800 per month universal credit. I am not eligible for any other benefit.
This boils down to: I will be supporting myself and (70% of the time) the DC, plus paying half the mortgage/bills for 4 bed house from £1,200 per month. ExH will have more than that left over every month after supporting himself and (30% of time) DC, and paying rent/bills for 2 bed flat.
I know that he works for his money and it's not his fault I'm not working, but £378 a month for two children just seems ridiculous doesn't it?! Please help!

OP’s posts: |
PurpleWithRed Wed 12-Jun-19 00:42:04

Why are you carrying such a large mortgage/living in such a large home?

Once you are divorced he only has responsibility towards the children, not to you. You may need to lower your expectations given your inability to work. Sorry, it’s hard, but thats the way it is.

Chocmallows Wed 12-Jun-19 00:48:03

Who is paying for the second part of your mortgage?

Userplusnumbers Wed 12-Jun-19 00:58:30

It suggests he's actually giving you 938 a month if he's paying the other half of the mortgage/bills?

RagingWhoreBag Wed 12-Jun-19 01:00:23

Once you are divorced he only has responsibility towards the children, not to you. You may need to lower your expectations given your inability to work. Sorry, it’s hard, but thats the way it is.

No, it isn’t. Get some proper legal advice - given that you’re going to have the DCs the majority of the time and you’re not earning at the moment you might be able to reach a settlement that includes some spousal element - it’s not automatic, but based on your current circs you could probably get more so that the children can enjoy a similar standard of living in both homes.

See a solicitor pronto, even if just for a couple of hours of advice about what would be a fair settlement. They will save you as much as they cost you and most likely you will end up better off.

RagingWhoreBag Wed 12-Jun-19 01:01:13

But yes, as users says, if it’s him paying the other half of the mortgage that could be your spousal element, so to be fair you need to include that.

NorthernSpirit Wed 12-Jun-19 01:49:48

Both parents are expected to contribute to the costs of bringing up children, not one (your EH) plus the government. You need to get a job and start contributing.

In terms of CM - he is obliged to pay the CMS stated amount (IMO this should be the minimum).

You are living in a 4 bed house. You don’t ‘need’ a 4 bed, this is a want. You need to live within your means and when children reach primary school age you are expected to start earning and supporting yourself.

6079SmithW Wed 12-Jun-19 07:20:29

Thanks for the replies 🙂

Just to clarify a few things:

We have decided to pay half the mortgage each based on the fact that ExH will still own half the house. We are fortunate that there's only five years remaining, and so ExH has asked me not to sell until the house is paid in full. I will pay all the bills/general upkeep etc.

I have only been out of work for 10 months. Until then I have always worked full time (except when on maternity leave). I'm not trying to not pay my way, I'm just being realistic about how long it might take to find songs suitable. I have been very unwell and I'm wary of accepting something that I might not physically cope with at the moment. Also while I am not working I am obviously covering childcare we used to have to pay for, so I am effectively saving ExH half of that cost.

I should stress that ExH is generally a very fair man, and I certainly don't want him to be unfairly disadvantaged. I just can't believe that the government calculator sum of £378 is reasonable? In the absence of any other information though, I have no idea what is reasonable ☹️

OP’s posts: |
Chocmallows Wed 12-Jun-19 08:09:54

My ex is a high earner and I was surprised at maintenance figure, but then he pays high tax levels so his actual net takehome is a lot lower than gross pay. The calculator is set at a percentage to let the non resident parent have a life too. Otherwise nrps may as well quit or run away!

If you can work over 16hr you can apply for WFTC, but not sure if it's Universal Credit for new applications. I do this, work for 22 hr a week plus WFTC, but looking for more hours as well.

LemonTT Thu 13-Jun-19 14:05:53

The rights and wrongs of calculator pale against your need to think about the future. In 5 years time the house will be sold. He will be looking for a % and it will be a better deal for him if the children are older.
You will have a big deposit but if you need a 3 bed then you will need a mortgage. For that you need a job and the settlement will assume you can work regardless of whether you do or don’t.
He can afford to be generous but you can’t afford complacency.

clpsmum Thu 13-Jun-19 18:58:46

I was advised that cm is 16% of net pay

AnotherEmma Thu 13-Jun-19 19:02:13

Not the question you asked. But are you sure you're not entitled to new-style ESA? It's based on National Insurance contributions. (Used to be called contributory ESA.)

You should also be entitled to Council Tax Reduction.

averythinline Thu 13-Jun-19 19:03:36

Have you actually been to a solicitor for legal/financial advice..
it may not be in your best interests to keep the big house until its sold..it greatly reduces your income..
how long have you not worked? what is pension/savings set up
will he pay childcare if you do go back to work
what if you cant ever work at the same level again,....
if you cant work because of ill health are you entitled to PIP or ESA benefits as a single parent..

Please get proper advice - this is not a time to be agreeing stuff just because he would rather.....

6079SmithW Fri 14-Jun-19 01:00:23

Thanks again for the replies and advice.

I think that it's clear that I've not given this as much thought yet as I should have.

Regarding my job/health, it hadn't occurred to me that I might not return to work. I've been living in hope of getting better. However as this episode has been (yet another) a flare up of a chronic illness I might need to start considering that possibility. For social/wellbeing/self esteem reasons I really do want to go back to work, but It's always good to have a plan B. I will check about PIP/ESA.

Regarding the settlement I have been reluctant to involve any outside agency because our split so far has been really quite amicable and I don't want anything to change or upset that. I will talk to ExH again though and perhaps explain that I need some advice so we could see a solicitor as a one off but not actually have them involved going forward.

Also I think I may have been putting the financial settlement off because then everything is finalised. It's the last tie cut. Although I don't want us to reconcile, it's hard to say goodbye to someone you have loved for so long.

OP’s posts: |
Luzina Fri 14-Jun-19 01:05:22

You need to see a solicitor. In fact you both do (you will need to go to different law firms). Its the only way to make sure you are fair towards each other.

AnotherEmma Fri 14-Jun-19 07:45:55

Yes you need to both get legal advice, this could be a one-off consultation, and then if you can't agree between you, do mediation. That would be the first step before court anyway.

ESA www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/employment-and-support-allowance/

PIP
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/pip/before-claiming/check-you-are-eligible/

namdinam Fri 14-Jun-19 07:57:31

OP, you can't discount the fact he's paying half the mortgage just because he still owns the property at the end. He's in effect renting his share in the house to you and the kids.

That said, it doesn't mean the proposed split is fair, especially in view of your I'll health. You really need a lawyer.

namdinam Fri 14-Jun-19 07:58:47

I should say 'renting his share for free '

averythinline Fri 14-Jun-19 08:23:23

Glad to hear you are going to get some advice... this will make things fair....it doesnt mean thiings wont be amicable....(unless he doesnt want things to be fair - but that is a different issue)

AJPTaylor Fri 14-Jun-19 08:32:16

So he is paying 600 mortgage, plus rent on a 2 bedroom place. How much is that? 800 a month?
You are both just facing the reality that 2 households costs so much more than 1. Are there more sound reasons not to sell the house?

Explosivo Fri 14-Jun-19 09:18:05

When I went to the CMS I was advised that any amount of maintenance can be reduced if the ex is paying towards a mortgage, even if it's joint.

6079SmithW Fri 14-Jun-19 09:55:29

I'm not opposed to selling the house but at only £420 per month it's actually cheaper to pay the mortgage rather than rent elsewhere. I'd be looking at £500-600 per month in rent.

ExH and I will pay £210 each. I do appreciate that it means that ExH will be effectively letting us live here (for his share) rent free.

OP’s posts: |
Frankola Fri 14-Jun-19 16:57:17

I would say that over 900 a month (his maintenance and his share of bills) is plenty.

He still has his own bills to pay.

Time to look for jobs.

zsazsajuju Sat 15-Jun-19 01:54:11

Not trying to be harsh but your posts indicate he would have about 1400 after paying mortgage and maintenance to pay for his housing costs plus everything else. Depending on where you are, that could be doable but it’s not a lot. As ppl say, I think you do need to work on getting a job or adjust your expectations

6079SmithW Sat 15-Jun-19 19:19:54

@Frankola @zsazsajuju

Thanks again for all the replies.

Just to reiterate ExH would only be paying £588 per month (£378 maintenance + £210 mortgage). He would not be responsible for any of my bills (as is right).

As he is well paid he would be left with in excess of £2000 per month to cover his own costs.

Also I don't mean to sound rude, but I would like to remind all PP that think I am not currently supporting myself through choice: Despite complex chronic conditions I have always worked full time. I only stopped working approximately ten months ago through redundancy. Since finishing work I have been through a period of severe illness. It has always been my intention to return to work ASAP.

OP’s posts: |

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