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Does the husband have any rights regarding children and payments?

(46 Posts)
1wokeuplikethis Thu 04-Dec-14 12:43:50

My friend's wife decided she didn't want to be married any more in August this year and he was forced to move out. He has got a flat, works full time (12hr shifts) and has an agreement with her about when he sees their children who are aged 2 and 3.

He pays as much as he can afford towards the children, it's an informal agreement and he financially cannot afford to pay any more. He would not be able to pay her what the CSA suggests is the right amount.

Currently, she uses this to her advantage it seems: she asks him to take the children at the drop of a hat and if he can't because he's working she plays the 'you would if you loved them' card. She demands money off him, £80 here, £50 there on top of what he already pays her. He does it because he wants to keep on her good side but she's really got him by the short and curlies. She knows she has him cornered because if he doesn't agree with her demands she threatens going to the CSA.

When he makes these extra payments it means he can't afford heating, or his council tax, or petrol for work and his parents have to fork out.

I'm heart broken for him. He loves his children dearly, he loved his wife and wanted the marriage. It was her who gave up and is making his life an anxiety-riddled nightmare at every turn.

Does anybody know where he can get advice on any of this? Does he have any rights? Can he turn to anyone? Is she allowed to behave like this? Is there anything I can possibly do to help him?

Any advice would be hugely appreciated.

FrauHelgaMissMarpleandaChuckle Thu 04-Dec-14 12:46:29

She should go to the CSA and he should pay what they ask.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Thu 04-Dec-14 12:48:02

He is legally expected to pay the CSA amount. As a minimum. If he cannot afford to pay this, then he needs to readress his outgoings.

12 hrs days and full time hours is four days a week - how many days and nights does he have the children and is this a set schedule?

FrauHelgaMissMarpleandaChuckle Thu 04-Dec-14 12:49:23

Plus. You will never know the truth of what went on in their marriage, but he is highly unlikely to be blameless.

Viviennemary Thu 04-Dec-14 12:51:15

They should have the amount fixed by the CSA rather than this demanding money. She sounds horrible.

Inthedarkaboutfashion Thu 04-Dec-14 12:51:21

If the money she asks for totals less than the CSA would 'charge' then she is right to ask for it and he should pay it. Whether he wanted the marriage to continue and whether he is struggling financially does not change the fact that legally and morally he should be paying the specified CSA calculated amount for his children.

FrauHelgaMissMarpleandaChuckle Thu 04-Dec-14 12:53:29

He should immediately go to a solicitor and get his free half hour (if he can - most solicitors offer this) and use that to get his "access" to the children sorted and put on an official footing.

He should pay what the CSA would ask him to (using their calculator - it's not the CSA anymore I can't remember what it's called now)

CountingThePennies Thu 04-Dec-14 12:54:47

If he cant afford the minimum csa amount then the only reason i can think of is that hes living beyond his means in other areas

LaurieFairyCake Thu 04-Dec-14 12:56:29

If he can't afford the 20% he's doing life wrong.

Debt payments?

ThinkIveBeenHacked Thu 04-Dec-14 12:57:11

If he has the little ones overnight 1 or 2 times a week, as I understand, its about 25percent of his wage per week. So he can either reduce costs elsewhere or up the amount of nights he has them.

vanillabird Thu 04-Dec-14 13:01:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

1wokeuplikethis Thu 04-Dec-14 13:30:08

I'm sure he wasn't an angel but it's not really relevant to the current situation as to why the marriage broke down, especially since he wasn't abusive and really is a great dad.

His job hasn't changed so he's earning the same amount but I think the reason he's find it hard to pay maintenance now is because when they lived together they got housing benefits and now he has to pay rent. He doesn't have debts or an extravagant lifestyle by any means.

They did initially agree he would have the children overnight every second weekend from Saturday evening to Sunday night and overnight again on Thursday. But she recently changed this to him only having them during the day on Thursday and one weekend in every three weeks. Could she have done this to be entitled to more money?

I think seeing a solicitor for a free half hour consultation is great advice and I'll suggest it.

1wokeuplikethis Thu 04-Dec-14 13:34:32

Can I just add, she now receives lots more money via benefits now she's a single mother of 3 (another child from a previous relationship). So much so that she's been able to carpet the whole house, but a new flatscreen telly, a new 3 piece suite. The young ones go to nursery 3 days a week, the eldest is in school and goes to his dad's every second weekend. So it appears like she has more money, more child free time, and she doesn't work. She goes out a lot and the plans made at the drop of a hat when she asks him to have the kids is because she wants to go out. I know it's neither here nor there but it seems bitterly unfair that she has all these luxuries while he is skint and his time is spent either working or with the children (which he adores) he doesn't mind that that is how his life is at the moment, but it seems vastly different to her current setup.

MrsSquirrel Thu 04-Dec-14 13:35:13

The way his exw is behaving sounds horrible, but in terms of child maintenance, that is neither here nor there.

It is the children who have rights in this situation, the parents have responsibilities. The children have rights to be financially supported by their parents. He has a moral and legal responsibility to support his children.

The CSA is now called the Child Maintenance Service. Has he used the CMS calculator to find out how much he would be asked to pay? It may be less than he thinks, especially if he has the children over night.

The other thing he might do is to speak to Child Maintenance Options about his situation. They have an advice line 0800 988 0988.

FrauHelgaMissMarpleandaChuckle Thu 04-Dec-14 13:37:06

Her set up is irrelevant.

MrsSquirrel Thu 04-Dec-14 13:39:25

I agree with FrauHelga. His exw's household set up is irrelevant, he still has a moral and legal responsibility to support his children.

FrauHelgaMissMarpleandaChuckle Thu 04-Dec-14 13:41:35

By the way, have you tried to buy a tele that isn't a flatscreen recently? They all are.

YesIDidMeanToBeSoRudeActually Thu 04-Dec-14 13:42:21

A new flat screen telly you say?


1wokeuplikethis Thu 04-Dec-14 14:08:10

Look I'm just asking for advice. I care about him and his children. I did say the setup was neither here nor there, it's just background.

If you've got nothing constructive to suggest please go and play on another thread Frau.

FrauHelgaMissMarpleandaChuckle Thu 04-Dec-14 14:10:40

It was me who suggested the free half hour with the solicitors.


There's no point getting bogged down in bullshit about flat screen tellys and new carpets - it will make no difference.

The bottom line is, this man needs to grow a pair, get his access sorted, and pay what he's supposed to pay.

Anything else is irrelevant. And the law won't give a stuff.

1wokeuplikethis Thu 04-Dec-14 14:45:02

Fair enough.


Greengrow Thu 04-Dec-14 15:41:19

I trhink he should be forced to look after them half the time. I had to have mine 100% of the time despite working full time and it cost £30k a year for childcare for the five of them. This chap is getting all this free childcare from the mother! He is in clover, lucky man.

What they really need is for her to get back to full time work and they to share full time childcare costs between them.

HeadDoctor Thu 04-Dec-14 15:46:31

Yes that change in contact arrangements would mean he has to pay more money. What reason has she given for the drop in contact time?

1wokeuplikethis Thu 04-Dec-14 16:10:59

She didn't really give a reason. It's not the mystery of the year though. More money. She has never worked and has no intention to at present.

Methe Thu 04-Dec-14 16:16:47

He might be eligible for housing benefit as a single person too smile is he claiming everything he is entitled to?

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