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Advice please- child maintenance after redundancy

(15 Posts)
Baies Wed 10-Jun-15 20:51:54

I have a private agreement with my ex, we have one child who is 9 and he pays maintenance every month.

He is being made redundant as from July and is considering doing a course or re training ... So effectively using his redundancy to fund this for a year or two. He has told me that this would mean he can't/ won't pay his maintenance.

Where do I stand with this? Obviously I understand that if he CANT pay then that's that but it almost seems like a choice if , instead of doing all you can to secure a job, you almost ' opt out' of your responsibilities and pay nothing until you've ' bettered yourself' and re entered the world of work in who knows when .

It's a not inconsiderable monthly amount and I rely on it for our son. It will cause us some difficulties to go without it.

Any advice please? Thanks

Baies Thu 11-Jun-15 10:10:24


Superexcited Thu 11-Jun-15 10:15:47

If he isn't earning then I'm not sure he can be forced to pay maintenance even if he is not working by choice. Maintenance is calculated on income and if he has no income then there will be zero amount I base the calculation on. If his redundancy payment is over £30k then they might assess based on the amount that exceeds £30k because that part is taxable but as it isn't a monthly salary I'm not sure how they would do that.
Sadly some dads would happily see their children go without rather than pay maintenance to ensure that they have a decent standard of living and it sounds like your ex is one of those dads.

Baies Thu 11-Jun-15 10:34:12

Thanks a lot for that

I thought as much. Ah well, I can manage without it but it just means we will have to tighten our belts. it doesn't seem entirely right to be able to choose to do a course for a year or so when you have responsibilities but hey ho!

Superexcited Thu 11-Jun-15 10:43:27

I have just read that it's only the first 30k of statutory redundancy pay that cannot be used in maintenance calculations. If he is getting contractual redundancy pay or an amount in excess of 30k then some of it can be included in maintenance calculations.

Baies Thu 11-Jun-15 10:49:18

Hmm. I doubt very much it will exceed 30k - in fact, I'm almost certain it won't.

The other problem is that I do all the traveling in terms of taking his son to him ( 90 mile round trip , twice a weekend , every other weekend ) as he doesn't have a car. I won't be able to do that anymore.

electionfatigue Thu 11-Jun-15 11:02:18

If he's opting out of funding his child then he's opting out of seeing him so often and you need to make that clear - he can't have it both ways. Some of the redundancy money will just need to come to you, and be to buy a car or he'll have to expect to see his son a lot less/not at all. Parenting responsibilities don't just go away.

Baies Thu 11-Jun-15 11:06:18

I'm trying not to link the two together if that makes sense? I know that there are two sets of 'rights' ... His right to see his child and my right to have him properly maintained and it looks like there is a possibility that the latter won't be happening if he chooses to study instead of working.

I cannot do the journeys and not receive my sons maintenance so with the best will in the world, I'd have to make the decision to stop taking him there. He would of course be welcome to come and have him any time at all ... But he would need to fund that and get himself here

electionfatigue Thu 11-Jun-15 11:17:34

I think you're being very nice, but I do think the two are linked. Why should he get to take him out and do all the fun stuff if he isn't supporting him by choice? I'm not saying you should cut all contact, but maybe it should be less - once every couple of months rather than every other week? his choice not to support the child and choices have consequences.....he could use the time when he isn't looking after his child to get a part time job!

Baies Thu 11-Jun-15 11:33:36

Ah I'm not nice! grin Im just trying to sort it in my head to ensure that I view it positively so it doesn't stress me out and fuck me off more than it has to.

I agree. If he chooses to study for a year or so ( and he's not 22! He's in his forties ) then that is a luxury that most of us as parents can't afford. And choosing that luxury has to have consequences.

fedupbutfine Fri 12-Jun-15 20:03:47

Why should he get to take him out and do all the fun stuff if he isn't supporting him by choice? I'm not saying you should cut all contact, but maybe it should be less - once every couple of months rather than every other week?

are you for real? there is no link, in Law, between child maintenance and child contact. You can refuse point blank to support your child but the courts will never stop you seeing the child as a result. Nor will they reduce contact to 'once very couple of months'.

And why on earth would any decent parent punish their child by not 'allowing' them to see the other parent? The father has been made redundant - he therefore has no income with which to pay child support. There is nothing to be done about that. Hopefully, he will see sense, be happy to use redundancy money to provide essentials such as school uniform, and take the time to re-train so that he is able to provide into the future. But if he doesn't, why is that the child's fault?

Baies Fri 12-Jun-15 20:13:05

Oh I won't be stopping any contact whatsoever . Like I said earlier, I'm very aware there is no correlation between contact and maintenance.

However , would you say it was reasonable for me to continue to do a trip of hundreds of miles each month, effectively a taxi service, whilst receiving no maintenance? I do it now , purely so our son can see his dad. I do it for my son, purely for him, otherwise I'd get very angry and bitter at being taken for some sort of convenient taxi.

If I was made redundant I would have to seek work elsewhere - even lesser paid work because the bank probably wouldn't take too kindly to me giving them a bell and saying ' do you mind awfully if I don't make my mortgage repayments this year? Only I've decided to become a student for a bit. '

Should maintenance payments be considered non negotiable? In the event of being unable to obtain work, that's one thing. To opt out and have the luxury of going back to school... Isn't that another thing entirely?

electionfatigue Fri 12-Jun-15 21:46:15

There is no link in law, but my understanding is that this is a private arrangement so no court involved. It costs the OP to get the child to see his father so it is perfectly reasonable that if he isn't supporting the child any ore, and seems to have no means of collecting him, that he doesn't see him so often.

When deciding how to use his redundancy money he'll have factored in essentials like rent, gas bills etc - maintenance should be up there as an essential, not something he can dip in and out of. If he can't support his child and become a student, then he should get a job like the rest of us.

fedupbutfine Fri 12-Jun-15 22:43:31

I totally understand your position - I receive no maintenance and have been financially responsible for 3 children for the last 7 years whilst my ex has been...well, irresponsible. My childcare bills are 20% more than they should be because he can't be relied on to not chop and change his contact (according to the whims of the latest girlfriend) so I have to keep places open even on days they are with him. Like many PWC, I have no option other than to suck it up and get on with it.

Unfortunately, the Law is such that it is possible to go back to school or retrain or give up work to look after 'new' children and not have to pay maintenance. It really is a matter of indivdiual conscience, I think. Should you be used as a taxi service? No. But what other options do you have? It's very difficult, I know that, but it's really not the children's fault and it bothers me that people suggest cutting contact as some kind of punishment to the father without considering the impact on the children - I realise it was not you suggesting that.

I gave up worrying about it long ago. I think the sense I get from my children is that they are fully aware who provides for them, who puts themself out for them, who is there for them and who can be relied upon. They love their father (more than he deserves) but they know. They absolutely know.

Baies Fri 12-Jun-15 22:55:27

I don't think you DO need to suck it up actually whilst he takes the piss out of you left right and centre. Yes he should be coming to see his children and yes you should facilitate that. But facilitate it to the point where it's costing you money and time and messing your children around when he just chops and changes arrangements? No. I feel it's far better to take a stand against that sort of behaviour and show your kids that you won't be fucked around

But I do sympathise!

My situation is different. He's always had his son and he's keen to see him . He has also always paid maintenance but he has a history of docking it as he sees fit - although he's not done that for about 18 months now. I would not describe him as a feckless father but he doesn't give two fucks about inconveniencing me at all... He would positively enjoy the thought of me running around like a cab driver dropping DS off as he moons about on his sofa reading Keats or whatever he chooses to 'study.'

Parents should not be able to opt out of their responsibilities to their children and your ex has certainly done that

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