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Child maintenance: how much should i pay and what should it cover(18 Posts)
Sorry if this is the wrong place for this, and I’m sure it’s been covered elsewhere, but I’d appreciate any help / honest opinions you can give me.
Second apology: the amounts of money I’m going to mention are considerably above the national average, and I can see why people may just say ‘get over yourself’.
My wife and I separated 7 months ago after 5 years of marriage. We have one daughter who is now 3 1/2. We earn similar amounts: I earn £74k; she earns £69k but with lower pension contributions. I left the family flat, and am renting a flat three stops away on the tube. I pay £1350 per month in rent which is very slightly more than the mortgage payments on the family flat. My daughter spends approximately 2 nights per week at ‘mine’ (I’d prefer more, but that’s a different topic). She is in nursery 3 days per week, with my wife taking her for one day and her mother for another. With our 30 hours, and before vouchers, we pay about £400 per month.
I don’t want to be unfair to my ex wife, and I certainly don’t wish to not contribute to my daughter’s needs. I also want to make sure the agreement is fair to me. I have, of course, been paying maintenance over the past 7 months, but the level is being questioned, and I just wanted to gauge opinion on a) what approximately would be a fair amount; b) what should be included (childcare, activities etc.); and c) how to account for childcare vouchers.
I’ll let you know what my current contribution is later, if you’re interested!
You pay at the minimum the cms pro rata for the days she is with you plus childcare food etc for the days she is with you.
But the calculator doesn’t say what is included, and what responsibilities do I have for paying the mortgage etc.
Why not work out roughly what it costs to care for her, and see if that matches with child maintenance options suggested minimum?
I ask my ex to go halves on eg music tuition, but only if he can manage it, and only because I struggle financially.
The mortgage is separate from child maintenance.
So their website won't cover that.
But doesn’t child maintenance include contributions to keeping a roof over your child’s head?
Are you continuing to pay the mortgage on the old family home?
No-one here can tell you what is fair from the info given.
It seems your wife provides 2/5 of childcare directly and possibly also pays a contribution to the childcare bill of 400 pcm? If so that needs to be taken into account in the calculation because her services (and those of her mother) are benefitting you financially by (presumably) allowing you to work full-time with very low childcare costs.
Are you going to reach a financial settlement as part of the divorce?
Child maintenance IIRC is calculated as a percentage of your income taking into account any other children you may have. If you have agreed outwith this to continue to pay the mortgage.... well, you need some legal advice really.
As I said the cms is the minimum amount you should pay.
No, I’m not contributing to the mortgage atm. Perhaps I should be.
My take home is £3500; hers is £3350 I think. I’m currently paying her £450 per month plus £128 to the nursery in childcare vouchers, about £100 in other additional childcare costs and I’m paying about £70 on bills for the former property which are still in my name.
After rent, household bills and payments, I have about £1300. Hers will be about £2000 with the payments going to her. I think this is roughly fair, but If I need to up it I will.
There's also the issues around whether you're definitely working towards getting a divorce, and re-mortgaging or selling the family home, whether you're joint tenants or tenants in common, whether your credit rating would be affected if your ex had to default on the mortgage due to lack of funds etc - what answer would you like to hear just now? what is on your mind?
I think what you're paying might be above the minimum suggested by child maintenance options, but maybe try to be open to a discussion about why more money is being requested. If you could afford a bit more, even over a short term while the dust settles, it might reduce stress in the family home.
Do the cms options calculator which will tell you how much to pay.
All good questions, Super: I think I need to know whether beneath the abuse my ex gives me if she has a point; I don’t wish to force her to sell the family flat, but i don’t want to just give her my equity. There’s obviously short term and long term questions which need answering. For the latter, I just want to avoid court
My ex was on something very near to £63k at one point and Cms calculated around £650 a month. I have been reliably informed by the Cms when telling them that I needed them to chase a payment because I wasn't going to be able to make the rent without it that the money is not supposed to be used for rent. My ex never paid the £650 and suddenly became 'unemployed' then on a very low wage.
A financial separation is probably a good idea. A meeting with a mediator to decide what is payed, when and why is going to be a lot better than a costly court battle.
If being totally fair there would be a complete split of the costs of raising, housing, feeding etc etc a child. For example, if I didn't have my Ds I wouldn't have the massive rent I do and would probably be living in a 1 room apartment in a less shit part of town. I wouldn't spend the huge amounts on petrol I do because I wouldn't be doing a school run, many after school clubs... It wasn't just my decision to bring our child into the world and I never planned to bring them up on my own. My food shopping would be more than half the price, school uniforms and shoes, trainers, other uniforms, school dinners, even utility bills. I could go on but I think you get the idea and I know I'm ranting... I'm bitter
What does the cms calculator say for your salary. What you have written here sounds like a low contributuon to me as my ex earns 58k and pays 565pcm for one child through direct pay as the cms minimum. If you are on 73 then I think it should be much more. Change over the bills straight away so you are no longer tied to the property though. If they are payments you still need to contribute to then add it to the maintenance amount but ensure everything bill wise is in your wife's name if she is the only one living there.
CMS calculation will give you a guide as to how much child maintenance you would have to pay based on your gross earnings. It is exactly what it is child maintenance. There is no definition / law/ right or wrong answer as to what the receiving parent uses this money for as ultimately it will be included as their income pot. It is supposed to be a contribution to the everyday needs of your child. It is your choice should you wish to contribute more than this amount for things such as nursery fees, activities etc.
Ie you could say to EXW I am supposed to con tribute £500 p/m (example only - not assuming this is the amount that would be calculated for you) that is all I am paying and legally there is nothing she could do about it. OR you could say my expected contribution is £500 p/m however I will also pay £x towards nursery fees and activities.
With regards to your mortgage payment of former marital home that is completely separate and CMS Would never say you had to pay the mortgage. This would be dealt with by divorce etc.
Whatever you do, think long term with the mortgage. If your ex can pay it, all well and good. However, if she can’t and struggles, there will be a knock on effect on your own credit rating which in turn will mean both renting and getting a mortgage in the future become more difficult.
Your minimum legal responsibility is whatever the CMS says. That’s your bottom line. Childcare is expensive and if you can pay a bit extra by making a contribution there, that would make sense. Mediation can help both parties say what they need to say ‘safely’ and support you coming to an arrangement that works for everyone. Be prepared to give and take and think ‘will this matter in a day/week/month/year/5 years’
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