maintenance payments- controversial or am I just being a mug!(14 Posts)
I could really do with the extra money, but he has left employment to study for the next four years. I can get by without it, but the cushion it left meant I was a lot less stressed. Still, I'll get a lot more when he's a qualified professional, so hopefully in years to come when kids get a bit more expensive, things will be easier.
I took the view that as ex was always very patchy in terms of employment when we were together that I wouldn't bother as the actual amount wouldn't be worth the hassle. But when our DD grew into a teenager the costs just escalated and I didn't want her to miss out, so I asked him to help me out going halves on a ski-ing trip. He promised he would (and had nearly a year to pay for it) but didn't, meaning I had to borrow from my mum and dad so she could go. That changed my mind - he'd pissed it up against a wall and it was her money, not his. Went to the CSA, they were brilliant, and I now get £150 a month. It goes straight into a savings account for her Uni fund. It's not just about day to day expenses, for me, it is about DD having little extras and some money for the future - as far as I am concerned she deserves it.
I've never looked on it as a day to day calculation - it's a lot more long term than that.
School trips,birthday parties, swimming lessons,new shoes - there are a thousand and one extra expenses you have to meet.
Are you ever planning to take him on holiday once he starts school? That's going to cost you a small fortune.
That's not even thinking about when he gets old enough to want all the things his friends have got like computer games and a mobile phone.
You don't have to justify anything - the CSA does the calculation and the Non Resident Parent pays the money (in theory!). Put the extra money into a savings account for your boy if it makes you feel better but don't be a martyr about it.
We didn't go through csa either. EXP pays me £200 a month by direct debit. I know I could get a little more if I went official, even with DS staying with him 2 nights a week. I don't feel I really need that much, though obviously didn't argue.
I also get tax credits as work part time and they help. I can save a lot more for DS now than I did before.
Does your son stay with your EX at all and pay towards the cost of things when he is with him? Also does he help to buy clothes for him and shoes and provide trips out etc?
This makes a difference for me and my DS, if he spends money on him as well, then it's only fair.
The way I see it is this:
it took two adults to have the children and so two adults should have to maintain. as i understand it the percenatge amounts of the nrp's income is 'meant' to mean the children can still afford what they would have had if the NRP was still with the RP. i know in reality this is not the case as the percentage is too low and most RP's get very little.
As for rent and electricity etc...in my case, if it were not for my children i would rent a one bed flat, not 2 bed house, so it is costing me more just as it is to pay the extra bills and council tax!
on childcare, my ex never helped out. not even when i asked him to just help towards extra sessions for ds. he only pays what the csa says. he now has a new child and he can afford to have his new partner as a stay at home mum.
meanwhile i have to work full time to keep a roof over my childrens heads and food in the fridge and my children have had to take a cut in their maintenace as he has a new child. who is helping to support who?!
I think it is a matter of principle, but it's up to you!
WTF? I do think my ex should contribute towards excess rent (and bills- I would not be using as much heating without a child! Or running the washing machine nearly as much!) incurred as a result of having his child, because if I wasn't caring for her, I'd be able to live in a smaller flat or shared housing which is much cheaper. If you'd be living the same place anyway, then fair enough, but I moved to somewhere because of having his child and to facilitate contact between them, so as I see it that is damn well his responsibility too. At the moment he just pays for her childcare (which is prohibitively expensive as there's a huge shortage here, though I think that's the case everywhere in the UK), but once she's in school we'll have to rearrange things. I doubt her food and clothes alone cost more than £20 a week on average (inc nappies it maybe does at the moment as need disposables for nursery), but things like activities (swimming, music, after school club if you work hours longer than the school day, etc) are very expensive as are childrens shoes if you buy decent quality ones, and extra transport costs for kids old enough to be paying fares on buses/trains if you need to use these to get to work/school. Frankly I think you're being a doormat. Sorry.
Also child benefit shouldn't be counted as a payment from the ex! Plenty of resident parents pay tax too so it's just as much from us as from them.
I have to say that unless you know his income is more than £250 a week (net) then be careful.
The fact is you seemingly have a good arrangement.
Yes the costs of children go up, you're quite right. Why not ask your ex to start paying for:
- Pocket Money
- School uniforms
- School shoes
At least give him the opportunity before you go to the CSA, there is a reason why they have more complaints than any other government agency.
Maxine. There's another side to think about here. Do you know roughly what you think you'd get if you go through the CSA? As Riakin says, unless he is earning a lot more than £250 per week then you seriously have to consider if opening up this particular can of worms is worth it.
Firstly what happens to your finances if he says "OK, i'll let the CSA decide" and until then he stops paying you and then drags his heels for a few months?
What about if he suddenly decides he wants more contact in an attempt to reduce his maintenance liability?
What if he just thinks screw you and ducks and dives? I know people who haven't had a penny of maintenance for over 5 years going via the CSA.
Of course there's the principle that he should pay his fair share. But as a single parent, we soon learn that principles don't put dinner on the table. They don't pay the electric bill. It's sometimes better to take the £30 a week he offers willingly than fight for say £50 and get £0 for the next two years.
My ex gives me per month less than yours gives you in a week and it's not gone up a penny in nearly 9 years.
You don't have to justify asking for more. The CSA calculation is designed to keep the child in the lifestyle they could of expected had you stayed together.
So that factors all sorts of things including:
Quality of food (budget v nice stuff and the odd takeaway or meal out)
Clothing (charity & hand me downs v designer)
Having friends over (not being able to as unable to feed them v take them on days out and cover the cost)
Holidays (none v foreign holiday)
birthday and xmas (struggling to afford anything v loads of yummy food and presents)
Gadgets (not having any v mobile phone, games console, laptop etc)
etc etc and every variations from either extreme to anywhere in the middle depending on your income/lifestyle.
Why should your ex be able to afford extra luxuries while you can't give it to your dc? Many NRP argue the same mind you (why should I give more to my ex and go without)
So yes maybe you can get by on what you get now, but would your dc be just getting by and going without had you remained together? Why should your dc have to go without? As a parent it is your responsibility to provide financially, and that includes ensuring that your ex pays the right level of maintenance for tehir dc. It is the dc's money not yours and you should be ensuring they get it.
OP I think you sound a bit resenful and unable to discuss this with your ex and that's not healthy. It's in cases where parents can't communicate or agree that the CSA has a role. No I don't advocate launching straight in with a call to the CSA, but if you talk to him and he refuses to listen then that is an option for you.
How about saying to your ex 'The maintenance you pay hasn't changed in a while and I'm struggling a bit with costs for ds. Could you look at the government guidlelines on what is payable and see if it's about right or maybe you could look at changing the amount if it's not'...?
If he asks what you're struggling with list some things, or mention that you'd like to be putting money aside for his future. eg school trips, and at some point your dc will want to learn to drive and need expensive insurance etc. Those are the sorts of things you can save up for now while knowing that maintenance could well cease at 17/18 if they decide to get a job while you'll still need to find the money for it.
I think you should also factor how involved your ex is with his son? Does he have him on a regular basis? Most NRPs don't just pay child maintenance they also pay for additional costs when the child is with them - such as toys,games, haircuts, activities and they may even be saving for their child. I think this is why NRP find child maintenance emotive as it's assumed that the child only has costs when with the RP.
At one end of the spectrum you have NRPs who won't pay a penny and others where the NRP pays very much in excess of what is needed to support a child. Mostly we hear about the extremes (but I believe CSA stats say that 85% of parents pay according to their calculation).
I would suggest you do need a formulae to change the contributions as in 10 years £30 p/w won't be sufficient but maybe you could ask your ex to save for your son so that is something you don't have to worry about.
Guess you will have to have a dialogue at some stage about finances but you seem very reasonable so I think your ex will respond well to it.
My dd's dad pays through the CSA, and i actually think it's unfair the amount the ask for from him. He doesn't earn much, and has to pay 37pounds per week. If he'd played ball from the start and hadn't been such a twat about everything, i'd have been more than happy with 20 pounds a week, or probably even less. The only reason i've left the CSA collecting the money is he hasn't seen DD since the day I called the CSA (he went back on an agreement to pay for half our holiday together the day before the payment was due, so i called the CSA to recover the money that way) and refuses to while he still has to pay any maintenance.
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