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Horrible financial situation, support and advice needed please

(17 Posts)
MrsS01 Sat 25-Jun-11 10:37:00

Bit of background info, sorry its long, please bear with the post - I've been a LP for 9 years. XH had an affair and walked out when DS was 1. In the divorce settlement I had to pay him £20,000 to keep the house. Initially XP paid maintenance for the 1st 3 years until he walked out on his job (although he says he was forced to leave as it was awful). For a year maintenance was then sporadic. He then got another job (pub manager) and paid maintenance for 6mths before walking out of that job (again he said he had to leave as it was awful).

Since Aug 2009 he hasn't worked. I know the job market isn't great at the moment, but there are jobs (albeit maybe not the ideal one) and if it was me I'd have to sign on at a temp agency for some income.

In Aug 2010 he was offered bank nursing and did a few weeks of that before giving up (again the work was so bad).

In Sept 2010 he started a 3 year university course, so isn't required to pay maintenance. He said he needed to do the course to get a job in the field he wants to work in. Bearing in mind he will be 55 when he finished the course I cant see him realistically being employed (and have pointed this out!)

He isn't good with money and is always pleading poverty. I do think he isn't mean and if he had spare money he would pay some maintenance (however, I'm aware that he does do work for cash in hand sometimes but can't prove it) but that doesn't help me with soaring bills and the inability to pay them now. I work part time and have asked for more hours but its unlikely. Its affecting myself as I'm not sleeping/eating. Its affecting my relationship with my DS as I'm snappy and stressed out.

What can I do to make him see our DS is his responsibiity too and he needs to work and pay maintenance? I feel like saying unless you pay maintenance (and I'm not asking for much maybe £100 a month, £200 would be ideal) I'm going to stop you seeing your DS. But I know this isn't right for our DS and I've always put him first. XH sees DS for 2 hours per week (they both love each other and get on well).

He could work if he wanted to - the bank nursing is still an option. How can I make him see he needs to help us out. I'm at the end of my tether and really worried financially sad

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 25-Jun-11 10:51:03

Yes he should contribute and do a few shifts around his studies but its a little unfair to expect him to stop studying and work full time when you dont.

Why not split the childcare more as uni will only be x hours a week, perhaps he can have his DS more to reduce your childcare costs. If you are struggling to survive only working part time then perhaps you may have to look at finding another job. Once your DS leaves education you wont get all the extra CB/CTC so making the move now will mean you'll have a better income once state support stops.

MrsS01 Sat 25-Jun-11 10:56:27

Happymummy - yes I've resigned myself to I've got to go back to full time,although that means DS will have to go to afterschool/holiday club more, but needs must.

I'm going to ask for a crisis meeting with him this week and suggest he does shifts as well as study. Other students do this.

Good suggestion about splitting the childcare - I'll ask and see what he says.

However, knowing him he will not be able to do extra shifts or help with childcare. But they are constructive suggestions.

Smum99 Sat 25-Jun-11 13:30:59

Don't feel guilty if your DS goes to after school care - he'll be in secondary school in a few years and getting home later so you will have more hours available. If you managed to be a part time worker for most of his primary years then that's been fortunate and if you work fulltime you are being a good role model for our ds so it could be positive. Not sure of the finances but I guess your ex agreed to a £20k payment in lieu of house equity - it could be a good deal for you in the long run as you will have a house so there maybe short term challenges which are outweighed by the long term benefits.

Maintenance and contact are completely different and always separate - children are not pay per view. I would suggest you discuss your ds's costs with your ex - show what expenditure you incur, school dinners, activities, clothes, going to parties. My DH is wonderfully supportive but until I broke down the costs he really wasn't aware of how much money I spent on our ds on a regular basis.

gillybean2 Sat 25-Jun-11 13:47:38

You can't stop contact just because he doesn't pay maintenance. That is not in your ds's interest. As Smum says children are not pay per view and contact and maintenace are two separate issues and should not be dependant on each other.

Why do you think you won't be offered more hours at work? Asking is good and if it's a no then you can look at supplimenting your income by getting a second job perhaps.
Are you getting everything you're entitled too? On a low income you should get an NHS exemption card which allows you free prescriptions and help towards the cost of your annual eyetest and towards glasses/lens if you need them.

Look seriously at your budget and look at what you can cut back on. How about doing packed lunches instead of school dinners for example. And making sandwiches for yourself at work too if you don't already.

You may have to accept that your ex won't ever get himself a job where you can come to rely on his paying maintenance. So try and get your finances in order where you don't need to do that and then treat any money he does pay as an extra to be spent on your ds.

It is awful when money worries consume you. I was there for many years while working part time while ds was at primary. He is in his first year at secondary now and I have upped my hours at work and it has made such a huge difference to us just to have a little bit extra each week. We're still not rich, or even well off, but I'm not counting every penny any more.

Hang on in there, it's not much longer till your ds will be at secondary too.

niceguy2 Sat 25-Jun-11 21:00:31

"What can I do to make him see our DS is his responsibiity too and he needs to work and pay maintenance?"

Absolutely nothing. It would be naive to think that there was something you could say/do which would make him think "Wow, i've been SO wrong....let me get working now."

It's probably better to just resign yourself to the fact that you can't teach an old dog new tricks and get on with things the best you can. It's easier than living with the continued (and understandable) bitterness as this just ends up eating you up.

Maelstrom Sun 26-Jun-11 11:18:54

Honestly, after all those years of unreliable maintenance, why are you still depending on him?

Get a full time job yourself, and use the maintenance to cover the extras or unexpected expenses. It is though being a single parent, I find it though myself, but believe me it is far less problem to take control of your own finances than stressing out about maintenance coming in or not.

I find it difficult (very difficult indeed, as I don't have ANY family in this country and my child has special educational needs) but, after being landed in serious poverty for being dependent on my ex, I'm not allowing that to happen again. Get yourself on your own feet for your sake and your child's.

spicklegum Sun 26-Jun-11 13:19:35

I agree, it's time to stop being dependent on your ex. Of course it should be his duty to work and pay for his child, but there really isn't much you can do about it if he refuses, and it will do you and your child more good in the long term to be financially independent and view any maintenance as a bonus.

Even if you can't find FT work you can still be financially stable, I get no maintenance at all but I've always worked PT but I manage because I'm very strict with budgeting and I make sure I'm claiming everything I'm entitled to, like the NHS exemption card for example. We can still always afford to eat out occasionally and have modest holidays despite being on a very low income.

DollyTwat Sun 26-Jun-11 13:47:39

Are you me?
I could tell the same story with only a few details changed!

I just don't rely on him for anything. He will never pay towards the kids so that's that. However I won't ever write off the csa debt

MrsS01 Sun 26-Jun-11 17:43:19

Dolly - nope I'm not you lol! There are probably lots of us though!

runningonmt Tue 28-Jun-11 18:58:06

Sorry MrsS01 but in my opinion (from what you have written) is that he is choosing not to support your DS. It is his choice to go to uni, I am sure that he could get a job reasonably easily, even a part time one to bung even a little bit of cash your way. It may not be a job he particularly wants but if he felt any sort of responsibility towards his child he would want to work to support him in some way.

He is living the life of 'carefree and single' - perhaps he feels he missed out in his earlier years and is trying to recapture his youth - but i feel he has certainly got his priorities wrong.

Move on Mrs - it is time for you to realise that he is not prepared to do the right thing and no amount of soul searching on your part will change that. What kind of example is he setting to your DS by shirking his responsibilities ?

There are too many absent dads out there who moan about single mums and the benefits system but are quite happy for the government to provide for your childs financial needs instead of them - and they dont even see the irony in it !!

Pick yourself up, brush your self down, get a cheap suit and get out there with your head held high. Apply for any job that will give you back your self respect and a little more financial independance. WHen you are in the swing of it you could then look around for another job and slowly climb yourself into financial independance.

Yes he Should pay to support your DS but he doesnt want to.

I paid my exH 25K to keep a house that was mine before I met him. He earns £60k plus a year and wasnt willing to pay a reasonable amount of child support - so I went to the CSA - they are not terribly effective and he has worked out that he can pay loads into his pension and company car scheme to avoid paying 'reasonable' child support. I work school hours as my DS (age 11) has special needs too and I cant get anyone suitable to care for him after school to enable me to work any more hours. School holidays are a major problem for me especially as exH wont have him atall (aside from a few hours a year).

Bitter .... me? Yes,very but I work my tail end off and juggle my finances almost on a daily basis to keep a roof over my and my DS's head. Everytime I get an unexpected bill I think about what an arse my exH is, but then I remember - that's why I divorced him. I maybe skint but I have my self respect knowing that I am doing the best I can for my DS. And that is worth a lot more to me than money in the bank.

Just out of interest ...... who is supporting him while he fannies about at uni ?

Good luck to you x

MrsS01 Tue 28-Jun-11 21:02:49

Runningonmt - thanks for your advice and support. It sounds like you've had it/got it hard too. The state is supporting him, he gets a grant, gets his housing benefit paid etc.

joaninha Tue 28-Jun-11 21:57:49

MrsS01, it is a horrible situation to be in and I feel for you. The same thing happened to me and I fully agree with runningonmt re. the irony of certain people who complain about single mums on benefits when they in fact are benefiting from that system themselves.

After years of stress in a similar situation I reached a real low. My XH had reduced my maintenance again (he now pays nothing and lives abroad) and I was pretty depressed. I realized that what was really depressing me was not so much the pathetic amount of money he was paying me, but the fact that my fortune and happiness depending on what he decided to do, that he in fact was controlling my mood and my life.

So I decided that I had to get on with MY life, that I would never again be beholden to XH, that DS was my responsibility and that I'd be damned if I let his lack of responsibility and reliability change my happiness. It was pretty liberating and I think you should do the same.

Remember, YOU are the one that your DS relies on, XH will come and go but YOU will be the constant in his life, That is pretty precious and worth more than any amount of crappy maintenance.

runningonmt Tue 28-Jun-11 22:32:35

I realized that what was really depressing me was not so much the pathetic amount of money he was paying me, but the fact that my fortune and happiness depending on what he decided to do, that he in fact was controlling my mood and my life.

joaninha - very, very, very well put grin

The state is supporting him, he gets a grant, gets his housing benefit paid etc.
MrsS01 - I just spat my coffee over my keyboard when I read that - bloody cheek - It is a shame there is not a law that states absent parents who do not pay financial support for their children should not be allowed to claim grants and houseing benefit to swan about at uni unless they are contributing a minimum of £x amount to support their offspring. University is a luxuary many young school leavers cannot afford - it is my opinion these uni places should not be wasted on people coming to the end of their working lives as there is little chance in re-couping in tax they money they are spending now in benefits. If he is that committed to his new chosen career change he should be working f/t, paying child support and doing an open university course - after all he has all his evenings free to study rather than bringing his child up ! x

MrsS01 Wed 29-Jun-11 14:14:47

Joaninha/Runningonmt - you are both very right, and normally I'm fine, but sometimes it just really gets to me you know and I want to scream! In my opinion he's gone to uni so he doesnt even have to pay the £5 a week the CSA were saying were due and to get the job centre off his back, cynical, me, never!

Anyway, he's supposedly coming over here for a meeting this evening. That will be interesting!

MrsS01 Thu 30-Jun-11 11:57:38

Hmm, so we had a 'chat'! Came to stalemate, he's not going to work and therefore I'm not going to get maintenance. Showed me how much grant/loan he gets, I was gobsmacked - its not much less than I earn! Think he thought I'd say 'poor you how can you survive on that'! Still bitter and twisted. Hopefully work will give me extra hours, I'll ask again next week, hold my head up high, don't worry about the overdraft, and remember I'm the one who's lucky to be living with DS.

humptydidit Sun 03-Jul-11 18:20:54

mrs I really feel for you. I am single mum to 3 kids on benefits. I am torn about what is the right thing to do wrt money and getting our financial situation sorted. I have huge debts - over £20,000 which stupidly exH persuaded me to get in my name alone which I have no prospect of being able to pay back in this century!!! as well as owing money to my mum and family for helping us to start a new life away from ExH. At the moment I am paying back my parents at a rate of £10 per week and it just feels never ending.

My exH quit his well paid job as soon as csa calculated the money he owed to me.. and is now living with his mother and refuses to claim benefits. I realise that he won't pay me any money, he will dodge the system forever, but it still makes me so angry sad

I think I need to listen to what running says and sort my own life out, but its' hard when you are struggling and you feel so bitter towarrds exH.

Sorry, not been v helpful, but just wanted to let you know I understand and you are not alone and like somebody said above, it's better to take control of your life and put him and his laziness behind you... that's what i am going to try to do smile

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