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Money, money, money - it's not funny

(14 Posts)
giesabosie Fri 05-Aug-11 18:48:10

I'm after some thoughts on whether you think I'm being unfair or not.

Story is that I've been seperated for almost 3 years now. Have 2 DC's - 3 and 6. ExH and I have tried hard to be amicable which was hard considering he moved in with his PA not long after he left me.

We are almost through the school hols up here in Scotland. He has covered 3 weeks of the holidays (sort of). We both agreed that it wouldn't be too good for the DC's to be away from me for an extended period of time so they've been back at weekends and also for a day during the week (which I don't work as part time). My MIL did quite a bit of the childcare and he's done the rest. MIL comes on the train and doesn't have a car so I had to do quite a bit of picking up and dropping off. Anyway, at drop off today he asked if he could have some money from me because he's looked after them and it has cost him money for food and swimming and days out etc etc.

My immediate reaction is tough. The amount of maintenance he pays is generous (can't fault him on that) but I've budgeted accordingly and I can't take a cut one month. Thinking about it my costs haven't been less this month because although I haven't had to feed them the extra car journeys have cost and my DD is going to the school club next week so I've got extra childcare. Not to mention the school shoes and uniform I've had to buy for returning to school and the days out etc I paid for in the first 2 weeks of the hols.

When I mentioned the extra childcare as an example of why I didn't think I could give him any money he looked at me quizzically and asked why I wasn't taking annual leave (that'll be something to do with the fact that I still have other holidays to cover and need to save some leave for those). So, then I was annoyed and not in the mood to talk about the issue especially as we were in a car park and my DD was there.

Now, I've calmed down I still think I'm right but I do feel a bit sorry for him. He always complains about being skint (he was moaning about the price of everything going up) but at the same time we have an agreement and I don't think he should just expect to vary it because he's had an expensive month. I think if I go back and say no then he will try to re-negotiate our monthly agreement which wouldn't be good for me but maybe better for maintaining amicable relations.

Sorry - this has ended up a bit long. What do you think? I'm I being too hard on him?

Vibrant Fri 05-Aug-11 19:09:50

It's hard to say without all the detail, but I think you may be - sorry!. If he's being generous with his monthly payments then isn't that enough to be covering any childcare requirements as and when they arise, and the uniform, shoes etc? Is he genuinely struggling to keep up with those payments?

How much money are we talking about here? Is it worth just giving him some to keep things on an even keel?

chelen Fri 05-Aug-11 20:16:34

Hi, you say the amount he pays is generous - how was that agreed?

I don't really agree with fiddling with the money - he knew what you what he would be paying you and so should have budgeted accordingly.

The risk is that he will keep trying to reduce the amount he pays every time he has an expensive month.

I don't really see his point. Either the maintenance he pays you is ok or it isn't, the same each month. As you say, it may end up with renegotiating the overall maintenance, that would be better than fiddling all the time as it is easiest to have a predictable amount coming in.

giesabosie Fri 05-Aug-11 20:51:05

Vibrant - don't be sorry. I asked for opinions.

Yes, I do think he's struggling (although still driving his big 3 litre car) and yes the money he pays helps cover costs. The problem is that him asking for a 'refund' this month will leave me short when I've been careful and planned ahead to cope with the extra childcare and uniform costs. He hasn't planned ahead and is now suffering.

In answer to your question I think he probably wouldn't want much but I'm not keen to give him some back for fear of setting a precedent. I'm thinking it would be fairer all round for us to talk about a reduction in his ongoing payments. That way I could budget properly.

I do wonder if this remaining amicable is doing me any favours. I often think about the fact that there are 2 full time salaries going into his household and only 1 part time one going into mine.

lagrandissima Fri 05-Aug-11 20:57:32

Personally I wouldn't offer to reduce ongoing payments. If you manage to put anything aside on one PT salary and your maintenance, it is not unreasonable for you to spend it on improving your home, or putting it away for a rainy day / the kid's education. Surely you sometimes have more expensive months than others - when you have to fund a school trip or get an appliance replaced / fixed?

You're doing a great job doing the most of the routine drudgery associated with raising your children - it's great that you've had a good divorce and that he is in regular contact with the children and is committed to their parenting too, but at the end of the day, spending part of the school holiday with them has hopefully been a positive and pleasant experience for them and him, and to start asking for a refund of child maintenance sounds a bit petty.

giesabosie Fri 05-Aug-11 21:04:11

Chelen - we have a private arrangement. It's written down in our seperation agreement but I had a quick look and it does say he's paying extra (over and above the CSA minimum) voluntarily and that he can change this if financial circumstances change.

It pains me to consider re-negotation as it will mean more belt tightening on my part. I think he thinks I'm rolling in it when in actual fact I think I'm just better organised and I plan ahead. Certainly for me a predictable amount each month is easier to cope with.

Do you think I could make it a condition of re-negotiation that he do some planning and think ahead? He does this for a living so I can't work out why he can't sort this out in his personal life.

Vibrant Fri 05-Aug-11 21:35:03

Ah, I think I can relate a little better now - it seems more that he's not planning ahead or budgeting, rather than not actually having the money. I've got by for a year now on just my part-time salary and tax credits. I haven't had any maintenance whatsoever. Xh claims to be unable to afford it, or anything else, but there are all sorts of things that he has managed to find the money for when he wants to hmm. In the meantime I've managed to get enough money saved for a holiday with dd and dsd, his other daughter. And that's not down to having more disposable income, it's because I've managed my money better.

I'm a litte undecided now grin. It has obviously cost him more during the summer holidays and the CSA do make an allowance for overnights and reduce the maintenance accordingly, so I'm still not sure it's entirely unreasonable for him to pay les this month. But what's not on is to have sprung it on you.

gillybean2 Sat 06-Aug-11 00:54:53

laugh hollowly and say that children are more expensive to bring up than he realised huh... And tell him how you have to budget very strictly each month to make ends meet and that this time of year is always expensive with school uniform, childcare and the extra journeys to and fro to him/MIL.

Leave it at that and see if he persues it. I think he may well be fishing for a reduction overall. If you take less in this expensive month then he'll say you can manage on less every month...

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 06-Aug-11 17:47:23

If he's had them for the bulkd of three weeks, then i think YABU. It also sounds like his mum has provided free childcare and travel expenses which he may want to help her out with.

RandomMess Sun 07-Aug-11 12:25:07

As things are amicable can you suggest that you get together to discuss the finances without the dc around?

You can explain how much the children actually cost you versus the child benefit and tax credits etc. You can then also discuss how much of the school hols your annual leave covers and also discuss how much the running around for the 3 weeks has cost you.

Tell him you are happy to discuss it from a very open minded point of view but this month you have no spare cash due to how you budget but agree that is something you need to look at together? Presumably his current partner could financially assist him for one month?

giesabosie Fri 12-Aug-11 16:23:40

Thanks for the replies everybody. It's good to get a range of opinions.

My ExH has now mentioned he is going on holiday at the end of the month - Tenerife, I think. Interesting choice as he is so skint. He has not offered me additional maintenance for the extra childcare I will be providing him (the holiday is over one of his contact weekends) nor compensation for the dance class I'll miss (again one of his contact nights) so I've kind of lost all sympathy for his request. In fact I'm fizzing with myself for having spent so much time worrying about it and for feeling sorry for him.

In fact, I feel like we've hit a new low. I've spent a lot of effort trying to remain amicable and just think it's got me nowhere. I know I've got to think of the DCs but honestly it's such hard work sometimes. Any thoughts on how to finally stop caring? I thought I was doing quite well but I'm not so sure now.

Smum99 Sat 13-Aug-11 14:52:39

My simple point of view is that an amicable relationship with the ex is priceless for the children so please continue if you can.

Some facts - did your costs reduce when the children were away? did his costs increase when he had the children ? You could say it's a case of swings and roundabouts so therefore over the year it doesn't make a difference but only you know the actual amounts involved so it is your call.

Going on holiday doesn't mean he has money - the gf could have paid for it or it's on credit.

mamas12 Sat 13-Aug-11 18:51:38

Do not reduce or give him any money.
Not money back as I consider the money he pays in maintenance is non refundable it is to suppport his dcs
You are right he needs to budget correctly that is not your problem.
Hard to disengage but you need to do it.
If you feel you are doing too much running about them let him know tell him like it is like he does.
Can't afford it my arse x tenerife pfft

gailpottertilsleyplatt Thu 18-Aug-11 04:42:32

Maybe his girlfriend is paying for the holiday?

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