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Child maintenance - losing battle.

(8 Posts)
Thinkhappy Sun 21-Oct-12 13:40:04

I divorced my husband 6 years ago after 12 years of marriage and three children. Since then I have met someone else and we moved in together 3 years ago. My ex husband has not paid any maintenance since I started this new relationship (5 years ago). I have tried the CSA on many occasions, which always starts an argument and my ex telling the children things like "your mother spent all my money when we were married" (which although irrelevant is untrue). As a father, he has failed time and time again to put the children first. He works self employed as a carpenter and each time the CSA contact him, he declares his earnings to be nothing. I then get a letter saying he owes nothing. But he is working, most of the time. He picks the children up on his way home from work and openly admits this to us. My situation is this;- My new partner earns a good wage - he is just over the higher tax band which means two things: I can claim absolutely nothing towards the children and next year the government plan to take away my child benefit as well. My new partner pays a large amount of money for child maintenance of his two sons from a previous marriage. He also pays a high mortgage for the house we live in together. So the money that I earn as a teaching assistant (just over 8,000 per annum) is pretty much all I have to pay bills and feed and clothe my three children, who, as they get older get much more expensive! I asked my ex nicely last week if he could see his way to paying a small amount each month to help. Explaining that the children are getting more and more expensive - we can't afford holidays for them and clubs are too expensive. His reply was a no. He would not give me money on a regular basis because he might not always have a job. We ended up arguing and I was back to square one. Struggling to provide for our children on my own always fighting to keep my job. Exhausted, drained, wishing I could give them more, hoping that they know they deserve more. What do I do now? There is no legal aid for maintenance cases, so court is not an option as much as I would like to. I am at a loss and worried. Is it time to name and shame?

NotaDisneyMum Sun 21-Oct-12 14:16:54

Keep on with the CSA; the rules change soon which will help your position as he'll have to provide a copy of his HMRC documentation.
If you've currently got an open case, it might be worth closing it and reapplying, after he has refused to pay you directly, so you don't have to pay the fee.

How is your ex living/eating etc if he's not earning? If his lifestyle is inconsistent with his declared earnings, then they can demand that he pays.

The changes you refer to about benefits will impact on him to - he will no longer get tax credits if he's self-employed but claims that he's earning under the minimum wage, which might mean its no longer in his favour to minimise the amount he earns.

peppapigpants Sun 21-Oct-12 18:17:13

It doesn't seem fair that YOUR child benefit for YOUR children should be affected by the income earned by a man who is not their father, rather than their father's income.

My exH is a higher rate tax payer, but I don't live with him, so it shouldn't have any impact on my child benefit, I believe. The whole higher rate tax/child benefit thing is a mess, and contrary to equality laws about spouses/partners being taxed separately.

Thinkhappy Sun 21-Oct-12 20:36:50

I do hope that the laws for maintenance change, I and so many other people have lost faith in the CSA. I wonder whether if I were claiming benefits they would be more keen to track my ex down. As for how he survives on inconsistent money - he lives with his girlfriend and her three children. I suspect that they haven't declared that. He purposely went off the radar to avoid big debts that he accumulated a couple of years ago.... I could be really nasty but just don't think it is the right thing to do.

Thinkhappy Sun 21-Oct-12 20:40:17

I also think that the government needs to listen to those families like my own where Child Benefit payments could stop. I can't be the only one in this position? So many families are now extended.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 21-Oct-12 20:45:58

think if your protecting your ex from the authorities because its not the right thing to do, then I'm not sure you can expect the government to pay instead !

Dob him in - if you're not getting anything from him now, you've got nothing to lose and could find that your DCs are entitled to arrears, as well.

avenueone Sun 21-Oct-12 21:30:43

Have you spoken to your local MP about the CSA? they should have an appointed person that deal with cases like this. They are usually very helpful. I know a few people that have gone down that route and have very good results.

purpleroses Tue 23-Oct-12 15:58:55

think - no, I'm in your position too, will soon lose child benefit because of my partner's earnings, even though they're not his children and neither of their actual parents are higher rate tax payers.

If you can trust your ex (and doesn't sound like you're very sure you can) you could allow him to claim it instead on condition he sets up a direct debit to you for at least that amount. I'm about to do that with my ex - is quite legal for him to claim it as long as he supports the DCs by at least that much amount. Has meant more money for me and for him, but if you don't trust your ex then it could just be him that benefits and could place you in a risky situation if he were ever to fight you for custody in the future (no chance at all of this with my ex, so safe enough)

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