Hello My DS is seven and for nearly three years his father and I have had an arrangement which works pretty well. It's effectively a 50/50 split. DS spends every other week with me, and then on the week when he's with his father, he comes to me at 7am before school, and then after school from 3-5.30pm. I give him breakfast and dinner, and I make his packed lunch. DS also has an older step sister who I care for on the same basis during the week that they're with their father. I also have them both overnight on an ad hoc basis when their father is working or seeing his girlfriend. I have two other children who are with me full time. My ex gives me £20 per week towards food for the two of them, but it's really not enough and I'm struggling. He has a high paid job and I'm self employed and earning nothing. When I've looked into maintenance previously it seemed to be calculated on overnight stays, but my situation is a little different. Am I entitled to any maintenance? Or do I just suck it up? Thanks
A situation where you have exactly half of the time each can be more complicated. Generally maintenance is paid to the parent with care, or who receives the child benefit. The calculation is reduced for each overnight the children stay with the contact parent. Generally one parent has the children more overnights per week as there are 7 overnghts in a week. However if you have a fortnightly arrangement you may find that you have the same number of overnights in that period.
Do you have a court order, or did you agree to this arangement between you? You could apply for maintenance but your ex may argue that you have shared care. These things can get complicated when the overnights are exactly equal, and you may or may not be successful.
Rather than rock the boat, have you tried explaining to him that �20 a week isn't enough, and you are struggling and can he pay a bit more. If he says no then you may want to start saying no to having them on his agreed days... If he still says no, and you find you have no other choice, then perhaps look at applying to the CMA for maintenance. You'd both have to pay for using their services to collect the money, and you could point out to your ex that money would be better spent on the kids.
They do prefer it if you can agree it between you though. So always worth trying that option first.