So what is maintenance meant to be used for?(21 Posts)
I know this sounds like a dumb question - in early stages of lone parenting (yay!) so still getting to grips with how things work. Ex is incredibly tight with money despite a decent, stable job and is clearly unhappy about having to pay maintenance. He pays the rate he 'should' pay according to the CMS as I got hold of a copy of his P45, and we have a family maintenance arrangement we agreed in mediation. I know I'm probably luckier than most to receive any kind of maintenance.
But since my ex is so tight with money he's already getting very strict with what he will/will not contribute to beyond maintenance. He's refused to contribute towards a nursery trip next month, won't pay for after school childcare (but expects me to pay for it for the 1 day a week he picks DC up, this has only just come to light as DC starts school in Sept) and now won't pay for a copy of nursery photographs but wants me to pay for it as its 'covered by maintenance'.
These points were not covered by us in mediation although now maybe I think they should have been? There was emotional abuse in our relationship so I admit my boundaries are a bit skewed at the moment. I thought maintenance was for 'everyday' costs and I would consider the examples above to be costs that are not 'everyday' (except maybe the childcare but I'm not convinced that cost should be mine when the reason he won't be picking up at the end of school is because he'll be working till 5). Equally I don't want to be petty but I'm struggling to know where to draw the line. Do I just suck it up or do I hold firm and ask him for an equal contribution to things I think are beyond 'everyday'?
Any advice for me please?
Is he sending a set amount each week or month or are you having to let him know how much everything cost at the end of the month for him to pay half?
Personally i dont ask my ex to pay for anything above what he sends monthly (it is the same amount each month). It does bug me that he doesnt have any liability for childcare costs but I have accepted it.
Things like nursery trips etc should be covered by the maintenance he gives you. Afterschool care, whilst i agree he should pay half, child maintenance options wont agree with you so you wont get it. Duplicate of nursery photos? If he wants a copy he can pay for it. You pay for and keep your own copy.
Ime maintenance is for everyday costs - keeping a roof over their heads, clothes, shoes, food etc.
childcare on the day he should be collecting - his responsibility.
Photographs - the cost should be split 50/50 the same as the pack of photos.
Passports - 50/50 split.
Nursery trip - I'd have said 50/50 as it's an optional extra. But am a bit biased about this as my xh doesn't contribute at all to dd's school trips or uniform etc (even when the trip is costing £300) claiming that it all falls under the maintenance remit.
It's very frustrating when they only pay the absolute minimum, not a penny more and expect so much in return.
On the after school club, can't you just book the days you need and tell him he has to sort out his own arrangements from the end of school on the days he collects.
Make it clear to the club that you are only contracting them for the specific days you are booking and won't be liable for days he books.
Photos, pay for your own if you want them. Provide him with the details, if he wants his own he can get them himself.
Trips I think should be split, especially if main is reduced because of time with the NRP. But he is under no obligation to pay any extra, sake decisions on trips based on whether you can afford them, any extra he pays is then a bonus.
I don't think there is a rule on what it is meant to cover but given that it's the amount he is obliged to pay id say it's meant to cover "everything".
Is he paying the CMS amount? I wouldn't be giving him a breakdown of your expenditure, presumably you're not buying yourself diamonds and gigolos using his money (you'll have your own income from that). So it will be chucked into the household pot. Mine is when it's paid, and I wouldn't give ex a breakdown of it either, he pays a lot less towards the financial care of DC than I do.
He pays for care during his contact time with the DC, that's not your responsibility presumably he doesn't rush to pay for childcare when you need it during your own time.
Thanks for responses, really helpful. I'm still trying to get my head round things, think I underestimated what a minefield this can be.
Maintenance is a set amount each month based on a percentage of his wages (and not fully representative of his earnings as he gets overtime, which he is able to do as I do the majority of the childcare and always have done).
R.e. the childcare - I thought this was the case that he would need to pay for the days he needs it but got the 'this is covered by my maintenance' argument from him. Same as the photographs and the trip. He will push as much as he can which is why I need to draw my boundaries to know when I'm able to push back.
Maintenance covers everything unfortunately so you can't go to him every month or so asking for him to pay for school trips or uniform or whatever. You get your maintenance and that's it.. Part of the idea should be that you no longer need to discuss that side of things with him - and if he's abusive then that can only be a good thing!
It takes a while to get used to so give yourself time. I'm re married now but remember all too well the piss taking that some absent parents do, how they make you feel like you should be grateful for any scraps that you're thrown
Easy answer to that then "no its not and you can arrange it yourself". That way you have none of the administration, nor the expense.
You aren't together anymore, let him make his own arrangements.
Don't say a word about things like photos - if he wants one he can sign up to the schools email system so that he knows when school photos are happening. School trips are down to you. Childcare is a tricky one .. I just used to pay the lot because it's covered under the remit
What you spend CMS money on is none of his business.
Childcare on his days is his responsibility. If he wants a photo he pays for it. The trip, you can ask for half. He says no, don't make a thing about it.
don't show him photos
Not sure if my experience will help - but here goes.
My DD has always been 50:50 between me and her dad. Despite that, he pays me maintenance - lots of reasons, and it works for us.
I use this to pay towards what DD needs - school uniform, travel, trips, phone, laptop etc. These are the things she has 'one of' and benefits from in both homes.
We've always made our own childcare arrangements for our weeks (although I did pay off his huge breakfast club debt as the school quite rightly chased both of us) and things like school photos etc we buy separately.
She gets an allowance from each of us towards casual clothing, cosmetics etc.
possibly most significantly, I am responsible for the costs associated with her pet (that ex and I agreed to her having prior to us splitting).
it's for everyday expenses.
The dc's need a roof over their heads, food, petrol for outings etc.
However we have no contact with XP so it's not really any of his business.
I'm guessing he gets a deduction because of the number of nights he has the child per year. This is because his costs for then are taken into account. So the childcare on his days are very much his responsibility! And if he don't pay for a picture he don't get one.
Thanks all, very different setups I can see then. It sounds like it's worth being firm with him then although I am prepared to pay up for trips if he refuses as DC is the one who suffers. I can sense the childcare one being more of a long-standing argument though.
And you're right Baies one of the major advantages to us splitting up if not having to have regular contact with him so I don't really want to be arguing over money with him all the time. Although that's probably what he wants, so he can spend more of his money on living up the bachelor life. But as long as it doesn't affect DC I'm not hugely fussed.
I can sense the childcare one being more of a long-standing argument though.
Not really, book DC into and pay for club on only the days you need. Advise him that he is responsible for his own childcare arrangements on his days. You dont need to negotiate or argue. Just state it as fact and stick to it. Ensure that the school knows his number and that he is responsible for Collecting DC on his days so they dont call you if he doesnt show up.
My story - which may help.
ExH pays the bare legal minimum in maintenance and I have never ever asked for a penny more. However this also means that I don't have to discuss any financial matters with him and if he has to pay for something when DS is with him I just shrugged my shoulders and went "not my problem mate". He wanted school photos so I told him to get himself some. I just didn't get involved.
Don't let him con you in to paying for stuff when he has DC, there is a reduction in maintenance for time spent with the NRP to reflect that.
My ex pays a small amount of maintenence every month then I pay for any photos or school trips etc.I tell him when I get the photo proof and give him info to pay for copy if he wants one otherwise I leave it to him.Hope this helps.x
There's a really good section on child maintenance options website where it gives you a form to fill in all the costs each of you have in a normal month.
When I used it (before we went 50/50) it came out that my costs were £350 a month and his were £50. He paid me £200 a month CM so he was contributing £250 and I was contributing £150. So in my mind the extra £100 meant that some months I was quids in, and other I had enough put by for the extras.
If you use the sheet you may be surprised by how much his money covers.
Take in to account you'd need a home any way. As would he. Aside from child care costs kids aren't actually that expensive. If he's paying a couple of hundred, I don't think you cant really ask for extra for school photos and things. Don't you just buy one each anyway??
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