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Silly question - is child maintenance the only thing available?

(64 Posts)
sandcastlesunshine Wed 26-Jul-17 22:15:49

Single parent to 2DC. Eldest going to High School this year. Uniform etc will cost £300 and bus fares etc will add about £60 to every month. (Plus new uniform for younger DC at about £150?).

Exh pays CM £20 a week. He doesn't buy any clothes, belongings, school dinners - well anything. He says he gives me enough money and I'm not getting a penny more. That £20 doesn't actually even pay for their school dinners.

Is it silly of me to think there is something out there that will enable me to ask that he contributes more to their lives?

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Angrybird123 Thu 27-Jul-17 00:09:13

CMS is the bare minimum. Assuming he is paying that you can only get more if its agreed as part of a divorce settlement and even then it would have to be stipulated as something other than CM e.g. spousal maintenance or school fees as the court jurisdiction on CM is only binding for 12 months and then it returns to CMS.

JustDontGetItAtAll Thu 27-Jul-17 11:18:45

My ex cancelled the CMS. I now get nothing sad At all! I'm sat here penniless and fuming. Don't get paid for three weeks and so angry that the first I heard about it was the missing payment!!!!

I wish there was something else to claim, but sadly not.

sandcastlesunshine Thu 27-Jul-17 19:29:12

It's actually recently been increased by £5 but he's refusing to pay the extra as he thinks he's overpaid in the past and I already have enough of his money...not quite sure how any part of £20 could be an overpayment!!

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BellaRed1 Sat 29-Jul-17 21:40:47

Whilst £20 a week doesn’t sound a lot it is actually £1,040 a year which more than covers the cost of uniforms. All without you needing to touch your wage or benefits. It may well cover all the bus fares too.

All you have to do is set it aside each week.

He is extremely unlikely to be getting any benefits whatsoever for his children. Could you raise your kids without benefits? If not, why do you expect him to pay more than he should? He cannot be earning a high wage if he is paying £20 per week.

orangewasp Sat 29-Jul-17 21:51:38

Whilst £20 a week doesn’t sound a lot that's because it isn't a's a pitiful contribution and this excuse of a father should be pulling his finger out and looking to find ways to pay a decent amount.

Well done Bella you've earned my first ever MN biscuit

BellaRed1 Sat 29-Jul-17 23:45:59

You have your opinion and I have mine. Simple.

It has been all over the news for weeks and you must have missed it, in work poverty is growing! The wages/benefits etc are falling!

You fail to answer why they can’t get benefits as a couple like you do or why they can’t get benefits pro rata to contact or something similar. The benefit system doesn’t even recognise them as parents! They are single childless people according to them.

There IS a huge unfairness there and no matter what way you dress it up it remains that way Even a godamn court said it WAS discriminatory but they let it go as being for the children. This was some time ago and the costs of living and has risen dramatically since then and wages fallen so it may only be a matter of time before it is challenged again.

So there you go. You support discrimination? Would YOU stand for being discriminated against like that?

But it’s one of those things you won’t see it or understand it until you experience (or have n interest in it) it via your brother/uncle/son or even daughter should they happen to become non resident parents on low incomes in the future.

Who said they would always be on low incomes? It couldn’t just be temporary for whatever reasons or they could be young or possibly unskilled at that time.

It also goes without saying that as time passes the NRP IS earn more and pay more which is good but whilst they don’t earn a lot why is the system so harsh to them?

I AM a single parent by the way and have been for many years. Funny how where one can see an injustice another cannot.

But hey ho! That’s life. We are free to disagree.

sandcastlesunshine Sun 30-Jul-17 11:17:51

The only benefits I get is child benefit, which most of the country get. I am raising my children by working and juggling.
Exh has a degree and is working part time in a shop. When the DC stay at his, they stay indoors all weekend and eat value food (no judgements before you all start). He then owns three laptops, two gaming machines, buys a new game each week, travels by taxi and buys all the latest gadgets e.g. iwatches.
He doesn't buy them clothes or shoes for his house, or toys or belongings. He says he can't afford to feed himself, let alone the children.
Whilst £20 a week does cover uniform, if I saved it, then that would mean he isn't paying a penny towards their daily lives.
I'm not sure how you can think this is fair.

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Ikillallplants Sun 30-Jul-17 11:27:35

I think Bella means someone like me. I have my dd 50% of the time. I have her 3 weekends out of 4 so provide most of the weekend clothes and also pay for (and organise) 90% of leisure activities. I contribute towards uniform and school trips. I provide a bedroom with toys, computer etc.

I also pay £100 a month maintenance. If I was the resident parent I would be £400pm better off taking into consideration tax credits and child benefit. I really struggle to make ends meet.

EllenJanethickerknickers Sun 30-Jul-17 11:33:33

Do you qualify for tax credits? If your ExH has been assessed as only owing £25/week there's nothing much you can do. Have you gone through CMS or is it a private arrangement?

sandcastlesunshine Sun 30-Jul-17 11:46:51

Ikillallplants. I would agree that sounds unfair. I wasn't trying to do a "let's prove all dads are shit" thread, it was a genuine question of how I could make things fairer. If he contributed more in the way you do, then I wouldn't be complaining about the amount of CSA. He also only has alternate weekends.

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sandcastlesunshine Sun 30-Jul-17 11:48:46

Ellen. I don't qualify for tax credits. Once I have paid for general living costs, mortgage, car essential to job, kids activities and clothes, I have nothing left for the luxuries that exh buys.

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Ikillallplants Sun 30-Jul-17 11:58:33

I'm a mum wink

Ikillallplants Sun 30-Jul-17 12:01:23

I wouldn't be complaining if I contributed as little as he does either. grin

BellaRed1 Sun 30-Jul-17 12:03:05

If you think I am against maintennace being paid then you are wrong.

The problem is that single parents get what the law says a couple needs to live on.

A non resident parent gets what a single childless person needs to live on despite having child costs. The rate a single childless person stops getting tax credits is £13,400
BUT if he earns below this amount he still has to pay. Madness. Whatever way you dress it up it is punitive.
Then if he has the kids two or 3 night per week he will be in a position where he can barely meet their own costs never mind that of the children
Let’s not forget they aren’t allowed a spare bedroom If on Housing Benefit so would have to pay bedroom tax as well just for having a bedroom for when the kids visit.
First and foremost they should have enough for themselves and I strongly believe they should have tax credits pro rata towards their costs. This can be done without reducing benefits to the single parent in any way.
The rate child maintenance starts being calculated is on incomes of £7-100! This is unchanged in something like 18 YEARS.
The rates are set at the benefit clawback rates from when child maintenance was not intended to be additional to your benefits.
It must be recognised that non resident parents who have contact pay maintennace and have costs when the children come to stay. These are costs that a single childless person does NOT have. So a NRP getting benefits as a single childless person is not getting enough if they have contact pure and simple. It’s quite shocking actually.

sandcastlesunshine Sun 30-Jul-17 12:10:20

I'm sorry IKill! I totally misinterpreted your post!

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sandcastlesunshine Sun 30-Jul-17 12:16:06

Bella. I agree the system is broken and unfair.

However, he has alternate weekends. All he does is feed them, spending approx £10 during the weekend.

I provide all clothes, uniform, school dinners, trips, activities, toys, electronics, bus fares, childcare.

He gives me £20 a week. He is choosing to work part time in a shop rather than use his degree.

He has multiples of every gadget going. I am overdrawn by the end of the month on providing basics.

Yes the system is broken. But I don't think I am being unreasonable in asking towards the contribution of a £300 uniform.

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Ikillallplants Sun 30-Jul-17 12:18:22

Sandcastles grin no worries.

What does piss me off is that society (and mumsnet) automatically think a mother who isn't really is spawn of the devil. A father who did as much as me would be treated like a Saint. Weirdly when I have stated my circumstances as above I have still been criticised on mumsnet until I mentioned that I also organise the haircuts,apparently that pushed me into 'acceptable' mother status confused

Ikillallplants Sun 30-Jul-17 12:19:28

Resident parent not really!

Ikillallplants Sun 30-Jul-17 12:21:41

There should be more done to ensure nrp aren't underemployed on purpose. The op's ex is capable of earning more by working full time but chooses not to. That is wrong.

Violetcharlotte Sun 30-Jul-17 12:26:37

I really feel for you OP as I'm in a similar situation except my Ex had paid nothing in the 14 years since we separated. Like you, as I work ft I'm not entitled to any benefits (except child benefit). So every month is a struggle trying to work out what to pay first.

I just can't understand how these blokes think it's ok to contribute so little or nothing to their own children. It's totally unfair 😢

sandcastlesunshine Sun 30-Jul-17 12:28:22

IKill. Totally agree. 50:50 care should be just that. In your case, the maintenance seems unfair.

And just because you don't necessarily have 50:50 care, you shouldn't be able to walk away from any responsibility.

The system is broken. It just needs to be fair for everyone.

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sandcastlesunshine Sun 30-Jul-17 12:29:38

Violet...and then go around telling everyone you can't afford to eat because of how much money you have to give "her".

Whilst wearing a fucking iwatch.

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BellaRed1 Sun 30-Jul-17 12:35:04

What you have to remember is you don’t have to give them any help towards their costs. Why is this? It’s because you’re on low incomes!!! Yet the expectation is that they must pay even if on low incomes. This is seriously flawed.

Neither should pay the other if on low incomes.

Once the minimum wage gets to decent levels like £20k maintenance will be more affordable for non resident parents and for them to pay and have enough for themselves as well. The government isn’t gonna help them let’s face it although they should.

The key think is affordability.

Universal credit is going to force almost everyone to work full time and earn at least the minimum wage. All these things help which in turn helps you but the minimum wage is ridiculously low at present when you take into account thing a like housing costs and the rising cost of living.

So in some ways things are moving in the right direction but very slowly.

sandcastlesunshine Sun 30-Jul-17 12:42:38

Bella. I've said the system is shit.

However, do you really think £20 a week is all it takes to raise a child? Do you really think his arrangement is fair?

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