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Maintenance issue I need some advice!

(11 Posts)
mothergoingmad Fri 19-Sep-08 22:41:31

Hi all I need some advice on how you would handle this one.
Up until 2 weeks ago my ex paid £73 maintenance for our 2 kids dd 10yrs & ds 6yrs direct to me by standing order each week. To my knowledge he was at college one day a week training to be a plumber and working for an agency the other 4 days hgv lorry driving. 2 weeks ago he changed the standing order amount to £5 and I received the same again this week. I tried to talk to him last week but as usual he ignored my calls. I actually spoke to him tonight and he told me the CSA has re-assesed him and he is paying what they have told him to £5! I have received nothing from the CSA informing me of any change, he refused to give me a reason for the change.
I believe he may have given up his job and now be a full time student (he's 38yrs old by the way not a young dad).
So in a nut shell I've gone from receiving £73 per week to £5 and I'm worrying how I'm going to make ends meet. Has anyone else experienced anything like this and how did you deal with it? The kids are saying they don't want to see dad if he is only going to pay £5, they don't have a great relationship with him anyway and only see him every other weekend - their choice. People are telling me he should not see the kids if he can't support them but that seems a bit harsh even if I do hate him (which I do). sorry it's a long one.

Skramble Fri 19-Sep-08 22:46:57

Sorry not experienced the CSA as we have our own arrangement, but keeping this bumped until someone who does know more sees it.

Pria Fri 19-Sep-08 23:42:10

Must be a real shock for you. As twatty ex not talking go back to the CSA and find out on what new information they are basing this variation of the order, is it permanant temp? If you do not agree you can challange this decision.

Still, however big a twat ex is being is it a good idea to discus the amount of maintainance you are not getting with your 10 and 6 year old?

singledadofthree Fri 19-Sep-08 23:48:39

can only say get back in touch with the csa. wouldnt be discussing money with the kids tho - isnt their business. my ex never paid a thing, didnt affect her seeing them or them her.

Pesha Fri 19-Sep-08 23:52:34

Yes ring CSA and they will be able to tell you if that is what they have assessed he should pay and if so, why. You should have been told at the same time as him about the change so a bit surprised you've had no letter.

I would agree with you that it is definitely harsh to stop him seeing the kids over this, however much you hate him he is still their dad. And, assuming he is at college, its not as if he has given up work to sit on his arse all day, he is training to make something better of himself and in the future may well be abloe to pay considerably more.

I am also surprised that you are discussing what he pays with your dc and that they would feel they don't want to see him because he is not paying enough. Fair enough if they don't want to see him but that seems an unusual reason for children so young. Do you think perhaps they are aware of your reaction to this (even if you've tried not to show how pissed off you are, children do tend to pick up on things and have an amazing ability for taking in all the information they shouldn't from private conversations despite being sat in the next room watching tv!!) and are responding to that?

mothergoingmad Sat 20-Sep-08 01:53:42

I do understand where you are all coming from regards talking to the dc about money, however to explain why.My dd saw me in tears over this and asked why I tried to briefly explain it to her (very grown up for her age) and she made decision she didn't want to see him and then told ds about it. He is a crap father and doesn't have a civil bone in his body. When he does see the dc he doesn't spend any time with them sends them out to play in the street while he carries on with whatever it is he and gf are doing. She doesn't have children and can't be bothered with mine, they feel they are in the way when at her house (ex moved into her house). ex and his gf argue constantly in front of the dc and they are generally not happy to see him. He is a total sergant major dad (just like his was) they are not allowed to be themselves and are actually scared of him (their words). they seem to be clinging on to their ideal of having a decent dad and sometimes seem unsure if they want to see him or not.
It's a very difficult situation and I keep my feelings towards him to myself and not slag him off to them. Just in case anyone thinks I'm a bitter jealous ex I'm also in a realtionship, been with bf for 2 1/2 years.

muggglewump Sat 20-Sep-08 02:22:17

I have no idea but please do not tell your kids anything about money, and what your ex pays/doesn't pay. That's nothing to do with them and they should never know about it.

He's either good to them when he has them or not. Money should not come into it.
Letting him have them only when he pays enough is kinda like offering them for a price.
I understand from your post you don't mean that, so don't do it.

Tinkerbel6 Sat 20-Sep-08 10:43:56

I think mothergoingmad was just being honest with her children rather than lying to their face, although I dont think money should be discussed with children sometimes its hard to hide your feeling when you find yourself financially up the creek without a paddle. Mothergoingmad ring the csa as it sounds like he is being seeing as having no disposable income so is obviously hiding his wages or he isnt working any more, contact your local DSS/DWP and ask if you are entitled to Income Support, thats if you are not working

Ticktoria Wed 24-Sep-08 14:30:24

I disagree with mugglewump, money does come into it because financially supporting your children is an important indicator of whether you accept that you are responsible for your children. Granted, you can only give what you can afford but choosing to go to college full time when you have 2 little mouths to feed, without consulting or even warning their only other provider so she can plan for the drop in income is totally selfish and unfair of him. As for the suggestion that MGM is somehow attaching a financial price to access to her children, this is outrageous. Mothergoingmad, I totally sympathise with your situation, I don't understand why people think a totally cr@p father is better than no father. If he can't be the father they deserve, they don't enjoy seeing him and they're sent outside to play unsupervised when he has responsibility for their safety, I'd have no qualms about telling him to either start communicating with you and consulting you about decisions that affect your children or you will change his access to a level you and your children are happy with until he proves he actually values the time he has with his children. I do agree that young children don't need to know how much money their absent parent contributes to their upkeep. The irony is that often it's the absent parent's lack of support that means that children learn about money far earlier than they should because they see the parent who takes care of them with head in hands wondering how they're going to make ends meet. Children can only be protected from knowing about the importance of money when you have enough of it.

gillybean2 Thu 25-Sep-08 08:30:03

I know it's a bit late, but even if the children saw you upset all you have to say is that you're worried about money as everything has gone up and you haven't got so much money any more because of all the bills and things. You don't have to mention their dad and his payments in there at all. Of course the children will be worried, all they see is that daddy upset mummy and daddy is bad for doing that so they don't want to see daddy till he makes things better and stops being bad. That is the level of children's thinking.

Maintenance and contact should be unrelated. So him reducing the payments should not influence any decision as to how much contact he has. It doesn't matter how angry and upset you are, i'm afraid you have to accept he is their father, whether he matches up to your ideals of what a father should be or not, that is not going to change.

If you are worried about the children's safety while with him then you need to address that separately.

CSA should have written to you about this. COntact them at once. It is likely he has put in a change but it hasn't been processed yet. He's probably chnaged the payment based on what he calculates it will be. And yes the minimum amount of £5.

Is there no scope for you doing some extra hours at work or getting a xmas job in the short term? I assume you are working if you are getting to keep all the money he was paying before. Speak to your lone parent advisor and the council. With teh reduction in your maintenance payment you might be entitled to more housing benefit or council tax benefit for example.

I suggest you also write him a letter that is non confrontation which simply states that you have not had any confirmation of any changes from the CSA and that until you do you would expect the money to remain the same. Also that is future you would appreciate some warning of a significant change of this nature as you have to consider the impact on teh girls and it is not in their best interests to suddenly reduce the money available to spend on them with no warning.

Phone the CSA immediately if you haven't already and find out what is going on.

I know it's worrying and the stress much be enormous for you. But please try and keep it away from your girls and talk to us here or other grown ups to help you deal with it.

Stay strong

lostdad Thu 25-Sep-08 09:06:01

Maintenance and contact are unrelated. Surely if a parent is not permitted to see their child if they don't pay, it follows that they don't have to pay if they don't see them?

I'm playing devil's advocate, by the way.

Anyone who charges an admission keeper to let a father or mother see their child is a keeper, not a parent.

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