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Child maintenance and Ex H telling the DC I am robbing him blind.(22 Posts)
Ex H and I are 3 months divorced after a 2 year separation. I kept the family home as he didn't want me to touch his pension. Long, boring story short but he was an absolute bastard about money all the way through and is now completely furious he is having to pay me child maintenance. I work full time but earn at least £30k less than him. He is consistently telling my dc how unfair it is he is having to pay me and basically brain washing them. Every time I do a shop or buy something new, he says I am squandering his money. To the point where tonight as and I have had a big row as he says I shouldn't be taking the money from Ex H as he is really poor at the moment. After tax his monthly income is 4600 and currently as he is at his mums until his house is ready he has no outgoings other than 759 maintenance to me.
I don't know how to explain it to the dc-advice gratefully received.
How old are the DC?
I think it's time you told them how much life costs, a bedroom each in the house, water meter, food, uniform, hobbies, pocket money.
I would also tell them that he is paying the bare minimum the government says he HAS to pay, that it's the law!
How old is/are your DC?
I'd be telling them the truth (age appropriate) that their DF is not paying YOU but is contributing a small percentage of his salary to look after the DC, just as you probably spend a much larger percentage of your wages on them!
Maybe say well after Dad and I both use our money on essential things for you, I have X left and he has XXX left?
They are 17 and 13. I have tried to explain all of that but to be honest he has done a complete number in them emotionally. My ds in particular can't bear inequity and wants us both to be happy and comfortable financially. But because Ex H constantly tells them he is struggling ( whilst driving round in a brand new Range Rover) they genuinely believe him. If I try to explain they just say I'm bitter.
Nows the time to sit down with the kids and have an age appropriate discussion. I had the exact same conversation with my DC's.
If they're old enough put everything down I paper. How much he earns, how much he gives......the cost of living.
Just avoid slagging him off (not suggesting you do), don't sink to his level. They'll work it out for themselves over time. Didn't take long for my 2 to get it.
Darling, lots of clever people have looked at this. This is what the law says,
(Daddy thinks there should be a special rule for him, that's why we're divorced)
I think if it's come to a head with your DS, it may well be time to have a frank conversation with him about his DF begrudging contributing to his upbringing despite having what appears to be a very good wage.
If DS is a teen, it may be best not to sugar coat it. If he's younger, go a bit softer and talk him through the fairness of an abstract situation that you can relate back to maintenance somehow.
Tell them you can wave maintainance but then list all the things you will need to reduce to compensate. Sky tv, pocket money, wifi etc. Then see what they say.
I had all this shite. Sorry I don't know what to advise but it did get better over time.
I found if I said to the kids, OK, let's sit down and work out all the figures, they acted all panicked and didn't want to know. With mine, it wasn't really about the money, it was about XH and his feeling oh so sorry for himself shite.
At first I was very keen to make sure DC didn't go without etc, but if you show them that actually you DON'T have money for XYZ then eventually they may kop on
I found myself hiding clothes I had bought myself ( dropped three dress sizes so had to buy new clothes) in order to appease DC but really you have to take charge of the situation.
Dad has X money and is paying the legal minimum. Repeat, repeat , repeat. They will understand legal minimum.
They're big enough to be reasonably straight with.
Or at least straight in the way you fob them off. Don't try to do a number on them, or counter your ex.
Tell them the government expects parents to support their DC in all,sorts of practical and emotional ways. But all it can actually enforce us an income-based minimum level of financial support, which can change if the paying parent's. Ibpncime is reduced. Assure them that both parents love them. An that you will both always do your very best for them.
Leave it to sink in.
At 13 and 17, I'd imagine they're more than capable of doing a bit of number crunching with your help.
sorry, didn't refresh before posting
Tell them how much a live in housekeeper would cost Daddy dearest if you weren't looking after them.
Tell them he is talking bullshit because he is miserly - tell them what he earns... show them he has far far .more than the 3 of you!
I'd throw the question back at the kids and find out what your child defines as equal? You and ex having exactly the same net income? You having 3 x more than him as there are three of you? Why do they feel he says he cannot afford the government bare minimum etc? Do they understand why both parents are obliged, by law, to pay for their children? Why is it ok for you to spend x on living yet he only pays x?
Have the kids ever looked at budgets, the cost of food, bills, mortgage etc.
Has he told them he 'gave you the house' omitting the pension detail?
Darling, lots of clever people have looked at this. This is what the law says, (Daddy thinks there should be a special rule for him, that's why we're divorced)
I'd go with this. Including the crossed out bit.
Thank you for all your kind responses. Sometimes it makes me feel like I'm going mad and am completely in the wrong. Ex H said to me last week- it's your fault ds is upset - you shouldn't have been so greedy.
It's quite worrying to see how he emotionally manipulates them into feeling sorry for him. But then I realise he did it to me for years.
Anyway, I'm going to go with the response above, it's a good one and did make me giggle. Thank you.
I would suggest donating two weeks of the maintenance to charity, and look as a family at where they are going to reduce their costs. Will it be food, heating [not such a lovely thought this week], or clothes, or haircuts, or toiletries, etc etc. Get the bills out and calcualte exactly where they will make those cuts.
'But the maintenance isn't for me darlings, it helps to pay for keeping you!'
I would also be tempted to write a monthly financial statement list:
Monthly Take home pay £4,640
Will pay in rent when he moves out of grannies £500
Utility Bills £150
Maintenance to feed HIS children the 20 days they are at Mum's £759
Take home pay £1000 (because she had to look after the DC for 15 years so can now only get badly paid work)
Feeding 3 people 20 days a month
Feeding Mum 10 days per month
DC activities/hobbies/pocket money
DC clothing/uniform average costs.
Don't discuss this just hand them a sheet!
It is really important to tell the DC it is bullshit because it is deeply misogynist that you should have nothing whilst he has everything - his money he earns etc. So I would tell the DC that ExH is being nasty and lying when he starts with the emotional blackmail, tell them that is what it is. "Dad is saying that because he wants everything and providing us with nothing because he thinks we don't deserve it. He wants you to feel sorry for him and make you turn against me when I'm the one who has always but you first - this is called emotional blackmail and it is a completely unacceptable thing to do to you"
I would have a really honest conversation with both of them. I would discuss not only finances but the impact on your career having 2 dcs has. All the time you had off for maternity leave, for caring for them when they were ill, if you had a career break when they were small. Also the value of your retirement provision vs his because you chose to keep a home for them.
At 17 and 13 they are old enough to understand stuff like this and it is valuable for them to understand the impact of dcs in their future and on another woman should they find themselves separated later on in life.
I would keep it really factual and unemotional. Stress to them that you don't hold them responsible for your financial situation but that their father should also be making similar contributions to their upbringing.
Does the 17 year old want to go to university? If so point out that he will need help with this and will need a home to return to during holidays and possibly after graduation. Who is going to fund this? Should his younger brother miss out on things to support him through his studies? Should the older brother forfeit university to contribute financially at home to support the younger brother? Of course not. It is both parents responsibility to ensure both dcs have the best opportunity in life.
If they are old enough to have an opinion on your financial situation they are old enough to be told the stark reality too.
What RandomMess suggests. A piece of paper.
But I would add, no arguments, no self justification, no tears. Here you go kids make up your own most minds.
I agree with writing a list for them as random suggested as if they are emotional they won't take it in from a discussion. Make sure it is accurate and factual in case they show your ex. Then show them an on-line calculator for child maintenance to demonstrate he is paying the legal minimum for his income. Also explain about the house/pension decision. It is rubbish, but then as you say, it's why he's your ex...
I would do the piece of paper one. There is nothing like cold hard facts written down to get a point across. The figures will speak for themselves. Tell them how much poor daddy earns with no bills and then tell them how much you earn and then show them the bills. At 17 &14 they should be quite capable of working out who is better off.
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