Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Thoughts on child maintenance and changes

(45 Posts)
Elanastar Fri 24-Mar-17 11:13:11

NC for this.

I don’t really know why I am posting this but it’s been playing on my mind a little. Don’t worry I’m prepared to be told that it is none of my business! I would just like to see if this would be considered fair and also to try and put my thoughts in order!

My DH has 3 children (we have none together and mine are grown and independent). Two begin university this year (one has been working FT since she left college in 2015) the youngest is still in infant school.

He has been paying maintenance for the DC (Dear childrens) since the divorce (it is a family arrangement through solicitors but not court ordered). In light of the older DC going to uni he wants to contribute to them directly. He mentioned this to his EXW at Christmastime and was told that the money wasn’t just for the kids but to run the house too, which of course is true (as we also have to maintain a house too for shared care).

As the changes will take place this year I suggested he let her know the revised payments sooner than later in order for her to plan her own budget accordingly. This is staggered as he wants to stop paying for the 20 year old (putting the money directly into a bank account to pay towards accommodation costs with a monthly amount i). He will continue to pay maintenance for the other two until September and then pay the middle one directly too. For the youngest he will continue to pay above the recommended amount as well as paying for uniform, clothes, trips, party gifts, extra curricular stuff etc. as always.

Once the email was sent last night it has opened a torrent of abuse (some of it aimed directly at me which surprised me and has left me feeling rather uncomfortable) Previously we have always had a distant but civil relationship. I get on really well with the DC but as a mother (and in my past a single mother whose children had a step parent) I am constantly aware of their mother’s feelings so while I adore and support them on day to day contact ( we have little one for tea everyday with at least two overnights a week, middle one stays over at weekends and oldest drops in as and when it suits); I don’t overstep the mark by trying to interfere in their parenting.
I wasn’t the OW by the way.

She is now seeking legal advice which of course is her right. She also replied with a barrage of random insults including how they never have chance to discuss their children. (They email, text, and have face to face contact for handovers on an almost daily basis) and that she will tell his boss he is using his work email for communication ( his only email address which they have been using for the past five years.

DH has always tried his best for the DC. He is a very involved parent and the DC are an absolute credit to both parents and to successful co-parenting for the past five years ( since they split ) and of course during their marriage.

Apologies for the length!

BonjournoBono Fri 24-Mar-17 11:42:26

I think she must have been expecting this at some point once they became adults, age 20 and at uni. So he hasn't done anything wrong from what you describe. I would appreciate the notice and sliding reduction is thoughtful.
All I can advise is let her calm down, stay out of it. Perhaps once she seeks legal advice she will see that her position is unreasonable and become a bit more rational. As long as DC are supported in some way that is the only thing he can do. Her own housing costs for children at uni cannot lay at your DH's feet in this respect as long as he's supporting the youngest.

Don't worry about the email thing. She's angry and lashing out I am sure she won't actually make herself look so petty.

Hopefully this will blow over.

Elanastar Fri 24-Mar-17 11:50:55

Thanks for replying Bonjourno. I suppose it is just anger and will settle down. We have all tried hard to maintain a stable life for the children and I suppose I don't want anything to upset the equilibrium.

ImpetuousBride Fri 24-Mar-17 11:56:08

It's your DH's choice to contribute to the 20 year old's university expenses, and separate from any maintenance owed to the ex. Same goes for his middle child once s/he turns 18. The ex wife does come across as greedy and overly dependant on your DH tbh. Does she have her own income or solely relying on maintenance?
Whatever her problem is, let DH sort it out and avoid communication with her.

BonjournoBono Fri 24-Mar-17 11:56:34

Money can bring out the worst in people. Maybe she is panicking and also anxious about her DC leaving home and how she will cope so she has reacted badly.
To stay neutral as you can it's worth trying to put yourself in both their shoes to see both sides, supporting his decision (and the law is on his side as far as I know), hopefully she will calm down when she has considered it. He shouldn't be pushed into carrying on giving her the money for his adult children if that is not what he wants to do, so stick to his boundaries but kindly wink

SewMeARiver Fri 24-Mar-17 12:08:08

You sound lovely and more than reasonable OP. Frankly surely the ex should have seen that this would eventually happen? She should have started to put contingencies in place years earlier (did your dh discuss this with her properly years ago? If not maybe that was a bit remiss). I think you should stick to your plans, which you seem to be doing in a kind but firm way. I know plenty dead-beat fathers who say "off to uni? Done my job then, no more funds to dcs or the ex"

Ellisandra Fri 24-Mar-17 12:50:06

I can see some of this from the other side.
Adult children over 18 and away at university are still dependent children.
If maintenance was working just fine to this point and the children were still dependent on me I would think two things:

- is it fair to reduce the maintenance? (fair - not legal!) Children can be MORE expensive at uni, not less! I can't answer that as I don't know full details. The fact he pays more than CMS amount now tells us nothing because it can be a pitiful amount!

- I actually would find it a bit insulting, having the money redirected from me to the child. It could come across as him being petty and wanting to take it away from my control first chance he could (my XBIL was like this!) and could make me think my integrity was being questioned. Like - why is she not trusted to receive the money and then deal with it? It could be the money for that child is £200 and he gives it to mum and she gives exactly that (or £300 as she's chipping in too...) to the child. So yes she's the middle man, but by not letting her be does it suggest a lack of trust? I'm thinking aloud about why it might annoy me. You don't stop being resident parent when your child is over 18 and at uni.

Ellisandra Fri 24-Mar-17 12:55:00

Also, given that it was arranged with a solicitor, what was actually agreed? Seems unlikely that for a fairly recent split it wouldn't have been agreed what happens at uni age.

If it was simply that he would pay x until end of full time education including one first level undergraduate degree, then he would be breaking the agreement.

If the reason that they split was that he was frequently dicking her about reneging on agreements, then I can see why she might have reacted so strongly!! I'm not trying to trash your boyfriend, just saying there's always a whole lot of back story!

Elanastar Fri 24-Mar-17 12:55:28

Once again thank you for taking the time to reply. I'll try and answer any questions and trying not to drip feed!!
Impetuous bride
Finances were discussed when the divorce was finalised almost 5 years ago. She stays in the family home until the youngest is 18 or she remarries/cohabit. Equity share was agreed . He took on all debt and pays maintenance until the end of FT but not Higher education. Also pays for additional costs. It wasn't court ordered but a family based arrangement drawn up with a solicitor. Exw is a higher earner than DH so doesn't rely solely on his maintenance.

Personally I feel she is overly dependent but I just assume that's a difference in our personalities. I would not be asking an exh to cut my lawn or message in the middle of the night asking for a potty or dummy for a 7 year old and calling him a self centred bustard when he didn't do it. ( He rarely says no if there are benefits for the DC but felt she was being a bit silly at this point)
(These are some examples from our early days in our relationship) I just put it down to her getting used to another person in her ex's life.

Bonjourno thank you again. I do always remain neutral or occasionally to DH offer the opinion from the mothers point of view ( as I was in her shoes once and my exh was a lot less responsible but that's irrelevant!!)

Money is certainly does bring out the worst in some people. In addition I recognise this is a.challenging time as a their mother.

I (and this is just my opinion) feel some of it is a control aspect too. While the girls are still children she has to have constant communication with DH . We don't communicate directly just the occasional message to DH saying "Elanar needs to do (Dc3) hair as she (exw) is taking her out after pick up" FwIw DH is perfectly capable but DC3 likes me doing it.

Thank you. I don't about lovely just trying to muddle through really and to be fair to everyone without interfering ( hence posting here as I won't discuss any of this with even my close friends)

As for deadbeat dad's yes it's all to easily to pass the buck but fortunately DH and I are great believers in that one's children don't stop being your children because they've reached 18 etc.

Apologies for rambling on

Elanastar Fri 24-Mar-17 12:56:36

And all the typoes!! Eek!

Ellisandra Fri 24-Mar-17 13:05:15

Cross posting there on the finance agreement, I see that uni not covered.

TBH, your update paints a different picture than your first posts... I was searching for ideas why a reasonable relationship had flared up. Much less of a surprise after your potty post shock

I now think she's a pita and should bugger off grin

Elanastar Fri 24-Mar-17 13:20:27

Thanks Ellisandra always good to have alternative opinions. Some of what you asked is probably answered above. Of course in any divorce/ marital breakdown there is a back story. Without being too explicit in details. The marriage broke down , he continued to pay all bills and maintenance until the divorce was finalised and then the arrangement was reached through mediation after a judge suggested that the arrangements weren't fair and equitable .

I know that I am probably bias but I can only see the side of DH who is very calm and non confrontational and reliable. His relationship with his DC is wonderful to see.

talksensetome Fri 24-Mar-17 13:21:58

Surely she must have been expecting this? CHILD Maintenance doesn't last forever and it is a sign of a good father that he is continuing to contribute to his adult children while they are at uni.

Elanastar Fri 24-Mar-17 13:25:49

grin That made me smile Ellisandra

I am sure it will all calm down again I just feel a bit uncomfortable about it today . I would hate his exw or the DC to think this has been decided or instigated by me which was in the response last night.

Elanastar Fri 24-Mar-17 13:49:55

I'm still.rambling and cross posting so I'm sorry if I hadn't repled to anyone.

DH has just received two messages. The first saying that all communication regarding finances will be done through her legal representation and the second saying would he like to re- think his contact with DC 3 and due to her profession he should know that she will always win.

I'm just frustrated on behalf of the DC and DH. There is no need for this
She has also stated that since he has been with me that he goes to work later in the mornings!! Although I am not sure of the relevance to that tbh.

reallyanotherone Fri 24-Mar-17 13:53:40

We have the same situation smile.

Dh remained calm, and told her if she thinks she's entitled to further support then she's welcome to seek legal advice, and he will have no issues with continued support.

In his opinion, they are adults. In response to someone saying it's insulting taking the money off the mother to give to the children, don't you think it's equally insulting to be giving the adult children's money, which they may need for adult things like rent, books and bills, to their mother to dole out like pocket money, controlling what it is spent on?

As it is the dc at uni spend their holidays with us anyway. Funnily enough despite threats to "set her lawyers" on him, we have heard nothing further smile

Nod, smile, and say you'll wait for communication from her solicitor smile

QuiteLikely5 Fri 24-Mar-17 14:03:20

Giving in to her emotional blackmail would be a big mistake.

What you are doing seems fair and legal and on that basis she won't have a leg to stand on in court!

With a parent as bitter as this the kids will be damaged.

ladylambkin Fri 24-Mar-17 14:03:49

She doesn't have a leg to stand on. Your dp is continuing to support all children even when legally he doesn't need to.

To be honest I would advise your dp to make an application to the child maintenance service to formalise the arrangement for the youngest child. The liability will be less but he can continue to pay what he proposes to pay anyway as it's just a guide

llhj Fri 24-Mar-17 14:04:17

To be honest I thought it was standard to redirect child maintenance to dc once they're at uni. My dh has certainly done this. I'm not sure how that can be perceived as controlling? Why would you give money to the parent? Unless of course the dc are still living at home and it's in lieu of board etc but even then I'd be thinking to foster independence etc then it should go to dc. It's going to stop sometime isn't it?

Ellisandra Fri 24-Mar-17 14:12:33

I didn't say it was insulting or controlling. I said I was trying to see it from her point of view.

BonjournoBono Fri 24-Mar-17 14:22:44

I really wouldn't reply to any of that. She is grasping at angry straws.

If she does change contact then she is breaking the agreement. He is also adhering to the agreement. Send her a photocopy of the agreement with the relevant parts highlighted

BonjournoBono Fri 24-Mar-17 14:23:38

And keep those threat messages wink

Elanastar Fri 24-Mar-17 14:27:11

Thanks for the replies again. I had typed one out but seem to have lost it (pesky phone)

Reallyanotherone I am sorry you have had this too. DH is lovely and calm ( as am I in RL just sounding off here)

I agree with others about fostering independence in uni age kids and letting them manage their own finances. I also though that was normal .

I hope the kids aren't damaged by any of this . As I mentioned earlier everyone has worked hard to maintain stability and security. There were a few niggles when I moved in ( not with the children but with exw) and then again when we married but I kind of understood that as I am the only one who the DC have been introduced.

Sorry seem to be making this about me!!

Elanastar Fri 24-Mar-17 14:50:48

Ellisandra. It is always good to see a difference in thoughts and you were trying to see how an amicable arrangement can change.

It is emotional blackmail. Financial support and contact are two separate issues anyway. It would also not be in anyone's interest to change contact.

DH does keep messages. I think emotions are just a little bit high today hopefully by the time mum comes to collect after tea tonight it will have calmed down.

Just as an aside. What level of communication is considered normal?

BonjournoBono Fri 24-Mar-17 16:04:51

I will be honest my DP and his ex annoy me a little bit with their contact, because it happens so frequently and in the middle of things we might be doing - so shopping together in a convo, one of them will call each other about 'does A need new shoes?' then spend 10 mins gabbling on, I used to stand there waiting for it to end but now I walk off. It's not even like he say 'I'm going to call X' or 'x is calling' he just randomly starts talking to her on the phone with no prior warning and I am left like a lemon. I have no idea why they can't just text each other when he is with me because it is never, ever urgent it's silly things that can wait. I just text my ex unless it's urgent. We chat at handover. Text about bits and bobs. That's it. My DP spends ages round there doing this that and the other which I don't really care about, I'm glad they get on

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: