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CSA payments stopping us helping elder DSS

(16 Posts)
WkdSM Fri 10-Jun-11 09:50:50

I've posted here before about our situation with CSA payments - we pay just under £800 a month for youngest SS (17) - court order (pre CSA) was to end payments at 17 but CSA will not take that original agreement into account and so we have been hit with extra payments we were not expecting. We are considering moving house to give us a bit of leeway on a monthly basis. SS in not turning up for lessons, got failed 3 modules in January for AS's and does not want to stay at school but Mum says he has to (or she looses maintenance)

Eldest DSS (20) was forced out of Mum's house when maintenance for him stopped - he has been working at a crappy job and has a flat share - been really responsible paying bills and budgeting but has now realised he needs to do something with his life - and has applied for and been offered a uni place. We are thrilled for him and would love to do something to help him financially - but it is very difficult with money going out for SS2.

How much would you be prepared to sacrifice for your SC - what is reasonable? Would you give up your car / nights out / holiday?

Petal02 Fri 10-Jun-11 14:49:16

£800 per month for one child?????????????? (Sharp intake of breath). OK, you’re not posting to ask if that’s (a) reasonable; or (b) negotiable – so I won’t go there. But as regards eldest stepson, I’m surprised you can even consider helping him out financially, given the huge chunk you’re paying out for the other child.

To answer you question about how much should you sacrifice for your stepchildren – I confess I wouldn’t be prepared to give up my car, or stop going on holiday. You can only give up so much, and unfortunately as you’re paying so heavily for one chid, it leaves practically nothing for the other.

I doubt the ex would be prepared to help finance her son through uni?

miniwedge Fri 10-Jun-11 14:53:33

£800 a month?
CSA payments have a cap - check what the upper limit is.

Also, the CSA cannot say they are disregarding the court order that states support finishes at 17 but uphold the amount that the court order stipulates.
Work out what you should be paying according to CSA guidelines. You are able at any time to request a review of your payments including whether or not you are paying the correct amount.

Petal02 Fri 10-Jun-11 15:38:42

The previous poster raises an interesting point – hypothetically, if you were to reduce your payments, you’d find there wasn’t much the CSA could do, because they spend their time chasing people who don’t pay anything at all, and tend not to bother with those who pay regularly, even if it’s not the full amount.

I know this, because I’ve got friends who are on the other side of the coin; their ex husbands have reduced their payments, and the CSA can do very little unless the money stops completely.

Might be worth simply reducing the payments, and see what happens?

Also, have you tried using the CSA online calculator, it gives you a pretty accurate idea of what the CSA deem to be appropriate payments. If, for example, this only comes out at £250 per month, then that’s what the CSA would apply.

WkdSM Fri 10-Jun-11 15:54:27

Hi Ladies
Thanks for the responses. The CSA amount is correct (DH has a very good job) - and they can ignore the previous order because it effectively ended on SS2's 17th birthday. We've been all through it and although morally ex is in the wrong (she signed up to payments ending at 17 as part of a court settled financial agreement) - now she has a chance of more money she has taken it. Very unfair but there you go. Very much par for the course.

I'm not sure that morally we could reduce the payments - we have just had a row with SS2 because we would not give him £4k for car insurance (he has not even passed his test) - he is not speaking to us as 'we have never done anything for him' - this despite the fact he lived with us for 3 years because his relationship with his mum was so bad. If we started cutting back ex would take it out on him. I don't think she'll give DSS1 any money sa DD2 asked for some towards car and was told it was all spent on a monthly basis on his 'keep'.

I just feel guilty about letting DSS1 go to uni with no support - but I'm not sure that I am willing to sacrifice much more (I love the house we are in and don't really want to move but £800 a month is a lot out of anyones pocket).

I put myself through college by working every holiday and living very frugally. DH is really keen on doing something (first member of family to go to Uni - DH did his degree and masters while working) but I really feel it will be unreasoable. Maybe we could do something when CSA payments stop.

It's so sad that we do not really have a choice as to where the money is allocated. I thought it would get easier as they got older - but no.......

GinAndWater Fri 10-Jun-11 20:52:30

WkdSM- You have all my admiration.

I do wonder if the ex has a back up plan when the maintenance ceases. Because that is an awful lot of money.

IMO CSA fails all parties involved...

HRHMJOFMAGICJAMALAND Sun 12-Jun-11 11:12:07

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StewieGriffinsMom Sun 12-Jun-11 11:16:32

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HRHMJOFMAGICJAMALAND Sun 12-Jun-11 11:20:25

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StewieGriffinsMom Sun 12-Jun-11 11:25:48

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HRHMJOFMAGICJAMALAND Sun 12-Jun-11 11:57:24

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HRHMJOFMAGICJAMALAND Sun 12-Jun-11 12:00:16

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WkdSM Mon 13-Jun-11 11:24:24

HRM - CSA got involved because the court order officially ended at 17th birthday - she'd tried to break it before and the CSA had told her to naff off (or words to that effect). Because the rules have changed since the original court order, she can now ask for maintenance for SS2 until he finishes A levels (another year). Even though she agreed to maintenance to 17 whether or not they were in full time ed.
Wouldn't mind so much if SS2 was taking advantage of opportunity - instead he is missing classes, failing modules and according to facebook has missed an exam this time around. He is posting that he is getting an Ipad2 today.

The people we've dealt with at CSA have been very understanding and sympathetic but as far as they are concerned rules are rules and it does not matter what the morality of the situation is.

I can't wait for our last payment to ex - the only way we accept it and move on is to tell ourselves that 'Ok - she gets the money for another year or so, but after that, the bank is closed'. TBH I don't think DH would p* on her if she was on fire. Not just about money but everything else that has gone on.

Petal02 Mon 13-Jun-11 14:49:03

But if the OP and her DH simply reduced the payments, there's very little the CSA could do about it, because they only chase people who don't pay anything. So there's no reason why they couldn't (a) reduce the total maintenance bill each month; or (b) split it between the two sons.

When DH's daughter left sixth form, he stopped making payments in respect of her, because the court order stated the payments would cease when she left school following A levels. However the crafty ex then went to the CSA, as their rules were slightly different and stated that DH would have to pay up til the end of the school year in question. Whereas DH had stopped paying for her in May (as she left school in May).

However, DH didn't take any notice, and didn't reinstate payments for his daughter, because he was still paying for his son, and as he was still sending off money each month, he never heard anything from the CSA, even though the ex was going ballistic !!!

HRHMJOFMAGICJAMALAND Mon 13-Jun-11 22:20:29

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WkdSM Tue 14-Jun-11 10:01:21

Hi MJ
Yes - it was the court order pre 2003 - so could not be broken before but as soon as it was no longer in force (after 17th) she could apply - even though that was not the original intention as agreed by all parties (and their barristers).
It does stink - but also we are loathe to reduce payments as we have always paid (it is kind of a moral thing and also DH's job means he can't really afford for her to go to the papers - which she would). He's not a celebrity or anything but he does appear quite regularly in the financial pages.
What I hate is that morally we are in the right - but legally we are screwed. That seems to have been the position all the way through the process. We'll find a way through it I suppose. It makes it worse that SS2 is really not a very nice person - he has cut all communication off with us as we would not give him 4k for car insurance (he had not even got a provisional license but wanted to buy a car!).
I suppose the sackcloth and ashes will have to come out for another year!

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