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NRP applying to CSA to pay maintenance - sorry, long

(10 Posts)
stabiliser15 Thu 28-Jul-11 16:20:44

DH has a daughter (5) from a previous relationship. DH has always paid maintenance, without fail, on time, and a great deal more than the CSA would collect. Obviously this is no more than he should do, but it would be marginally easier for us (me, DH and our DD) if he didnt work at all. I earn considerably more than he does (although not enough to cover all outgoings) and his earnings barely cover his maintenance and our DD's nursery fees. However, we both agree that it wouldnt be right for him to take advantage of my income to avoid maintenance payments.

He has maintained the agreed amount for some considerable time, despite changes in circumstances which would affect the payments if the CSA was collecting (change of job with more travelling expenses and less money, birth of DD, reduction in income when he was on paternity leave, reduction in income when he went part time so I could return to work). These changes in circumstances have affected his finances and he is now paying a very significant part of his income to ex-P, which he cannot really afford anymore. However, he has been persevering and I have been gritting my teeth at the fact that he makes a significant maintenance payment, and contributes very little to our finances. When he has even mentioned a downwards negotiation in the future, it has resulted in real unpleasantness and DSD always picks up on this, and gets very upset.

He has now sustained an injury which will prevent him working for a good couple of months, although he has some mobility. He is not entitled to sick pay and so will receive a proportion only (as he works part time) of statutory sick pay. His net weekly income will be less than his current payments and so he contacted ex-P to explain the situation and to say that, unavoidably, the payments were going to be affected.

On discussing this with his ex-P, she said it wasnt her fault that this has happened (true, but also not DH's fault!) and that if DH hasnt got the money, I should cough up. She is not prepared to agree a reduction, particularly at the moment, because she has additional childcare costs due to summer holidays, plus she has recently bought a new car and has finance payments (curiously in the same amount as the maintenance paid to her). As he cannot work, DH has offered to have DSD during the week (we live 20 miles away and he cannot drive at the moment) so that ex-P doesnt have any childcare costs, but she has refused, because she says this doesnt suit her.

I appreciate that none of this is ex-P's fault, and that she is utterly entitled to maintenance, but she is refusing to be reasonable and accept less in the circumstances. She has long maintained that DH only pays the bare minimum and that really, she is being very reasonable by not going to the CSA herself, because they would make me contribute to it. I know she's incorrect (and I suspect she does really know this too), but she insists that what she receives now is the minimum she is entitled to.

DH now feels like his only recourse is applying as the NRP to the CSA - which will result in an assessment which means (a) affordable payments while he's not earning and (b) more affordable payments when he is earning again. He's said he would save for DSD some of the difference between what the CSA would collect and what he pays now, but it would make a significant difference to his (and our) finances if he did this.

However - we have heard horror stories about the CSA and wondered whether anyone had any experience or thoughts about this? TIA!

Petal02 Thu 28-Jul-11 16:43:27

Firstly - the ex has NO ENTITLEMENT WHATSOEVER to your earnings. And whilst we could argue all day over whether you should feel morally obliged to chip in (and I certainly wouldn't if I were in your position) even if you earned millions of pounds, the ex can't touch a penny of it. The only people responsible for paying for a child, are the parents.

Secondly - I don't think you've anything to worry about at present with the CSA, because if your DH isn't working, and is receiving sick pay from the state, he'll only have to pay the very minimum, which is £5 per week. Also, if you continue paying via the CSA when he goes back to work, he'll probably end up making a far fairer payment, because the CSA won't take your salary into account, therefore your higher salary won't subsidise the maintenance like before.

The ex's car finance payments are her problem, not yours .......

catsmother Thu 28-Jul-11 18:08:58

Am flabbergasted that she's refused his offer of summertime childcare. Not only would this save money, it'd also mean father and child would both benefit from spending time together. Okay ..... I know some exes pull out all the stops to prevent contact out of spite (have many years direct personal experience of this via DP's ex) but I also wonder if she's being truthful about childcare costs .... maybe she's already arranged this, e.g. with a friend or relative, for free, but is hoping to twist DP's arm nonetheless so she still gets her money. It just doesn't make sense otherwise to reject an offer of free childcare.


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ladydeedy Fri 29-Jul-11 09:24:54

hi there. i'm assuming the maintenance he pays is purely by private arrangement and no court order involved?
I would have absolutely nothing to fear if so, in going to the CSA and paying what is equitable. I have been in exactly the same situation as you, in that when my DH's income dropped due to change in circumstances the ex insisted she still receive the money. In our case, their arrangement was via court order so was more tricky - in fact would have cost us more to go back to court for a variance so we stuck with it and I paid (situation has changed now though).
So yes two things to remember - 1, your earnings have absolutely nothing to do with her and 2, if there is no court order in place then go to CSA and pay their rate. Do it quickly too...
Good luck and i hope your DH gets better soon.

stabiliser15 Fri 29-Jul-11 10:01:38

Thanks very much all for the replies. Ladydeedy, that's right, there is no court order, it has all been voluntary.

The reason for the rejection of childcare offer is because it would mean that DSD spends 4 nights with us in a row, which is apparently too much for her which is nonsense.

All things considered, it definitely makes sense for DH to apply to the CSA, so he's got the forms. Not looking forward to the inevitable fall-out when DH tells his ex-P that he's done this, but it will definitely be fairer in the future. DH will continue to put money away for DSD, but he will have total control over this so it can reflect the circumstances at the time.

Plus, once the dust settles, am sure they will both benefit from a third party dealing with it (i.e. ex-P can rant at take up issues with the CSA).

GinAndWater Fri 29-Jul-11 10:11:17

stabiliser I think it is the right thing to do for everyone concerned.

A little bit of advice though- make copies of everything and try not to send the CSA all originals. They are notorious for losing documents and not sending back what you sent.

Good luck with it all.

Smum99 Sun 07-Aug-11 22:05:13

Good Luck to you - it was an excellent compromise for your dh to offer babysitting, so disappointing she refused, she would rather have childcare look after her own child instead of a parent.

We went to the CSA highly positive experience - no more debate with the ex and she can't complain about the assessment. Good Luck

olibeansmummy Fri 12-Aug-11 11:20:36

In your case I would definately go to the csa. She us being unreasonable expecting payments not to change despite your dh's circumstances changing as if they were together she would be affected by the change. You should definately not pay her out of your wages. If you feel guilty treat your sd to some new clothes or something, but you be in charge of your money! X x

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