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Adjust Maintenance Payments with change in DH income?

(11 Posts)
MaccyH Sun 25-Sep-11 15:27:03

Just wanted some advice on what is reasonable for DH to make in maintenance payments to his ex partner for his 11yo DS.

He has an informal agreement to pay £280 per month which he has done regularly (based on just over 15% of his net salary as it was in previous years). However, last year he decided to set up his own business and since then his income has been marginal and we have had to cut back & I have contributed more to the mortgage and bills so we can keep going whilst he tries to get his business to work. During this time he has continued to make the same £280 a month payments despite struggling because he doesn't want his DS to be penalised in any way or create bad feeling with the ex. However, I think he should review the amount he pays in line with his earnings as this is what would happen if he went through the CSA.
Or I am being unreasonable?

Background info: his ex left him 5 years ago and moved in with new partner (2 hours drive away). We have been together 3 years and have DSS every other weekend Fri-Sun and some of the school holidays.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 25-Sep-11 15:31:31

How about the big grey area inbetween? - somewhere between a fiver and 280 as quite rightly he still has to provide for his son as much as he can.

wantadvice Sun 25-Sep-11 15:35:02

No idea of legalities but he chose the drop in income knowing he had a child to support still. Children still need stuff no matter what their parents choose to do work wise.

ladydeedy Sun 25-Sep-11 15:53:19

Difficult. If it's an informal agreement and he suggests this to his ex she may want to go down the CSA route anyway to get a proper agreement as such.
However, in the same way that if he had chosen a pay cut if he decided to become a teacher or nurse for example, then I dont think he should be held to the initial amount agreed. Things change.
You're lucky it's informal I think. In the case of my DH they had a court order and it specified the exact amount and it went up with inflation. He is self employed and earned almost nothing for a two year period due to the nature of the industry he's in and even now only earns about half the amount he was earning when the court order was specified. I paid the maintenance during that time.
good luck! I know it's hard.

bemybebe Sun 25-Sep-11 16:06:03

ladydeedy agree with you! I was in a similar position (four dsc) when dh had an accident and his income dropped 80%. With the court order in place he had to pay for several years before we took the legal route and forced the variation as it was really not reasonable to expect me to pay his children maintenance (his income was not nearly enough and he could not adjust it without the court order).

MaccyH one thing you have to keep in mind. Discussing lowering maintenance will very likely piss dh-x right off regardless the circumstances (well in our case him nearly dying and having to spend 1.5 years in a neurological rehab did not soften the heart of the ex and we are not talking "breadline" here, but private school fees on top of several thousands per month). He may be accused of being a bad father, taking money off the children to support the new family, etc etc. This will affect his relationship with the children. If there are any ways for you to keep the maintenance as it is now, I would strongly advise to do it even if it is higher than the CSA recommended amount. From the experience, the animosity is really painful. In our case we could really not avoid it though.

babynamesgrrrrrrrrrrrrr Sun 25-Sep-11 18:51:31

If your partner and his ex were still together she would have had some say in him choosing to take a hit in the wallet and could have adjusted accordingly. It seems unfair to just have this change decided for her with no input

elastamum Sun 25-Sep-11 20:30:23

Its up to him, but his exes child support expenses dont magically go away because he chooses not to pay as much.

My ex remaried someone with 3 children. the first thing they did was reduce child support payments to me for his children on the grounds he had 3 children (hers) living with him thus he was entitled to pay less. Even though they had a joint income over twice mine and she got child support from her ex for her children as well.

I just had to cut back to make up the difference. Hardly fair. Happens all the time hmm

lateatwork Sun 25-Sep-11 21:47:18

I dont think you are being unreasonable. Things change. Circumstances change- whether you are together or not. If the amount needs to drop, then so be it as this is a change that affects the disposable income everyone relying on the money- and its not just you and DP that should suffer a drop in living standards.

incognitofornow Mon 26-Sep-11 22:18:53

Message withdrawn

MaccyH Mon 26-Sep-11 22:22:51

Thanks for your responses ladies smile

babynamesgrrrrrrrrrrr - I understand what you are saying that dh's ex has had no say in this situation but then there are plenty of things that dh has no say in either - for example, her moving his son 2 hours drive away (a 4 hour round trip). I think neither parent's decisions can be solely influenced by the ex partner once they have split up and my dh is trying to make a success of his business in order to be able to support his son better in the future, he just needs a bit of a break in the short term to get it going. Yes, i know "children still need stuff no matter what their parents choose to do work wise" & we will provide as much as we can for DSS but we know some of the money is just put in a savings account as DH's ex now lives with the guy she left him for who pays the mortgage and bills & she is responsible for food & clothes.

However, I do appreciate the advice on here & the stories from ladydeedy and bemybebe do make me realise that we are lucky to only have an informal amicable agreement and it is worth doing everything we can to preserve that. I think we will continue to make the existing maintenance payments as long as we can unless things become really dire in terms of our finances when we will need to have a conversation.

fourkids Wed 05-Oct-11 12:48:56

MaccyH, That's really nice of you, but I (I realise others don't agree) don't see why YOU should pay your DH's maintenace payments. Why should you work harder, see your DCs less, have less quality time with DH, so that DH's exW doesn't have to do those things?

I don't think either that you/he should stop paying (just to be clear), but if it were me I would fully expect to reduce the monthly amount paid.

Also, just to be clear, if my exH started to earn less, I would fully expect him to reduce his maintenance payments for our DCs. In fact that did happen. Of course I would expect him to...why wouldn't I?..absolutely no question. Yes, it would make life more difficult for me, and yes I'd have to work harder, and yes our DCs might have to go without some things. But that is life. If we were together and his income dropped, all those things would still be true.

I wouldn't see why exH's DW and her DCs' standard of living should be even further reduced so that I didn't have to alter mine.

That said, I would expect to be given notice of the drop in maintenance to enable to me to be prepared for it, and to make adjustments. And if your DH's exW might react badly, this would also give her time to adjust emotionally to the idea.

In addition, if your financial stability is likely to be poor for some time, she might be better off taking a drop in maintenance but be able to expect it to continue at that rate, than to suddenly find you and DH are in really dire straights and she's all of a sudden getting a fiver a month.

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