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What more am it ment to pay ?

(32 Posts)
Sean1970 Tue 21-Jan-14 21:54:22

I've had to go through a long court battle to see my son due to my ex-wife being very difficult. Days were ordered in court and although tough it was workable. I've always paid CSA directly onto her account for my son. She has now started to be difficult again. Stopping me taking my son on his first over seas holiday by with holding his passport and stopping school trips ect. She is now demanding I pay for school uniform and school trips. It's a long sad story which I won't boor you with. But I feel her actions are now starting to effect my sons development. She even takes his pocket money off him which I give him every week. Anyway My question is can I deduct school trips from my CSA payments ?? Many thanks in advance. From a very disappointed dad. Trying to do the best for his son.

AddictedtoGreys Tue 21-Jan-14 22:07:33

can you contact the CSA or a solicitor for more definite information? from what I understand the CSA payment from the NRP is supposed to cover everything from day-to-day care, to clothes, trips,etc. but I have no experience with this as my DH has a private agreement with his exP over maintenance with his DD.

can you keep your sins pocket money that you give him in a money box at your house so it doesn't get taken off him?

Sean1970 Tue 21-Jan-14 22:31:34

Thanks for that. Would I be right on stopping the CSA payment this month to pay for this school trip ?? Then restart the payments as normal next month ??

mumandboys123 Tue 21-Jan-14 22:34:34

The short answer is you can do what you want if you are not going through the CSA for maintenance but expect her to go to the CSA for maintenance if you start messing about!

It is widely recognised that 15% of income for one child can amount to very little in real terms when it comes to caring for a child- particularly if the child is active with various activities and childcare is needed in addition. Many NRPs make additional contributions towards essential costs such as school uniform or make additional in-kind contributions such as having hair cut etc. Much depends on what you can genuinely afford and whether or not your ex is being reasonable - you know her circumstances and whether or not it is reasonable she might be struggling. If you are worried about the money getting to where it should it can be directed to the school via a cheque, for example, which she wouldn't be able to cash for herself. Pocket money you keep and spend when your son is with you.

MsColour Tue 21-Jan-14 22:35:03

She can't demand extra. I think big residential school trips it would be reasonable to ask extra for but school uniform would be covered from CSA payments.

You could offer her an alternative to CSA e.g. splitting the costs of your dcs care 50:50 instead of making maintenance payments.

TheGirlFromIpanema Tue 21-Jan-14 22:35:42

How much is the trip and how old is the dc?

I do think its relevant.

mumtobealloveragain Tue 21-Jan-14 23:22:25

Is the maintenance arranged via the CSA? If so then no, you can't deduct the school trip payments from the amount you pay. You either don't contribute or you pay on top of the normal payments.

If you don't go via CSA and you are just paying her maintenance direct through a private arrangement then it's entirely up to you how you do it.

It's not unreasonable for her to ask you to contribute to one off expenses such as school trips. It really depends if you feel you are/are paying a fair amount already.

Kaluki Wed 22-Jan-14 12:34:53

Without knowing more its hard to say if you should be paying for school trips and uniform. My ex only pays me the rate that the CSA set 10 years ago but he also pays for half of all their school trips and buys them some clothes etc. My DP pays his ex way over the set CSA amount but she also demands half of trips, school uniform and we also have to provide clothes for when the DSC stay here. Although this is very unfair he pays up because its for his kids and tbh its just easier than starting another row with her (she loves a fight!!)
We learnt a long time ago not to let them take pocket money home after we discovered she was taking it off them and then sharing it out between her BFs kids and DSCs half sister as it wasn't fair for them all not to get the same !!!

Sean1970 Wed 22-Jan-14 13:50:33

I've contacted the CSA. Who it's fair to say were totally degrading and offensive. Even saying "well you were the one who had children" thanks to everyone who helped. I can't stop or deduct money from the CSA payments. I was told its up to the ex what she spends it on. I have no option but to stump up the extra or my son looses out and I can't allow that to happen. I simply can't believe that the money I pay for my sons upkeep can be spent on everything except his upkeep and there is nothing I can do about it. So much for the great CSA. And as for parental rights. Well they simply no longer exist.

Petal02 Wed 22-Jan-14 14:02:51

Sean I can understand your frustration. My husband used to make generous maintenance payments to his ex, yet it was clear very little of it was spent on DSS. He was woefully short of school shirts, his trousers was far too short (he'd grown out of them) and we often used to have to "re-kit" him during his visits to us. Also, one of her favourite tricks was to send him for access weekends without a change of clothes, knowing darn fine we'd have to do some shopping.

But she had two expensive pedigree dogs .......

mumtobealloveragain Wed 22-Jan-14 15:15:58

Sean do you pay the CSA minimum amount?

If so, perhaps your ex is struggling for money (and let's face it, the CSA minimum isn't a lot if the NRP is on a low salary) and honestly can't afford the trip unless you contribute half?

Or she may just be a money grabbing bitch!

paperlantern Wed 22-Jan-14 15:40:08

you are obligated to pay csa. you are not obligated to pay more. You do not and should not have any power to determine where the money goes.

This is because your ex may have decided she couldn't afford the trip. say for example she uses csa money to buy food by stopping csa to pay for the trip your dd would have school trip and no food.

csa is considered a basic and I can promise you covers a fraction of the costs of looking after a child.

Some of us do manage with nothing more from ex. but then My ex can be considered a shit.

FrogStarandRoses Wed 22-Jan-14 15:42:25

But if neither parent can afford the trip, then the DC doesn't go, surely?
The whole point of CHild maintenance is to ensure that DCs are not financially penalised by the separation if their parents. It has created an expectation, from some, that the DCs lifestyle will never change, irrespective of any changes to the combined income of the DCs parents.

If the DCs parents were still together, and couldn't afford the trip, he wouldn't go, and the parents would not be socially vilified for refusing to go into debt, sell their car or skip mortgage payments. If parents are separated, then the NRP is expected to make up the shortfall - even if that means going into debt or sacrificing their basic needs.

We all know of cases where the DCs are wearing too small/scruffy/unsuitable clothing, yet one or other of the parents is prioritising leisure activities, but these are in the minority. But, in most cases, both the RP and the NRP are living frugally to ensure their DCs get the best they can afford.

My DD lives 50:50 split between me and her Dad. He pays me maintenance via the CSA (adjusted to take into account the no of nights DD spends with him). I am financially responsible for DD - I pay for everything she needs; uniform, trips, clubs etc. I decide if I can afford a trip for her, and if not, I decline it. I do not ask DDs dad to contribute any more. That is part of the deal of being the financially responsible parent - budgeting and saying no when necessary.

paperlantern Wed 22-Jan-14 15:43:01

I don't send dc with a change of clothes when they go stay with ex. he has Eow joint residency they should provide clothes

Petal02 Wed 22-Jan-14 15:44:47

Frog that's an excellent post. If there's only a finite amount of money between the two (separated) parents, then this means the trip cannot be afforded, just the same as if the parents were still together.

paperlantern Wed 22-Jan-14 16:00:41

was the holiday agreed in advance?

mumandboys123 Wed 22-Jan-14 17:16:54

I disagree that the NRP is the one expected to make up the shortfall - I make up the shortfall everyday. My ex pays nothing. I doubt he ever will. No amount of asking him to face his responsibilities has made him actually do that. So I pay for everything for our children. I am not the only PWC who does that. And whilst I agree that no one would expect me to get into debt to bring up my children, there is absolutely an expectation that I go without if they need something.

FrogStarandRoses Wed 22-Jan-14 17:44:10

mumandboys The fact that your ex isn't paying anything isn't the same though - what's clear from the replies on this thread is that NRP are expected to contribute towards what are considered additional costs such as school trips over and above the amount that has been calculated for CM.

Whether or not that calculation is fair or not is a totally different debate. For every RP who is in poverty despite receiving CM, there is one with a significantly higher household income than the NRP who is often struggling to support two families.

mumandboys123 Wed 22-Jan-14 17:57:26

sorry, frog, I get that. And whilst I accept that there are NRP out there supporting their children over and above, I still reject the notion that it is NRP who are 'expected' to make up the difference when both parents struggle to make ends meet. This is the case for some separated parents, but plenty of PWC who do receive maintenance are receiving it at a very, very low level and have to manage. And yet more PWC have to say 'no' to a child in the full knowledge that their ex is more than able to make up the difference but chooses not to - not because they are struggling to make ends meet but because they cannot see the damage they inflict on their children by trying to make the ex's life as difficult as possible (goes both ways that one, I know!).

Petal02 Wed 22-Jan-14 20:15:56

I think it's hard to define what constitutes a reasonable shortfall that the NRP should consider making up. Also, whilst you're not legally obliged to pay beyond correct maintenance payments, it's nice to give the child a few extras now and again if you can afford it.

However I agree with the poster who suggests that it's not the NRP's responsibility to make up every shortfall just because he's their Dad. After DH split from his first wife, the ex chose to remarry and have two more children - her prerogative - however this, and subsequent other events meant that DSS was now living in a low income household. The ex's choices meant there were a good few financial shortfalls within the household, and whilst DH and I never minded treating DSS to a few extras, there was no way we could, or should have felt obliged to, make up all the shortfalls that had an impact on DSS. Otherwise DH and I would have been working to subsidise the ex's life choices in her second marriage.

MollyPutTheKettleOn Thu 23-Jan-14 10:01:30

What a lot of people forget is that, yes, an NRP may be paying the CSA minimum amount to the PWC, many encur their own costs for the children when with them (because not all NRPs are like Mumandboys' ex who pays absolutely nothing and not all have no contact at all).

OP, if you can afford it and your son will benefit from it, try and pay it. Pay money directly to the source. Ie. pay the school the trip money, don't give it to the ex.

You can not be forced to pay more than CSA if you cannot afford it.

FrogStarandRoses Thu 23-Jan-14 10:12:21

molly that's a good point. A NRP who pays the calculated CSA amount to the RP every month, and also takes their DCs to visit family abroad (for instance) is supporting their DC just as much as a NRP who pays over the CSA calculated amount but then can't afford to go away with them.

MollyPutTheKettleOn Thu 23-Jan-14 10:22:44

Exactly. Then you can factor in clothes, toys, equipment like laptops, phones, tabs for older children. Pocket money (as the OP mentioned). Days out/ holidays.

Furnishing their bedroom, toiletries, extra food/heating/water when the children are there. Petrol - Some have to run bigger cars to fit the kids in. Some have to buy/rent larger homes with more bedrooms.

Some PWCs just see the money they receive every month as the NRPs contribution when in reality, for many NRPs, it is a lot more.

Petal02 Thu 23-Jan-14 10:37:09

Yes, totally agree. In addition to the maintenance, if the NRP has regular EOW access (or something similar), takes the child on holidays, dates out etc etc, then he's making a significant contribution in addition to the maintenance payments.

FrogStarandRoses Thu 23-Jan-14 10:42:31

The calculation does take into account the 'nights' that DCs spend in the NRP home - but the CSA do make it clear that the system "assumes" that PWC will be responsible for everything else. So laptops, phones, holidays etc are "extras".

I think part of the issue is that living expenses have increased so much recently - and whereas households without maintenance income have had to absorb those costs which leads to a reduction in standard of living, those households that receive maintenance payments are expecting the NRP to contribute more in order to maintain the same standard.

For instance, if a DCs mobile phone contract increases in price, a 'together' household would cut back on other things to pay for it, whereas a PWC will expect the DCs dad to contribute towards the increased cost.

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