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Money issues, are we being mean?

(39 Posts)
TryingToSleepHere Thu 13-Nov-14 20:25:49

Sorry, this is long!

DH's exW called tonight and said that DSS needs new shoes for school ASAP as the current ones have broken. She asked if DH could take DSS to get new ones while he's with us this weekend.

DH has previously had issues with this kind of thing, in order not to drip feed, the current situation is as follows: DH and exW split approx 7 years ago, it's always been amicable between them. DH agreed to pay a generous amount of monthly maintenance, way over 3x CSA recommendations, it's enough to pay the whole rent on exW's house. Also pays for all extra-curricular activities. He puts away extra money each month for DSS' savings. Ex has also frequently asked him for contributions to extras such as school trips, presents, shoes and uniform.

DH and I have since had a DD together and have had to tighten our belt and save money in any way we can. We're not in debt or anything but we're only getting by through doing things like buying clothes (for DD and I) and toys second hand, and shoes from the local factory shop (all ok, just last season's styles!) in order to stay afloat and not push our finances too far. So nothing too dramatic but a definite change from how it used to be. We planned for this though and accept this is the case because of our own decision to have a child.

The only thing that DH has said to exW is that he's no longer able to help with extras like presents, uniform and shoes, i.e. things that are not "unexpected, one-off" events. School trips etc he will still pay for and the amount of maintenance will stay the same.

ExW said this was fine and she understood and accepted that the maintenance should cover everything as it is such a high amount when you take all her outgoings into account. However, she has since had a baby with her new DH and all hell has broken loose over this pair of shoes! Basically she is now saying she can't afford new shoes for DSS and has asked DH to go shopping this weekend and get them for him. She's even saying that she doesn't want DH to take DSS to the factory shoe shop as she doesn't want him wearing "cheap shoes". They are cheaper (normally cost £20ish) but no problems with the quality etc and you'd never know the style was not this season's style...they're standard black school shoes! She wants DH to go to a shop where the minimum price is around £60 per pair.

I've not said anything as I know that DH gets really upset when it looks like I'm criticising his exW, not out of loyalty to her or anything but because he feels a bit stuck in the middle and although he agrees with me, he hates the resulting confrontation with exW. To be fair to him though, he is very good at tackling things and has said he'll make it clear that if he takes DSS shoe shopping, that he'll say he'll either get factory shop shoes and pay for them as a one-off out of goodwill, or if he is forced to get shoes elsewhere then he'll need the money from his exW as we can't afford £60 on just one pair of shoes sad

I feel really bad for DH being put into this position. Does anyone have any experience of this and what are your honest thoughts? Are we being mean?

RandomMess Thu 13-Nov-14 20:31:35

Not being at all. Perhaps he needs to explain that if she can't accept this then the way forward may mean that he goes to the CMS to assess maintenance payable sad

latorgator Thu 13-Nov-14 20:41:10

Not being mean, if you are helping out then she will have to except the way in which you do it and can't demand how you do it. If that's not good enough she can do if herself.

needaholidaynow Thu 13-Nov-14 20:44:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JeanSeberg Thu 13-Nov-14 20:47:31

Get the £20 ones.

Or have I missed something?

FrauHelgaMissMarpleandaChuckle Thu 13-Nov-14 20:47:57

If she is demanding you buy the shoes, then you get to pick them (well, your DH)

Tough tit if she doesn't want £20 shoes instead of £60 shoes. And they're black shoes for school. FFS.

TryingToSleepHere Thu 13-Nov-14 20:57:38

Thank you. It's hard to look at it objectively and we've always tried to be as generous as we can over the years, it just feels like when we try to limit it a little then we're being made to feel that we're really mean sad

The thing that annoys me is that the £20 shoes are the same quality as the £60 ones, they were on sale at that price last year, they are only cheaper as they're discontinued etc. Bottom line is that if we're happy for DD to wear them then we shouldn't feel bad for expecting DSS to have them too. I know times are harder for exW since having another child but recently it's been feeling like we're subsidising the new baby too and DSS is going to miss out...

cheerupandhaveaglassofwine Thu 13-Nov-14 21:04:19

What about DSS coming to live with you 2 and exW paying massive amounts in maintenance your way as well as funding the extras

She is obviously crap at managing money and making sure he has what is needed whereas it sounds like you 2 can budget fairly well

Corygal Thu 13-Nov-14 21:04:47

Get the less expensive shoes and stop worrying about it. The ex is having a laff.

KissMyFatArse Thu 13-Nov-14 21:07:52

Buy the expensive shoes at her request and tell her the money will be deducted from her next child maintenance payment. I'm sure the cheap ones will suddenly be acceptable.

TryingToSleepHere Thu 13-Nov-14 21:09:59

In all honesty I don't think she could afford to live without DSS being with her...the proportion of her income that comes from us is mind-blowing. On a selfish note, it just annoys me that DSS is expected to be bought £60 shoes yet is going without other basic clothes that apparently she can't afford, our DD is always wearing hand-me-downs, whilst exW is parading round her new baby clothed in brand-new designer clothes. It's just such a waste of money that's just not necessary and is totally unfair on 2 out of the 3 children in this situation sad

Teeb Thu 13-Nov-14 21:14:39

Get him the £60 shoes but deduct at least the £40 difference (if not the whole cost of the shoes) from next months maintenance. That way his boy has school shoes now when he needs them, his mother is happy he has the ones she approves of, and you have stuck to the financial arrangements that were agreed upon.

HattyMonkey Thu 13-Nov-14 21:14:49

I would say that your dh should say he has no problem in continuing paying for extras, trips and extra uniform or extra curricula activities but in order to do so he would need a revised maintenance agreement from the CSA or whoever is doing it now. Adding that obviously they both now have another child and as she is aware this puts added pressure on finances.

cheerupandhaveaglassofwine Thu 13-Nov-14 21:14:52

Sounds like exW couldn't really afford another baby then

Shame DSS is the one caught up in the middle as I would be tempted to say maintenance goes down to minimum necessary then as we aren't subsidising your new child in designer baby wear

I know you don't want to do that and it wouldn't be fair to DSS but I would be tempted to suggest it and see what she does

HattyMonkey Thu 13-Nov-14 21:17:00

Sorry meant to add, your dh could continue to make sure his dcs do not miss out on anything and enable your dd to benefit also.

Teeb Thu 13-Nov-14 21:17:08

The child maintenance is for his son, not his ex wife or her new families lifestyle. Agree with other posters, give csa guidelines for maintenance but then you'd have more to give your step son directly to meet his needs.

HattyMonkey Thu 13-Nov-14 21:20:29

How old is dss? Is he ok enough to have an account with card to buy anything extra he needs.

TryingToSleepHere Thu 13-Nov-14 21:23:43

We have spoken about maybe changing the maintenance rate to something lower but replacing the amount it'd go down by with whatever he needs in terms of clothes etc. We're always buying him new clothes which we never see again and any toys or clothes that other people give him either as presents or hand-me-downs etc just get given back to either whoever gave them or to us by his mum, as she doesn't want them in her house. The mad thing is that she then used to buy the exact same thing herself to replace it! Nowadays the replacing doesn't happen though, the item just gets given back and DSS goes without as she won't accept the gift or buy the equivalent herself. It's so weird.

HattyMonkey Thu 13-Nov-14 21:24:21


TryingToSleepHere Thu 13-Nov-14 21:25:12

No, Hatty he's 9 so not able to manage his own money at all.

HattyMonkey Thu 13-Nov-14 21:29:47

I am speaking here as someone who hasn't received any maintenance from exdh for 9 years due to clever self employment. I also don't have any step children but your dh's ex is royally taking the piss. Your dh should stop feeling guilty about the break up and if he provides all dss clothes, trips and clubs, then pays the CSA agreed amount you will still be quids in and he will be doing more than most non resident parents.

iwantgin Thu 13-Nov-14 21:47:42

EXW is taking the mick.

She (and her new partner, actually) should be funding 50% of DSS's living expenses. It sounds more like you and your DP are paying 100% of his living costs and more!

I can understand how your DP wants to pay for his son, and not have to be hard done by- but you also need the family money to pay for DD and your home.

I don't know what to suggest. But i certainly wouldn't be buying the £60 shoes - when £20 shoes are good enough for the rest of you. Buy them and if she says anything about it then tough.

excitedforbaba Thu 13-Nov-14 23:01:36

It doesn't seem a fair situation that you both have 50/50 yet your DH is paying 3x CSA amount & extras plus all expenses for half the month he lives with you both. So in effect he is paying 3x the monthly guideline to his ex for just 2 weeks!?

The best thing to do in that situation would be (to me) to pay ex the recommended monthly amount, leaving your family more money to treat dss to things he would need at your house and also to allow your dd the same standard of living ie new clothes toys etc instead of your dd getting much less than dss and his other sister!

MeridianB Fri 14-Nov-14 10:05:56

What about DSS coming to live with you 2 and exW paying massive amounts in maintenance your way as well as funding the extras

Or even 50:50 with no maintenance either way?

As many have said, the money is for DSS, not mum. It sounds like she has lost sight of this.

We have a similar problem so I feel your pain.

You and your DH sound very reasonable so stand your ground...and think about reviewing the whole arrangement.

SpuffySummers Fri 14-Nov-14 11:13:07

Ffs no you are not being mean! My ex pays far less than CSA dictates pays for no extras and lives at home with his parents on a good salary and pays no bills.

Firstly if you were paying via CMS your payments would have gone down with arrival of your DD.

Secondly the ex is behaving outrageously and I would be going fucking nuclear if my DHs ex behaved like that I have a short fuse when it comes to her but thats a whole other thread

Lastly I would buy the cheaper shoes and then I would deduct it from next months pay and I would seriously look at paying her less in future.

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