Ending child maintenance?(19 Posts)
My dsd is 19 this year. She has asd, and is in a special school (so no gcse's etc, but learning basic life skills, money management, food..)
It is unlikely she'll ever be totally independent or hold down a job without additional support.
Our understanding is legally our obligation to officially pay cm ends when she is 19 as still in education. However we plan to put the money into some sort of trust, as there may well come a point where her parents are no longer around and she may need it.
The ex has said she has " looked into it" and it's not worth doing, and wants us to continue paying her directly. We are concerned as she's not a saver so will likely spend it rather than put it away.
Because dsd won't be financially independent does that affect cm payments? Can we choose to save the money for her future rather than pay ex?
Also dss is 16 this year. If dsd's payments end, we would like to pay dss directly. It's about £150/month, and his mum could charge him board from it. Can we do that?
dsd - does she get benefits in her own right? If not who is going to pay for her costs if you are no longer paying maint - does her mum now have to meet it all? Is this fair? No idea on the legal position, just thinking about the moral position.
dss - if he is still in education and you have an obligation to pay CM then you pay it to the resident parent, not to the child to pass on.
As far as we know DSD gets all benefits- full rate disability, mobility etc. Ex doesn't/won't discuss that with us. She also won't discuss medication and or what is likely to happen post-school. We do know she has a blue badge, and some sort of pass to allow carers in free to the cinema etc, as it's a bit of a bone of contention that somehow they're not needed at weekends when DH has her! The other argument currently is ex wants DSD to live with her DH should something happen to her, and is trying to get that legally put in place.
The fact is at some point DSD may need financial help at some point in the future. We aren't big earners so Cm doesn't make a huge difference to ex (2 full time wages), so it just seemed to make more sense to invest it on DSD's behalf. Because we're not big earners if DSD ever came to live with us we'd struggle for house adaptations to make the house suitable (we'd need to move or extend). We also don't want to leave DSS burdened with financially having to support his sister in the future.
I agree with Chasingsquirrels. With respect to your DSd, it would (morally) expend on what money she receives in benefits and whether this covers her costs. If you plan on leaving money in trust for her when both parents are not around, you would need to give thought to who would administer this when both parents are not around - I imagine it would fall to your DSS.
With regard to DSS and maintenance, I don't think it is right to give it to him at 16 and expect his mother to charge him board and lodging. It is rather unpleasant TBH.
Post in legal maybe?
I'd be inclined to put money in trust for your DSD especially if you think the mother will spend it on herself.
As for your DSS you will have to pay the mother if he's still in education otherwise you can pay him directly.
DSD should be getting adults benefits now she's 19. I would say that child support is stopping and that her mum needs to have a proper conversation with your DP about what benefits DSD is claiming, what these cover and what (if anything) your DP should now be funding. Adult benefits are intended to mean that adults like your DSD are not reliant financially on either parent - though it's possible that in practice they're not sufficiant. But I don't think it's fair of her mum to expect your DP to go on paying for ever and ever now that DSD is an adult. Maybe he could contribute in other ways - pay for DSD to go on a holiday, or buy some equipment that isn't covered by her benefits, etc.
DSS you do need to go on paying for - you can't legally change to paying money to him direct until he's finished education (ie including further education eg A levels). If he leaves school this year and gets a job, then I think you might be able to stop paying - check with the CSA.
Dh's ex won't discuss which benefits she gets. She also won't discuss what the plans or options post education are. When DSD was 8 at the time of the divorce it was around 1k a month, I think, plus money for care in school holidays. Currently she gets transport to and from school 8-6pm, and DH has her weekends Fri-Sun. Any additional care (inset, sick days, nights out etc) is covered by Dh or his parents.
DSS was just an idea. He wants to get a job as he currently doesn't get pocket money so it would give him more control of his own finances, and provide incentive to stay at school iyswim.
How disabled is your DSD?
I have ASD (Aspergers) but live independently.
firstly - sorry if my 1st reply came across a bit narky, your OP sounded as though you wanted to get out of paying - your subsequent responses don't. so I'm guessing it's just a lack of the full picture.
The benefits position makes it difficult - obviously dsd needs to be cared for, it sounds like the state is providing at least an element of this care, but you have no idea how much.
When does the special school end? Is it actually classed as education or is it more where she goes in the day? (my uncle has Down syndrome, he goes to a centre on the days he isn't volunteering and has those sort of classes, but he is 50+ so I'm guessing it's not education as related to child benefit and hence child maint!).
If the state is providing and you aren't legally obligated to pay the maint, then putting it away for dsd is a good idea.
If you stop the payments (if not legally obligated) then maybe ex would be more willing to discuss the benefits if they aren't covering dsd's living costs?
I see your point re dss, but I don't think you can do anything. The only thing to consider would be giving him some pocket money in addition to the maint, or encouraging him to get a part time job that he can do in addition to his education.
Less independent than my 9 year old at the moment.
However she is a happy kid so is fine left to her own devices, watching tv, playing a game or whatever. So while she needs the practical stuff done, doesn't need 1:1 care or anything.
Squirrels like I said we have no idea. As far as I know it's a school. We are shut out of all those discussions and decisions.
We can't afford to give dss money on top of maintenance. We could look at cutting it down to csa amounts and giving him the difference, but that would cause an almighty upset.
It makes me wonder if the ex won't discuss the benefits DSD will be getting, as she simply wants you to keep paying indefinitely. I'd be tempted to tell her that you won't be making any more payments (as DSD is now 19) until you're given an honest picture of the benefits DSD will get, you will then make an informed choice about any help you give DSD into the future.
You can't be expected to keep paying the ex forever.
Ah little chance of living independently...
Why are you shut out? Does your DH have PR?
Maybe NAS could give you some advice?
Maintenance can stop - my understanding (I have friend with 19YO on full Disability and Niece 22YO at STARS who would never live independently) is that if your DSD has trust fund set up then this can reduce the amount of state aided benefits as once savings reaches a level then they can't claim.
The ex would still get full carers (not a huge amount) but if DSD goes to residential college then the money goes with her anyway and so does carers - carers would still pay during holiday. Your DH should have PR so he can contact SS and Schools independently of his ex and he can request that he be involved in conversations regarding her future and have a choice in what post 16 education she attends.
He does have PR. Basically his ex excludes him as much as possible- just doesn't tell him about dr's appts, school meetings etc. Partly because her DH goes along instead, and also because DH will ask questions, and challenge decisions. Not to be awkward, to get a full picture of the plans and options to make an informed decision. She prefers to just tell him what she's doing, and expect him to fit round it.
sanity seeker thanks. Will check that re. benefits and trust. Yes we know we can contact schools etc. independently, and have done in the past. However we have also found that many authorities initially refuse to deal with him as ex hasn't told them he has PR, or given his name as a contact, so they basically don't know he exists- unless we get legal on them and start writing strongly worded letters. Then ex throws a wobbler too because he is "interfering", refuses to talk to him at all, and starts guilting DSS into refusing as much contact.
I will look more into trusts and I think the best option is to just start putting the money away and let her prove her costs aren't covered. I may write to the school too and ask for a copy of the post education plan. Ex will love that!
Thank you all
I have only read the first few responses, so apologies if i am missing stuff or repeating.
When your DSD turns 19 she will be able to claim ESA as well as her DLA which she is currently receiving. Her mum will no longer be able to get child benefit or child tax credits (but the ESA replaces those in DSDs own right).
You will no longer need to pay maintenance as DSD is no longer a child.
Given that you don't think DSDs mum will spend the maintenance appropriately I agree that it might be better to save some in a trust fund or buy things that DSD needs. DSD should pay a proportion of her benefits to her mum to cover her board and lodgings (or mum should have power of attorney if DSD is not able to manage her own finances due to her disability).
With regard to the 16 year old; if he is still in full time education then you need I continue paying maintenance to his mum. Of he is not in education then you can choose to pay him directly and he can sort out his lodgings with his mum himself.
I would be very tempted to check on who has power of attorney, because as you have said ex might not spend your maintenance properly, if that is the case is she spending your dsd's money appropriately? I would go for trust fund but in a name that your ex can have no access to, or provide dsd with extra aids she might need or pay a couple of bills monthly on her behalf.
We have the same issue. Dss is asd and currently 18 and on a college course. His ex refuses to discuss money with him regarding benefits etc and just expects him to keep paying £300+ a month indefinitely. I'm hoping dp will grow some balls and stop this when dss turns 19 and arranges more appropriate support with his son instead.
It's your dp that needs to be writing the letters, and investigating trusts, not you. It needs to be driven by him.
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