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Help find a middle ground please (longish)

(28 Posts)
namechangeafternamechange Thu 30-Apr-15 11:56:11

I originally put this in chat but there was very little interest (far more interesting things to chat about, like how to eat a manchego grin) and I was advised to place it here. So here goes......

I didn't really know where to put this...It's not so much an AIBU but rather asking what is reasonable.
I'm going to have to be a little vague as I don't want to stir up a hornets nest!

So OH grew some balls and has finally started to stand up for himself with very bitter exw. As a result, communication is much better and they have started discussing maintenance. OH has always gone through the CSA (his choice) as she refused to accept a noted standing order (that actually said what it was for rather than just an amount that appeared). He has never missed a payment and has never complained goes without saying and he also didn't inform the CSA of a reduced wage as he didn't want his dd to suffer because she would get less money. So bear that all in mind....

She has suggested £100pm and he pays for school uniform. That is £30 more than he currently pays pm, this is following a review by the CSA and he had to send in wage slips to prove his earnings.

TBH he would've been happy with the £100pm but he's a bit miffed about the uniform. His ex refuses to send his dd the 400 miles with any lind of clothing, no coat, no spare knickers....nothing. 3/4 times a year we have to kit her out with an entire, weather appropriate, wardrobe that get gets worn for a maximum of 3 weeks then it's either too small or she needs warmer/cooler clothes. Also coats shoes and any accessories that she wants/needs. A good example is spring/summer last year. Bought cooler clothes for may half term, worn for the week she came, 2 weeks in summer holidays then it was October before she came again...skirts, shorts, vest tops all too cold and too small.

So what's fair? OH is a low earner, I'm mid/average earner. I've said to keep it with the CSA as he is paying what has been judged as fair. As an aside, he has offered on 2 occasions to buy her uniform (when she first started school) and was told thanks but no thanks, so he can't win!

SurlyCue Thu 30-Apr-15 12:08:46

Well if he has offered twice to buy uniform you cant really blame her for thinking he would still be happy to tbh.

Also, i dont send clothes with my dcs to their dad's. I provide everything when theyre at my house, he provides everything when theyre at his house. If she is only getting a few wears out of what you buy then i would go to the charity shop before she comes for a visit and buy a few bits and then once she has outgrown them either return to charity shop or ebay them to get some money back.

With regards to the child support i would send what he you can afford, if you cant afford to send more than the minimum then dont and just say that. Uniform-same, if you cant afford then say that. I dont think she is unreasonable to ask as it has been offered twice but i dont think you are unreasonable to say that finances are tighter now so you cant afford it anymore.

namechangeafternamechange Thu 30-Apr-15 12:18:55

surly I kind of agree with you that she may assume that he is happy to provide the uniform as he has offered twice, however I don't think her brain is working in that way. He sent her home with school shoes last August but his DD said she din't get to wear them as they were given to her friend. Why would she do that? They were shoes that his DD picked out and were very 'schooly' IYKWIM.

yellowdaisies Thu 30-Apr-15 12:20:14

Offer again to pay for the uniform, but keep the payments at CSA level.

Also - is DSD old enough that she could be encouraged herself to pack a small suitcase with her when she comes? Ask her DM whether she'd prefer them back all in a dirty laundry bag, or would prefer you wash them. It's stupid you buying her a new wardrobe each time, and can't be nice for children to go somewhere without being allowed to take their clothes. I'd find that a bit upsetting as an adult - the only ocasssion I can think of when adults aren't allowed to take their own clothing with them would be when they're being sent to prison!

namechangeafternamechange Thu 30-Apr-15 12:30:50

DSD is 6 1/2. I feel awful for her, she gets sent down in the most inappropriate clothing.....xmas half term she arrived in the car park (halfway meeting point) in a summer dress that was hanging off her (found when we got home it was aged 9-10!), no coat (not even a cardy) and sandals (no tights). It's been this way for the 3 years she has lived so far away so I do worry what she will be sent down with and would probably end up still having to buy clothes

I always wash the clothes she arrives in the day after she arrives then put them away until she goes back. Xmas she went home in a lovely coat that we bought her, it has never been seen since and DSD states she has no idea where it's gone. We had to buy another coat for Feb 1/2 term as, again, she didn't come down with one. OH text his ExW the day before she went back to 'remind' her not to forget a coat.

InFlagranteDelicto Thu 30-Apr-15 12:38:27

Poor wee thing, sounds rough for her. I doubt get mum will change, so I guess its down to you to change the way you handle it. I'd hold onto coats, use ebay, and charity shops, rather than buying new, and them ebay on what she's out grown. Not an ideal solution, but on the positive side she knows you care. I sent you a pm, btw.

SurlyCue Thu 30-Apr-15 12:51:35

Yes its hard to know what way other people think. Or why on earth they would send their child in a summer dress and sandals in december! I was just thinking of myself in that situation if exp offered to pay uniforms, i would probably decline if i could afford them myself but perhaps if at another date i couldnt afford them i might ask him as he had previously offered IYsWIM? Tbf to her also, your OH is contributing £840 a year to his daughter's upbringing which really isnt a lot so perhaps she is feeling the pinch and needs a bit more help than what the maintenance is covering. If he cant afford more then fair enough but i dont really blame her for needing or asking for more.

The clothes- just change her back into the clothes she arrives in for going home and if necessary get a cheap coat from charity shop/ebay that doesnt cost more than a couple of pounds so no loss if you dont see it again.

yellowdaisies Thu 30-Apr-15 13:06:00

Do you know whether her school actually wears uniforms? I just ask because where I live none of the state primarys do. Only the secondaries.

Sounds like her DM is either trying to make a point that she's not being given enough money (hence poor DSD sent to you in summer dress) or else is really chaotic and leaves DSD to fend for herself and find things to wear having failed to buy her much at all. Worth talking with DSD all you can about what things are like at home to make sure she is kind of OK - and considering calling social services if it's going badly wrong.

Bare feed with sandals and a summer dress with no coat or cardi in December is really odd, and definitely not OK sad

namechangeafternamechange Thu 30-Apr-15 13:10:51

Thank you for the PM, I have messaged back smile

Her finances are way better than ours. She doesn't work but has 4 dc by 4 men and she is VERY lucky in that they all pay their way. She claims quite a bit from the state as her youngest isn't school age (I'm not sure she realises her DP readily gives so much information to my OH as they get on well and he does the handovers)

Her finances are of no interest to me, ours are. We have had to deal with underhanded tactics for a number of years. His CSA is always getting reassessed because she truly believes that we claim TC so he should, therefore, be able to pay more. That is one of the MANY reasons we have never claimed TC, what's the point in getting a benefit to help you live in one hand, only to have it taken out of the other?

yellowdaisies Thu 30-Apr-15 13:17:06

That sounds an ill-advised reason not to claim tax credits confused

Your DP will only have to pay 15% of whatever he gets from tax credits in increased maitenance - your family will keep the other 85%. And you could spend some of it on things for DSD, and still have a better standard of living. I can see why his ex might be annoyed as the amount of child support your DP is paying is pretty low - if that was all he could afford then fair enough, but if you just aren't bothering to claim benefits you're entited to, and that is affecting her finances too, she's going to be a bit pissed off really isn't she?

ImperialBlether Thu 30-Apr-15 13:22:46

Why on earth wouldn't someone send their child with clothes to wear? I know someone will say their partner doesn't bring the clothes back, but surely you'd still have to send one thing for them to change into?

If your husband gets on well with her husband, why can't he have a calm word about it?

I'd also threaten social services - if my child arrived in a summer dress, no coat and no tights or socks at Christmas, then I'd say she was being neglected.

namechangeafternamechange Thu 30-Apr-15 13:23:31

Unfortunately yellow I suspect it's the latter. She has older sister's so there is no reason why she can't be dressed for the weather (although that does explain the size of the dress, not that it makes it right!)

What I don't get is that he has ALWAYS paid what has been deemed a fair amount by the CSA so, whether she feels it isn't enough, isn't really OH's issue. If the CSA had calculated it as double then that's what he would pay IYSWIM. I feel he has been more than fair, when he started having his DD overnight (so 52-104 nights per year) he never said anything to the CSA as he knew it would reduce the amount. He only told them when, 6 months later, he had a letter saying they were investigating a change in his circumstances. When he phoned he was informed that ExW had contacted them regarding a possible TC claim. THAT was when he told them of the new arrangement and proved he wasn't in receipt of anything else.

The same happened after our DS was born. OH said nothing to CSA until, 3 months later, exactly the same thing happened so he told them of our DS's birth. That reduced the amount further and she was, to put it bluntly, pissed right off. I remember her text saying 'how dare you make my daughter suffer just because you decided to have a devil child! And how can you lie about the tax credits, you have a baby, of course you claim them!' WTF?! He was happy to say nothing and keep things the same, her greediness put that to bed.

Now can you see why I'm asking to help us find a solution that is middle of the road??

SurlyCue Thu 30-Apr-15 13:27:34

She has suggested £100pm and he pays for school uniform. That is £30 more than he currently pays pm, this is following a review by the CSA and he had to send in wage slips to prove his earnings.

Ok so the review by the CSA has said he should pay what? It isnt clear. He was paying £70 per month but have they changed that or kept it the same? What has prompted her to suggest £100 plus uniforms if CSA have just done a review?

Also has 4 dc by 4 men and she is VERY lucky in that they all pay their way.

This isnt lucky. This is the very least she should expect.

namechangeafternamechange Thu 30-Apr-15 13:28:51

yellow I said it was one of the MANY reasons we don't claim. We were assessed, based on my earnings, as being just shy of £100pa over the cut off point.

Of course the amount of CSA he pays is low, he earns a low wage. My wages take us over the threshold for TC, he pays what is deemed as fair.

namechangeafternamechange Thu 30-Apr-15 13:33:30

surly you seem to be getting to my point. The review has just taken place as OH started new job in Jan. Based on their review he pays £72 per month. This takes into account his earnings, how many nights per year she stays and the fact we have a DS. Her reasoning for the increased amount is that that is what her 16 yo's father pays, he is a higher earner than my OH (she has taken delight n telling him many times how much better 16 yo's father is because his job pays better)

namechangeafternamechange Thu 30-Apr-15 13:35:54

And what I meant by being lucky that all 4 fathers pay their way is that there are soooo many men out there who do anything to get out of paying, she is lucky to have 4 men who haven't done this.

SurlyCue Thu 30-Apr-15 13:37:00

Ok so in your shoes i would just pay what CSA suggest and provide whatever information necessary when they do a review again.

SurlyCue Thu 30-Apr-15 13:44:03

she is lucky to have 4 men who haven't done this

Nope she isnt. The other PWC who dont get fair support have been shafted. This woman isnt lucky. It is the minimum all parents should expect- their child's other parent to pull their own weight. Is your DH lucky that you care for his son? Or is that just how it should be?

Cherryapple1 Thu 30-Apr-15 13:52:59

The reason you don't claim is because you earn too much. Don't dress it up as you being a martyr. And 4 kids by men who pay their maintenance - bit judgy I think? Luck has nothing to do with maintenance. Even the legal minimum of £100 - it isn't a huge contribution to the costs of raising a child is it?

If you think she is being neglected contact SS. Or increase contact. It seems she spends v little time with her father. Maybe he should see her more and take more responsibility.

yellowdaisies Thu 30-Apr-15 14:04:45

So you don't claim because you can't, because you earn too much?

That's not the same as there being many reasons why you don't claim, one of them being you don't want her to get the money, really is it? hmm

Cherry - Maybe he should see her more and take more responsibility - I presume that would be difficult if the DSD lives 400 miles away, unless they're able to move closer. But agree that if she's really being neglected then you should contact social services.

Cherryapple1 Thu 30-Apr-15 14:10:01

Fair point Yellow.

nottonightjoesphine Thu 30-Apr-15 15:15:16

OP I understand that you're saying your DP is a low earner, so can't pay more. However you are very judge about this woman (4kids?) and I'm pretty shocked you're using words like 'her greediness' to describe this situation. Your DP pays £3.28 per day towards the cost of raising this child. He's handing the majority of the financial responsibility over to his ex wife for their joint child...and she's pissed off. Perhaps you could try to see that from her point of view?

namechangeafternamechange Thu 30-Apr-15 15:25:53

It must be lovely to live in a simple world cherry confused He sees his DD as much as is humanly possible when she lives 400 miles away. Before they moved he saw her every other weekend, plus an overnight during the week and if we were doing something the weekend she wasn't with us (like going to the zoo) then we would let his ExW know that DD was invited and she would usually come along.

It is very easy to judge a NRP as not having a decent sense of responsibility but not every situation is black and white. This situation was not of his doing. She was the one that kicked him out (and has admitted that she was wrong and they would probably still be together if she hadn't acted so awfully towards him) and she chose to move 400 miles away, giving OH only 2 weeks notice before it happened.

As for me earning too much....as a couple we are literally just above the threshold. The TC system is very complicated and it is impossible to guess how much I'm going to earn next year. I get enhancements for unsocial hours, some months I do none, some months I do lots but I don't have a working pattern in which I do the same every month. I have 2 friends who work in the same industry who have claimed TC and have been whacked with an overpayment bill because they under estimated.

And as for 'not wanting her to get her hands on my money'? The money isn't for the Ex, it's for DSD, so that is simply untrue.

yellowdaisies Thu 30-Apr-15 15:32:05

And as for 'not wanting her to get her hands on my money'? The money isn't for the Ex, it's for DSD, so that is simply untrue

But if you see it as money for DSD, why would you resent claiming tax credits, some of which then go to DSD?
You did say what's the point in getting a benefit to help you live in one hand, only to have it taken out of the other? confused

But in fact you've been turned down for tax credits because you're earning just over the threshold, so you don't really have the option of getting them.

Cherryapple1 Thu 30-Apr-15 15:42:09

I don't live in a simple world at all. But there are 2 sides to every story.

It is very easy to judge a resident parent who has no support too.

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