Save or spend?(19 Posts)
Bit of background to our situation: I'm a SM to an almost 3 year old girl who me & my partner have between 3-4 nights a week; sometimes more if we take her on holiday/her mum goes away/her mum is ill etc - but that's the average. She attends a nursery local to her mums for her 15 free hours per week, but her mum has recently started working full time, so either my mother or I have her during the week (I'm going in to my final year at university but I've had a longhand period of summer holidays and I only work weekends due to no extra shifts at work) and we either keep her overnight or drop her back off at her mums, depending on what suits everyone best.
Believe it or not, we actually all get along quite well. My partner and my SD's mother were never together (one night stand) but they try and co-parent, and she also has a partner who lives with her.
Ok, now that's done - here's my dilemma. I've recently found out that I'm pregnant (almost 16 weeks) & my partner had decided that he's going to start studying at University (he's 25, but never went when he was 18 due to personal circumstances) and is due to begin his course in 2 weeks - meaning he'll only be working part-time.
Now, we're going to be very tight for money, which we're well aware of. We live with my parents (don't want to fall into the rent trap) so won't be entitled to any help from the government I don't think, so will be surviving on our student loans, my SMP and partners part-time wage. We provide everything for my SD when she is here - pull ups, clothes, food etc and we also pick her up/drop her off a good 25 minute drive away to her mums each time that we have her as her mum doesn't drive.
Despite us having her near enough half the week each week (sometimes more), SD's mum has asked for £15 per week to help towards SD's living costs. My partner is debating this, but I do sympathise with her as I know that she's struggling - she recently booked a holiday to Mexico for 3 weeks with her partner for next April which was really expensive (SD will be staying with us and the baby) but didn't realise that most of her benefits would be taken away when her partner moved in, and she has been dropping a few hints here and there about being short for cash because of it for a few weeks now, so we were expecting this.
We've already decided that we're going to set up a savings account for our baby and hope to but £5 a week each (so £20 a month each) into this in the hopes of never touching it and giving it to him/her when they are 21. My dilemma is that I wanted my partner to do the same for his daughter as I don't think that it would be fair for us to do this for our child - and any more children that we have in the future - but not do the same for her. However, there's absolutely no way that he can afford to give £15 a week to SD's mum and put money away in savings for her when he'll be working around 14 hours per week on minimum wage whilst he's studying.
So, sorry for the long waffle - but what should we do?! I don't think he would have to give her £15 p/w if she went to CSA due to how much we have her/how little he'll earn etc, however that's not really the point, is it... The choice is either to give the £15 a week to her mother or put it away in a savings account for her, and we just don't know what to do
TIA for any suggestions.
I think considering your circumstances you are getting your priorities skewed. Your SD could use that money now, and very likely your DC too. A savings account for when they are older is very aspirational but not always practical. If you both go on to good jobs with university degrees the 480 per year (20x2x12) that you could save now as a tight squeeze could much easier be made up later.
I think you need to work out exactly how many nights a week/ month you will have her once your courses start and everything settled into the new routine. If you have her 50/50 (in terms of nights she stays over at your house) then no maintenance is payable under CSA rules (whether you feel her mother's request is reasonable is a separate question). Bear in mind though that if you mind her for the day and then drop her off home in the evening, that doesn't count as far as CM calculations are concerned.
Who gets the child benefit? That's usually the deciding factor as to who can claim maintenance.
The routine will be staying the same no matter what as her mother will definitely not want to change it and I don't think my partner would either, to be honest - we currently have a system where one week she stays 3 nights, the following 4 nights, then 3, then 4 etc; but I don't think that quite works out at 50/50, does it?
It's not so much whether or not he would have to pay CSA as it is that I just don't know if it would be best to give her mother the money now or whether to put it away for her when she's older. I think when I worked it out of the CSA calculator, they would ask for something silly like £6 a week from him, but I'm not sure how it works - SD's mother wouldn't get the full amount that he paid, would she? I'm sure that I heard that they take a percentage for themselves in an attempt to encourage parents to sort it between them instead. Besides, she doesn't want that, and it would seem pretty pointless claiming CSA for that little per week - she wants £15 per week from him, and I don't think that he would necessarily object to that, it's just the savings account that would then be an issue.
I just wouldn't want her to get to 18/21 and then wonder why we didn't give her any money when we would give it to a sibling a couple of years later - and would she be understanding that her mother would have rather had the money instead of us put it away for her?
Forgot to add, her mother has always received the child benefit for her.
I don't think your partner can save for just one of his children.
I think you can put all your info into a cms calculator and see what if anything would be owed, without having a formal arrangement.
Why not get him to do that and see what it says and pay that. A decision about saving would have to be made after that.
Is there any way he can defer his course till after you maternity leave finished. You could be unnecessarily struggling for a good few years otherwise.
If she is with you 3-4 nights a week then surely maintenance is non-payable anyway. Or at least less than £15 per week. More like the very minimum which is about £7 a week.
If he paid £7 a week you could still put the £5 a week away and it would still come to less than £15.
Also just as a side note- I don't think you and your mum should have to look after your DSD because her mum has gone to work full time. Surely she should be taking responsibility for some of the childcare. I think you're being taken advantage of a bit there.
University just doesn't sound practical in your circumstances
It's a nice to do but children have to come first. Can he not stay in full time employment at least til you're back in full time work?
University is an absolute must - he's earning barely anything at all working full time as a Manager in retail, and he just doesn't have the qualifications needed to be able to get a better paid job without a degree. We would definitely both rather struggle for the next three years whilst children are young and don't remember. We just wouldn't ever be able to even get a mortgage on the salary he's on and it needs to change ASAP.
I also agree that my mum & I shouldn't have her just so that she can work, but she doesn't want her more than she already has her and I would dread to think who else my SD would be left with if she wasn't with me/my mum (yes, it's that bad). Once my partner starts his course he will be able to have her a bit more which will save us having her.
He's going to ask SDs mother tonight and see what she says - he will either pay her the money and not be able to afford to save any or put it away for her. I just think that it will be so unfair to not give her anything when she's older, but at the same time I'm probably going to be using the child benefit to put money away for my child - I can't force SDs mother to do the same, too.
I hope she will just allow us to put it in a savings account for her, but I don't think that will be the case
I am not anti step parent (am one myself) but I don't really see your point here. She- for whatever reason- needs help financially now from her child's other parent. Your partner could delay uni, you pay no rent etc and you are making choices to benefit you now..... Just as she is. You say you will feel awful to have not saved etc for both children but why not wait a couple of years until your both financially secure....
Your priorities may not be hers.
Why not offer to help with childcare etc so you/ your mum aren't doing it?
Come off it, though, this woman has someone living with her and she's going on holiday, too!
As far as savings are concerned, you should save all yours for your child and he should save half his for each child of his. That's the only fair way.
If you have the child 3 days one week and 4 days the next (nights included) then you shouldn't have to pay any child support as it's 50-50, particularly as your partner is on a very low wage.
Basically she's wanting you to provide for the difference in her income which is caused by her new man moving in.
Sorry wannabe - where on earth did I say that I didn't pay rent? I live with my parents and don't want to rent a property and get stuck in a trap - that isn't to say that we don't pay my parents 'rent'. Im not sure where you've got the impression that this is to benefit us in either way - the question is should he give her money that he doesn't technically HAVE to give her considering how much she stays with us, or should he put it away for his daughter as I will be doing for our child with our child maintenance. We can't afford to do both.
I know what you mean about the savings, imperial - even if it sounds awful, I won't be paying towards her savings and my partner doesn't expect me to, either.
And yes, when we have her, this includes days - so if we have her 3 nights, we've actually had her for 4 days (sort of - we pick her up from nursery at 1pm, so maybe half a day then?) and if we have her 4 nights, it's 5 days.
He's going to speak to her about what she would rather tonight - I just hope that she's happy with him saving for her. I'm certainly not prepared to not save for my child because of this, but I don't want her to miss out, either.
Why not £10 into an account for each child & then pay the maintenance. When you're both earning more, you start saving more.
I am not having a pop just saying I understand certain things are a priority to you but at this moment they might not be to her due to circumstances.
Maybe buy a few bits eg coat, shoes etc to help.
I probably should have mentioned that we have split the bill on clothing essentials (coats, vests, knickers, socks) and then both parents buy their own from then on.
Won't be able to speak to her tonight as she just called and said that she can't have her tonight so could we keep her until Friday evening now - so I'll discuss it with her then.
That's a good idea, Stewie. I might discuss that with him, because I suppose even if he only puts a little bit in her account for now whilst he pays towards her mum, at least he could up the amount in x years whenever he earns more.
If everything you have said is true, I'd be giving her nothing. Your DP has her 50/50, if not more. She's gets free childcare from you. She TELLS you she's can't have HER daughter for another two nights. You split the cost of clothes. She has booked a three week holiday without her child, that she can't afford. What single parent doesn't know they lose benefits when they move in with a partner? You have implied that she wants your partner to subsidise a holiday that his DD isn't even going in. If everything you have written is 100% true, tell her where to go for her £15 a week. Save it if you wish, but personally I'd be waiting til you were more financially secure to be saving for the DC. Once you both have better jobs, better salary, you can save up extra to make up for the three years of uni. You'll benefit from having the extra £40 now.
You dont need to pay maintenance as long as you truly go 50/50 on everything.
Till you are both in a better position save a small amount for both like a few quid a week.
If your incomes low enough you will get tax credits doesn't matter if you live with parents.
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