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Maintenance question

(43 Posts)
39up Fri 16-Sep-16 15:07:34

Just trying to get an outside view.

A and B used to be married. They split up six and a half years ago, when their DD was 1.5 yrs old. Since they split up, DD has spent 3 nights with A and 4 nights with B. Both A & B consider B to be the residential parent, as B remained in the family home and A moved in with parents. A has always given B 25% of take home pay.

About 4 years ago A met C, and became romantically involved. A & C moved in together 3 years ago, and got married 2.5 years ago. C is a much higher earner than A, and so A’s lifestyle changed. Since then, A has also started paying for all DD’s shoes, school uniform, school trips and also ballet lessons. DD also has a room at A&C’s house with toys etc there, although toys tend to move between houses.

A&C are now married and have joint finances – shared bank account etc. A conversation is currently happening about whether this means B should receive 25% of A’s pay or more, perhaps 25% of A&C’s household income. C does earn more than double A&B’s income combined, and because so much money is going into the joint account, B feels that A could very easily afford to give more and finds it slightly galling that B often struggles with bills etc while A is able to take regular holidays/drives a new car/give DD extravagant presents. C is uncomfortable with taking on this level of parental responsibility for DD when DD is not C’s own child and would prefer to only help on an ad hoc basis. C is also worried that increasing A’s contributions would significantly damage A&C’s relationship by giving A no financial independence/limited financial input into the household.

(Sorry if this is mysterious. Genuinely don’t know if I’m being U, and wanted to keep it bland and dispassionate so people would tell me if I was)

AndersArms Fri 16-Sep-16 15:16:17

No - maintenance is based on the NRP's income alone. The DSM's income should be as irrelevant as it would be if A and B were still together. If C chooses to contribute then that's her choice.

I am a SM in similar circumstances. My income is not taken into account when DSD's maintenance is paid by FH to DSD's DM. The fact that my DH has a better standard of life as a result of being married to me and not DSD's DM is just one of those things. DSD benefits indirectly (days out, holidays and in our ability for DH to pay more than CSA minimum and contribute to school uniform etc on top) but not directly in cash.

FuzzyOwl Fri 16-Sep-16 15:20:32

Maintenance is based purely on the income of the non resident parent (or both of them if the child lives in a household without either parent). Who gets Child Benefit? 25% of Parent A's salary is a lot higher than it would be if Parent B went through the official channels. Parent C's income would never be used to pay for somebody else's child.

thepurplehen Fri 16-Sep-16 15:20:48

This works both ways. If B met D and D Was very wealthy, does that mean that A should pay less for the child because mum has a rich new husband?

The parents finances should be taken into account not the step parents and the law backs this up.

Disappointednomore Fri 16-Sep-16 15:21:22

A should continue with the current level of payments but where possible should of course ensure DD benefits from the improved circumstances. C has no responsibility beyond goodwill. I speak as a soon to be divorced single parent.

Mirandawest Fri 16-Sep-16 15:25:11

Maintenance is based just on As salary. If C wants to contribute then they can, but the calculation isn't based on that. If C has any children then this would reduce the amount that A pays and similarly if A and C were to have children together.

My XH did reduce the amount of maintenance he pays after he and his now DW got married and moved in together, as she has children.

I do find there's a bit of a dichotomy that my income is included on calculating the amount of student loan my DSS is entitled to, and that assuming my DC go to university it will be based on my DHs income and not my XHs income, but that is just the way it is.

Somerville Fri 16-Sep-16 15:34:46

I don't know the right answer legally.

Morally in my opinion, if A's current 25% of income maintenance doesn't already cover half of the real costs of raising the child (worked out dispassionately and honestly) then they should raise the percentage of their salary that they pay until it does cover 50%. Not paying this from C's salary, BTW. (But clearly it will mean C accepting that A can therefore afford to put less into A&C's joint pot so it does, in essence, cost C something.)

RaspberryBeret34 Fri 16-Sep-16 15:36:59

As others have said, it should be based on A's salary only, not C's.

25% of A's salary is already much higher than CSA levels, especially as A has the DD almost as much as B.

39up Fri 16-Sep-16 15:39:07

(Might as well admit it – I’m C. Probably v obvious)

A&C do try and make sure that DSD does benefit. She has a bedroom at A&C’s house, toys and clothes, and hobbies all paid for. This is also a slightly contentious issue – B feels as if A is able to spoil DSD and thinks it’s a bit Disney Dad, and A should contribute more, not take DSD on holiday to Disneyland.

B gets child benefit, so is entitled to child maintenance. I think, actually, because we have DSD more during the school holidays (for childcare reasons) we have DSD slightly more than 50% of the time over the whole year, but it seems really mean to argue and not good for DSD.

I think I get what the law says. I think we all do. I think B – DH’s ExW – feels as if it’s a bit of a moral issue instead of a legal issue and it’s not fair that she does struggle (she’s not starving and we’d never let that happen, but not a lot of luxuries, no holidays etc) and DH has a much easier time of it. This whole issue came up because of Disneyland – she felt that it was wrong that when she’s counting pennies to keep DSD fed and clothes properly etc, DH is swanning off to Florida and she thought the right thing to do would be to put the money spent on the holiday towards additional maintenance and plan a less lavish holiday in the UK. I was a bit wicked stepmother and said I wasn’t comfortable with that – I don’t mind including DSD in treats, but it feels wrong, somehow, if I’m paying to get B’s car repaired. Might be being U though, and I know I’m really lucky and have never really had to worry hugely about money.

Somerville Fri 16-Sep-16 16:30:59

It wasn't obvious to me that you were C, I didn't know (or even think about) which you were.

I havent heard anything that's made me change my opinion from what I wrote above, really. If you step-daughter's mother is struggling financially because she is contributing more than 50% of the real cost of raising their daughter whilst her father has plenty of cash sloshing around then I understand her position.

Whereas if he is already contributing 50% or more then she being unreasonable.

It sounds like you want to be sure that you're being 'fair' here. Which I respect you for. And I think it would be wise to remember that once she becomes a teen and then independent your step daughter will choose how to apportion her time between her current homes. Poorer parents are often very anxious about losing time with their child to the wealthier parent at that point. Whereas the reality is that teenagers and young adults are fully aware of the financial strain and ensuing stress in their families, and it affects their relationship with the wealthy parent who they view as being financially selfish.

I'd take a cold hard look at the figures involved if I were you. there aren't any easy answers - it depends on the figures involved.

Danglyweed Fri 16-Sep-16 16:44:00

You personally dont owe your dsd's dm anymore than your dh already gives her, Yes by all means offer to help with big things for dsd but b's bitterness isnt your problem. You may well have joint finances but ultimately as its you that earns more, its coming out your pocket eh And what happens if you have dc?

WordGetsAround Fri 16-Sep-16 16:51:30

I thought you were C and think you are not legally or morally liable to paying anything to B. It sounds like their DC is benefitting from your income in a variety of ways, which B should be more than satisfied with (and flipping grateful!).

Somerville Fri 16-Sep-16 16:57:10

I agree that OP is not legally or morally responsible for paying anything. But I think that more than 25% of her DH's salary is up for grabs (to the 50% of real costs point) if he can afford it. Which it sounds like he can.

<Sorry for hijack>

WordGetsAround I've been looking out for you. What did you decide on baby name and how you doing?

LifeGotInTheWay Fri 16-Sep-16 17:20:52

Somerville has it right I think. It's interesting to look at it from DDs point of view.

DD will experience some strange feelings if her mum is struggling to feed, clothe, pay for car etc, all the basics, and her dad is taking her to Florida. We can't guess quite how this will play out in DDs mind but young people often have a strong innate sense of fairness and strong protective feelings and loyalties to their mothers, especially if mother hasn't remarried.

It's a moral question and a tough one.

How would you have felt watching your mother unable to heat the house in winter and you have to get ready for school with no central heating, and then waving goodbye yo your mum to go on huge holiday with dad?

As I said it's not easy, and the above is not a criticism in any way, but sometimes the legally and logically right answer is not the answer that brings greatest happiness to the greatest number of people, especially DD.

39up Fri 16-Sep-16 17:28:31

So basically I need to step up and accept I am paying maintainance too.

Yeah. Maybe. I do want her to be happy and feel secure. I just didn't take this quite into account when getting into this relationship. But life sometimes turns out that way. Thank you!

AyeAmarok Fri 16-Sep-16 17:38:16

Your DH should continue to pay what he pays based on just his salary, not yours.

Why is his ex struggling so much? Are her 4 days week days and she's having to pay childcare so she can work, whereas your DH's days are we weekend and no childcare? If so, that might make a difference to what I think.

But otherwise I think what you're doing is right. He pays maintenance, you and your DH pay for clubs and activities, toys and clothes etc on top which your DSD can benefit from at both homes.

Why is his ex struggling so much?

Somerville Fri 16-Sep-16 17:49:57

So basically I need to step up and accept I am paying maintenance too

Not necessarily. It really does depend on the amounts. If your husband earns 15k a year then it's extremely unlike that 25% will be covering half of the real costs of raising a child. Wheras if he earns 50k it seems probable that he already does.

Inreresting that the two of your didn't think about all this before you cohabited and got married. What's your DH's position on all of this?

MeAndMy3LovelyBoys Fri 16-Sep-16 17:54:54

C's income shouldn't subsidise A's maintenance payments going up. It's not C's problem or respsonsibility. C could be a billionaire but it still doesn't mean C's money should mean A pays more to B.
What if B met D? Can A then reduce payments? No, thought not.

summercoldssuck Fri 16-Sep-16 17:58:44

Only A's income should be for maintenance none of C's should come into it UNLESS C wants to help. Legally C has no financial obligations to the DD.

I had a similar situation. When I went back to work after maternity dp's exw decided she should get extra maintenance from my wages. She got told where to go!

howtodowills Fri 16-Sep-16 18:02:38

Sounds like B is trying to shaft A.

C's income is none of B's business.

Plus 25% maintenance is generous isn't it when they're almost on a 50/50 agreement?

MeAndMy3LovelyBoys Fri 16-Sep-16 18:12:45

DD will experience some strange feelings if her mum is struggling to feed, clothe, pay for car etc, all the basics, and her dad is taking her to Florida.

But would that be ok if it was the other way around though and dad struggles and mum takes her to Florida? It just feels like the rp is OK having a nice lifestyle and the nrp doesn't, but the nrp isn't allowed to have a nice lifestyle unless the rp does too.
If the nrp meets a well off partner like in the OP then surely that's a positive for the child when they are with that parent and that household won't have to struggle.

SharonfromEON Fri 16-Sep-16 18:23:29

I think the 25% as it only one extra day seems very fair..

Mirandawest Fri 16-Sep-16 18:24:32

I was pretty sure you were C. I know that my DCs step mother spends some money on them, probably more so on DD but inky small amounts. I have no idea what she earns but I would never think she should pay any more money.

Mauntenance doesn't necessarily covwr half the costs of DC. And how would that ever be worked out? I do all the necessary spending for my DC ie clothes, school trips, school dinners, clubs etc.

Mirandawest Fri 16-Sep-16 18:27:51

How much is B struggling? Are the DCs needs not able to be met or is she envious of the lifestyle A now has? I suspect my XH may be envious of my lifestyle (not that it is lavish but I suspect DH and I manage our money better).

You are in a difficult situation and I don't think you should feel pressured into contributing anything you don't want to.

If it were brought to the child maintanaince agency (probably a different name now) then I suspect your DH would have to pay less and not contribute to other things.

summercoldssuck Fri 16-Sep-16 18:33:00

39up no you do not need to step up and accept you are paying it. You are not responsible for the maintenance unless you choose to help.

The contact is 50/50 so under the new CMS no maintenance is payable at all regardless of who is in receipt of child benefit.

IF B cannot meet basic needs then look at what extra A can afford or if you want to chip in but actually I think B needs to cut her cloth and stop being jealous of what everyone else has

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