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What's your opinion on maintenance?

(201 Posts)
Mamamc123 Tue 07-Feb-17 06:58:34

Nothing wrong here and not asking for advice as such, just a difference in opinion during a discussion tonight and I wondered what everyone else's views are on how maintenance money is used and what it's expected to cover?
My friend and I are both mothers to our own bio kids and I am also SM to my DPs kids.
Friend was moaning how her ExH doesn't contribute enough financially to her daughter's expenses - he pays well above what the CSA calculator suggests and his daughter wants for nothing whilst she's with him.
She expects him on top of that to buy half of the children's clothes, school uniforms, shoes, activities/ clubs, extra childcare etc - which is exactly what my DP does for my DSDs.
However I think it's unreasonable to expect this much when a regular and fair amount of maintence is being paid and custody is split.
My ExH pays maintence for our children but in my opinion it is for all of those things and I don't expect him to "top-up" anywhere else. I don't think it's fair for a father to be paying for the mother to look after her own children when they are with her if that makes sense? I don't pay my ExH for the kids food etc when they are there.
If something like an expensive school trip or one off big expense then I think it's fair to go 50/50 on that, but in general if you're receiving 100s in maintence every month then you shouldn't always expect more.
Ps: I'm not talking about men who shirk their responsibilities or don't pay - I mean honest good dad's who pay their fair percentage of income and see their kids regularly.
What do you all think?

Sixisthemagicnumber Tue 07-Feb-17 07:01:19

If custody is equally split she's lucky to be gettin any maintenance. A fair split would be for them To Pay for half of everything which is child related if they have 50/50 custody.

SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Tue 07-Feb-17 07:04:35

Well, it largely depends on individual circumstances, and agreements, doesn't it?

Mamamc123 Tue 07-Feb-17 07:12:33

Ok for example my friend receives £350 per month on maintenance, child is at school so no nursery fees etc and dad has her 2-3 days a week. I asked my friend if she can honestly say half of her bills solely for their daughter amount to more than £700 a month - food clothes, contribution to washing her, heating the water she uses and cooking... because there's no way it does - especially considering at least 2 days a week all those things are at dad's sole expense.
When you think of it like that I think she needs to wind her neck in a bit and take stock of what is fair and realistic?

Mamamc123 Tue 07-Feb-17 07:13:17

Sorry I meant her half of the bills don't amount to over £700

Chloecoconut Tue 07-Feb-17 07:18:27

If a decent amount of maintenance is being paid (obviously depends on your view of a decent amount!) then I'd expect that to cover the majority of things (school trips and any sudden large expenses excluded). My DP pays a decent amount for his dd and offers to pay towards extras if needed. My exh is a different matter, pays exactly what the calculator says (think £50/week ish for 3 children) and I ask him to pay for half of uniform, clubs, music lessons etc. He can afford these extras (self employed) but won't pay me more maintenance as he can't see that it's for the children and not me (he's a narcissistic so it's all about control). So, apologies for the long post, if someone is getting a decent amount of maintenance then there shouldn't be any need to be paying for half of things on top because this is what maintenance is supposed to cover.

Chloecoconut Tue 07-Feb-17 07:21:08

I guess it also depends on the age of the child and how much they do out of school - £350/month isn't a great deal if you're paying for secondary school uniform and clubs every night.

Sixisthemagicnumber Tue 07-Feb-17 07:21:11

If dad has her 2-3 days then custody is not equally split. she does seem to be getting a generous deal though but then it depends on what he earns.

Thepurplehen Tue 07-Feb-17 07:25:40

There will be some parents who pay nothing or next to nothing through the correct channels but obviously it won't cover the actual cost of bringing up that child. Others will get way over the actual cost of bringing up the child.

It seems to me that parents with care who moan they don't get enough money are often the latter type. The amount of money they receive bears no resemblance on what parents think they/ their children deserve.

Some get nothing and don't complain, some get thousands and are incredibly bitter.

Mamamc123 Tue 07-Feb-17 07:29:06

Chloecoco well if the clubs can't be afforded every night they shouldn't be doing them. I only put my kids forward for activities within my budget which is what would happen if it was a couple still parenting together. For example can't just decide to put DD into ballet lessons, piano etc without consulting ExH then expect him to foot bill if you can't already pay for those things out of the money you receive from him anyway.
Also regardless of how much is earned by the ExH I think £350 a month is a generous amount - like I said if you work on the premise that he's contributing 50% then mother should be spending £700 per month on the child whilst having her 3-4 days a week which she definitely isn't - not directly on the child anyway.
Like I said it's just my opinion and it's interesting to hear other views 😊

LauraLovesDaisy Tue 07-Feb-17 07:34:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Underthemoonlight Tue 07-Feb-17 07:39:09

I think £350 is a lot is it for one child op? I get 140 a month I also pay out for clothes and school uniforms myself the only time DS DF pays is for activities which we normally take turns.

tovelitime Tue 07-Feb-17 07:45:11

It depends on the parents income, £350 might be a lot for one person but an insult to another. I'm not separated but on my DH's income I would expect to get well over £1k for one child so would not think £350 is fair enough but for another family it might be more than ample.

Mamamc123 Tue 07-Feb-17 07:48:48

Underthemoonlight I agree, like I said regardless of his income that is a good contribution isn't it!
My ExH pays £250 per month for 2 and I've never struggled as I have always worked and supported the kids also. He also pays for everything whilst they're with him and treats etc, so I think it would be super cheeky on top of that to demand more money.
I get the impression from said friend and other mums I know that there is sometimes the expectation for dads to pay for the kids every expense when they have them and also to foot the bill for mothers looking after their kids too.
I basically ended up saying to my friend that she needs to reevaluate what she's spending her money on because it's not up to her ExH to support her lifestyle - she needs to foot the bill for that 😕 I'm not sure how well received it was lol.
I just see it from both sides - I am the mother receiving maintenance and also the SM paying it to DP's ExP.
It's constant asking for money from his ExP, for silly amounts like "£2.50 school trip contribution" - come on love you've got £5 for a school trip surely? grin

WhisperingLoudly Tue 07-Feb-17 08:00:34

£350 is not a generous amount regardless of how much a father earns confused

I've not got step DC and I'm married to the father of my DC so no angle but jeez I find these threads depressing. The CSA as the absolute minimum a parent should be paying and any parent who pays this and sees it as a credit to them is deluded.

And the "directly on the child" argument is nonsense. My housing, utilities, car costs etc are all bigger by virtue of having DC living with me, despite that money not being spent directly on them.

AyeAmarok Tue 07-Feb-17 08:01:37

like I said regardless of his income that is a good contribution isn't it!

No, you're getting this wrong. If his income is quite high or very high, then £350 would not be a "good contribution".

It's not about both parents paying for 50% of the costs. It's about the children benefiting from the earnings of their parent relative to how much they earn. If a father is a high earner, then the DC should continue to enjoy a lifestyle commensurate with that even though the father has moved out and the parents have separated, because they are still his DC.

It's never "regardless of income". Income is the most important factor.

RacoonBandit Tue 07-Feb-17 08:05:55

£350 is enough to cover the basics imo and extra for school trips/clothes is not unreasonable. In your friends case the custody is not an even split so her costs will be higher.
Children don't cost an exact amount and there are many variables from special school days (the kind that cost the parent) school trips, birthday parties, new shoes a month after you just bought some because they have turned in to big foot over night angry.

For parents who only have their DC for 2/3 nights a week it can seem like they don't really cost a lot but that isn't a true reflection.

If a rp needs extra then I see nothing wrong in asking the nrp.

tomatoplantproject Tue 07-Feb-17 08:14:07

Its not just bills though. If I was living on my own then I could cope with living in a one-bed or studio flat. Having dd means that I need at least 2 bedrooms. If I want to go out and xh won't have her I will need to get a babysitter, and all of the other extras. Plus food, heating, clubs, nursery fees/wraparound care.

Yes I could make do, but xh earns and I have made sure that so far he contributes. He has done enough damage without me giving him the opportunity to add financial abuse to the list.

Mamamc123 Tue 07-Feb-17 08:35:39

I get what you're saying about housing and utilities but dad also has those costs too? He also needs a 2 bed house so his DD has a room and her own space, and what I'm saying is between food solely for the child and the amount the child increases the utilities wouldn't increase her bills by £700 for 1 child... does that make sense? It isn't dad's responsibilty to pay for mothers use of these in her home is it?
Childcare I think is a different issue - if parents were together they would have to split the aftercare/precare or nursery so I think it's more reasonable to expect some help towards those as both parents needs to work so why should only one foot the bill.
But utilities etc should be covered by the maintenece... it is paid to help "maintain" the child, its not to pay the mother to look after her own children.

RacoonBandit Tue 07-Feb-17 08:43:47

Your friend is asking for half of the extra costs she's not asking him to pay all of it so she is putting in half too. Why should his only contribution be the basics? Why should the rp have to foot the bill for the extras?

MycatsaPirate Tue 07-Feb-17 08:43:56

My sister has one child. I remember when I was struggling as a single parent with two children, living on about £50 a week to cover food and clothes and travel - really struggling. And she phoned me moaning that her ex had moved in with someone with a child and her maintenance was being cut to £700 a month. When they had split up he had paid thousands to pay off all her debt and she had a good job and free childcare in the form of family on both sides. Plus he had their dc on a regular basis.

We are currently paying minimum for dp's dd. We just can't afford to pay anymore. We don't see her either, her mum has admitted that due to dp not being concerned over her health problems (exes health problems) has made her stop the contact. So we don't see her but we still pay the money and we still send xmas and birthday presents.

We are supporting my teen through uni, neither of us are working (me due to ill health, dp just lost his job) and also have my DD2 still at home.

We have also supported his oldest financially with helping to fund different things she's needed over the years.

I got no maintenance for DD1 since she was 14 and I get bare minimum for DD2 (£30 a week).

letthirstydogslie Tue 07-Feb-17 08:51:28

I think it depends. Normal clothes, shoes etc should be covered.

Extras such as secondary school uniform (which can easily be £200 ) , trips and residential I would expect 50/50

JC23 Tue 07-Feb-17 08:55:02

AyeAmarok is spot on
It totally depends on the NRP's income. If he's a very high earner then his DC should continue to benefit from his wealth.

Ouriana Tue 07-Feb-17 08:55:03

I think maintenance (in some cases) also should reflect the fact one parent may not be able to work full time.

The before and after school provision in our area is almost non existent, so my ex can work 40/50hr weeks, whereas I have to be available for every school drop off and pick up. I also need to be available for any sick days, doctors or dentist appointments, and school holidays. I do work, but I can not go back to my old career and simply do not have the same earning potential as him while only working during school hours.

Im very lucky in that xdh apprciates one of us has to work part time, so he pays just over CSA levels but also half of all big purchases (school uniform, holidays, birthdays and christmas).

SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Tue 07-Feb-17 08:56:03

Of course it's supposed to contribute to living costs confused it's the child's home and they live there the majority of the time. Of course the absent parent should contribute to this. If custody is 50:50, then it's a different situation.

Its not like child maintenance is for food, uniform and a few spares. It's to contribute to the entire cost of raising a child, including housing and utilities.

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