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Use the CSA, or not?

(1 Post)
NotaDisneyMum Tue 05-Jul-11 16:43:50

Bear with me, cos this is long, but I would appreciate views on what others would do in this situation, so would appreciate it if you'd grab a brew and read on, thanks smile

exH and I have been apart for 2 years. Since then, we have always shared DD10 care 50:50. When we first separated, exH was negotiating with creditors, and he and I were both advised (independently) that I should claim via the CSA for child maintenance, as that bit of exH income would not then be considered when calculating his repayment plan. The CSA money wasn't a huge amount each month, as the 50% of nights that DD was with exH were deducted.
I was working full time then in a fairly well paid job, and receiving the child benefit and tax credits for DD as well as the CSA money, so I agreed that as well as paying for all DD's school trips, uniform and so forth, I would supply all the clothes/shoes and similar essentials that DD needed at exH home - I was effectively financially responsible for her, while he provided a roof over her head and meals 50% of the time.

This worked well at first, if I bought DD a new pair of trainers, she'd pick a second pair for her to take to her dads house, and I would pick up bits and bobs in her size when I saw them so that if s/he told me she was getting short of (for instance) socks, I usually had some. However, exH didn't seem happy with the way I was providing DD with what she needed, and he asked if I would give him "an allowance" to go clothes shopping with DD from the CSA money that I received. I wasn't particularly comfortable with that idea, tbh - I already had spares/extras of clothes for DD in various larger sizes that I'd picked up in sales/nearly-news, etc and also he gave me the impression that he wanted to "buy" for DD without actually incurring any cost.
Before that was finally resolved, he asked me if I would be prepared to spend several months worth of CSA payments on an optional school trip that she had the chance to go on, which she had attended the previous year, and had been offered the chance to take up a spare place with the preceding school year group.
Had he asked if we could discuss whether or not DD could go, I might have been more amenable, but his email just said - "would you be prepared to use the CSA money I give you to pay for DD to go on this trip again?" I felt totally undermined -I was the one who had been budgeting and ensuring that she had clothes, shoes, coats, wellies and so forth at two homes - which seemed to totally bypass him; it felt like he wanted to influence how I was spending the money available for DD.

Anyway, in order to prevent me being placed in that situation again, I dropped the CSA claim; and instead, we came to a private arrangement in which no money changed hands; we were responsible for clothing etc in our own homes with the cost of trips, school uniform and so forth split 50:50. At the same time, I moved in with SO, and together, our income took us over the tax-credit threshhold, so it was agreed that exH would claim tax credits for DD as his household only had one income.

About 6 months later, I was made redundant, and the private arrangement was amended so exH was responsible for paying for essentials, with other clothes/items still bought by the home they were needed in. I got a part time job a few weeks later, and emailed exH to suggest we discuss a new arrangement on a proportional basis, and also to transfer the tax credit claim back to our household (his partner had moved in with him by then, so his household income had gone up considerably, while mine/SO's had gone down). exH never replied to that email, so nothing has changed relating to tax credits; SO and I are not claiming as exH still is.

<still with me? wink>

Now to the point of my post, which is what happened over the last couple of weeks. DD took two notes home to exH about planned school trips, both of which required a small payment. exH sent them to me (via DD) as they take place during weeks when DD is in my care. He didn't indicate on the notes, or txt/email, to say that he had paid or intended to pay, so yesterday, I popped the cash in an envelope and gave it to DD to take to school this morning. (DD comes to me after school every day, even during the weeks she is living at her dads - he picks her up after work, which saves him paying for childcare, and DD prefers it to after school club).

exH sent me a snotty email last night, saying that he didn't send me the notes about the trips for that reason, and if I'd wanted the money, I should have asked him for it.
I sent a short email back, saying that I would prefer it if he paid direct to the school when possible and that I'd paid because he hadn't given me any indication that he had/intended to.

I have had a tirade of hatred back via email in response - telling me how I made him feel very angry, and that I had attacked him and his parenting - how he is worried that I have breached the "agreement" we had and how the school may have been paid twice for things - and how I should be emailing him to ask him to pay for things confused

HELP! I don't know what to do now? I don't think we can carry on with a private agreement if our lines of communication have broken down this much sad If I go back to the CSA, I'm happy to pay for DD's essentials, trips, uniform etc, but I can't afford to buy all the clothing DD needs at both houses like I did before - and anyway, exH wasn't happy with that either.....confused

What would you do?

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