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Divorce/separation

Supporting children at University after divorce

96 replies

brambee · 21/02/2019 10:59

I am after some opinions here. My DD is due to start university in September 2019. The full maintenance loan would be £11 672 (London, not living at home). However, due to her father's salary (over £280 000, yes, over 1/4 million) she will only get a basic rate of £5654. He has refused to top up the loan. He has said I need to pay the amount because I get a combined spousal maintenance/child element for the next 6 years due to the disparity in our income. My income is under £30 000 and I work full time. If I top up her loan that would use all of the extra money. My solicitor clearly said that the money was to support my DC when home from uni and give them a similar lifestyle to the one at their father's. (I also have an older DS at uni, XH does not top up his loan either but luckily DS managed to find a part time job and I help him out as much as possible.)
I cannot believe he will not support his children. I am so angry about this. I feel as if he is making the children's lives a misery to get at me. AIBU?

OP posts:
pallisers · 25/02/2019 17:40

The resident parent has day today responsibility for the children and how things are budgeted, and live within the means of their own income plus any maintenence received.

And you think that includes saving for university do you? And if the woman - sorry RP - doesn't prudently save the money the man - sorry the non RP - graciously gives her so she can top up loans in the future, she is not living within her means and must under no circumstances tell her children in case they would think badly of their sainted father - sorry non RP? How very convoluted of you.

SkinnyPete · 25/02/2019 17:55

@pallisers yes.

I'm RP and don't 'expect' a penny towards future university costs.

TearingUpMyHeart · 25/02/2019 18:33

Saved up a lot have you?

TearingUpMyHeart · 25/02/2019 18:35

Heaven forbid their father pay anything, what with his massive income!

Op - is this connected to his relationship with them as well? Maybe they, and you, just need to come to terms with him being a dick. No inheritance either for example.

SkinnyPete · 25/02/2019 18:48

This appears to be a debate about have and have not Confused

Once parents have split, beyond any maintenence agreements/orders, there are no obligations, and the RP is responsible for day to day costs.

pallisers · 25/02/2019 20:09

Once parents have split, beyond any maintenence agreements/orders, there are no obligations

yeah we all get that. It doesn't mean that people can't judge you if you earn a high income and won't contribute to your own child's education. I would judge anyone for that whether married or divorced. The father in this case resents his ex more than he loves his daughter. And for some reason you seem to think the OP is responsible for this.

SkinnyPete · 25/02/2019 20:57

The child arrangements is almost 50/50, and the XH likely pays around £15k/year after tax. Her DD is going to be mostly living away from home.

Plus there's some questions over why XH income taken into consideration as DD lives with Mum.

Irrespective of XH income, I think the current arrangement adds up (15k for nearly 50/50), and can understand why the XH doesn't want to shell out any more.

NotBeingRobbed · 25/02/2019 21:01

When you divorce you split from your husband/wife not your children. The decree absolute does not cut the blood tie! Should parents support their children beyond the age of 18 if in full-time education? I think they should. The legal system says otherwise. I am certainly going to help my children. Their father won’t. He is taking away the money saved to help them and he won’t be contributing a penny towards uni. It’s his loss - who will be there at the graduation ceremony? Hopefully me!

SandyY2K · 25/02/2019 23:12

I agree that she should get the full loan based on your household income only.

Get in touch with the SL company.

Although students going to university are adults and allegedly independent, the fact that parental income is taken into account really indicates that parents should contribute.

I know not all parents are in a position to do this. Given what your ex earns, I'd say he's very tight and I'm suprised your DD wants to spend any time with him at all, never mind just reducing it.

MissedTheBoatAgain · 26/02/2019 00:17

The OP has not divulged the details of the Annual amount that ExH will pay. Odd to get child maintenance when children reach 18. So sounds like the ExH is providing for the children, but the mother wants to keep it for herself?

MissedTheBoatAgain · 26/02/2019 01:47

Once parents have split, beyond any maintenance agreements/orders, there are no obligations

yeah we all get that. It doesn't mean that people can't judge you if you earn a high income and won't contribute to your own child's education


In OP's case child support is being paid even though children have passed 18. As another poster pointed out:

You can't really expect to keep in your own pocket child support for adult children who are living elsewhere!

pallisers · 26/02/2019 03:54

In OP's case child support is being paid even though children have passed 18.

No that is not the case. The OP's divorce settlement included an amount to be paid to her for 6 years after the last child hit 18. It was a combination of spousal and child support and part of an overall settlement. It was not given to her with the express purpose of paying for university. And from what she said it amounts to about 6k a year. Not exactly ball-breaking for a man on 250k a year.

Based purely on the information given by the OP (which is all we have) I judge her ex as a poor father. If you think his behaviour is that of a good father ... well off you go. People have different standards.

MissedTheBoatAgain · 26/02/2019 05:37

To pallisers.

Your post is all over the place.

In OP's case child support is being paid even though children have passed 18

No that is not the case

It was a combination of spousal and child support and part of an overall settlement

So by your own admission OP is receiving Child Support for children over 18?

Lots of detail OP has not provided as other posters have pointed out. If ExH earns 280K and ExW earns 26K that is certainly an argument for Spousal Maintenance even if just for a fixed term.

Dangerous to compare cases, but when Mostyn made his ruling in 2014 the ExH who earned 300K had to pay 30K per year in Spousal Maintenance for 11 years in addition to 22.5K per year for 3 children to cover private school. The total maintenance represented 36% of the ExH net income.

So I can't convince myself that ExW receives only 6K per year from 280K. That is not much different to what my ExW receives and I earn a lot less than 280K. However, again as other posters have pointed out it maybe that OP received the lion's share of the assets in preference to Spousal Maintenance and forgot about future University costs?

InsomniaTho · 26/02/2019 15:50

I’d be fucked off if was your DC, OP. I’m a mature student in my 30s with DC of my own, but my Dad who runs a small business and earns nowhere near 250k still bought me a few text books when I started Uni last year. Why? Because he’s my Dad. Simples innit.

AngelaHodgeson · 26/02/2019 16:22

Student finance are notoriously difficult to deal with. I actually recommend quoting this info at them:

"What counts as household income
Your household income is your taxable income plus the income of:

  • your parents - if you’re under 25 and live with them or depend on them financially
  • one of your parents and their partner - if you’re under 25 and live with them or depend on them financially
  • your partner - if you’re over 25 and live with them (even if they spend most of their time abroad)"

Taken from: www.gov.uk/apply-for-student-finance/household-income

You DD doesn't live with her Dad and isn't financially dependent on him so his income isn't included.

If they refuse to budge contact your MP. IME the people who answer the phones at student finance rarely know what they are doing but they manage to apply their own rules to the situation if you keep on at them.
brambee · 26/02/2019 18:59

Thank you for all the comments. I have been following with interest.
I am not trying to withhold information, but this may help clarify some things. My DD has joint residency with myself and Exh, although this is 55%/45% split or there abouts. Due to her age, she is allowed to stay where she wants. This was made very clear at mediation. I currently get child maintenance for her which is pro-rata for the split. (Hence my comment about not asking for more, even though she is now staying with me more.)
Child maintenance will stop when she leaves full time education (school.) I then get £6000 a year for the next 6 years and that is it. Missedtheboat: your post made me feel sick. Have I been completely duped by the legal system? I do not get anywhere near the amount you stated. It was a long marriage. I have since re-trained to support myself and I am proud to do so. I am happy to cut my cloth, so to speak, and have been so happy to be out of an awful relationship. No amount of money on this planet would make me regret my decision to leave. Exh verbally and emotionally abused the children and me and it was a horrible toxic environment. That aside, my DC are wonderful and try to forge a relationship with their father. They know they can call on me day or night if they need to. I no longer cover up or make excuses for Exh behaviour, but I have effectively taught the DCs to not challenge Exh in an effort to 'keep the peace.'
So, yes, I am not approaching this with a lovely balanced view and hence my post. I think what this has made me realise it that I am responsible for doing what I see as the noble option and I will support both of my DC's with as much monetary and emotional support as I can. Their father can choose to do the same or not, but that is up to him. If this results in almost all of my global maintenance going on my DC, then so be it. I still think their father could and should be more generous, but if he was not reasonable when married he is hardly going to be so now!

OP posts:
SandyY2K · 26/02/2019 19:49

It might do your DD good to know that in spending half the time with her dad, his income is taken into account and is affecting the loan amount she receives.

brambee · 26/02/2019 19:59

Yes. If she spends time with her dad then he should also contribute to her upkeep at uni. The point still stands that if she was with me 100% then she would get the full maintenance loan. If I split my annual £6000 between both DC then they get £3000 each which is still only 50% of the money they are not getting by having a minimum maintenance loan. He is refusing to pay his 50%. Obviously we (as in Exh and myself) would both be having the DC over the holidays so that cost in effect is cancelled out.

OP posts:
SkinnyPete · 26/02/2019 23:10

Yes. If she spends time with her dad then he should also contribute to her upkeep at uni.

But if he has near 50% he's supporting a child living with him during that that time, as well as contributing financially to the other 50% where the child lives with Mum... Effectively funding both.

No doubt in this instance he can afford it, but u can see why he'd bauk at any more.

MissedTheBoatAgain · 27/02/2019 02:20

Missedtheboat: your post made me feel sick. Have I been completely duped by the legal system?

How long ago was the Divorce? Was your divorce settled after mediation recommendation or was it done by a consent order or court order? As the marriage was long I would be surprised if it was court ordered and the global figure was set at £6000 when you ExH has an annual net income of £136000 unless his income was much lower at the time of the divorce and his income has since sky rocketed? Is that what happened?

Did you keep the bulk of the assets (property, pensions, vehicles, cash, etc) as that would possibly reduce Spousal Maintenance.

I am not family solicitor, but my understanding is that the subject of maintenance can be revisited if there is a change of circumstances or the original agreement is considered unfair. Suggest you seek professional advice as on the surface it sounds like you have been short changed.

Good luck.

kbPOW · 27/02/2019 18:35

It's definitely only assessed on household income rather than both parents' income if they're divorced.

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