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CSA quandary - advice from lone parents welcome!!

17 replies

csadilemma · 28/02/2006 14:18

Please see this post I have placed on the step parenting board:


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csadilemma · 28/02/2006 14:21

meant to add that I would appreciate any insight you might be able to give into my situation. Thanks!

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spacecadet · 28/02/2006 14:27

dont want you to think you are being ignored but am reading your post carefully before i post to make sure i have everything.

spacecadet · 28/02/2006 14:41

Having read your post, I would say that if CSA pay the money back to you, they will only take from her what she can afford, so they may just take a minimal amount a week from her..
I dont know the full circumstances of the split etc so cant comment on her hostility but have you considered going for mediation to see if you can improve the relationship between your dh and his ex as it weould benefit the children in the long run.

prettyfly1 · 28/02/2006 15:02

can i ask a few extra questions........

does she work?
is your dd also your current partners?
why do you pay your partners maintenance - why are his earnings so low?

sorry to sound nosey but like space i like to try and understand everything before comment.

csadilemma · 28/02/2006 15:10

Thanks Spacecadet.

The single biggest cause of hostility has been the CSA and this claim. Before that they managed ok, I would even say reasonably amicable. DH was paying over the odds before this ever kicked off under private arrangement but the problem is that he is self employed and has always has periods of not earning (we used to buy her groceries etc on the credit card when this happened but obviously she didn't like this - she wanted regular payments and also i think she thought he was holding out on her and earning more than he was).

There has been SO much fall out from this CSA claim in tems of contact disputes, bllsht with the kids etc. Their relationship totally broke down, things were really bad, they couldn't even speak. A couple of years ago DH made ex go to mediation and things got better. The mediator quickly assessed that all the problems, including contact issues, were a direct result of issues caused by CSA and money matters. DH warned her at mediation that she was going to be shocked at how little he earned and what the CSA assessment would be and mediator asked them to reach a private agreement again (interestingly the mediator's view was that an amicable relationship is IMPOSSIBLE with CSA involved!!). But she kept on that we weren't paying her enough and also kept with the CSA.

They might well go back to mediation after this. In a way if this CSA crap was out of the way we could all go back to living sensible lives with both of us paying for the kids as and when expenses arise. But DH needs to know that there will be no more filling the kid's heads with this crap and needs them to know that the issue is now resolved. The mediator suggested last time bringing the kids to mediation which DH agreed with but ex didn't want to do it.

Just want to move on!!

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prettyfly1 · 28/02/2006 15:16

right well firstly i think rather then her sitting down explaining that csa ar epains etc, it may be better for both parents to do it. secondly two hundred a month is not a massive amount and i am afraid if he still lived with her he would obviously pay a lot more so i suspect if you guys can afford not to reclaim that money, in the interest of good relations that may be a very good idea. put in writing both tho her and the csa what your reasons for not wanting the money back are. thirdly and please dont think i am having a go. if your partners income is so low you are paying for his children as well as your own then perhaps he needs to consider more regular work, it seems like this must be one hell of a strain on you. i struggle to provide for just the two of us.

i hope this gets resolved. it is stressful when the csa are involved but it wont last forever and i hope you can find someway to carry on a little more comfortably.

csadilemma · 28/02/2006 15:16

Pretty fly:
does she work? Yes and she receives various benefits including WFTC and also in relation to one child who is SN (but we never get any help towards him!!). She has a new partner who tends to stay home with their younger child and also is a student so doesn't earn much (much like my DH!)
is your dd also your current partners? Yes
why do you pay your partners maintenance - why are his earnings so low? Because I am earning the only real income that’s why I pay. His earnigns are low as I have gone back to work FT and my job is demanding which makes it impossible for me to pick up, drop off DD. I earn much more than he can and when he works it is very hard work for not much money. He still picks up occasional small jobs, he looks after DD 2 days, does drop off and pick up from CM then works on various other projects (which we hope will make us money one day) in the other days including renovating our house. He also often drives his older 2 around a lot after school etc.

To be honest he has always been self employted and found it very hard to fit in these jobs around his commitments to his children - most employer's don't understand men having to drop everything at the last moment to have their children for a week over half term etc. And you can imagine how hard it would be for him to find part time work 3 days a week 10am - 4pm!!

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prettyfly1 · 28/02/2006 15:17

p syou sound like a very nice woman and i think other women who take on a man with children from a previosu relationship could do with following your example a little.

csadilemma · 28/02/2006 15:25

We may only have the kids stay with us 90 nights a year or so but it costs us a lot more to provide housing for them than it does for her (they have their own rooms). So when you say he would be paying more than 200 if he lived with her I think you need to accept that in shared care cases this is much more fuzzy - there are 2 lots of housing/living costs to be provided for!
We have tried him working since I went back from mat leave but I found it so stressful as my job is just so inflexible - it works because I know he is there for DD else I couldn't handle it. We are planning to sell our house to try and "make" some money to pay debts etc and hope to be in a better position soon. My DH is the opposite of lazy - he does everything around the house and never stops "working" - he just doesn't get paid for it!!
I agree it isn't right for me to pay the maintenance and now that we have a nil assessment then i won't be. But I accpet tthat it is not her fault that DH is not earning (even though he also stayed home with the kids a lot when he was with her and even though her DP is similar). Therefore I am happy to pay for all the extra costs out of my money (like phones, school lunches, clothes etc). What I would really like is for ex to accept that we both have lving costs but to go 50/50 on the big expense of the kids. And I will pay that out of my money as I accpet my DSKs are as much a part of my family as my DD is. Myabe they need to go back to mediation to sort it out….

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csadilemma · 28/02/2006 15:29

Maybe i am not actually that nice - we have an ulterior motice of wanting the kids to accpet we are doing our best for them!!

Plus I am happy not to be having to pay her maintenance any more even though I know it is not much and she does probably need it - I am just sick of being so short all the time - but nor do i want Dh to go back to work which will just be too stressful and make him really unhappy too.

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csadilemma · 28/02/2006 15:53

Sorry its me again - sorry so many posts!!
I just definitely want to stress that I am not claiming to be virtuous!!! I am not!
And do not have an issue with the ex except for her handling of this CSA business (and most importantly involving the kds like she has) but I also accept that CSA are wind up merchants - they tell totally different stories to both parties and I have no doubt that they have been egging her on for years about DH at the same time they have been telling him something completely different.
Which is why I am glad of this nil assessment as maybe it will mean she loses interest in CSA and they can actually start again to deal with this sensibly (which in my opinion would be 50/50 split of all expenses other than housing costs, happily paid by me whether or not I can afford it and whehter or not it means more debt).
DH may well earn money again soon he has various projects on the go. If this happens then we will inform the CSA of everything. We have not lied about anything. But even better she will close the CSA case and he will just give her money as and when he comes into it.
But do you think this overpayment issue is a chance to try and mend some bridges and start again? Or is the nil assessment going to be a much bigger issue (I suspect it is!). How do we move forward from here?

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spacecadet · 28/02/2006 16:53

the nil assessment is obviously going to be a bone of contention with your dh's ex as she will may feel that he is not providing for his children, however, im not denying that he wont be to some extent in that you do obviously contribute to other childcare costs and i have to say that my ex has never done that and only pays 20 pounds a week, i think it would be an idea to get down in writing, what things you are reasonably going to cover costs of, ie half the mobile phone bills etc so both parties know where they stand.
On the overpayment issue, i would say that if you honestly can afford to leave the money, dont ask for it back as the money did go towards supporting his children.
I would hope that goes towards mending the bridges, but I would at least consider mediation again.
Good luckSmile

csadilemma · 28/02/2006 17:01

Thanks SC. I think mediation might be necessary.

For the record I oay 100% of mobile phone costs!! It costs about £60 a month for both (yes I know that is crazy, bloody teenagers). She has no idea what it costs but obviously she likes them to be contactable. I spend 25 every 2 weeks on school lunches which is exactly half. I guess I would like to pay towards all the other costs as well as and when they arise like uniforms, school books etc. I would say we pay for a lot of their clothes and shoes already.

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csadilemma · 28/02/2006 17:02

I don't think she considers what we pay at all, nor would I expect her to.

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spacecadet · 28/02/2006 17:05

i def think you need to go for mediation, i sincerely hope that you get somewhere with it.

csadilemma · 28/02/2006 17:10

Thanks for your help. I wish I knew that we could undo all the damsge with the kids but I guess we can't peform miracles! Just hope there is not worse to come...

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csadilemma · 17/03/2006 13:31

Have just posted an update to this thread on the step parent board for anybody who is interested

You will see that I am venting and far from a perfect "step" person, most of the time I don't act nasty but I still do feel angry & over emotional if pushed. I won't say any of what I wrote in that post to anyone in person except for DH so it is good to get 5 years of frustration out and maybe even get some advice in the process which helps me act more sensibly. Anyway, thought it might help some of you to understand why CSA makes things so nasty and how it actually feels from the other side…

Although it seems like our case is kind of an unusual one!!

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