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Just to reply re the £5000 figure. If you’re paying this amount over all with your pocket money payments etc, then that works out at approx  £40 a week per child. So when put like that isn’t that high.

presumably your ex took maternity leave and took the hit on her career by  being the private caregiver before you split. So she’s always going to be further disadvantaged by this whilst your career will have been uninterrupted by that time. This is quite significant.

Yes she has the same outgoings re housing and utility costs etc. But is probably earning less now partly due to above. How she used the maintenance is her choice, paying gas bills is just as appropriate as buying school shoes!

If you wish to pay less for the frivolous elements that is your choice, but don’t judge what she spends on.

But please bear in mind that had you remained a couple the children would have had a certain standard of living, is it just in your mind that this should be lowered as a result of the separation? Or are you actually giving a false sense of standard of living as this is now beyond your means?