Child Maintenance Advice

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  • #7356 Report



    new here. Pulling my hair out a bit.

    I’m a single dad with full custody of my three teenage kids. Oldest is outside of school and education now but doesn’t have an income. He’s over 18 trying to make his way in the world but not getting anywhere fast. He’s not on job seekers because he’s trying to run his own business. Upshot though is I’m not allowed any maintenance for him, AND he costs me in terms of council tax and so on and I don’t get any child benefit or other things for him as he’s too old.
    Other two kids are both teens and I am getting maintenance and child benefit for them.


    The issue is that their mother, who lives a long way away, has LOADS of money. She pays the minimum possible and even claims a reduction in the maintenance she pays to give her expenses for travel (expenses she doesn’t need but used the system to reduce what she has to pay me). I get just over £200 a month for 2 kids. The eldest not coming into it. She works full time with a salary over £25,000.

    She’s just inherited hundreds of thousands from a close relative.

    There is a financial settlement already in place through the divorce which means, I think, that I can’t raise any new objections about money.

    My question is though … What can I do? We’re on the breadline and really struggling. When my kids go to see their mum every other weekend (the eldest doesn’t really go anymore) she lavishes gifts and treats and days out on them. When they’re here the other 95% of the time they’ve got holes in their shoes and I’m struggling for fuel and food.

    Especially with this new huge amount of money I know she is getting is there anything I can do? Not that I want it for myself at all … I really don’t, but is there a way to ensure she pays more generously for the maintenance of her kids? What if she quits work and supposedly has “no income” through earnings but does have £400,000 sitting in the bank or in investments?

    It just seems so very lopsided and unfair. I’m sure many others have been through similar. Any advice very welcome. Thank you.

    #7361 Report


    Hi, I just wanted to say I completely understand your struggle. My two girls are 13 and soon to be 17, I get abit of maintenance from there dad but doesn’t go far. They need extra stuff growing all the time and my youngest sees her dad every two weeks and gets treated by him but eldest doesn’t want to see him so gets nothing. Life certainly is a battle.

    #7366 Report

    Same.  My ex is getting paid cash in hand and has his finances all wrapped up nicely so I get the minimum payment.

    Do you work?  Could your oldest child look for part time work in a supermarket or the like until his business gets off the ground?  He should be helping you where he can past full time education.

    #7369 Report


    Sorry to hear this, I would focus on what you can do rather than what your ex doesn’t.

    If you boy needs help getting the business off the ground maybe he could ask her for some seed money?

    Or if he has no income at all he can sign on and even receive help setting up his business from the dole office.

    First and foremost I would tell him you are struggling and ask if he can contribute? If not and you continue to support him entirely then you need some share in the business because you are effectively bankrolling it by supporting him.

    None of these are nice conversations but they are all reality founders of other businesses have had to do.

    My ex is flatly refusing to pay maintenance and even with deductions from earnings order she still manages not to pay maintenance so I feel your pain.

    #7386 Report


    Thanks for the replies everyone …

    To answer a few questions or to clear up a few things:

    Yes, I work, but am running my own business. So I’m slogging my guts out doing 80+ hour weeks and making little headway just keeping heads above water. I could get another job but it would mean jacking in the development of my business which I’ve invested heavily into. We’re only 2 years in, so we’re in that phase of hard graft and keeping on going to reach the promised land (so my accountant tells me).

    My eldest son is in the same boat. He’s doing really great and working really hard, but he also started his own business and it’s just picking up now after a lot of effort from him. He’s not doing nothing. He’s also mentally battered and bruised by the events of the marriage break up (She kidnapped the kids for a time and tried to enforce them into a new life with the guy she was having an affair with – it wasn’t pretty and has left lasting damage on all of us). So he really struggles regularly to the extent that I don’t think he would be able to hold down a job in the real work if I’m honest).

    My ex hasn’t remarried but she lives with the guy she ran off with. He has two kids from his previous marriage who live with him. My ex claims a reduction for the maintenance she pays for our kids due to her living with HIS kids, AND she claims a reduction on maintenance to account for travel expenses. The thing with her needing a reduction because of HIS kids is a joke because he is on a £45,000+ salary and she is on a £25,000+ salary. It’s a complete joke all of it.

    #7388 Report



    well to be fair … that IS what we’re both doing right now. Honestly, both my son and I are working very very hard indeed and seeing fruit for our labours coming but it’s slow hard graft. We’re ok – we are surviving … just … but the issue is the ENORMOUS disparity between our standard of living and hers COUPLED with the very low level of maintenance she’s willing to pay. This new development of inheriting a small fortune is the thing which really troubles me and makes me wonder if there is any recourse to receive a review of her finances and for it to be taken into account at all. Her stance has been to reduce and reduce the maintenance any way possible. If she uses the huge cash windfall she’s getting to leave work and end up with zero income I worry what that will mean for us.

    She didn’t move. I did, with the kids, to try and get us somewhere safe and stable and away from the horrific levels of abuse and attacks we were experiencing. So we moved back to my home town where I have family and friends. She’s been able to move if she wanted to but has chosen to stay put with the guy she ran off with.



    #7389 Report


    PS – the move was about 200 miles.


    #7393 Report


    Thanks – erm … I’m not at all bothered by the difference in lifestyles. I’m much much happier being where we are in the way we are and don’t view her money as anything than a sad emptiness to be honest.

    The thing I’m asking about here is whether the inheritance would be looked at by the child maintenance people I guess. As it IS an issue given her pattern of doing anything she can to reduce maintenance.

    In regard to the travel – yes indeed. The issue behind that is that we went to court before I moved away and had to reach a legal agreement about ongoing contact for her before I moved. We agreed to share the burden of travel which tied us both into meeting half way each time. However, that sharing of the burden wasn’t phrased in the right way. Whereas I understood that it meant we would share the cost, it didn’t specifically say that and so the CSA have had no choice but to allow her to claim expenses … even though it was very clear in face to face discussions that she wouldn’t do that. So yes, I have to take it on the chin BUT … it is a very deliberate and nasty slap in the face when she has more than enough income to make it entirely unnecessary for her.

    My point is not that she is better off and that’s so unfair … it is that she is so well off that these things she does shouldn’t be necessary for her to do. I can’t do anything about that, but given that she’s just inherited huge amounts of money … WHAT if anything would be the course of action there.

    I’m sorry I seem to have led people down red herring issues which aren’t really what I was asking about.

    #7453 Report


    Bob1974 you haven’t misled anyone here. Other people “read” what they want to read, then twist it.

    sad but you are doing a great job by trying to do what’s fair for your children.

    i wish you the very best

    #7620 Report


    Hi Bob I can sympathise a bit and have just joined the forum to try and get some advice myself.

    I divorced 3 years ago and have not claimed anything from my ex in terms of spousal maintenance because of his controlling and manipulative nature. However my kids, now 14 and 17 who used to live with me are now resident with their dad…long and not nice story, but now I have found myself in the situation of having to pay maintenance, whereas I used to get the child benefit plus a few hundred in tax credits. I have worked part time since having the children and earn around £21k – i was always the main carer when they were young and we were together as a family while my husband progressed his career, worked full time and earns £40k + With those benefits and taking extra hours when I could, I was just about breaking even. Now I am having to slog every hour I can, barely get to see the kids and have to pay him. If there are any extra bills like car or house maintenance, I am going into debt….and it seems that child maintenance is calculated on a percentage of your salary regardless of what bills you have to pay or the “needs” of the receiving parent.

    Does anyone have any experience of being able to get maintenance reduced? I really cant afford to keep going like this.

    #7632 Report


    To Bob1974.

    Based on an income of 25K and 200 miles travel each way every other weekend and 2 other kids in ex’s new home I estimate that your ex should pay 200 pounds per month.  Without travel costs being claimed ex would pay an estimated 247 pounds per month.

    What your ex’s new partner earns does not enter the equation.

    As for the capital sum from Inheritance you would need to demonstrate that this was known about at the time of financial settlement and your ex did not declare it on her Form E.  That you know the figure of 400K suggests you have received information from somewhere?  However, the legal costs of going back to Court and trying to get a Final Order for Financial Settlement will be high.

    Under CSA the 400K would have been assumed to produce a Notional Income of 8% which is 32K.  So your ex would have been assessed on income of 57K and you would have received 424 pounds per month.  However, under CMS assets and capital that do not produce an income are no longer considered.

    If your ex is earning interest on the 400K then you can ask for a CMS for a Variation based on unearned income.  1.5% on 400K is 6K per year.  Add that to 25K you would receive 260 per month for 2 kids even allowing for travel expenses.

    Good luck as you ex seems to know all the dodges to reduce Child Maintenance.




    #7633 Report


    To Kate101

    Child maintenance is based solely on the Gross Weekly income of the paying parent.  Your living costs and needs and the needs and earnings of the receiving parent are not taken into account.

    Earnings of 21K would produce a monthly maintenance of 279 pounds for 2 kids before adjustments made for time kids spend with you.

    You situation is unusual in that although you are the weaker earner you are also the paying parent.  Usually the other way around.

    Spousal Maintenance may be worth considering if there is a large difference between your income and that of your ex.  There is no formula for spousal maintenance.  However, the needs of both partners and their circumstances will be taken into account.  May not come to much, but might to help offset some of the Child Maintenance you pay?

    Good luck

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