Quite simply lost…..
7 November 2018 at 10:07 am #17583
I know I’m not the first and definitely won’t be the last but I am well and truly lost so have reached out to the internet.
My ex and I separated a little over a year ago, we have three children between us. The children spend an equal amount of time between both parents (50/50) which is an agreement we have come to between us. I do not pay any Child Maintenance but I do pay half towards uniform, school trips, birthday parties, anything to do with health, football and gymnastics and also feed and cloth them when they are with me – in my eyes this is shared care in it’s completeness. I have them half the time so therefore pay for half of their upbringing. The only slight exception to this this in school holidays whereby if I cannot get the time off work, I pay the mother an amount of money to look after the children during the day on my days and then pick them up in the evening.
My ex has now stated that she is going to pursue me for Child Maintenance which has me a little worried but also confused. Having read into this ‘shared care’, it states that if care it truly split between the two parties then no child maintenance is payable at all. Don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy to pay for my children’s upbringing and is it not about the money.
So now my questions,
1) reading the above, does this fit into ‘shared care’ albeit I appreciate there is not a lot of detail
2) If she wishes to pursue CM, then do I get chance to appeal or fight this
3) I have been on various websites including the CMS one but is there any additional support out there? A solicitor who can reassure me my thinking is correct?
Hoping this is the right place to ask for advice, I really am well and truly lost.
Thanks in advance7 November 2018 at 10:59 am #17584
Check out the gov.uk child maintenance calculator. It’s pretty straightforward. I would guess you will have to pay some child maintenance. It will be either based on you have the children 3 nights a week (156 to 174 a year) or more than 3 nights (175 or more a year). I think the school holidays will be a factor and just paying for those periods won’t be acceptable. But the good thing is the payments will reflect how often you have them. You may then re-think paying all the ad hoc things as you’ll be paying a set regular amount which will go towards things. I’d do it yourself rather than incurring fees also, pretty easy to work out if you and your ex get on and she trusts you.7 November 2018 at 11:12 am #17585
Thanks Adam, much appreciated.
I have done the calculator based on the 50:50 split and it calculates that I pay CM. My thought process is that as I currently pay for 50% of everything, then why should I then contribute to her costs of upbringing the children.
The school holiday thing was a compromise but she is now backing out of. I will happily have the kids on those days but it will be unpaid leave (not enough holiday allowance in a year).
Also, whilst I still feel that I am correct in saying in my case I should not have to pay CM, if it turns our that I do, then I should either pay a fixed amount (CM) or contribute 50% towards costs, NOT BOTH.
Thanks for the help and advice, just chatting is helping7 November 2018 at 11:24 am #17586
Sorry for quick reply, just at work at the moment. The good thing with CM is you safeguard yourself. Whereas ad hoc payments are harder to track. I’d switch to paying CM and cut back on the ad hoc spending.7 November 2018 at 11:31 am #17587
Hi Lost dad,
From my own experience, maintenance is a contribution to a child’s upbringing.
My ex husband does not contribute to anything else. If you’re paying maintenance, you’re not obliged to.
You do not pay maintenance and 50:50.
If you want to do something for the kids when they’re older, you could save and give the money to them upon them reaching maturity.
I assume that your ex has informed all of the relevant benefit of the shared care and how many nights they stay with you?
Also, with regard to taking unpaid leave. I know that CMS calculate maintenance using HMRC figures for April 2018, but if your income reduced by more than 20% then I think you can ask for a “variation”?
Good luck with everything7 November 2018 at 11:41 am #17588
Unfortunately I can not give you legal advice and would hate to tell you something that is incorrect, however what you are saying it sounds to me as you as a father have been totally reasonable and have a 50/50 arrangement. I would recommend calling 0800 988 0988 they are a child maintenance help line to assist. I found them really helpful.
I hope this helps you out. let us know how you get on.7 November 2018 at 11:53 am #17589
thank you for the responses, it really is appreciated.
I genuinely believe I am being fair which is why this all just doesn’t feel right to me.
My ex has stated she will be ‘applying for CM’ (I don’t believe she has processed the application yet’), guessing I can appeal or they ask for my side of the story???
I would rather continue paying 50% to everything for the kids than pay CM. I believe CM would work out cheaper though but don’t want to the kids to have to go through the whole process of having to bring clothing with then when they come to me (as assuming the CM should be used to pay for clothing too).
Getting very overwhelmed. Not even mentioned the Child Benefit yet 🙁7 November 2018 at 12:13 pm #17590
I have my son 50% of the time and the child maintenance calculator says I have to pay. Would be interested to know more about not having to pay. But then for me I work full time and my ex is part time so has more free time to go clothes shopping for my son etc. So it doesn’t worry me too much as I pay a set amount. I still buy odd bits of clothes and things for him when he is with me. It tends to work out alright. I don’t mind it.7 November 2018 at 12:14 pm #17591
When I say 50% of the time it is based on the number of nights which is what they base it on.7 November 2018 at 12:39 pm #17593
Have you spoke to the help line, I really think they will inform you, and help you know where you stand.7 November 2018 at 12:51 pm #17594
Thanks Trev, will try them at some point today. Will let you know how I get on.8 November 2018 at 10:01 pm #17644
Any news bud12 November 2018 at 9:15 am #17750
So onto my third conversation with conflicting information, will provide an update when I get the most correct info 🙁12 November 2018 at 12:16 pm #17780
Fell bad for you bud, It makes me want to put my head in the sand sometimes, All you want is a yes or no answer, unfortunately the goal post move regularly, and the organisation don’t alway know the answer themselves.
Have you sent an email to gingerbread, I am sure they may be able to assist or point you in the right direction.
The other option is bite the bullet and pay for a family law solicitor, easier said than done, when you trying to support two families I know. I would also recommend CAB, but they are not always easy to get to talk to either.
I found the child maintenance helpline really useful myself, I guess it also depends who you get to speak to as well.