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Maintenance and child care
#1
Hi all,

I'm new on here but I would like some advice.

I have been paying my ex regular maintenance payments, half towards other costs such as school uniform, trips, and other activities like rugby fees, etc. I also fully pay my two boys' phone bills, and one of their gym memberships every month. I am also the 'on call' sitter when my ex goes to work, taking them to school in the mornings, and taking and fetching them to sports activities at the weekends.

My ex still insists that I don't pay enough. I have pointed out to her that I have not only paid above and beyond what is expected of me but I have also saved her £££s in childcare costs, including over night stays when she was on night shift.

She is now insisting on going through the CSA.

My children are now 16 and 14, we separated when the boys were 7 and 9, so I have saved her a considerable amount in childcare costs. I currently pay her £200 maintenance per month plus all the other expenses that children incur (half of), I pay a total of £80 per month for gym fees and phone bills. I have recently paid £800 for a school trip, and £400 towards school uniform. I even managed to pay maintenance when I was out of work for 2 months. She seems to think that because I'm the Dad that I should 'babysit' as and when she requires it.

I know there is no hard and fast rule for what I should pay, but I'd like to ask that if the CSA gets involved would they take into consideration all the extra that I pay, and the childcare I provide?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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#2
(01-31-2017, 08:25 PM)DSuffolk71 Wrote: Hi all,

I'm new on here but I would like some advice.

I have been paying my ex regular maintenance payments, half towards other costs such as school uniform, trips, and other activities like rugby fees, etc. I also fully pay my two boys' phone bills, and one of their gym memberships every month. I am also the 'on call' sitter when my ex goes to work, taking them to school in the mornings, and taking and fetching them to sports activities at the weekends.

My ex still insists that I don't pay enough. I have pointed out to her that I have not only paid above and beyond what is expected of me but I have also saved her £££s in childcare costs, including over night stays when she was on night shift.

She is now insisting on going through the CSA.

My children are now 16 and 14, we separated when the boys were 7 and 9, so I have saved her a considerable amount in childcare costs. I currently pay her £200 maintenance per month plus all the other expenses that children incur (half of), I pay a total of £80 per month for gym fees and phone bills. I have recently paid £800 for a school trip, and £400 towards school uniform. I even managed to pay maintenance when I was out of work for 2 months. She seems to think that because I'm the Dad that I should 'babysit' as and when she requires it.

I know there is no hard and fast rule for what I should pay, but I'd like to ask that if the CSA gets involved would they take into consideration all the extra that I pay, and the childcare I provide?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
First of all, we need to check this "maintenance" is Child Support. Since the Welfare Benefit Reforms took place, only Child Benefit and Child Support are not considered as income for benefits a single person can get (This includes in work benefits like Tax Credits or Housing Benefit). If you are paying her anything not child related, then it needs to be separate.

What you had was a "Family Based Agreement", what I am not a fan of, as either the Resident Parent gets themselves a better deal, or they do not lose, by putting in CMS.

In a CMS case, your ex should pay for all normal day to day costs while the children are with her.
Your liability is only from collection up to returning the children, where you have to pay for anything in that time.
Note where you collect and return the child to, is in the control of your ex, so if there is any costs (if childcare is used) its her bill.

The only exception to that is where either of you have arranged something in the other parents time by agreement, and they are just letting it happen then.
So as an example, if you have arranged the phones, and you ex is just letting them have it, then it is your bill.

Your ex can claim anything she can, what will consider her current household size etc, so in law, assumptions are made she has what she needs to live off. Your Child Support payment puts her in a better position by what is considered in law to be a fair contribution towards her normal day to day costs.

The CMS system looks at your Income, that being P60 or Self Assessment Gross Profit for the last tax year, unless there is a change either way by 25% or you go onto some means tested benefits, where the claim is looked at again soon as they are aware. There is a disregard amount, what they say you need for yourself.

Note that other aspects can come into it, if you have Benefits in Kind, Pension Contributions or if your paying a mortgage for a house you do not live in, but the child does. Any of them could be subject to an application by her, for a higher income to be considered, or in the case of a mortgage, you asking to lower the amount you have to pay.

The 2nd considered fact is if you or any new partner have dependent children, who either of you get Child Benefit for. This would increase the disregard amount, to cover the needs of the child who lives with you.

The 3rd considered fact is "Staying contact". There is no reduction if the contact is only daytime, it needs to be overnight and the reduction depends on how many nights over a year, with the brackets being 0-52, 53-104, 105-156, 157-174 and 175+

Contact is about you Quality Time with the children, and any babysitting is not legally required, but can happen by agreement, but this is in addition to contact time.

You need to be aware that if the law says your ex needs help with child care (if she works 16 hours a week, and if any new partner they must as well) then 70% if paid by Working Tax Credit. While there is a shortfall, most people in this situation can get other benefits, where the disregard amounts have moved due to the working hours, so its never a 30% shortfall.

It is illegal to pay anyone except a Registered Child Minder, or Ofstead Approved Company for child care, for over 14 days child care per year.

The simple answer to your question, is no, you providing Child Care does not come into it. The only time you would get any financial benefit from it, is if it was an overnight stay, as it might move the brackets on Child Support.

http://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-child-maintenance

Given the ages of your children, you need to be aware the deciding factor on when Child Support Ends is when Child Benefit does. Check out http://www.gov.uk/child-benefit-16-19
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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#3
Generally if you share care you don't pay maintenance and half of costs. It would be agreed costs only.
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#4
(01-31-2017, 11:16 PM)Hazy Wrote: Generally if you share  care you don't pay maintenance and half of costs. It would be agreed costs only.

This is not correct.

In a "Family Based Agreement" you might half costs, but in a CMS case it does not work like that.

What you need to consider is that the benefits the Resident Parent gets take into account other aspects as well as your child.
For example Tax Credits looks at the income of the Resident Parent, and a new partner if there is one. Housing Benefit considers the income of everyone living in the house (except where the person claiming is on DLA), with Children who child benefit is in payment for being considered for the number of rooms you can claim for.

Therefore, if you are considering a Family Based Agreement, the starting point should be they have what the law says they need coming in to live off, after considering the household members.

In a CMS case you might still have to pay something even at 175+ nights a year.
It comes down to how much income is left after the disregard amount needed for the none resident parent is considered, as well as any further disregard amount if deponent children are involved.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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#5
Perhaps I worded it badly but I was referring the the family based agreement they appear to have. Surely he does not have to pay maintenance AND half of all costs? Of course they can agree to do this if they wish but it always end up being a win win for the resident parent.

Yes, in a CMS case and shared care there is still reduced maintenance to pay.
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#6
(02-01-2017, 09:02 AM)Hazy Wrote: Perhaps I worded it badly but I was referring the the family based agreement they appear to have.   Surely he does not have to pay maintenance AND half of all costs? Of course they can agree to do this if they wish but it always end up being a win win for the resident parent.

Yes, in a CMS case and shared care there is still reduced maintenance to pay.

No he does not have to pay anything towards the child costs, except the CMS amount.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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#7
Op. If you are paying half of the school uniforms for example and she uses the maintenance you pay to pay her half YOU are effectively paying for the whole uniform.

Something to think about.....
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#8
(02-01-2017, 09:20 PM)Hazy Wrote: Op. If you are paying half of the school uniforms for example and she uses the maintenance you pay to pay her half YOU are effectively paying for the whole uniform.

Something to think about.....

In a CMS situation, you would not have to pay for anything like informs.

The Resident Parent needs to pay for all the normal living costs while the Child is with them.

The none resident parent only pays for anything during the contact time, unless they have arranged something and the other person is just letting it happen in their time.

Child Support is a fully inclusive contribution towards the resident parents costs. Under the law, you do not have to pay any more than what the CMS calculation says. It takes into account that the other parent needs money to support themselves, and any dependent children, and also the staying contact covers the fact that the resident parent will get the same amount of benefits like Child Tax Credit every week, regardless of how many nights the child is not with them.

Where things like Private schools are involved, especially Boarding Schools the case might have to be sorted in Court if no agreement, as CMS do not have any Jurisdiction on this side of things.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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#9
Yup. I know they don't have to pay half for stuff after paying maintenance. I was just pointing out a little anomaly. A crafty one too to get more money out of the NRP.

The school fees I was unaware of as I just assumed it was treated as another bill until you pointed that out.
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