Child maintenance query

Hi all, I find this forum really useful, and usually if I have a query I will more often than not find my answer here!
I just need a bit of advice if anyone can help me....

So my partner left his wife 3 years ago in October, they have 2 children- 14 year old boy and 10 year old girl.
Shortly after leaving her we met and got together almost instantly, so I have been with him all through this break up and hard times.
When he left her he was working, he left October 2015 and carried on working until February 2016, then he had to have some time off due to he had a breakdown, shortly followed by his already ill health caught up with him and so he was unable to return, so he had to leave his job. Up until then he was paying £240 CMA each month.
Once he left his job and went onto ESA and obviously the CMA payment dropped quite vastly to £30 a month (£7 a week = £28 but he pays £30 to round it off) .
After various court proceedings etc and a child arrangement order - things were put in place as to when he has his kids. This was every other weekend, every Wednesday 4pm-8pm and then holidays were 1 week at easter, 1 week at Christmas and 2 week in summer holidays. The ex wife didn’t like this one but as she wanted a 50 50 split- but at the time he was actually homeless and sleeping on sofas between his sisters, mums and occasionally my mums house where I was staying. So the judge took this into consideration.
2 years he was sleeping on sofas until finally a year ago he got a council flat. 1 bedroom as they said he wasn’t eligible for more rooms as he doesn’t have joint custody of his children. So when they stay they both have to sleep on camp beds in the living room. I now live with him and we have a joint ESA claim as I am unable to work due to ill health also.
Once he moved in the ex wife moaned the goal post dramatically- and she just dumps on the kids on us when she feels like it. We now have them every other weekend as normal but whereas before it was from 12pm Saturday until 6pm Sunday per court order it’s now 5pm Friday night until whenever she can be bothered to pick them up Sunday evening. Wednesdays 4pm until 9.45pm (again the picking up thing on her part) and holidays is all the week half terms they have we have them all week, both weeks at easter, over a week at xmas and we have just had them 5 weeks this summer. (Btw the picking up and dropping off is 50 50 on our part so we pick up and she collects but she is now saying we need to do both as it’s not fair on her but we live about 35 minutes away from the kids now so it cost us £15 a time to get them here in a taxi as my OH can’t go on public transport) .
Now seen as we only get joint esa at the WRAG rate £287.80 a fortnight) this summer has been brutal money wise- can I just add also that aswell as the CMA he pays half towards school trips and uniform and anything else she demands.
They are big kids woth bigger appetites so I’ve been spending £117 plus food shopping every fortnight this summer summer holiday plus borrowing off my mum for top ups as we have bills to pay too as struggle as it is. Eventually we were that desperate we had to spend £20 of her CMA we had saved to feed the kids.
When the kids finally went home last night my OH wrote her a note explaining the CMA is short and why it was short and that she would get the rest in 6 days when we are payed again. To which she replied asking when she’s gonna get the money as he wasn’t clear enough and that we also owe £15 on there sons school trip (which we had been paying £5 a fortnight as we couldn’t afford it all upfront but had to stop during holidays as we couldn’t physically afford that plus uniform plus having kids 5 weeks plus CMA and our bills to pay)

I just want to know where he stands CMA wise? Should he be paying it during these holidays when we have them more than what the court order set states?
He is trying to get out of paying it as he wishes he could provide more for his kids but he is very ill and cannot work.
Should we go the CMA about this and get it all done officially? I’ve read lots of horror stories about them making fathers pay way over there means and that’s the last thing he needs as he’s already battling severe depression and suicide so the simplest thing could tip him over.
It’s been hard and we are struggling but his ex wife thinks she can have it both ways- dumps the kids on us all the time (and on her weekends too may I add) and then goes off and spends all the child money on herself.

Advice if any?
Thanks for reading x


  • Mae85
    Mae85 Posts: 117 Forumite
    That should read he ISNT TRYING TO GET OUT OF PAYING !
  • swingaloo
    swingaloo Posts: 2,644
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    edited 4 September 2018 at 8:21AM
    Mae85 wrote: »
    and then goes off and spends all the child money on herself.

    £3.75 a week for each child and you have the nerve to complain how its spent!

    That quote really gets to me, whatever she spends her money on is completely up to her. Presumably she houses, feeds, keeps warm his children during the time they are with her and she certainly doesn't do this on what he provides financially.

    If your partner still lived with her he would still have to provide for his children and go without himself if need be so why should it be any different now.

    Do you have any idea how much it costs to keep to growing children? It will get harder over the next few years as they start wanting to socialise outside the home and until they are old enough to get part time jobs that will fall on the parent with care.

    Ive seen this from both sides, my sister has struggled bringing up 2 children alone whilst her ex is snuggled up in his love nest complaining about his situation but with the freedom to come and go as he pleases with his new partner whilst she has had to sort out babysitters every time she wanted or needed to leave the house whilst they were young. Ex partners are allowed a social life and if your partner is not working then why should he complain about having the children a bit more. It may cost the mum almost as much as he pays each week to just get a babysitter for a night out.

    I am the wife of a man who paid maintenance for his child growing up, we travelled over 200 miles each way every other weekend, there and back in the day and whilst we took his child out the mum would go shopping and very often show us some new item of clothing when she returned but never once did I think that she was spending money my husband had given her for the child.

    Im sure that if you work out what she must spend on water, electricity, gas, food, council tax, insurance, spends for the kids etc you may realise that she is not spending the child money on herself. What your partner pays is a fraction of what is needed to raise two children.
  • Top_Girl
    Top_Girl Posts: 1,211
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    So you're now having to give them tea on Friday night and Saturday morning breakfast? Wow. Having children for full weekends is a perfectly normal arrangement. In fact, I'd be thinking yourself 'lucky' that it's not every weekend.

    I'd suggest that if you're not prepared to shoulder some responsibility, both financially and care wise, that you don't get into a relationship with someone who has kids. To describe his kids as being dumped upon you is frankly disgusting and if I got wind that my ex's new girlfriend was saying our son was being 'dumped' on them, I'd go absolutely ballistic.

    That said, if you have had them for five weeks, you should be getting some of the child related benefit (CB or CTC) to go towards feeding and clothing them for that time. I don't think that's unreasonable.

    Does the ex wife work? If so, as you two don't, would a reasonable arrangement not be for you two to have them for all the school holidays unless she specifically wants them?
  • Mae85
    Mae85 Posts: 117 Forumite
    4 times I have tried posting this now and it’s not letting me.

    It’s too long a post to keep re writing so I think I will just give up lol
  • I can’t believe you’ve complained about the amount the kids cost you when you’ve had them and that the mother is spending the £30 maintenance on herself in the same post!

    Do you think the kids magically cost less when they are with her? You’ve spent £58.50 a week in food alone (not a high amount for food for 4 - but not the only child related cost is what I mean by ‘alone’) - I imagine she spends about the same. So, that’s the £7 gone. Exactly how is she blowing it on herself?
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