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    • MSE Sarah
    • By MSE Sarah 10th Jul 18, 4:50 PM
    • 175Posts
    • 77Thanks
    MSE Sarah
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I claim my unpaid child support?
    • #1
    • 10th Jul 18, 4:50 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I claim my unpaid child support? 10th Jul 18 at 4:50 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    I've been told I'm owed over 10,000 in child support arrears, although my son is now in his late 20s. I thought he could use this money, as he's saving to buy a house - but my second husband says we should keep it, as we raised him without it. I now think there's too much scope for conflict, so I'm inclined just to let it go. Is that right?

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

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Page 2
    • CakeCrusader
    • By CakeCrusader 11th Jul 18, 7:44 PM
    • 739 Posts
    • 431 Thanks
    I'm in the same boat (my son's a couple of years younger though). This isn't my son's cash, he's never gone without, it's technically a 'refund' on what I've already spent. I've given him half (although he's never gone without, he's missed out on holidays as I haven't been able to afford them etc, so I've tried to be fair) and I've used the other half to clear debts that I built up when his father stopped paying. I'm waiting for more installments and I'll carry on giving my son half, I'll take him on holiday with my half of the next installment or something.

    I wouldn't plan anything until you actually get the money as it could take a long time.
    • Marvel1
    • By Marvel1 11th Jul 18, 7:54 PM
    • 3,895 Posts
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    If the second husband paid towards costs i don't blame him.

    I fail to see how it's your sons money in the first place, does child benefit get paid directly to them?
    Last edited by Marvel1; 11-07-2018 at 7:57 PM.
    • happyinflorida
    • By happyinflorida 11th Jul 18, 9:04 PM
    • 748 Posts
    • 633 Thanks
    There are a number of things here. As usual there isn't enough information given, which is always so annoying. MSE you need to give more info as you are provided with more usually - give it please.

    1 Discuss this with your son first. Get his opinion. That is most important.

    2 If your son has a good relationship with his father, is this going to sour the relationship? It shouldn't but obviously there could be reasons why it would, such as his dad not being able to afford to give this money and resenting having to do so now.

    3 Did your second husband have to pay for your sons things that were needed, ie food, clothes, etc? If yes, did it cause him to go without during that time? ie was money short and there wasn't enough for 2nd hubby to do things he wanted or buy what he wanted? If yes, then he has got a say in the matter but if you're well off now, it would be nicer if he allowed your son to have this bonus - especially in view of his saving for a house.

    4 You need to talk this out properly with your son and your second husband, otherwise there will be conflict.

    5 Do your second husband and your son not get on well and is that why, if the money goes to your son, you think there will be conflict?

    6 If your second husband only partially paid towards keeping your son and if he's insisting on having his money back, then sit down and work out how much was spent by him and agree a figure and let him have that amount.

    7 Child maintenance is paid to cover the costs of bringing up a child, so if there is any surplus, your son should have received that towards going out, paying for treats - like playing ten pin bowling for instance, or other days out and for benefitting him - this has to go to your son, not your second husband.

    Rather you than me sorting this all out. You've got to be strong here and think seriously about whether of not you want all the strain of getting this sorted.

    If your first husband cannot afford to pay now, you also need to seriously think about the consequences of making him pay. If it all goes bad, are you going to be able to live with what happens - I'm saying this for your own peace of mind and health, as stress and worry makes many very ill.

    I hope it all works out ok for you.
    • pinkpoison
    • By pinkpoison 11th Jul 18, 11:06 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 680 Thanks
    Can I ask how you found this out please? As I have only been allocated child support since it changed to the CMS? Which doesn't seem fair as my son is now 19 and I have only ever been paid anything for the last 2 years.
    • saskia29
    • By saskia29 11th Jul 18, 11:46 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    My first thought is that the money should go to you, as child support is paid to help with expenses involved in bringing a child up. In the absence of any money from your ex, you had to foot the bill for everything so this is reimbursement. How many people put their child support payments into a bank account to save up and give to the child when they're adults? Not that many I'm guessing, so I don't see why this should be the case just because the money is coming in years later. That said, if you are comfortable for money and don't 'need' it, giving it all to your son would be a lovely gesture that I'm sure he would appreciate.
    • pollypenny
    • By pollypenny 12th Jul 18, 8:24 AM
    • 25,686 Posts
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    A further thought;

    we have no idea how many children are in the family or their financial circumstances. Did the second husband find himself having to work lots of overtime to support the family?

    It sounds as if the biological father has avoided his responsibilities and the stepdad picked them up.

    Why not use the bulk of the money for the whole family?
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
    • Marisco
    • By Marisco 12th Jul 18, 9:47 AM
    • 33,844 Posts
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    We don't really have enough info to comment really. The first line of the op says "I've been told" by whom? The CMS? Mary down the road? Family? Friends? If the ex hasn't paid for over 20 years, is he likely to cough up now? And why is the assumption 10k will be handed over altogether? How many have 10k they can just hand over? If it's CSA/CMS arrears then it's odds on it will be x amount per month, not 10k in a lump sum.

    Another thing to bare in mind is the family dynamics. Does the son get on with dad, would persuing the money cause rifts between father, son, family etc? Personally I'd not go for it, they've managed this far without it, it seems to already be causing problems if the op has to ask. Step dad wants to keep it, mother wants to give it to son, is it really worth causing trouble about it now after all these years?
    • DPS-2016
    • By DPS-2016 12th Jul 18, 6:50 PM
    • 18 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    From my POV, who ends up with the money is for you to decide as and when you receive it. Technically it's your money to help bring up (or have brought up) the child(ren) that you had with your ex-husband. What you choose to do with it is of course up to you - and I personally think it's a wonderful thing (if you are financially able) to offer your child(ren) onto the housing ladder, particularly in the difficult times that many young people find themselves in in terms of not only housing but also jobs and rates of pay, costs of uni etc.

    However, one thing that I think you should definitely not do is to 'let the money go'. It's not fair on yourself, nor is it fair on your son.

    I'm sure there were sacrifices that you had to made and many times where you could have really done with this money - and, had you stayed together with your ex-husband, he would presumably have contributed to your son's upbringing. The ex husband should think himself very fortunate that he's had the money up until now.

    I think you owe it to not just yourself, but also your son, to claim any money that is rightfully owed.
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 13th Jul 18, 6:48 AM
    • 17,107 Posts
    • 42,058 Thanks
    Fully agree with Marisco. There is the legal position and the moral one and we know in such cases that when it comes to morality, what is right or wrong is much cloudy and some situations are indeed very grey.
    • Ms Sheringham
    • By Ms Sheringham 13th Jul 18, 7:34 AM
    • 1 Posts
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    Ms Sheringham
    Share it
    Go halves as already suggested or give away to your favourite charities!
    • Mrs Imp
    • By Mrs Imp 13th Jul 18, 12:52 PM
    • 971 Posts
    • 1,579 Thanks
    Mrs Imp
    Just remember that the CSA, or whatever it's called now, can and does get their sums wrong. I've come across several cases where CSA told the mother 'you're owed X amount in unpaid support' only to discover that they'd used completely wrong information to make the calculation and no money was owed as the father had paid the correct amount.
    By all means follow it up, but don't spend it in your head until you're sure that 1) they calculated it correctly and 2) you're actually going to get it.
    • ska lover
    • By ska lover 13th Jul 18, 9:27 PM
    • 2,936 Posts
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    ska lover
    Id persue it for my son

    Id tell 2nd husband to suck it up. Hes bang out of order
    The opposite of what you also true
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 15th Jul 18, 8:24 PM
    • 17,561 Posts
    • 49,167 Thanks
    You might want to think carefully about your second husband's approach, that if he can't keep the windfall himself then he would prefer you to give it up rather than let your son benefit from it. In my view no decent father/grandfather/great-grandfather (I am all three) or step-father who is worthy of his position as A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY should take such a self-centred attitude.
    In your shoes I might worry about what would happen if your 2nd hubby ever won a million on the lottery; you might find him saying "I paid the 2 for the ticket so I'm keeping all the money for myself, bye-bye".
    Originally posted by Methusela
    I don't think that's fair.

    Second husband will know more than we could ever know about what the circumstances were in which the pregnancy started and may not feel it's fair for there to be any "child support money" paid for it.

    We have no idea whether the child was wanted/planned by both parties at the time of conception or no and imo that's very relevant.

    EDIT; "Head of the family" wording crossed out - because it's the 21st century and the woman might be "head of the family" or they might be joint "head of the family".
    Last edited by moneyistooshorttomention; 15-07-2018 at 8:27 PM.
    • Patricia01
    • By Patricia01 15th Jul 18, 9:37 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    If you do get it from the ex it probably won't be a lump sum, but maybe split it?
    • Starrystarrynight1
    • By Starrystarrynight1 16th Jul 18, 12:31 PM
    • 230 Posts
    • 368 Thanks
    Child support, when it's paid on time, doesn't go directly to the child; it's paid to the resident parent and goes towards the costs of raising the child. If you and your second husband brought up your son, presumably he was also contributing towards the household, including the costs of raising your son, then I feel that you and your husband should keep the money.

    I've never heard of a case like this, though. Did you have an open case with the CSA (or whatever it was at the time) and now they are able to deliver?
    I used to be Starrystarrynight on MSE, before a log in technical glitch!
    • JayD
    • By JayD 16th Jul 18, 6:19 PM
    • 523 Posts
    • 329 Thanks
    Personally, I am very doubtful that you will see any of it .... BUT, if by some fantastic stroke of admin. you are repaid the money, it is YOURS! It was meant to help YOU to bring your son up, feed, clothe, nurse, entertain, educate, ferry, and in general support him. YOU did all those things without that financial support, so it is YOU who should have it and do what YOU want to do with it - whether that be to give some/all/none to your son, share it with your new husband, treat yourself, treat you all, give it to a charity or just throw it in the bin!

    If you get it - then make it YOUR decision what happens to it and no one else's.
    • f0xh0les
    • By f0xh0les 16th Jul 18, 7:41 PM
    • 2,085 Posts
    • 18,540 Thanks
    Get the money, split it 3 ways, gift your 1/3 to your son, let second husband keep his 1/3. that way no arguments, you all win.
    MFW START1/5/16 118,340 Oct17109,49 12/17 108,801/18 108,39 3/18 108,50 4/18108,10 5/18106,99 6/18105,99.7/18105,308/18103,99 9/18102,99 10/18101,999 11/18101,300 12/18100,700,1/19 99,999.99

    2/19 99,500 MFW 2019 #65
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    • Scruge
    • By Scruge 17th Jul 18, 11:00 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Yes you should claim it.

    This money was awarded to you & your son because his father wasn't there to support you. If It was paid when it was due you would have accepted the payment without a second thought.

    What you do with it is up to you. How would you have used it if paid on time? If it was for household bill's clothing etc. keep it as you've paid already and are simply being reimbursed. If you feel you can afford to give it to your son and it will benefit him then do so.
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