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TOPIC: My son stays with me 5 to 6 nights. Should I pay maintenance?

My son stays with me 5 to 6 nights. Should I pay maintenance? 3 weeks 4 days ago #101729

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I now have my 12 year old son stay with me 5 nights per week but soon rising to 6 nights. This is what my son wants & due to his mother now living with a guy on a methadone treatment plan who my son does not get on with at all. There are other issues such as his mum being heavily in debt & providing very little for my son in the way of clothes, haircuts etc. I involved Social services who confirmed that the guy is a known drug user however is not a direct threat to my son so they cannot do anything. But, the lady did advise me that from what I have described my son is not in a good environment. After Social services informed me of the guy been known to be a known drug user I approached my ex & said that I would only allow my son to stay over with her one night per week. I discussed this with my son prior to this & deep down I don't think he wants to be there at all. In fact I had him stay all week last week because all they did were try to make him feel guilty & manipulate him into changing his mind on how much time he wants to send at her house.

I have been paying £225 child maintenance for many years & once he started staying at mine for more than 3 nights per week I reduced it. She was not happy & complained that she would not be able to live. I am now considering stopping all child maintenance after I discovered the Child Maintenance Service leaflet which says that if both parents have equal care neither of them have to pay child maintenance.

I am not sure if I am legally allowed to stop paying any maintenance as my ex will still be looking after our son through the day on school holidays as she does not work & she is still receiving child benefit for him. But on paper I have more care of him as he stays over at mine 5 to 6 night plus I feed & cloth him as well as get him to school each morning. All I want is for the maintenance to be spent on my child as it is meant for & which I don't believe it has for many a year.

Any advice please?

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My son stays with me 5 to 6 nights. Should I pay maintenance? 3 weeks 4 days ago #101731

hi there,

are you paying maintenance through CMS? problem is if there is no court order stating that you have your child on x number of nights a week or 50/50, its very difficult for CMS to say that you don't have to pay any maintenance. They can ring your ex and ask how many nights your child stays with you, and she can just lie. and then nothing changes.
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My son stays with me 5 to 6 nights. Should I pay maintenance? 3 weeks 4 days ago #101741

Hi,

It is correct that 50/50 shared care will result in a CMS claim being closed with no payment being made by either parent. I have been advised by the CMS that if a 50/50 is declared they will ask both parents 10 questions and this may result in the case being closed based upon the answers provided. If the answers do not match the claim could be closed.

However you are the primary care giver and you state she has them 1 day a week. I believe you should of course not be paying CMS. If you are paying via a family agreement I would discuss this with your ex and see how it progresses.
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My son stays with me 5 to 6 nights. Should I pay maintenance? 3 weeks 3 days ago #101744

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It has always been a family arrangement as my ex doesn't want CMS involved. Similarly when we discussed who has care of our son & she didn't agree & I mentioned mediation / solicitors she said she didn't want anyone like that involved. I think she has a lot to hide & this is why.

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My son stays with me 5 to 6 nights. Should I pay maintenance? 3 weeks 3 days ago #101746

I’ve had a few disagreements lately with my ex re: money and aswell she didn’t want to go down the CMS route. Although I have pushed her in that direction.

Would you require financial support from the mother for looking after your child 5/6 days a week or is that not an issue?
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My son stays with me 5 to 6 nights. Should I pay maintenance? 3 weeks 3 days ago #101747

Who receives child benefit?
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My son stays with me 5 to 6 nights. Should I pay maintenance? 3 weeks 3 days ago #101748

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DadForever123 wrote: I’ve had a few disagreements lately with my ex re: money and aswell she didn’t want to go down the CMS route. Although I have pushed her in that direction.

Would you require financial support from the mother for looking after your child 5/6 days a week or is that not an issue?


It has been suggested that she should be paying me child maintenance. However, I am financially able to support my Son adequately so I wont be going down this route. The problem is that my ex appears to reply on my maintenance. The arrangement that we made 7 years ago was that I would continue to pay all her utility bills so gas / electricity, TV license, Water, Broadband / phone. She is unemployed & receives housing benefit / council tax support. She said if I reduced the child maintenance i.e stopped paying the bills she wouldn't be able to manage. Due to this she keeps nattering my Son to change his mind & go back to living with her 4 nights but my son has stood his ground & said he doesn't want that. Her boyfriend of only 4 months who currently lives there is also trying to make my son feel guilty by saying to him "you are really upsetting your mum" & "I moved out from my mum when I was 14 & I regret it now". My Son realises what they are trying to do & it just makes him more determined to keep the arrangement as it is.

I sometimes think that I may have to go down the legal route but she doesn't want this. Probably because of her boyfriends drug background & I don't think he should be living there while she claims single person benefits. Plus there was some shady stuff going on like a Cannabis grow in the top bedroom which was causing her to use twice as much electricity that I ended up paying for!

Her struggling for money when she basically gets everything paid for & hardly gets my son anything concerns me. Where is her money going?!

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My son stays with me 5 to 6 nights. Should I pay maintenance? 3 weeks 3 days ago #101749

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SpikeyMcSpikey wrote: Who receives child benefit?


At the moment she does. In fact she phoned me last week crying asking me if she is still classed as the main carer because if not she will lose her benefits & wont be entitled to a 2 bed house from the council.

I was thinking of contacting Child Benefit & trying to claim although I don't need the money & he will be staying at his mums during the day through the school holidays so she would need some money to feed him etc.

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My son stays with me 5 to 6 nights. Should I pay maintenance? 3 weeks 3 days ago #101754

So if your ex receives the child benefit the CMS will use that to determine who the "resident parent" is and in the absence of a court order will just take whatever she says as the truth... so it would depend on her level of honesty really if that avenue was explored.

However, if what you are saying is true about drugs, I personally would look to get a formal child arrangements order sorted via mediation if possible. At the age of 12 I believe that your son's wishes would be given quite a lot of weight.
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My son stays with me 5 to 6 nights. Should I pay maintenance? 3 weeks 3 days ago #101755

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SpikeyMcSpikey wrote: So if your ex receives the child benefit the CMS will use that to determine who the "resident parent" is and in the absence of a court order will just take whatever she says as the truth... so it would depend on her level of honesty really if that avenue was explored.

However, if what you are saying is true about drugs, I personally would look to get a formal child arrangements order sorted via mediation if possible. At the age of 12 I believe that your son's wishes would be given quite a lot of weight.


She has already lied to Social Services telling them that he only stays at my house 3 days. However, when I spoke to them on the phone & explained they put me down on their system as the main carer. They also confirmed that the boyfriend is a known drug user & my ex admitted to them that he is on a methadone treatment plan. I have had reports from a neighbour that known drug dealers are visiting the property but these are just rumours. I do have a screenshot from my sons older sister telling me that her mum is spending £10 a day on cannabis & also borrowing money for it.

I have mentioned mediation to my ex & she accused me of threatening her & didn't want to involve anyone else so my feelings are that if I reduced the child maintenance she would either complain but accept it or try to bribe my son into going back & staying at hers more but luckily my son is strong & he has so far resisted any bribe or guilt trip. In fact it makes him more reluctant to stay at his mum's. I was thinking of contacting his school & informing them that he is now staying at mine 6 days therefore to put me down as the main carer.

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My son stays with me 5 to 6 nights. Should I pay maintenance? 3 weeks 3 days ago #101761

hi,

do social services know about her drug habit? this could easily go down the route where the childs needs are neglected, so the mother can spend more money on drugs. if this went through court, would not look good at all for her lol. is the mother not able to work? i thought if their claiming stuff like universal credit, then they have to work 16 hours a week minimum or lose benefits.

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My son stays with me 5 to 6 nights. Should I pay maintenance? 3 weeks 14 hours ago #101844

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I would speak to social services again - they may not be able to do anything directly, but they might be prepared to back up an application to have your son live with you permanently, and once that's done, you are no longer required to pay any maintenance at all to your ex (if you chose to help her out, that's up to you). It does seem that it would be best for your son to have the certainty that he's living with you in a safe environment.

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