My ex and i documented my child maintenance commitments in a court order as an undertaking. The order will expire in Jan next year.
I''ve just been offered a new role in London, and i had a couple of questions for the experts:
1. Travel costs - clearly as i live 120 miles from London a daily commute is not possible. The CSA allow a reduction in assessable income of 10p per mile after the first 150 miles. If i were to do the journey 3 days a week, i would be able to reduce my assessable income by £220 a month or thereabouts. However, does anyone know whether i can do this even though i will actually be staying in London during the week? With 3 kids, the £220 a month actually translates to about £55 reduction in maintenance payable per month, against a season ticket cost of £600, or a room rental plus weekly train journey totalling about £560. It seems silly that i cannot even have this subsidy towards unavoidable costs if i actually have to stay in london during the week. I''m not doing it by choice.
2. The new job comes with the offer of free health insurance for me, and subsidized insurance for the family. In such a circumstance, would the CSA consider the element of private healthcare that applied to the children to be an acceptable payment in lieu? I''d like them to have the benefit of this, but i cannot afford to fund it myself on top of maintenance.
She of course will argue that SHE cannot afford to lose this money, but i will be paying nearly £840 per month, and as she lives with her new partner in a council house costing £380 per month, I don''t think this is such an issue.
1. Not sure I''m understanding what you''ve put here! why would you do the journey 3 times a week into/out of London? Is this the number of times you currently see your children and have them overnight? If you are doing the this journey 3 times a week, are you suggesting you do the journey from London to your current home after work, pick up the children, have them overnight and then return to London the next day? Would there actually be any point to this on a weeknight (if you have the children on a weeknight, other than Friday). If you are not making the journey (you state you will actually be staying in London during the week), you can''t claim for the travel.
Regardless, if you take a job in London with a long commute and potential/actual costs staying over, that is your decision and as such, the cost involved is not ''unavoidable''.
2. I don''t know the answer to this but I suspect not. child maintenance is about children''s everyday living expenses. Private healthcare although highly desirable, is hardly essential or ''everyday''.
Your ex''s living costs don''t come into maintenance and whether or not she can afford something. You would do well to stop thinking like this as it''ll drive you mad and will never be ''fair'' in the way you want it to be. Her new partner is not responsible for financially supporting your children and the cost of her rent and weighing up whether she can/can''t afford to lose maintenance is not your judgement call to make.
Why are you using the CSA? Can you come to an agreement with your ex to include private healthcare and a lesser maintenance amount? Suggesting mediation may be a starting point.
1. Travelling to London IS economically unavoidable. If i took a job with the salaries on offer in my home town, i would not be able to make ends meet and my maintenance contribution would probably be £300 per month maximum.
2. The CSA advised me that once i have travelled 150 miles per week for work, i can reduce my assessable income by 10p per mile. So over a month, if i travelled each day, i would have spent £640 on a season ticket, but saved £84 in maintenance. I would argue that it is in the children''s best interest that i work in London (they receive a lot more in maintenance and as she moved them away, i don''t see them during the week anyway).
3. I accept that the CSA are of the view that somebody travelling to work and incurring massive travel expenses in order to support his family more effectively is in the wrong, but it''s not as if, were I and the children''s mother still together, those travel costs would magically disappear. To put it another way, were we still together, i would still need to work away to pay the mortgage. Hardly a choice, except to the most simplistic of people.
4. My comment about her outgoings were not a complaint, rather a statement that i am not using the private health thing punitively, but rather as a way to provide them with something that they don''t already have. It is difficult when she is telling the children that i don''t pay enough to question what she spends the money on, but i do accept that the law is an ass. Sorry, i do accept that the law is the law.
PS: on the subject of why involve the CSA, the reason is simple : so that she is satisfied that she is getting what she is legally entitled to.
At present i run a small company. She has received precisely 25% of my income - which has worked out as £1250 per month measured over the year. I have made no deductions for the nights i have the kids. I have made no deduction for the fact that my partner''s daughter lives with us now. In short, i have behaved more than honourably. She has my audited accounts to prove it. Yet all i hear from the kids is how i am not paying enough.
Business has gone from bad to worse and that''s why i''ve accepted a job working for another company, closing my own.