09 Mar 2015

A question about : Ex Going Self-Employed


Ex has informed me he's going to be self employed from the next couple of weeks. Previously I got paid regular maintenance as he was in full time work. However he's telling me payments may be irregular with him starting up. He's not disputing the amount, just when it might be paid.

Do I just have to accept this? Is there anyone out there with a self-employed ex (or a paying father who is self employed) who could advise me?

Best answers:

  • You may have to accept it, self employment is no garuantee of regular income.
  • Yeah either this or ask him to pay for other things instead, like school uniform etc maybe? It seems unfair the kids should be affected by his employment choices.
  • Does he pay via CSA or is it a private arrangement? If it's CSA they usually ask the newly self employed NRP to keep paying at the old rate for 3 months then it will be reassessed and as there is unlikely to be much income in the first few months the amount he is assessed to pay may go down.
    If it's a private arrangement try to be flexible but ask him to ensure that part of the payment is made on time. If this is a planned move to self employment he should have some money for setting up costs and he should ensure that he still provides for his children.
    Don't assume the worst, my husband made the move to self employment (Ltd company in his case) as his health prevented him staying in his previous job. He has done very well and he pays his ex a lot more than before via a private agreement and they have a much more cooperative relationship. Not all self employed NRPs are out to avoid their responsibilities.
  • We have arranged it privately. He hasn't said he's not going to pay me, he's said that payments may be erratic sometimes.
    I have (I think) been reasonable, in that instead of him paying me 4-weekly (as he was paid in this way by his old job) i've said after this payment, once the 4th week is up he can start paying me weekly if he likes. My thought was that it's sometimes easier to find one weeks' worth of money than 4. This has been met with the cool response of 'well I don't know what's going to happen' he won't commit to anything (which is nothing new with money).
    I am trying my best to be flexible and nice about it, but it's hard when he is very reluctant to discuss anything properly (usually rushed on his doorstep) or won't meet me half way when i'm the one bending over backwards for him. It's just a bit frustrating.
  • Starting up as self employed is difficult. Paying you wont be the biggest issue he will have to worry about. When he says payment may be erratic etc then he probably isnt lying.
    Its a good idea to go for the weekly payments. That way you should always get something and will know much quicker if things are going wrong.
    Also it is in your best interests to be flexible and not to push things too much. If you start 'making trouble' in his eyes you are likely to end up (quite legally) getting nothing. CSA can be very difficult with self employed NRPs and i would advise him that it would be in his best interests to trade as a limited company rather than a sole trader.
  • Thank you for your advice. Yeah it does unsettle me the prospect of not having the money regularly (I do use it entirely on the kids, mainly for clothes and school stuff/trips out) so i'll just put back what I can of it from now on to make it last if it's not looking good.
    I'm glad you thought the weekly payment idea was a good one, it also made sense to me.
    He seems to be firing a lot my way at the minute (requests for valentines day and other bits & bobs) so i'll wait until things are a bit more settled and approach him again in a few weeks.
    I did do a live chat with a CSA representative so i've got a lot of good information for both me & him. If it gets to the point where we need to sit down & discuss it I can at least take that with me.
  • It sounds as if you have tried to be reasonable. Could you arrange to meet him (without your child) to discuss future child support payments. Perhaps work out the minimum you need per week regularly to prevent you and your child really struggling. Then you could explain to him that you want to be flexible but you need reassurance that you will always get at least X amount on a regular basis with flexibility to delay paying the balance in the early months of the new business. CSA may not be such a threat to him if he can control his income, but if he has any sense he will want to avoid the aggravation of dealing with them so he should be willing to meet you half way.
    Depending on your circumstances it may be possible to get him to agree to extra help to cut down on your child care costs or to help in other ways. If he refuses to negotiate then you have nothing to lose by opening a child support case, but it would be so much better for all concerned if you could come to an agreement amicably. Good luck.