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A fixed monthly amount of child maintenance would be classed as a 'family based arrangement' - i.e. one that is arranged between yourselves and not via the CMS. You could write this into an agreement that you both sign. It wouldn't;t override the CMS if you applied for assessment in the future based on your earnings but it would show a clear intention.
You either agree a fixed amount regardless of earnings, or go down the route of basing it on earnings (in which case if you are out of work the amount goes down). You can't have both.
A mortgage lender may take the amount you pay into consideration when calculating her income, they may not. Different lenders may take different views on this point.
The CMS guidelines say maintenance only continues past the age of 16 if a child remains in full time education (up to a level equivalent).
I do think its a good idea to arrange your contact days and times and to do this formally, through mediation and then a court order if needed.
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As I aid the CMS guidelines state that full time education is the key and this can mean that payments extend up to age 20 rather than stopping at 18. Being in full time education is the main concern.
Mortgage capacity and what she wants to take a mortgage out for are separate things. We'd all like a smaller mortgage, obviously, but on arguments based on affordability it's what is possible and affordable that matters rather than a wish to be mortgage free sooner rather than later.
All declared yearly income is used for the basis of a calculation.
Obviously it's preferable for a secure home - which a mortgaged home generally is - but the court would have to be realistic if your ex is refusing to take on a mortgage on sensible terms.
You can of course give your daughter money above the agreed maintenance amount.
You can build in a review to the agreement at age 16/ the end of GCSE school year if that is something that you feel is necessary. That should not meet too much objection.