Child maintenance is initially calculated based on declared earnings, and so self-employed non-resident parents have more control over how they present their income. And even though there are ways through which such declarations can be challenged, these are neither made obvious to single parents nor exercised often. Janet Allbeson explains the current situation and writes that although the group make up a small percentage of the total caseload, tens of thousands of children are behind the figure, and so there is a strong case for revisiting the existing system.
A recent Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) study examining the attitudes and behaviours of self-employed parents liable for child maintenance noted that “category may contain some individuals who are less disposed to comply overall, and are actively seeking to reduce their liability by declaring themselves self-employed.” In one instance, a non-compliant parent reported:
“Citizens Advice Bureau told me I should say I was self-employed because I was worried about having enough money to make payments…so to register as the self-employed teaching job instead of my other work.”
The finding will come as no surprise to many single parents who contact Gingerbread to report their struggles to get the Child Support Agency (CSA) or Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to take proper account of a non-resident parent’s self-employed income, or to effectively pursue a self-employed ex-partner for unpaid child maintenance. Such maintenance is initially based on a non-resident parent’s declared earnings. This works fine when wages can be verified via an employer and PAYE returns. It works less well when the non-resident parent is not directly employed and has control over how they present their income. So, unless challenged, a company owner paying themselves a minimum wage but having a high dividend income, will have their child maintenance liabilities calculated solely on the minimum wage. In some self-employed cases, this is an unintended consequence of a tax efficient arrangement; in others, it is a deliberate attempt to minimise liabilities.
Rules do exist which allow a single parent to request a ‘variation’ to the standard child maintenance formula in this situation, and take account of ‘unearned income’ and income diverted elsewhere (e.g. through excess pension contributions). Look hard enough, and a summary of the variation rules can be found deep within the official DWP website. Yet it is clear from frustrated single parents who contact Gingerbread that the majority have been left in complete ignorance that a challenge to the standard formula is even possible, and that the CMS can, for example, request ‘unearned income’ data from HMRC if prompted by a parent to do so.
In clear-cut cases of evasion, a self-employed non-resident parent can fail to declare all their income. Where the CSA is involved, it is possible to ask for a variation on the basis that a non-resident parent’s lifestyle is inconsistent with their declared income. However, this variation ground has been scrapped within the new CMS scheme, because it is regarded as “administratively contentious and resource intensive”. Instead, the CMS simply rely on income data they get from HMRC. If a single parent believes their self-employed ex-partner is not declaring all their income, they are told to ring the HMRC tax abuse hotline. In reality, this could be just a way of getting rid of them. It is becoming increasingly clear that investigation of such cases has very low priority within HMRC, nor has the DWP set up any arrangements to ensure this happens. All the signs are that self-employment status also confers less risk of enforcement action when maintenance liabilities go unpaid.
“CSA is the reason I stay self-employed, because if you’re employed they can take payments straight off your wages, straight out of the company…With them being unpredictable and unorganised, they can hit you whenever they want…”
There are currently over 90,000 self-employed non-resident parents with CSA maintenance arrears. In such cases, the CSA and CMS cannot use their standard method of enforcement of getting an employer to take deductions from wages. Instead, since 2009, there has been a power to issue a ‘deduction order’ whereby (without applying to court) funds can be taken directly from a non-resident parent’s bank or building society account either as a lump sum or in regular instalments. But this power is little used. In the nine months to December 2015, only 1,020 deductions orders were authorised in CSA cases. This compares to 18,215 deduction from earnings orders over the same period.
One excuse might be that the rules restrict deduction orders to accounts held solely in the name of the non-resident parent. This creates an obviously exploitable loophole. Yet, despite Parliament having granted powers to the DWP in 2008 to make regulations to permit deduction orders from joint accounts, it was only in December 2014 that the Department admitted that research indicated this “might be a worthwhile pursuit” and so would be “exploring this.” Even still, the regulations remain unchanged over twelve months later. And, as Gingerbread has already reported, action has been dilatory in reporting child maintenance debtors to credit reference agencies – potentially a very useful enforcement tool against self-employed non-resident parents who choose not to pay.
The government could say that – with self-employed non-resident parents making up around 7.7 per cent of the CSA caseload – they represent only a small minority of cases within a ‘broad brush’ system that works for the majority. But the figure is almost certainly an underestimate, given that company owners can present themselves as low-earning employees, with all ‘unearned income’ from a business hidden – unless a single parent challenges a calculation. Even so, this means there are around 100,000 children potentially affected in the CSA alone. Gingerbread argues that the children of self-employed parents deserve equal treatment to the children of employed parents. We believe there is a strong case for looking again at the rules and operating systems which govern child maintenance in self-employed cases, to ensure that the children are not disadvantaged and parents’ liabilities reflect ability to pay.
Janet Allbeson is Senior Policy Adviser at Gingerbread. Formerly she was Committee Specialist to the Work and Pensions Select Committee and a lawyer specialising in social welfare law.
financial abuse has been part of life for over 8 years now!
My estranged spouse has just made an new application to a court outside the family division that has dealt with the proceedings for contact (new county). Within this application he has also applied to obtain a financial order against me, for himself and the two children on the residence order (I am the resident parent, contact orders 3 of 4 weekends of the month the children have contact with estranged spouse). He has made a number of misleading omissions, since he denied financial obligations to my daughter (he’s step daughter) as a way to decrease CMS payments after he was advised that there are arrears of £16,000, the particulars of this request are a desperate attempt to write of the arrears owed to the children on the residence order .
knowing UK family justice structures , he will find a way out of payment leaving the children in relative poverty !!
Iv read some RP stating ex makes 60k-150k per year but on the tax form shows that he makes less than minimum wage , a lot of this is because people like to boast about their income and will show gross figures but in reality this is just the gross and there’s a lot of expenses that needs to come of this figure to get the net and in reality it can be below minimum wage of calculated on a hourly rate .
Cms should paid like pay per view
When the father is allowed to see his kids then pay
And when not allowed then dont
Simple there are many mothers exploiting the system as well as the guys so to speak
I got stopped from seeing my kids when.i remarried
Married one day kids gone the next.
Parental rights my arse
Couldn’t agree more Jackson.
I can’t understand how it’s fair that the non resident parent has his/her income investigated and deducted as standard but the resident parent doesn’t get their income investigated so that each parent is supplying equal amount of financial support.
This is so unfair….. my ex who is married. They own a very profitable company and she works full time too, earn well over 100k a year where I earn well under less than that but have to pay maximum maintenance.
The system stinks.
So true parental rights are a joke. Reward the mother with more maintenance for stopping contact. Especially when the child is upset and misses his dad and mother does not care about her child’s welfare.
I’ve come across your response – do you realise that child maintenance is to contribute for the cost of living where they reside the majority of the time? So, let’s just say the rules turn to “pay per view” how on Earth is that logical when the resident parent have monthly/ weekly bills that do not just “adjust” as and when the other parent decide to see the child.
How narrow minded!
Absolutely agree my friend, same sort of thing happened to me.
That wouldn’t work at all. Not only is the money supposed to substitute for the vacancy in the child’s life/parent’s finances, some fathers would happily screw off without even having to pay. Your family structure isn’t the only family structure out there.
Many NRP’s don’t want to see their children suffer regardless of how often they see them. But it’s a disgrace that they have to go through a court battle just to get contact agreements when all it takes is the RP to stop contact or conveniently reduce it to less than 52 nights per year just before the annual review every year. CMS won’t even consider all of the email contact proving such cases because there is no court order.
And why does a RP need 3 cars full sky tv and two holidays per year as well as every penny they can squeeze out of the NRP without any form of challenge afforded. Is there no possible way of assessing each case from both sides?
So many women plead that they’re hard done by with the child maintenance payments they’re entitled to, but they forget that when they withhold or interfere with contact. Needs to work both ways.
The whole system is a joke. Its very simple if you have children together and things don’t work out then those children are 50/50 so give up half your wages or half your time. Why does a single man need 80% of his wages ?? And why does a women get 80% of the care!!! No child has asked to be born and for whatever reason both parents should be made to face up to their responsibilities.
A lot of guys get 0% of the care because the mother stops contact due to a new life/guy and the mother gets her 20% of the old guys wage. Meanwhile the mother gets family allowance and possibly child tax credits etc etc… In other words the guy who gets left or does the leaving generally gets shafted by the mother who seems to be happy with her new guy but then can’t quite let go of the old guys and desperately wants to destroy him for years and years. Not just financial but in every way.
It’s a shame because both parents should want the best for their children especially in learning the lessons of how to treat and respect people.
I would like the cms yo put children first too as there is no system in place to ensure the moneys are actually getting spent on or towards the child.???
Funny that eah!
I would like to see a fairer system where either the Rp or Nrp can be sent to prison for non compliance with a court order, be it a man or woman,I would like to see a capped amount on CMS payments to a sensible level with CMS payments and being classed as income into the household for benefits, This may reduce the debt and burden on the benefits system,It not take 8-12weeks for unemployment and or change in wages with understaffed civil servants in the CMS not giving too iotas when reading off the script on there computer,
Surely a fairer system would be a set amount added onto a Nrp individuals tax code and and deducted at source with the RP income being likewise with inclusion to benefits capping ?
Not every NRP is a tax dodging git who doesn’t pay for his/her kids and not every Rp is as honest as the day is long.
If maintenance was classed as income (it used to be 20yrs ago) then the parent on benefits might as well not get any maintenance because the children would be no better off. Benefits are there to help. Your maintenance is your contribution towards to Cost of raising your children. Why would you want your children to have less?
But surely if you have concerns that your child is not being properly provided for, not being fed, clothed, with essential heating, and water etc etc then I hardly think that is a matter for cms. The money paid for child support contributes to all sorts of areas concerning the child.
I would like to see the CMS putting ‘children’ first instead of accommodating self employed parents who are using ‘loopholes’ to avoid paying for their children. Parents should be held accountable for their own children. The CMS should prosecute parents that lie. It is disgraceful that in this day and age some parents are avoiding their responsibility and living luxurious lifestyles while their children are suffering. Shame on all those parents who are doing that. It is time the government stepped in and did something. Self employed parents aren’t just avoiding paying for their own children, but they are avoiding paying the correct amount of tax which effects everyone in society. Thank God for Gingerbread, you seem to be the only people who are trying to do anything about this.
your interesting comment on self employed CMS payments. Good read. Can you link me to your comments on:
Mothers who refuse children access to their father
Mothers who spend CMS on holidays,nails,clothes, alcohol,tobacco etc
Mothers who use payments as a “pay per view” sky tv method
Mothers instructed by lawyers to submit false domestic violence reports to allow them to claim for legal aid?
What is the ‘wonderful’ organisation of Gingerbread doing to help all those children who are alienated and marginalised by the resident recalcitrant parent?
Where are your figures there?
A resident parent (RP) (90% of the time the mother), can break contact orders with impunity. Worst happens they get an enforcement order which means ‘unpaid work’. How are they allowed to do this without it affecting their child maintenance payments?
It seems from the replies on here from non-resident parents (NRP) (90% of the time the father) that they are happy to pay their fair share of contributing to the costs of raising their child(ren). What they become angry about is paying disproportionate amounts based on gross not net income. Penalties for non payment are strong, CMS are all over non payers, irrespective of reason. Why is there not a Child Contact Agency that does the same thing? It’s too easy for the RP to allege non-payment and get NRP investigated etc. Where’s the mechanism that a NRP can use to properly enforce contact orders (i.e. with teeth, not unpaid work, i.e. something that the RP is actually afraid of)? There isn’t.
So why doesn’t gingerbread actually do something about THAT!
I lost contact with my children after a lengthy battle in court and despite 3 rulings in my favour my ex still refuses access. In fact she told me on the stairs leading out of court “if you persist I’ll move to the opposite end of the country”, which she was sincere about.
That was 4yrs ago and I haven’t seen my children since.
I was a doting father, doing everything I could to support my children and wife whilst we were together.
When we separated my wife decided that the children were hers and that they were leverage to be used to gain access to my salary.
With the £450 per month voluntary payments I was making and the relocation of my employers business further afield, it became impossible to manage financially. It was then that I took the decision to set up a LTD company.
Up until my resignation I’d provided £12000+ in voluntary CM contributions, every 26th of the month like clockwork. By the time I handed in my resignation I was no longer permitted to contact my ex wife (Her choice, enforced by solicitor). I was unable to forewarn her that CM payments would be affected.
It took 5 days from the first failed voluntary CM payment before Child Maintenance Services contacted me….
Since January 2016 I’ve been harassed weekly by CMS. Their incompetence is staggering, despite providing them with P45, P60, letter of resignation, Companies House registration details etc, they continued to pursue me based on an historic salary that I wasn’t earning.
It was alleged that I owed £14000 and eventually it went to tribunal, who through put the case and ruled in my favour.
Within a month I was issued another claim by CMS, allegedly owing £7000…its now 12mths on and increased to £12000.
I’m preparing for a second tribunal as I write.
This situation has continued for 2yrs during which time I’ve been threatened repeatedly by CMS. Its ranged from repossession, Driving Licence suspension and prison
Its causing me severe mental anguish and impacted negatively on my new relationship.
I wouldn’t wish Child Maintenance Services on anyone and I’m now on the hunt for a legal service willing to take them on in court.
the way i look at it and im a very fair man by the way so let me put it across to you this way. We all know there are numerous reasons as to why a family could break down..correct? ..so looking at csa payments from £250-300 per week!! £1000 -1200 per month thats the kind of money that could make a man homeless and for no fault of his own how is that fair? Could you yourself honestly say it costs you £250-300 per week? and if so would you be willing to prove it? i believe each parent should contribute equally if it cost you ( x amount per week the father should pay the same x amount) regardless to how much he earns. If it came down to it how many women would give an accurate figure of how much it costs to raise their child per week? Because if your wanting more than what its costing you your being greedy….i personally pay my childrens mum what is a fair amount per month agreed by both of us that covers food heating cloths any days out are covered ourselves.
I am in a similar situation in the fact my ex partner ran off with another man and took my daughter with them , 10 years ago ! I fought in court for access but as I have no parental responsibility ( law of 2003) as I was not married and my daughter was born before Dec 2003 I was refused any kind of access by my ex , so haven’t seen my little girl for 10 year , don’t even know where they are !
Never ever missed a payment with the Csa and now cms , just had a letter from the cms as she has put in for a variation as I’m self employed and she wants more money !
Now I have no problem paying for my daughter but I would love to have some contact , even a photo as I have no idea what she looks like now , just doesn’t seem fair as my family now are suffering trying to meet the payments , I’m just being treated like a bank and not sure what to do now !
The system is broken,I’m the non resident father of 2 children whom took the mother to court and won twice for access and they still broke the court order,no court in the land will send a mother to prison for access,as for the payments side of things,I did go self employed making her an offer,she declined it,it took me 8weeks to resolve,I wrote to my mp and got a big fat raspberry “sorry I can’t help from him”.
I would be better if the system was either based on nett earnings (after tax deductions)and not as is or a fixed payment.
A child doesn’t cost a thousand pound a month to keep a month in a home but on the same understanding a child doesn’t cost less than £20 pounds a week,
My Ex partner the Resident parent was,with benefits ,taking home more than I earned a month after tax,how can that be right?
The system is completely wrong,the best thing is to write to your Local MP protesting your disgust or HMCTS requesting a tribunal as a tribunal can overrule the CMS,personally I think the child maintenance service are uncaring, unsupportive civil servants who everytime you speak to one give you a different perspective on the way on what you need to do and how it’s run,it’s frustrating even as a paying parent that the CMS are not accountable for there actions.
My ex pays £7 per week for 2 children and yet even that amount varies (downwards), so have had 13.65 per month for a while. He told his dad and sister that he earns £150,000 per year, yet he is self-employed so declares that he earns £103 per week. I have given up trying. It is so frustrating talking to the CMS. They were incredibly insensitive and patronising. He is so tight that even if I pay for their train journey to his house he will refuse to pay me back (3 weeks worth of his payments £21!!).
My ex refuses to see our children as he’s moved on with his new family. He earns 60k a year but fiddles the self employed income to make it look like he earns minimum wage … leaving a payment of £8 per child per week. It’s disgusting that this can happen when it leaves the children with less school trips, days out, new trainers etc
Look at the constant message here from the replies. The system is broke. Actually worse than before.
non resident parents i.e. in most cases, Dad’s want access to their children and a fair system yet all the evidence shows that the system is bias and unfair.
What this petition shows is that the focus is still on money.. not the welfare of the children.
Oh… an look who started the petition…..
I have my kids nearly 50% of the time and yet still have to pay over £1000 a month. Only a fraction of that my kids actually see.
Until the system puts the child’s welfare first, it will continue to get worse.
Karl I couldn’t agree more. I’m in, what sounds a very similar situation. This current system is abused in more than the one way we constantly hear about. With some resident parents treating child support as a source of income. With very little of this money ever reaching the children
Of course it’s income. Income into the household that houses, keeps warm, feeds and clothes the child which the resident parent is ultimately responsible for. If you were still part of that household, your salary would be counted as the family’s income. This article is about fathers blatantly cheating the system and their own children loosing out because of it.
Karl clearly states he has his children nearly 50% of the time. So he also is required to maintain a home for his children.
If someone has a child or not you are still required to put a roof over your head. These costs are costs regardless of parental obligations and is false economical propaganda.
The system is clearly bias in Karl’s case.
£1000 sounds allot to have to contribute if you have the children 50% of the time. I thought if that was the case, then no child support is taken as you both share care? Or if its under 50% of the time, Karl should pay a minimal amount. Think its 18% of earnings minus the amount of nights they spend with the father – so that percentage reduces to even lower. Thats how it was worked out for me. Karl must be earning a hell of allot for them to take £1000 if he has them 48% of the time… or its so obvious they have the calculation wrong which Karl should be able to prove with a wage slip and his ex informing them of the shared care arrangement. However, those that use these loop holes to get out of paying the correct amount should be ashamed of themselves. You father a child, you pay for the child. As does the Mother. The CMS cannot take any more than maximum 18% of your salary but thats lower if you have them overnight. In some cases, it can be as low as £7 a week. Now even I know a child costs more than £14 a week if both were to equally contribute. Who makes up the shortfall then? Oh yes, the government has to. So taxpayers like you and I pay for the child. As for mothers that restrict access, that is just as bad as those refusing to pay their share. Both Shameful.
Kiki, the resident parent can’t have it both ways. It’s either income or it’s not. If it’s income, like you say, then it should be regarded as income for tax credit purposes. My DH pays out £420 a month and the mother is working and receiving full tax credits. So basically that £420 she receives isn’t counted as household income so she’s entitled to full assistance from tax credits.
It is income when it comes to things like council tax. Therefore if the mother receives that amount, she would get no relief for her council tax, where as someone receiving minimal amount due to avoidance (which is what this post is about) would get much more benefits to help with this. But if the mother wanted to buy or rent a house, it is not included as income and she would have housing struggles because of this. And then so would the child/Ren as they are in her care. My point was, whoever has the majority care of the child, should get help from the absent father to help clothe, house and feed thier joint child. That income can be spent however the mother deems and to be honest, unless there are arreas, the amount is only maximum 18% of the fathers salary. In my case, a much higher percentage of my salary goes on our kids then his measley 18% because he hides his income. So he is avoiding paying for his children no matter how much he resents handing over the money to me. It’s childish, bitter and unfair on his, yes HIS children. Your DH is paying 18% of his salary. Why shouldn’t his children see some financial support from thier dad if he is working? I’m sure working mothers do not have half the freedom the fathers do. If a mother wants to go out, she has to pay for a sitter. Where as the father can go out as and when he pleases never having to pay just to walk out his front door. There are lots of it’s unfair/fair scenarios but the whole point of this post is self employed fathers avoiding paying thier fair share. It’s not about access or how much people have to pay due to arrears. A mother pays out every day that child is alive as she has no choice if something is needed and I’m sorry, but the father should too.
If the philosophy of child maintenance did not make it financially beneficial for resident parents (usually mothers) to restrict access to non resident parents (usually fathers), then perhaps this loophole would not be taken advantage of?
This is happening to me currently. My ex wife openly won’t allow me to have the kids for more than 100 nights a year to keep me in the bracket she wants in terms of maintenance. She has said without an expensive court order I wont get anywhere, and happily flaunts this fact to me as and when it suits.
I get mad when I hear folk bashing mothers. I see men stand in the pub supping pints boasting to mates how they manage to screw the system.
Its not about where the money goes its to feed and clothe the children. If your big enough to make them your big enough to support them too
And that comment swings both ways,your telling me a child costs over a £1000.00p in some cases every month ?,in my case my Ex partner went out with the money and bought to by to let house and still won’t abide with a court order,
My son’s dad not paid penny in 17 years, I applied for csa for first time, he has stalled payments so he can arrange a limited company to pay nothing !!! How is this fair I struggled my hole life to bring up my kids !!! While he lives the life of luxury it’s unbelievable this is aloud to happen !!!!
Ive tried to get my ex to see kids he won’t he won’t pay for them either but pays £1800 just for his rent a month but he manages to avoid Csa every time all the do is send threatening letters of action but never actually do anything and it’s kids that lose out, I understand father for justice but where’s justice of just being able to walk out on kids no responsibility’s whatsoever where’s my rights as a mother to make sure my kids know there father I can’t force him to be in there lives or pay to help raise them no justice oh he left 10 years ago
what should happen is no money should go anywhere. What should happen is time. Time spent with each parent over the remaining age of the child until 18. For example parents split at child aged 12, 6 years to go until child reaches 18. Out of the days/years remaining the sharing of that childs time should be split. Any parent which does not want to see or look after their child in that agreement will have to pay the other to look after them at a cost per day put in place by the court.It’s that simple.
Which is fine as long as the reason for the split isn’t down to abuse.
No csa does not take into account court issues
I work to support myself and my 2 children yet their self employed father pays nothing and avoids CMS calls and letters. Why can there not be enforable amount taken automatically? I can not afford to take him to court. What other route can be taken to plug this loop hole. Can we get a petition to force mps to discuss in parliment?
I’ve never made a comment online before, but I feel so strongly about this I’m making my first post! I’m in the same position as many, struggling to make ends meet while working full time, while the tax dodging father of my child doesn’t provide financial support, yet has the social life of a rich person. I’d be more than happy to assist in getting this petition started.
Carly, I would totally work with you on putting together a petition for this!
Lets do this!
Hi Sel, I am in the same boat and have a ex dodging his maintenance payments. I would be willing to help. This petition is very important and needs starting. How do we all get in contact with each other.
Hi, here is the petition. please share and support. many thanks csct
Here’s the link:
I have tried to sign this petition as I am also in this situation but the petition is now closed?
I do have strong sympathy with parents when one parent doesn’t doesn’t pay fairly, however, there are so many fathers who want to see their kids and the mothers will lie and not allow fathers to see them and keep it to under a 100 days so they can increase the amount they receive. In addition they will spend thousands on legal fees to stop fathers seeing their children which hurt the children massively. Mothers can earn fortunes yet they are entitled to big monthly payments, how fair is this? It cripples the other parent, I should know. The system is very unfair and bias and I just want you to be aware of the other side of your very valid argument. Best wishes
Has anything been done to do this ?
I am currently writing an article about this and hopefully going to the press.
I need all the help and stories I can get please x
Carly, Im considering putting a petition together so this can be discussed in parliament. Wanna help me? I need others who are going through this. Be great to get together, even via email to see if we can get something started! Would you be interested?
I refuse to sit back and watch 1000’s of children suffer needlessly. X
How do we get this petition started. Lets do this!
Hi, I am on the same boat, ex dodging maintenace whilst living a life beyond his means. How do we start a petition? where to go ? what to do ? please help
To the non resident parents commenting about non access to children. This article is about non resident self employed parents using tax exuding methods and under declaring profit in order shirk their responsibilities and NOT pay a fair amount in respect of their actual income toward the upbringing and welfare of the children they were 50% responsible to taking into this world. The CMS system is flawed on many levels and this should be addressed quickly for the benefit and welfare of children.
Well Said!! This is not an article about fathers having access!
So judging by your statement then,wouldn’t it be fairer to take into account the income from both parents,benefits and outsourced income ?
My wages go up and down each week some weeks I may not even work if there isn’t any work available. I pay for two children on a weekly basis at a rate the other half set of 90 pounds. Some weeks I make 500 after tax some just clear 300 ever now and then 0. What I’m I supposed to pay when I don’t know what I’m going to make.
Least your trying to make an effort ! You need to work out a rough average on next tax years income when u have earned 0 some weeks !
The child maintenance system is totally flawed,I am certain that there would be alot more payments made if the non resident parent was able to see their children.
Why would you want to pay for your children when you dont see them,sounds selfish,yes,however,you would not buy a car on finance,pay the monthly payments but not have the car.
There should be in place a system where by the non resident parent should be granted automatic access on payment of maintenance,however,this would not be the case if said parent poses a risk to the childrens safety or well being.
So by that rule if a parent stops paying anything they should have their access stopped yes?
Its disgusting that a £20 payment gets everything done to get child maintenance, but yet trying to get a court order to get child visitation can cost thousands.
Where is this fair!
More than 80% of cases with cms started because the resident paren’t refused the non resident access to the children.
The system is unfair and needs to be changed .
Absolutely agree with you. I’m supporting my son through the same process. Despite a Shared Residency Order we are back in court yet again to enforce it. It seems to be the only Court Order that can be blatantly flouted in this way and is costing a fortune to enforce.. However, this is not taken into account with affordability of maintenance payments. It is so unfair and indeed damaging to the child being used as a pawn in a very cruel game.
You pay all you supposed to and more, then the ex partner refuses planned and agreed access to the children, what effective legal recourse does one have except standing on top of a building in a spiderman out fit. Link the payments to fair and reliable access to the children. I would have more to see them more regularly.
The CSA system and the way the way that they calculate child support is flawed and leaves it open to abuse by the parent with care who want to make money off their children. The self-employed normally work much longer hours than the employed. I have had a CSA decision where they claim I was earning £250,000 per year with no evidence to support it what’s more the tribunals, the high court and the court of appeal all supported the decision. I am now forced to pay much more than I should have. To add insult to injury they have refused to take into account voluntary payments of maintenance because the child support I was paying was not getting to my child. To see this happen in a civilised country is appalling. Mother has been unemployed for years and simply sees the child as her meal ticket. The whole system is abused by the CSA with income targets and the NRP. They CSA do not need more powers what is need is a fairer more child-centred system.
This surprises me Bernard, as the article clearly states it is almost impossible to get a variation to contest income.
I’m also surprised that tribunal, court of appeal and high court all found the same finding.
Forgive me for speaking out of turn but an income of 250000 would never have just been assumed.
How could that figure have just been plucked?
For me it is simple: I make sure my children live the same lifestyle with me as they do their father,
I had children with a man and by becoming a parent I share the care for these children, why would I see them jump from polar living standards?
I feel this is a loop hole used my so many to avoid paying for their children and ‘claim’ to have the interests of their children at heart.
I understand both parties can exploit the system but in this case the percentage of cases that go to variation are so few and require a ‘strong’ case to progress with, how have you been so unfortunate?
Surely if the non resident parent who is self employed and chooses what they put as there income for Tax purposes which in turn makes their child maintenence figures low. Could this not be classed as financial abuse to the resident parent? When you read the definition of financial abuse it states for example ‘refusing to release funds funds for care”.
It is financial abuse, however I have been declaring it to HMRC and there is nothing they can do since it is all cash in hand.
He abuser has a small business and it is not a lot what he is stealing, however giving £5 a week when somebody charges £125 a day it is criminal. Every child deserves parents that provide for them and not only one as in my case…
Or the fact that new calculations are calculated on gross income and not nett income. Who ever sees the money they pay in tax and insurance? I don’t so why is it factored in to a CSA calculation now? If people are just about living on the old system, when they are being recalculated on the new system some people are having to find 100-200 extra a month or even more. How is that fair. It’s a choice of pay CSA and not have enough money for petrol to go to work and earn an income. So the option then is to quit and go self employed to control the fortune to paid to a realistic amount. I mean really it doesn’t need to cost 500-600 a month CSA to look after a child, cos who would spend that much in reality. many mothers will take that as an income for themselves. Disgusting the new system.
Most NRP want to contribute to the upbringing of their children; but the way the payments are calculated stinks and it is little wonder that people are going self employed in order to pay a fair amount. Second families are left penniless by these creatures!!
I agree, I lost a £33,000 paid job and reduced to £23,000 and CMS repeatedly took £77.45 a week! off me based on calculation of 1 child, me earning £33k a year in a previous tax year.
I wrote to them 4 times without reply asking them to recalculate my earnings because I was netting £19k and still paying £77 a week (£335.62 a month). It crippled me so much, I have to enter an IVA, and open up as a self employed contractor to make sure I can get to work and pay the rent/council tax. My partner has agreed to pay the other bills. We have 3 kids between us and struggle badly, and both in full time work.
CMS don’t look at individual cases, just numbers and sums so literally forced me in to self-employment. However, I pay myself enough money to make contributions. I have never in the last 4 years, be able to buy clothes for my son. And never has he been sent with any. He always has hand -me downs off his step-brother.
It is meant to be that ‘the working non-residential parent’ is ‘better off’ and so has to contribute to the other residential parent. My sons mother lives with her millionaire parents and does not need the money.
When the non-residential parent cannot support his own family, no one cares ! And there is no support
My children’s father was self employed and therefore could get away with saying he earns less than £5 per week, which has resulted in 12 years of no maintenance for 3 children. Of course he earns more than this insulting ridiculous amount, as he has to house, feed, and clothe himself, but common sense does not come into it. If my children’s father says he earns less than £5 per week, it’s believed with no investigation, believe me I’ve tried. At the end of the day he has cheated his own children out of basics they really needed.
What about a self employed dad working 70 +hours a week and has paid the unemployed mom thousands and thousands and hardly any of it gets spent on the kids who come to dads house with holes in the same clothes week after week? He also provides everything the children want / need when they are with him as the mom refuses to send any clothes with the children when they stay or go on holiday