A way to cap how much CSA I pay?

April 25, 2012

Right, to make things clear, I am an excellent and responsible parent, which is why I have been happily paying £300 a month maintenance leaving me very little to live on resulting in me having rent a tiny room in a shared house. On top of this I have to pay £200 a month to see my daughter in a contact centre.

Now guess how much I earn? Its 37K and I still can’t afford to pay my bills and I am getting into more and more debt and into serious financial trouble! 🙁

I more than pay for my daughters upkeep, I know the mum can easily get by on £200 or less since she has a free house and everything is paid for her, she has no outgoings. So every time I see my daughter I notice not only is she wearing new expensive designer clothes (different every time), she has different/new designer shoes, new expensive designer lunchbox, new designer drinks bottle, do I need to go on?

Basically the ex is taking the micky! I want to make sure my daughter has everything she needs and is provided for, but does she need a different lunch box and drinks bottle every week?!?!?!?!?!?!

I think not! So now finally to try and get myself out of trouble, I have a new job on more money but once my ex finds out I’m on more money she will demand more and then I’m right back to square one where I can’t afford to eat!!! 🙁

It REALLY gets to me that I have worked very hard all of my life throughout education all the way to uni and then really hard in my career working silly hours to get to where I am. So why should I give all of it away to someone who has done nothing with their life? I will happily pay for anything she needs such as school clothes, clubs, holidays, etc, etc.

BUT I don’t want to be giving ALL of my money to my ex who just wastes it, and god knows how much stuff she has bought herself out of my VERY hard earned money!!!!

So what I want to know, is there some way of capping how much I pay? Although £300 is still a lot, I am happy to continue paying that, but no more!!!

My new job is contracting so at least that helps a bit with being self-employed but I still need to declare everything I earn to the taxman so there’s no way of hiding it. I know I can claim expenses but they would be sooo small that it would make very little difference. 🙁

I love my daughter to bits and she is my world and I would do anything for her, I want to be able to save up to buy her big presents for xmas and her birthday and to take her on holiday, etc but I can’t afford to live let alone save! And the ex once again looks like the better parent since she has all of my money to buy her big presents and take her away, etc. So yes it is a very unfair system, but it also works both ways, in this case, it is very unfair on the father!

It gets worst, since I only get to see my daughter every other weekend for 2.5 hours in a contact centre, thanks to the ex once again. I haven’t been able to afford to take her to court for more access because I am paying out so much! So I have felt trapped for over a year now. This was the main reason for the new job, so I can finally take her to court and get the access I deserve, I want it to be at least once a week minimum, I would love for it to be every second of everyday but I know that is not realistic. Ideally, to start with, I would at least want to have her for a day and have her overnight once a week, 2 or 3 times a week would be better but I know that would be unrealistic to start with.

And this is the part which really sickens me, you pay EVEN MORE if you see your child less!!! So the ex stops me seeing my daughter and then I have to pay even more!!!!!! Hmmmm, sounds really fair to me!

I am hoping someone can help me…

A good, very loving and desperate father.


  • SK says:


    I am lucky with the fact that I now get my daughter everyweek paying over 300 a month too. So its a bit like pay as you view. My ex partner refuses to go through the CSA so I suspect tthat she is defrauding the system somehow.

    Sorry to hear that you only see your child once a fortnight. I know the feeling as I had to fight to see my daughter. How much is the contact centre costing you? 200 a week? Every other week 400 a month. The only way I can think of is that u break your own heart a little and stop paying the contact centre and save for a solicitor for 1 month. Just to get the ball rolling, a simple letter might do the trick and as you are a responsible paying parent if it ever went to court you would be seen as favourable, take loads of photos with your child being happy, get character references from people who you have worked for. Do anything to prove that you are a good loving dad.

    Its a long hard road but, the buring love for your child will make you fight till the end. I’m not religous but I believe that mothers who abuse the system and fathers will get their comeupense (if that’s how you spell it)

    Apologies if there are spelling mistake. Going to work and posting this on my BB

    Good luck!!!

  • Carol says:

    As a mum myself why does your ex want contact in a contact centre? This is something I would avoid completely.

    Unfortunately there is no way to cap the amount of maintenance paid. You mention you will be self employed at your new job so any work expenses you have can reduce your income, which in turn reduces your maintenance. It’s amazing what you can use to reduce your income such as mobile phones, petrol costs etc.

    The CSA will only say how much you have to pay and won’t tell your ex what to spend it on.

    Men really do get a raw deal here. PWC get their salary (if they work) tax credits and maintenance (which they do not have to declare to get the tax credits). If they don’t work benefits etc. Being on both sides of the Agency I now completely agree that men are worse off. I was better off a single parent although I never received any maintenance via the wonderful CSA!

  • Looking forward to the future father says:

    Thanks for the comments and getting back to me. I have already instructed a solicitor now to get the ball rolling to get more contact with my daughter. I am not sure how long these things take though? Any ideas roughly? I was hoping maybe a month or two tops?

    I got a feeling my ex will fight all the way too and it will have to go to court and may get ugly. 🙁 I didn’t want it to come to this but I feel I have no choice and have been backed into a corner and I cant take anymore of how it is now, so I need to do something about it.

    What takes the biscuit even more is that she will also get legal aid but will cost me thousands and that’s on top of the maintenance and contact center fees I am already paying! 🙁 I really love the fair system we have! Hmmmm….

    But at least the law may now change to finally give men more rights and the judge will have to make a decision since the mother would no longer get default custody, which is not fair. I have always said that women want equal rights and I am happy with that and I agree with them, but it should be equal ALL the way so it works both ways, men also get womens rights.

    Its crazy to think, I have to move many miles away from my daughter so I can see her more!

    Thanks again.
    Looking forward to the future father

  • Carol says:

    Good luck with your Court Action. The only thing I would say, as I say to alot of people, is your ex will still play this, even though solicitors are involved. SHe does not have to put her hand in her pocket to pay legal expenses and will carry it on as far as she can. If she had to pay legal expenses I am sure she would be much more amicable!

    It can be a lengthy process depending on how fair your ex might be. Correspondence will be entered into between your solicitor and hers. If no agreement reached then your solicitor will have to apply for a court date. Maybe let your solicitor know that you are not prepared for letters going back and forward which will only lengthen the time involved and also your costs. Let your solicitor know you want matters put to Court as soon as she is being awkward.

  • Sk says:

    Hi bud,

    Sorry your having to go through what I went through, I fought allot for my daughter. My ex didn’t care about me at all. she jumped in to be with another man a few weeks after we broke up.so you can imagine how much she cared about me seeing my daughter. She wouldn’t let me see my daughter until I paid her a lump sum to get her name off of the property we bought together.

    I went through the solicitor and the ball got rolling with a simple letter. As you can imagine she replied back with a load of lies saying I was an unfit dad etc (I work in the city full time and am a homey family man) this didn’t sway the solicitor one bit and they stay firm and support you. With the threat of court and realising that there isn’t anything in law that requires you to pay to see your own flesh any blood, she gave up. And I got my way, albeit there is an amicable agreement inplace.

    Be carefull bud things can get very expensive, for it to go to court etc iot will cost 10k all in. But that’s a small price to pay for your lil one. Is she on benefits?? Or earn less then 20k a year? If so then she can get legal aid. Good luck matey

  • Looking forward to the future father says:

    Ok, thanks, yeah that sounds like a good idea and would I think I would have done anyway.

    I Just wished it didn’t have to come to this but now I have been backed into a corner so I have no choice…

  • Mark Wood says:

    Gosh, I have been looking at websites to try and find help!

    It sounds like the same situation as me! I had a business that was giving us a very nice income at one point, until for no fault of my own I lost my biggest which really put financial pressure on the relationship. After about 10 months of struggling my wife sent me an email stating she wanted a divorce because she felt I couldn’t give her and our 18 month daughter the financial future she wanted.

    She has now got the house, the spare cash i had which we had put into an account for my daughter for safe keeping. The cash i was told has gone as it was a gift, so I put into a trust. The ex then hit back and said I was an unsuitable father and restricted my access to 1 hour every 2 weeks ather parent house. She has even restritched my eldest daughter access, well she doesnt have anby access to be honest. Due to the fact that the baby is to young to understand, however the ex has now got a boyfriend who has been introduced as Mummy special friend!! How does that work!

    She also left me with aload of debt which has forced a bankrupcty, I have had to get a job which only payus £12,000 a year and she is still entitled to £120 per month through the CSA. I can not afford to live anymore I dont know where to turn.

    My monthly income is £750, my rent for a 1 bedroom house share is £350 with food etc Ii have less than £20 per week to live on.

    There really should be a sliding scale with the CSA as us fella’s need to live,I WOULD BE BETTER OFF UNEMPLOYED.

    I have never been on the dole before and have always worked hard. Now I am desperate.


  • Lindsay says:

    I have only been separated from my daughter for a year and I am totally sickened at a system that punishes the absent parent, if that parent wants to work.
    I have no problem with my partners situation as it stands at this present time, she is working part time but is still able to get help with rent and council tax etc. But I could see as my wage increasing her want to find more work decreasing.
    I pay £30 a week at the moment and via the CSA calculator website, when my pay goes up it will jump £47.
    I want to pay for my daughter but I want it to be fair. I would like to be ‘forced’ (it isn’t forced I willing pay it) to pay for my daughters upkeep and living SHARED between both partners as she does get help in the way of benefits and such because she has a child living with her. I then would like to have that option I used to have when I was in the family unit of having parents prerogative. I would be able to help pay for things when needed, I could save to take her on holiday, I could start putting money away for her uni or car/deposit for house if she doesn’t want to.

    I was quite surprised to find out that the payments are not capped when they hit £65 a week. I mean who knew that a child needs more to live on than an adult on the dole.
    What has my job got to do with the amount of money my daughter needs to live??? My daughter needs X amount to live and that should only change due to where she lives not what I earn.

    I freely admit that I cant make a rock solid argument on what each child should receive, but as an off the cuff guess I would suggest 0-9 years £35 a week, 10 – 13 years £45 a week, 14 – 16 years £55 a week and 16+ £65 a week.
    Even with that I still don’t agree as the other partner should be paying half of that, BUT it is vastly better than at the moment. Obviously there would be people that can’t pay that, including my presently (before payrise), but the absent parent can improve themselves, earn more and eventually hit the band of payment and with the rest CHOOSE what to do.

    Let me be a parent, is all I ask. Not a money mule.

  • CSA is so wrong! says:

    I am a father of 3 children from aged 11 – 17. I am single and rent an expensive 3 bedroomed flat just so my children can stay over every other weekend. (even though my ex has stopped me seeing my youngest child), and although I find it as hard as everyone before-mentioned, I do not begrudge paying ANY of the money (25% of my wages) to my ex wife (although she is not a nice person). What really gets me with the system and the CSA is that they DO NOT TAKE THE ABSENT PARENTS SITUATION INTO CONSIDERATION AT ALL! I pay over the odds to live where I live (£960/month) for the reason I stated. I lived in a bedsit at first for £500, so I’m paying an extra £460, and its not taken into consideration! I have life insurance so that if something happens to me my children get a little something – No consideration. Presents, gifts, holidays with my children – Not considered. I’m self employed so on occasion I’m out of work for a week or so – No consideration. The list goes on, and so does the list of CSA suicides. Although it doesn’t stop the CSA circus, I am now planning to move abroad and ‘start’ again. MY HEART GOES OUT TO EVERY SINGLE ‘GOOD’ PARENT WHO IS TRYING TO DO THE RIGHT THING!. But I do not know of a single institution in the world that is so biased, wrong, poorly managed and malfunctioning as the great CSA. God Bless you all and keep the faith!

  • CSA is so wrong! says:

    Oh did I mention that on top of the £460 in ‘extra rent’ (£960 in total)
    and on top of the £500/month I pay in CSA

    It also costs me £400/month in food when my children stay over!
    Hence no more holidays, presents or gifts from me to them AT ALL.

    Oh I earn £1750 per month – Yeah I know it doesn’t add up!!

    I’d be cheaper in a bed sit, and not seeing my children! WHich is what the CSA is all about!
    Broken Relationships, Broken Homes, Broken Britain

  • Gem says:

    It is crazy!! Whatever you pay, double and add child benefit – that is what the CSA say your child/children should cost per month!

    So my husband, a loving father, pays £300 per month, so with the mothers half (£300) plus child benefit (£80) means my step daughter who is now 16 (hubby has been paying for 14yrs), should techinically cost £680 per month! This is ridiculous!

    We can’t afford to have another baby, to get a new car (ours is on the way out), we can’t even afford nice weekends away with the family, tourist attractions, dining out…. nothing! We would rather spend some of that money taking her places, creating memories, putting money into an education fund for her future…

    It just doesn’t seem fair, especially when they have a lovely home, lovely cars, a good lifestyle – and we are scrimping each month! What is wrong with the government – surely the list of things above are more important than her mother getting a nice car!!! We can’t even afford to give her pocket money – it’s that bad!

    It should be capped – if my husband earned 200k the mother would get about 5k per month! That money should be used for his daughter only – not for the mother.

    To top it off the greedy cow even asked for extra money to buy the school uniform – because £300 apparently isn’t enough!!! Rant over! Completely understand your situations – wish there was something we could do!

  • Anony Mouse says:

    An interesting last post by Gem.

    I work offshore and can earn several thousand pounds a month. The maintenance I pay is often more than most families earn in a month, and I find it very hard to believe it’s all being spent on my son’s upbringing.

    There really should be a cap on payments to a reasonable level, especially if the payer moves to a better paying job, long after the time of separation. Maintaining the standard of living at separation is one thing, but boosting it just because your circumstances have changed is completely wrong!

  • wilf says:

    Anony Mouse:- The maximum net income the CSA will take into account is £2000 per week.
    Effectively a cap at £300 per week for 1 child, £400 for two children and £500 for three.

  • Anon says:

    I’m struggling with CSA, I’m on 250 a week before tax

    I live in a one bed studio which costs me 495 a month
    My electric is 40 a month food etc is about 80-100 a month and CSA want 160 a month for my children.

    My car insurance is not even included above nor my petrol!! This starts to come into effect on the 7th April

    I won’t survive atall and suicide looms most who struggle financially

  • richard says:

    I payed csa for my 4 children and the only gripe I had was when you leave a relationship for what ever reason, you leave the partner with (in my case rented accomadation) with all the appliances and stuff you managed to get over the years and you have to start over again, ie rent a place start rebuilding what you left ,but she never worked so she gets rent free now being a single parent plus money from me for csa, which I’m not moaning about it to much lol but I can see where some of you are coming from

  • Ash says:

    Im currently paying £300 p/m on my 19k wage, should be £260 but CSA messed up and I ended up being £700 in debt which I now have to pay back, didnt matter that I was over paying for the first 18 months because they messed up at the beginning too!! though they wont take it into consideration as it only counts from when you contact them APPARENTLY!!!! (how was I to know they are thick as SH1T)

    I have a new job lined up where I will be pulling in over 30k p/a and im trying to sort it out with my ex for her to contact CSA and tell them she no longer needs them so they wont poke their noses in anymore and I can take this job and give her the same amount of cash as I am now.

    If I manage to pull this off I should be free of their horrible system.

    I do love my kids dearly but I dont love their mum, I dont believe that she spends all the £300 p/m on the kids, more so when CSA didnt pay for 2 months and she called me asking if I could sort it out with the payroll department because the money was for their spending money for their family holiday to Spain for 2 weeks!!! not too long after she pulls up in a new car and she is on BENEFITS!!!

    The system is total BOLLOX, I work 40 hours a week and take home 1k p/m she works sod all and gets my £300 + benefits for sitting on her arse and then dumping the kids on her family as often as she can. When I was growing up my mum got nothing, we had no food by the weekend and it still hurts her now because she struggled to provide for us even with 2 jobs. (I know this because I have had to move back in as I cant afford to live with my new partner as the £500 half share + car, insurance, fuel, finance and debt I have does not allow me too)

    I dont know what this government is paying at but they obviously dont give a damn about the CSA and how it is crippling the hard working citizens of the UK

    Rant over but wish me luck as I will you all!!!!!

  • Matthew Smith says:

    Well having just been re-assesed and now have to pay £365 per week but this is back dated for 18months so I am currently £40K in debt to them with a £1,867 per month CSA bill! I have three girls aged 7, 12 & 16! the CSA is wrong but you cannot beat the system just because it doesn’t work, what annoys me is that the mother of my older two now receives TAX FREE £1,300 per month! Thats a flaming income

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