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CSA Advice

Can they just dip into my bank account whenever they like?

Hi, I left my childrens mum in 2002 when our youngest son (lets call him Mason) was just a few months old.

Basically their mum was not very supportive or faithful. I paid CSA at the time and then was made redundant – yes, the CSA loved calling me a lot at that time.

I was expected to pay disproportionately considering I’d lost my job, yet had to fight to obtain parental responsibility – a fight that would not have took place these days. Anyway, the mother and I reached an agreement where I’d pay her directly, which was always cash since I saw her regularly at handovers – she also finally agreed to give me parental responsibility (awww, I should be so grateful she acknowledged me as their Dad outside of the CSA!).

I decided to become self employed and working from home meant I could see the kids a lot more. They started staying with me half the week and we mutually decided that CSA should be stopped as we shared the care. That was 13 years ago in 2002.

Since then, the children continued to live with me and my then wife half the week until 2007 when I was awarded full custody. To cut a long story short, the mother could not cope and GAVE UP the kids every summer holiday for the FULL 6 weeks and barely saw them. My eldest son (lets call him Alan) has special needs (behavioural) and the can’t cope “yellow card” I fully understand but not when it’s syncronous to holidays and not when the “cant cope” card is magically withdrawn at the end of the 6 weeks and she expected to have Mason and Alan back each cycle. Not being much of a doormat I took her to court and was awarded full custody only now she decided she’d see them only 1 night and day a week.

The CSA involved themselves briefly until I informed them we reached a mutual agreement between ourselves
– having been on the receiving end of CSA’s HARRASSMENT when I was made redundant it was not something I would wish on their mum.
Despite the agreement it never lasted she stopped contributing to their upkeep but always took them on days out when she had them and occasionally a holiday which I guess I should be grateful for – I certainly didn’t want to cause stress of hardship by going back to CSA.

Five years passed and in in 2012, I split from my wife and took it pretty hard. I moved 350 miles away to the North of England to be near my own family as I had no family in the south. Alan’s special behavioural needs means he is a handful to say the least and having been expelled from mainstream and every suitable school in the south (including the very specialist schools) it was a welcome fresh start for us all. She continued to pay nothing toward their upkeep.

Needless to say, the children hated the north – they did however get used to it in time – they saw their mum 3 or 4 times a year and she took them on holiday which I suppose overall was brilliant, but still non contributory to their upkeep – on balance I let it go, not wanting to involve CSA.

Despite our differences (some major) we always held it together for the sake of the children and we always maintained communications. In 2013, my eldest son wanted to live with his mum – he missed the south and his brother also wanted to go as he missed friends and mums side of the family also – I understood but was naturally a little heartbroken. So, off they went and to replace them the CSA exploded back into my life… hurrah! Living with Mum lasted 6 months until she could not cope again…. she wanted to give them up AGAIN but this time, only Alan and not Mason. I basically said no – I didn’t want the boys split up – I was split from my own brother growing up and didn’t want that for them.

Things esculated and she sent Alan packing to his Grannys – when Granny couldnt cope she sent him to Aunties who ultimately could not cope either (I mentioned he cant behave and has special needs right?) I paid maintainence via CSA during this time however, because I said NO to having just ONE of them back, she got shitty and we fell out big time. Admittedly, but maybe natural, I was very annoyed as she knew historically she wouldnt be able to cope and I felt my family had been split up and horribly affected for little reason – disrupting schools and routines and causing measurable upset and upheaval for all involved – we argued and name called – not pretty.

Next thing I know the CSA want a HUGE chunk of money for the period 2002 to 2005 – A time when I paid her directly and we had a mutual agreement – turns out CSA was never really stopped for that period at all, just “paused” or some other bullshit.

Anyway, I then get a call saying she will give him up to social services if I don’t take him and she begged me to take him and said she’d call of the CSA for the “arrears?” so I agreed; I was sad that the boys are apart but I was glad on another level.

The CSA still keep coming for thousands in arrears – she never did anything about it and they continually harrass me for money I do not owe – since I paid cash between 2002-05 it basically never happened. I agreed to pay them ongoing CSA maintainance but not arrears as they were disputed.

Anyway, fast forward a year to 2014. Alan… long story, but due to Alan’s extreme behaviour and my reaction to an incident where I was the target he is now in foster care and we rarely speak. I’m so cross with him and relationships are hugely affected. I don’t miss the constant police visits; I don’t miss the unsavoury characters at the door; money and property no longer goes missing; I’m not sure, but in my now early 40’s I think I’m finally getting what other people call a life.

The sad thing is, for many many years, Alan has proved over and over again that he CAN behave, IF he wants to! He’s now 16 is on first name terms with half the local police force – he’s always present wherever trouble is and I miss him terribly, but am glad he’s not living here now – I heard all too often the “im 16 soon and I’ll do what the hell I want” – I get letters from his school every week about exclusions and the fact he is not expelled entirely is an enigma as much as the lad himself. I feel sorry for him… his mum pushed him from pillar to post all his life and the one person who never once gave up on him ultimately did – I basically refused to have him back. Becoming 16 was just an “anything goes” license and I’m not up to it. Bad dad?

Anyway, getting back on point the CSA helped themselves to £2000 on the back of an already set up direct debit to them for “ongoing” monthly charges for Mason.
I complained to the bank and the bank reversed the payment. I continue to REFUSE to pay the arreas because I’ve done way more than my financial share for my children and refuse to pay twice.

How I wish I kept CSA involved and fully updated at every step throughout their entire lives and actually persued what the law said I was entitled to – had I done that then things would at least *seem* more equal but I’m not like that – I’m proud I’m not, but I’m cross too because I now need to pay thousands I should not have to pay whilst their Mum gets to laugh her way to the bank.

I find this all highly unfair; that in their lives it has been me who has shouldered the biggest financial burden which was done entirely for the sake of my children; I’ve never really pressed their mum for money as I believe this also benefits the children as Mum can afford to do more when she has contact and is not stressed and burdened by the HORRIBLE CSA. Thats my detriment, my cross to bear – nice guys finish last!!

Kindness is clearly a weakness to be fully exploited by those without conscience or morals.

Now I am really deeply pissed off, upset and worried. On friday, the CSA dipped into my bank and removed £500 from a long term savings account marked “holiday” and a further £1000 from my second account marked “rent”.

My main account is overdrawn to the tune of £450. I don’t think I have any recourse and it’s pitiful to say that I am now having anxiety palpitations.

I took myself off to hospital thinking I was having a heart attack. I won’t get a holiday this year and maybe not even next year – I will struggle to pay rent and bills for several months, struggle to live – thank you CSA!

What can I do? Can they dip into my bank any time they like? The bank said they can’t do anything this time. I’ve had no letters of earning attachments or bank action, no bailiffs, just a BIG hole in my bank, leaving me £450 overdrawn – how can they do that.

Any advice gratefully received.

Rob

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