CSA rules promote reduced access

November 29, 2010

I have a number of issues with the Child Support Agency arising out of their current rules around assessing child support payments. It isn’t that I think that they’ve made an incorrect assessment but I am experiencing that their rules have allowed my child’s mother to reduce my access and at the same time increase the amount of money she receives each month.

I had been paying his mother in cash each month. She believed that if she accepted money from me that her benefits would be reduced so she refused to give me any form of receipt or proof of payment. I continually asked her to give me a receipt to avoid any disagreement and she continually refused. The fact is that her benefits wouldn’t have been affected, but she thought they would so she was clearly willing to commit benefit fraud and make me complicit in it if I wanted to support my child. This put me in the difficult situation where I wanted to provide for my son but I could see that I would potentially be accused of not paying her. When I handed over the cash a few months ago she asked if “that was all I had for her”. She then accused me of not paying her for the previous three months.

At that point I handed over the cash for the month, told her that I had paid her and I left. I then phoned the CSA for advice.

I was wary of the CSA as I have been in their clutches for 16 years for the children of my first marriage and they had made a number of errors that made my life a misery for most of that time. The CSA person I spoke to this time said they had a new system and the way they assessed the monthly payment was much simpler and fairer. They then started to pressure me to agree to lodge a case with them for my son. I did.

I had been seeing my son on a flexible basis two, sometimes three nights per week. His mother was always changing the arrangements to extend and maximise her time without him so she could pursue her other interests or just rest. No problem, really. It meant good time for me with him even if it did mean that I often had to change any arrangements I had made with others to accommodate her.

As soon as I instigated the CSA case they made contact with her to inform her. The first thing they did was to advise her to cancel my CSA case and start one of her own. Why? As the CSA explain, only the instigator can stop a CSA case so their view is that the parent with care should have control over this situation. What they overlook is that I now appear to be a deadbeat Dad who had to have the CSA chase him. It is a nonsense to advise this sort of thing. If I did indeed decide to stop the CSA, she would be able to contact them at that time. All they did was to make the assumption that I would be difficult and preempt it by giving control to someone who already is being difficult. This is an issue that I want to see addressed with the CSA and changed to reflect a more fair position.

They then informed her that their assessment would be based on my income with deductions for however many nights I had my son to stay with me. Quick to realize that by telling them that he only stayed with me one night a week she could pocket an additional £40, she lied about the number of nights he was with me and they accepted it. I informed them that I had proof that he had been staying 2 or three nights and that she was cancelling one of the nights and arbitrarily reducing me to one night per week. They then told me that I had just admitted to only having him one night per week and refused to see that they had caused the problem and were now supporting her in preventing him from having proper access to his Dad. This is another issue that needs to be addressed immediately! Not only for my case, but to prevent other “parents with care” from using these techniques to limit access to increase their money.

There are other issues, but the purpose of this e-mail is to discover if this is the right forum for these CSA issues. If it is, I would be very pleased to hear from others to see what we can do to rectify this situation. If not, I would be very grateful if someone could point me in the right direction.


  • John says:

    Quite simple. Don’t play their stupid games! Who are these people to tell you what you MUST do and HOW you MUST do it?

    Write the European Court of Human Rights. Write to your local M.P. write to Cameron and Clegg.

    This system and those running it, is an absolute shambles! It is not fit for purpose and has no place whatsoever in our society!

    Complain, Complain and Complain again and again!

  • Colin Dunstan says:

    OMG. almost the same circumstancees to me except silly me lent her money which was ment to be a maintenance advance which she denies and she has stopped all overnight stays. I collect my son around 9 on a morning and return at 9 pm 3 days a week. I used to have him them 3 nights! I have found the CSA extreemly unhelpfull and infact some of the staff gloat at thye fact that I am been shafted!I am currently waiting for a court date where I hope to get shared residence, that way she will lose the "controll" she now thinks she has and things/care will have to be discussed between us and agreed between us……………………….Well thats the idea!!But sorry to tell you there are many of us out here with similar circumstances and very little support. Hopefully there will be positive reform of family law soon.

  • Juliet-Amber Jolliffe says:

    As a PWC and NRPP, I have to agree that in my experience, the CSA listen to the PWC and believe him/her over the NRP. My partner's ex stopped overnight access the very week she started a CSA claim, despite the fact they had a private arrangement. She also gave them my details and put it a request that they take into account our CTC and the money I receive for my disabled child. Absolutely disgusting – the PWC has too many opportunities to work the system in his or her favour and at the end of the day – it's the child that suffers.

  • Marc Wallis says:

    If I didn't know better, I'd have sworn I wrote this. Sadly it's an all too familiar situation. 🙁

  • Lorraine Moore says:

    Identical to our situation Juliet!!!

  • Phil Lee says:

    Similar thing happened to me and they awarded my ex "backpayment" . . as the NRP it's their word against yours- yours doesn't matter as they always go with the PWC.. sorry bud unless someone tells me otherwise that's just the way it is.. and it cost me almost £5000.

  • Clifton Dorey says:

    Do what I did. Get a court order.Take her out of the equation. Let's see her argue that reducing access time to you (assuming you have proof of the times you'd previously seen your son so you can argue theat it is a reduction) is of benefit to the child! Go for 3 nights a week and then at least you'll have a set routine that can be stuck to, your son gets significant time with both parents and you get to pay her exactly what she should be paid, not the arbitrary amount she thinks she should have. If you're feeling brave (and rich) go for shared custody. As long as whatever you go for can be shown to be in the best interests of the child she wont have a leg to stand on. Do it sooner rather than later, coz you'll probably end up doing it anyway!

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