CSA said any mistakes they made were not their responsibility

May 23, 2012

My partner and I separated in late 2011, since our separation I have paid her via bank transfer 15% of my net income for support of our son. In mid February 2012 she decided that a CSA assessment of the payments was required to ensure she was getting her full entitlement. As it turned out, the CSA assessed that she was entitled to an additional £35 per month as payments deducted from my salary by the student loans company were not considered as deduction. So I made an additional payment to her for the shortfall from the start of payments in late 2011. The CSA instructed weekly payments to start on 22 March but the case was to remain payments direct. As my ex had been paid up to 6 April via the monthly payment made on 5 March this resulted in a duplication of payments for a two week period.

Rather than default on the payment schedule I made payments advised by the CSA while I wrote to them to resolved the issue of over payment. Two letters later and no response that made any sense at all I was advised that in the case of payments direct the CSA would not take any responsibility for the assessment they had made. They made a decision on payment amount and start date but if it is incorrect it was not their problem. So, I wrote my ex and informed her that I believed she had been over paid, requested her suggestion as to how she would like to correct the payments. Also gave her two weeks notice that that if she did not respond to the letter (which she did not) I would reduce the payments for a period of 4 weeks to bring the payments back to the correct amount for the period.

One week in to the reduced payments, my ex decided that she wanted the CSA to collect the payments, presumably because she was unhappy with paying back the over payment. As soon I was aware that the CSA was going to collect payments I wrote a long letter to them again setting out all the payments made to my ex to date and requested that they assess the start of payments taking these payments in to account. Three days later I was informed by the CSA that all payments made direct would not be considered and start of payments would be solely based on the date my ex phone them to ask they collect payments on her behalf.

The lesson to be learned by this is, do not make payments direct to your ex, as when the CSA get involved they ignored these payments and you just pay again. This is a f**k** up system in which the only way to ensure that you don’t get sc***ed is to not pay until the CSA come to collect. As the whole point of the CSA is to where possible encourage and if necessary broker payments direct rather than get involved in collection you would imagine they would encourage payments direct, but don’t you believe it !