CSA Advice

Don’t make the same mistakes that I did

I have a debt of over £23,000 which I now owe to the Child Support Agency Enforcement Team for which the CSA have taken the proceeds off an endowment policy to pay for our home, which has left us with another huge debt to the building society that we cannot afford pay back forcing us to sell our home which now has a charging order on it.

I would like to mention, like myself, over the years my partner even though the children are not blood related to her, has given, done, and gone without to make sure my children are loved and well looked after. The small terraced 2 bedroom property (which I brought out my ex partners share many years ago), is half my partners that she has worked and contributed too. The debt has been calculated on figures that are incorrect, even though I have paid more to the CSA, and the parent with care, more than their online calculator suggests ensuring my children are well loved supported and taken care of. We both have a very good relationship with my two boys’ who are very healthy and well. My ex partner through the CSA is taking away my children’s inheritance that I have fought to keep over the years, in the hope that one day my children will be able to sell the tiny mid terrace house to buy properties of their own.

The bailiffs have been knocking at our door and harassing us for money. (don’t let these people into your home, you do not have to let them in if you don’t want too. Once they gained access to your home they can enter by force when ever they like. Keep your doors locked and windows closes and park your car around the corner. These people are roughless and really upset my children when staying one weekend. They will also take your childrens belongings if worth anything. Don’t open the door or shut it in their face).

Because I am paying extras to the bailiffs and secretary of state each month we can no longer see the children so often or afford to live in our home, and we are now living in temporary accommodation.

Just recently Mrs H Central Appeals unit CSA has written to me to inform me that there are errors with the assessments. So it does not make sense when I was earning less 2001 to 2005 my assessments were higher, sometimes the assessment was for more than I actually earn which has led to this debt.
In Mrs H letter she stated that The CSA’s calculations for assessments were correct. They probably are correct with the figures that have been supplied to them, but the figures they have been supplied with are incorrect as my account and tax returns will show which they ignore and add on departures to increase the assessment.

There is a problem with the way the CSA assess none resident parents and is in great need of reform. In the past I have asked for advice from different legal bodies including, D B Solicitors and Advocates, Community Legal Advice, Citizens Advice Bureau, Legal Services, Child Support Guidance, who have all informed me that if you are self employed and on the old system (CSA1 pre 2003) the CSA can assess you on the information that is supplied to them by the resident parent and add on departures to increase this, and disregard your tax returns and bank accounts.

The CSA are including estimated band earnings in my assessments. I use to play in a band to raise money mainly for charities. It was none profit making. Because of all the accusations and stress the CSA has caused me I have had to stop.

At a tribunal 22/09/2008 Mrs S (Tribunal Judge) said that she would not go back to 2001 as it was to long ago and there was no more said about the assessment 15/10/2001 and 23/05/2005 hence I did not question the CSA assessment during the tribunal as I thought all the voluntary payments I paid to the PWC, that my ex partner denied stood, and that was the end of the matter. So you can understand why I was shocked to discover that I apparently owe over £23,000 for these periods. (I do not beleve these tribunals are independent of the CSA, you must get representation).

The CSA and tribunal can see by my accounts and tax returns that I supplied to them that the amount would have been impossible for me to pay, at times they have been assessing me for more than I earn.

The CSA have worked out that from the 15/10/01 I was netting £216.45 a week, and from 23/05/05 I was netting £290.65 a week. It is plain to see by my accounts that this is incorrect. In 2001 I was netting £72 approx and in 2005/06 I was netting £81 approx, I had just left university and was building up my self employed business. I was getting financial support from my father during this time whilst I built up my peripatetic teaching around local schools.

In a letter from the CSA I was informed that I should have appealed back in 2001. I did not do this as the CSA only changed the assessment to unrealistic figure in 2006 which I have appealed against and questioned them about ever since but to no avail.

The Tribunal consisted of 6 hours of gruelling interrogation. I was mainly asked questions about my accounts and bank statements going back to 2005/2006 for which I had trouble remembering the fine details as this was 3 years before the Tribunal. Sometimes I was not given the opportunity to think about the questions they were asking me. There is prejudice and victimisation towards Non Resident Parents.

My total annual net income as supplied to the CSA for 2005/2006 equals £9,301 or £178 a week. The current online calculator suggests I should be paying £28 a week. (Please bear in mind that I currently give £150 a month plus voluntary payments for travel, clothes and school fee’s etc that should be taken into consideration by the CSA. Travel alone is £45 a fortnight for which the CSA have allowed me £7 off the over calculated departure). I realise that there will be a variation with the on line calculation, but the CSA have calculated that I should be paying £83.56 a week which equals 3 times more, so there must be a mistake in the figures and departures that the CSA have used to assess me during these periods. I have appealed many times about these assessments but they turn me down so the debt continues to build up.

I was not given the chance during the tribunal to state my case or ask the CSA officer why they are assessing me unfairly and express myself. The case was adjourned abruptly because they ran out of time and it was left for me to re-appeal for a re-hearing on confirmation of the tribunal’s findings.

After the tribunal 2008, with financial help I sort the aid of a family solicitor, because being a layman against an appointed CSA judge, forensic account and CSA officer who all took on the mantle of my ex partner during the tribunal made it all one sided.

The CSA should ensure that parents are told they have to attend Tribunals, and they must have representation, and not just suggest in their correspondence that they do not have to attend or get representation as it is not necessary. I have never had to attend a tribunal before let alone court hearings until the tribunal 2008, and thought the tribunal was set up to discuss matters in a fare and just manner. Parents do need to attend these tribunals with recommended representation. As layman it is impossible to understand the complexity of their laws and regulations, even qualified family solicitors have trouble understanding them. What makes it worse is that with new government legislation it is impossible to get legal aid.

The solicitor I asked to help me directly after the tribunal let me down by filing the appeal papers late. But never the less, this does not make the tribunals decision right and I strongly feel it should be readdressed.

From what I understand Mrs S will not let me re-appeal against the debt of over £23,000 as well as other reasons just to mention a few – (I could not explain why there was an odd payment of 33p paid in to my bank account 3 years before the tribunal. I could not produce evidence during the tribunal that I was not asked to send them in the first place. I even telephoned the Tribunal services before the tribunal and spoke to Mr A H who confirmed I had sent all the information required. Because we took the children camping to South Devon a few times. We decorated the children’s bedroom. We have had 2 budget holidays in the eight years previous to the tribunal, we sold my partners car and bought another second hand one). Because of this Mrs S says that she is at unease about my income. Even so this does not make their decision correct and there is plenty of merit to appeal.

I have received a letter from Solicitors Regulation Authority to inform me that they have intervened into the Solicitors practice who took over my case and that he is no longer operating. For this reason the Legal ombudsman has contacted me to say even though there are a lot of errors with this case, in the way with the solicitor handled it, there is not a lot more they can do.
It is only recently that I discovered that the solicitor filed the application to appeal 4 months late which is why there is a charging Order application for the house, and was confirmed in July 2010. The solicitor informed me that he had transferred a court hearing from B to B whilst he was dealing with my case. I did request in writing and verbally that I wanted to attend this hearing. He did say that this would be okay and that he would let me know.
He did not get back to me with regards to this matter, even though I continually chased him, and I did not know the outcome for a long time after. It was for a Liability Order that had been made and bailiffs instructed as they have been knocking at my door. In addition an Interim Charging Order in respect of our property which I own jointly with my partner.
I have been informed that the paper was issued to the solicitor in May 2010 and there was a “return date” for July 2010, which he missed.

My income is corroborated by evidence from HMRC who have accepted my statement of income for which I have paid tax upon. The tribunal do not explain why they go behind this finding of another government department.

The tribunal presented and prosecuted my ex partners case for her. The tribunal took on the mantle of my ex partner and made their role as adjudicator; and infected their judicial role.
I supplied all the information required i.e. bank statements and my accounts that were prepared by a chartered accountant to the tribunal. Mr W (forensic accountant) at the hearing asked me lots of questions about my accounts using accountant terminology from my prepared accounts and tax return that I did not understand. I checked with my accountant after the tribunal who said it would have been unfair to expect me to understand the questions not being an accountant.
I was accused with no real grounds by the tribunal of not telling the truth and not supplying all the information.

Long before the tribunal I made contact with Mr A H at the CSA tribunal services to check I had supplied all the correct documents and information to which he confirmed I had. The CSA have lost copies of my P60s, Accounts, Bank statements etc. I do have proof. So it could be possible that they have lost my letters.

Mr W at the tribunal was also using interrogation tactics by asking me several questions at the same time and not allowing me to answer them one at a time which confused me. (I did explain that I am dyslexic and I have trouble remembering instructions and details when put in such a way), even so he carried on. Certain questions he kept repeating over and over again, questions that I had already answered or could not answer because it was about minor items on my bank statements and accounts from 2 or 3 years previous during the 6 hour session.

The CSA have also bumped up my partners earnings with out using her pay slips with no evidence to increase my current assessments which I have appealed against in the past. She has sent them copies of her pay slips but it does not make any difference. We recently went to tribunal again about this but the CSA did not turn up, so the hearing was ajourned to a later date. I did get representation this time as well which I will have to pay for. (Solicitors do not come cheap).

The Tribunal 2008 refuse me the right to appeal so it creates a status quo and stops the situation from being sorted out properly creating a dept that is impossible for me to pay back unless we lose our home which is not an effective remedy but looks like it’s going to happen. The CSA continued to assess me on the fact I was earning £290 a week when I was earning £178 a week. I could not afford to pay the CSA assessment, so even though I kept appealing the debt built up.

The decision-maker from the appeal 14/09/06 (which was flawed in my favour by the Secretary of state and the Commissioner) is accessing me unfairly with regards to my self-employed earnings.
My circumstances have not changed and they are still assessing me unfairly.

The tribunal was ended abruptly and Mrs S told me off for wasting their time because I could not answer all their questions about my prepared accounts that I did not understand, and the odd payments into my bank accounts even though I had declared them as earnings, and that I had not supplied evidence that I was not asked for. Mrs S commented that they would assess me on what they think I earn anyway.

Originally back in 2000 it was set up that I should pay the parent with care direct. She wanted me to do all the travelling as she moved with the children 75 miles away, and help out with school trips, music lessons and clothes etc. As I still do.

Back in 2006 when my self employment built up and I started paying my ex partner extra. This is when she denied all such payments to her and I was instructed by a CSA officer to keep all records. So I have only kept records of payments for maintenance since this time.

I do not see the point in CSA setting it up for NRP to pay the PWC direct if the parent with care can deny all such payments to obtain money illegally with the help of the CSA. I made the mistake of paying the parent with care in cash as requested by her so it did not affect her benefits the ultimatum by her was if I did not pay cash she would stop me seeing my children.

I telephoned the CSA assessment line and spoke to an officer who could not explain to me how they work out assessments on the old system CSA1. He said that it was too complicated to explain and that they use several computer screens and did not know himself. If he does not know how to work it out then how would the parents?
I have asked the CSA on many occasions why parents on the old CSA1 assessments (pre 2003) are a lot higher than parents on new CSA2. The CSA online calculator will confirm this. So there are lots of parents who are being robbed by the government. Surely everybody’s assessment should be the same whether pre 2003 or not.

If the CSA supplied the tribunal with the wrong information they should be held accountable, and it should also be their responsibility to put the decision right, even if the Child Support Decision Maker does not have the authority to revise the Tribunals decision, with regards to supplying the tribunal with the wrong figures for my net income in relation to the assessments.

Before and since the last hearing for enforcement at the local courts I have been in continual contact with different CSA officers to try and sort this matter out. I have been in continual contact them since 2006. When I make contact in writing to the person from the CSA who wrote to me, (on the occasions when they do reply) they inform me that they cannot help me or it is inappropriate for me to write to them, which I also have in writing.

The CSA should inform me and other Non Resident Parents in their correspondence to who they should write too for information. On the occasions when I do get replies it’s a case of their hands are tied as the tribunal services refuse me the right to appeal.

After seeking legal advice I have been informed that if you are on the old CSA1 system and self employed they can add departures onto your assessment to increase it. This is another reason why the assessments are far too high for me and other parents to pay back based on what the CSA have been told by ex partners, and not using their HMRS tax return.

I have also been in contact with my local MP who recommended me to the Parliamentary ombudsman. Even though they both sympathise and want to help they cannot because the CSA have been given too much power and have made their decision which they refuse me the right to appeal against.

It would have been impossible for me to pay what the CSA have assessed me for before and after the tribunal and I would not have been able the finance the funds to see my children weekends, pay my bills, mortgage, Inland revenue, council tax, water rates, sewage, gas, electricity etc.

After the tribunal in December 2009 Mrs D (CSA enforcement Officer) during a meeting at my home informed me that if I could raise £10,000 they would write off the debt of over £23,000.

This would have meant selling personal possessions, including my car which meant I would loose most of my work and borrowing some money from a family member.

Mrs D telephoned me 01/10 informing me that if we do not come up with £10,000 by Tuesday of that week that my ex partner through her will force the sale of our home.
She pressurise us during the Christmas holiday on the telephone to borrow money from somewhere or sale personal belongings to pay off this wrongly calculated debt. Over the years the CSA have not respected our private and family life with continual threats of prison, asbo’s, bailiffs, legal costs, having our house taken away, as well as my driving licence and passport and that my credit rate would suffer if I don’t pay thousands of pounds in wrongly assessed depts. They have made me feel and treated me like a criminal even though I have done nothing wrong.

I went to the building society to borrow money against my home and the best they could offer was £5,000, which I have in writing. She asked me to bring a copy of this letter to another arranged meeting in B 01/10 with regards to this loan. Borrowing £5000 on my house means I would have to pay another £224.33 a month extra on top my normal mortgage.

Out of desperation I telephoned Mrs D 01/10 and suggested that I sale my car and other personal belongings and, borrow some money.

My main concern is that without a car I will not be able to see my children, attend to my elderly father emergency calls promptly as he suffers with cellulites, diabetes, arthritis and Charcot syndrome. He has just a hip replacement in his right side and his left leg has been amputated. He is confined to a wheel chair and I am his sole carer. Plus I would any part time work I have.

A meeting was arranged 01/10 at B Job centre with Mrs D, my ex-partner and me. My ex-partner insisted that she now wanted £16,000 or she would have my partner and I made homeless by forcing the sale of our home. I do not understand how she would have been prepared to accept £10,000 and then put it up to £16,000 when she discovered I had ways of raising her first request.
Mrs D said I should move out of my home county for a cheaper way of life, but this would not be appropriate with my elderly father’s illness and only dependent, plus I would loose any work I have.

Just recently I have written to my ex partner again to ask for help and make an offer that she has turned down.

The whole situation over the last 6 years has caused my partner and I poor quality of life and a lot of time off work sick over the years due to depression and stress my partner and I are both under the doctor for mental health issues and on anti-depressants. I feel helpless as I cannot help her.

At a recent County Court hearing about the endowment policy the judge said that I was a victim of circumstances. He went on to say his heart went out to us, but even he could not overturn a decision made by a tribunal.

He you are are having problems with the CSA, keep fighting as long as you can. If we all fight and complaine it might make it easier for other NRP in the future

Kind Regards

6 thoughts on “Don’t make the same mistakes that I did

  1. You should raise your case by way of Judicial review, and as a breach of your Human Rights(ECHR), with regard to being kept on the old system, as this is discrimination, when there others on different systems which are available to others, where they are being assessed differently and where your liability may have been less. Being kept on the old system is against your best interests, and the CSA having so many tiers of calculation may be acting unlawfully!

    I would write to, or try to involve the European Court of Human rights. I believe that you may find legal redress to your situation! I have involved the ECHR. They were interested, but I informed that I had not yet been through the UK courts as they are corrupt on CSA matters. I aksed for their intervention and my case still lies on their files!

  2. Hi. Im sorry to say that the online calculator is of no use to you if you are on the CS1 rules as i am. The current system is 15% of net income. CS1 which from what you said is what i believe you are on is 30% of net income.
    I am the same. The calculator says i should pay £55 a week. I am currently paying £100 a week. When i asked about being transfered to current system i was told “We were not told by the government that we have to transfer all old cases to current so we are not doing.”

  3. Hi.. sorry to read your case here, please use these people below, ….. ££ cost case review at £700 … 2012 fixed at …. ££ cost case review at £5-900 … 2012 varied

    Sir I’m using them just now in 2011 -2012 ,good luck.. nice blog, well done?

    Sir, never never contact your EX or CSA direct… get others to do that above, stay in back ground only, Yes.

    Yes CSA lie 24/7 but you cant fight all them on your own ok, they too, too powerful.. have all the aces in ones hands, like you say even MP’s cant do that?… thats uk life!! .. namce change only, never change too much of a cash cow for Uk govt you see?

    My case been runnuing since 2000 … CSA-1 (old type case) but now closed in 09/2010… 06/11, arrears at 2011 about £12,000 from £17,000 in 2010 reduced after final,final assesment owed, £50-25,000,,, yes challanged by me for 10y and now by above?… in 12 months now closed?..etc.

    Cut it right down now.. 4y to pay above,@ £54.75 weekly.. offered £3,000 to clear with £3,500 paid in 2011 but not given to PWC it seems only time will tell,but I know CSA will no agree on this, will want full payment in 2012? ouch!! , ouch!!

    Time to Pray again? Pray again? Pray again?… again?


  4. Hi

    back in 1997 I was paying child support for my two children to the magistrate court
    My Ex then decided to involve the CSA in the hope she would get more money from me I recived an accesment from the csa that was totally un reasonable as I would be left with less than £40 to live on this was because they refused to take account of the fact I was traveling 80 miles per day to work & back & my council tax was according to them disposable income. so I appealed in the mean time continued paying the court after many letters & phone calls a woman from the csa came to visit
    & I exsplained my situation to her she agreed & said she would try & sort it out taking with her various letters around a week later all thes letters were posted back through the letter box & iI got a phone call late at night saying they were taking me to court for arreas I belive I said good maybe the court sort it out
    in the mean time my son who was now 14 decided he wanted to live with me
    & I never heard from the csa again that is till now some 15 years later
    they are chasing the original debt which is wrong as it was never re assesed plus they are claiming payment from me from 1998 to 2004 when my son was actualy living with me.
    what can I do as after 15 years I don,t have the paperwork anymore I thought I was done with the csa my son is nearly 30 now & my daughter 28
    Im on a low income supplemented with tax credits
    Ive recived a demand for over £800 which I don,t belive I owe & they are threatening to send the balifs round
    are the csa gearing up for another spate of suicides.


  5. Hi

    I am sure that the CSA just laugh when another one comits suicide. They are a bunch of evil dictators. The UK government seems to be too frightened of them to put an end to all the misery for people. The ultimate person to blame however is the Queen as she has got the power to over-ride the government and stop the CSA being so unfair. She has dealt unfairly with her people and in such sutuations, the Lord God will decide her fate. She has got the power to stop this but is not prepared to and is happy to leave the people suffering.

  6. I am interested in anyone who wants to join forces with me in a class action High court judicial review claim against the CSA?
    I have a good case and great evidence, but I need more people to create a “public interest” for my case in order to get it heard
    If you are interest, please reply

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