CSA Advice

Ex lives in filth with my son yet I still owe £15,000 according to CSA

My son was born in 1998, unfortunately not long after that his mum and I split up. From there on in I religiously visited him at his mums twice a week without fail, his mum and I got on reasonably well although obviously it did get at my new partner quite a bit but we plodded on!

My new partner however had other plans which has led to me pretty much having to declare myself bankrupt, and should’ve done years ago.

In the meantime the CSA had taken direct from earnings £52.22 per week up until January the 6th last year, in total in excess of £13000!!

Now for the last 7-8 years his mum has not been too well, she suffers from bad depression and I try to help her as much as I can. Her depression however means she cannot work and relies entirely on benefits and she is adamant that she has had very few, if any payments from the CSA.

Also due to her illness her house is never cleaned and by never I mean never!! I have personally removed in excess of 70 bin bags of waste and taken them to the local tip, in my opinion her house is un-livable. She also has 2 dogs living in the house so you can imagine the smell and state of the place, so I try to help as much as I can. To this end for the last 5 1/2 years or so I have had my son on a Weds night and from Friday through Sunday evening, its the only real way he gets a square meal, aside from school.

His home doesn’t have a proper cooker or even a washing machine plus on many occasions there is no gas or electricity in the meter. You can imagine the stress it puts me under, especially as she will not accept any real practical help from me.

To cut a very long story short when my payments finished to the CSA last year, as I believed I had paid my ‘debt?!!’, I started to give his mum some money each week to help her out, her benefits had been messed up so it was a relief to know I could see the money going to her and it was getting put to good use…its not as much as I would like to give but I am also having my son 4 evenings/nights a week and I am able to purchase clothes and other things i.e. games etc!!

Imagine my horror when I recieved a letter stating I still owed £15000!!! I though It was a mistake and in a rage I phoned them to have them tell me it was ‘right’!!! WTF!! This is an absolute disgrace!! This must be against our human rights? The clue is in the name CHILD SUPPORT AGENCY….where in gods name is the support….for anyone involved?!! My son and his mother are probably within days of being evicted due to the state of the house and lack of rent payments due to benefits cock ups and her illness and they want 15k off me?!!! How the hell!!

You can imagine I am now so far over the edge I just want to go as far away as possible and never return, this country has had it, I cant go on like this.

13 thoughts on “Ex lives in filth with my son yet I still owe £15,000 according to CSA

  1. Hi

    Really sorry to hear about your situation, you are right, this sad little country is finished, the rich are leaving in droves, nobody left but us poor folk.

    Meantime, the csa don’t give a fig about your ‘human rights’ or for your situation, in fact if its arrears they are after the chances are your ex wont get it anyway, its usually collected on behalf of the secretary of state for the dwp as a ‘clawback’ for any benefits she might have got, even though you have already paid for those benefits through NI and general taxation.

    I don’t know if this ‘advice’ will help at all but dont talk to the csa by phone. Have you had your data prints or complained about the way your case has been handled?

    Here is some general advice –

    ‘This isnt the csa its an open forum so don’t give names/details etc especially of children. (your own name can be used to identify the kids, and your case)

    Don’t deal with the csa by phone, everything in writing, sent recorded, keep the receipts.

    Copy your MP into everything and try and get them involved as your advocate.
    Make a formal complaint about any decision you are unhappy with from the outset as time limits are involved. Always go for an appeal tribunal asap following the internal process.

    Get a copy of your Data Protection prints from the outset so you know what you are dealing with, again follow the correct procedure in wording your request to get ALL information, send it to the right department, send the correct fee.

    Don’t be afraid to complain about any csa staff, or their superiors if you feel you have just cause.

    Remember the process, internal complaint, ‘independent’ case examiner (the csa protection department), appeals tribunal, parliamentary and health service ombudsman through your mp for maladministration.’

    There are a couple of sites you can also look at –

    © ChildSupportLaws – general info. – not sure it will help but worth a look. – they don’t help you if you are getting advice elswhere. – I’ve heard of them and they get a good review but cost money. (£30pm I think)

    Read the various threads on here eg ‘Court ruling leaves child maintenance authority ‘emasculated’ – ‘November 1, 2012′

    You may pick up some useful info.

    Finally a specialist csa solicitor may be worth talking to but can be expensive and usually end up putting you in touch with a specialist barrister. Still worth an initial interview though but to reduce costs you can use a ‘direct access’ barrister (find through internet) and save on solicitor costs.

    Look at the Karoonian case (Court ruling leaves child maintenance authority ‘emasculated’ November 1, 2012) mentioned elswhere on this site, it seems the csa have to ‘prove’ you owe arrears, not you having to prove you don’t, may be an initial chat with the barrister who handled that just to point you in the right direction?

    In that case the judge said –

    “Ward added that the “muddled” methodology the CMEC used suggested to investigators that absent parents had to prove they were innocent.

    Ward, along with two other judges, Lords Justice Patten and Richard, concluded the fathers were not given the chance of a fair hearing, which breached Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

    The judges concluded:

    “The procedures adopted do not comply with the rights to a fair trial and were flawed accordingly.””

    Also did you have a DEO on your pay? The csa will claim they tried to contact you prior to the DEO being applied but are know to have committed ‘fraud’ in this regard as there is info somewhere of a person finding a letter in their data prints with the correct address but allegedly sent on a date prior to them moving in.

    (“chall on January 30th, 2013 7:43 am – There was a case on here a while back where a letter in a DP file, the the NRP never received, had the NRP’s correct address on it, but the date was way before the NRP had even moved to the address”)

    Check your data prints carefully and dont rely on the ICE who seems to be there to ‘protect’ the csa.

    Are you still bankrupt? Have you spoken to the administrator who should be dealing with any claims against you and deciding who is a preferential creditor on your estate?

    Hope some of this helps, don’t give up and good luck.

  2. The first thing I would say is that clearly you are doing your best for your son, but if he is living in these conditions perhaps it’s time that you sought professional help for your ex, or consider taking your son to live with you full time. Obviously I appreciate that these actions are drastic but your son’s health and well being must be be the priority.

    In respect of the CSA assessment and arrears. you say that you thought you have cleared your debt last year. Were you informed at that time that the case was closed? If the case was not closed and not set to Maintenance Direct – where the case is still open and re-assessments can be requested by either NRP or PWC but the NRP pays the money to the PWC rather than the CSA , the accounts on your case would have charged at the amount of the Maintenance calculation on a weekly basis, and this money should have been paid by you to the agency for them to pay it to your ex. If you have been paying your ex instead the CSA system will not be recording these payment.

    Were the payments you made to your ex by bank transfer or did you give her cash? If you gave her cash did you keep a record of the payments you have made? Did you get receipts signed by your ex for the payments you made? If your ex confirms to the agency that she has made these payments – by signing the a declaration form that the agency sends her – they will be able to adjust the debt on the system. If you have no receipts and your ex does not confirm she has received the money and it was for child maintenance I am afraid that you will be liable to pay the arrears.

    You need to contact the agency asap (opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm and Saturday 9-5). You need to find out what the current state of play is regarding the case, what the current regular maintenance calculation is, is the case set to agency collection or maintenance direct (maintenance direct needs both the NRP and PWC to contact the agency to agree this – either party can change the case back to agency collection at any time)

  3. “Alice on February 2nd, 2013 9:35 pm – You need to contact the agency asap (opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm and Saturday 9-5). ”

    Do not do anything by phone, you may well be fobbed off wasting your time and nothing gets done. Insist on EVERY communication in writing, even if they call you, send your letters recorded and keep the receipts.

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