How can CSA take money that is not my husband’s income?

February 1, 2011

My husband, like many on here had been paying maintenance under a private agreement with his ex for 11 years. Never missed a month and always paid.

In 2005 the ex finally sold their joint property for £280,000 and gave my husband £15,000 as his share. The mortgage on it was only £30,000 so she made a good profit. She then approached the CSA for a maintenance figure. My husband had a conversation with them – they asked how much he earnt and told him verbally to pay £30 a week. He has done so without fail every month since.

In September his child started secondary school and the ex asked for payment to be increased for lunches, trips, going out etc… We have 4 children of our own and can’t afford an increase so my husband said no and continued to pay his £30 per week.

In November we got a letter from the CSA saying they were taking over the collection of the maintenance at the ex’s request and wanted to see copies of his payslips. My husband is self employed (but made a loss last year) and gets a small pension, I am also self-employed so we don’t have payslips except for the pension.

They asked for our last P&L accounts which we sent them – clearly showing a loss. They wrote back and said they felt other figures were over inflated and the business had too many overheads which could have been taken as income instead.

Therefore they said that in the absence of a 2010/2011 tax return they would count the administration and running costs as my husband’s income, even though the accounts showed he took just over £1,500 as remuneration.

This meant that he would then, for their purposes become the higher earner in the household and they immediately bundled all the Tax Credits we receive and our severely disabled child’s Disability Living Allowance benefit into his income too.

They then demanded we pay £910 per month and they want to backdate it even though the ex has been paid Nov, Dec & Jan – so they are asking for almost three thousand pounds immediately and £910 from 1st Feb onwards.

We don’t have anything like this sort of income. We won’t be able to pay our mortgage or bills and we will be forced into arrears all over the place and how we will feed and clothe our children I don’t know.

I approached our accountant who spoke to HMRC and he has managed to submit a return to them for the tax year to date which details my husband’s income and mine too. The tax credit office have issued us a statement showing that I and not my husband is the higher earner and the tax credits belong to me.

The CSA however have said that despite all of this they can force my husband to take more money out of his business as earnings so they can seize our TC’s and DLA again.

I don’t see how they can do this – if the money isn’t there and it isn’t his how can they have any right to apportion money how they please? I can’t see how they can argue with what is filed with HMRC and can be proven with documents.

They seem determined to take our tax credits which contribute to nursery fees so we can go out and work, and also because we have a profoundly disabled child we get additional tax credits and DLA for him. I have had three people at CSA say that tax credits for childcare and disability are not included as income. However, the imbecilic idiot who is dealing with our case says he can include them at his discretion and he will do so.

How can this be fair and reasonable? Surely it works on rules and regulations not discretion as to what a CSA employee feels like doing ?

If in law the tax credits are the income of the higher earner and that is shown on TC and HMRC how can the CSA say it is my husband’s?

The DLA is also paid for my son to enable us to get him around, to help pay for extra physio, pay for respite and all the extras he needs. It is not my husband’s money or mine and his needs do account for every penny of it every month. To have this taken away I feel is scandalous. We won’t be able to cope and his health will deteriorate.

I wouldn’t mind so much but the ex is getting £30pw from us, plus her child benefit plus her tax credits and she got the lion’s share from the house sale too. Why should she be entitled to my tax credits and my son’s DLA too ?

The CSA have told us if we are unhappy then we should take them to a tribunal, but I thought there was an appeal process in between. The person dealing with our case assures me there isn’t.

I just don’t know where to turn or how to deal with this. I feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall and I am terrified for the future of my family. My husband has suggested we split up to save the TC and DLA situation for the sake of the children. I can continue to work for his business so it won’t affect my income. However neither of us want that – we love each other and want to bring our children up in a stable home. I also don’t know how I would cope with our disabled son without him there for support if we split.

Right now though it feels like our options are running out.

Can anyone offer any help or advice ?


  • Brokenfather says:

    I dont understand your employment satus.

    First you state that you are self employed and then you state you work for your husbands business. Can you clarify please?

    As far as I am aware the CSA have no rights to challange the costs of running your husbands business, only HMRC can do that. They have to take the net profit which is the net income of the self employed individual.

    What they might be challenging is if you are employed by your husband and you are being paid an artificially high salary to keep his income to a minimum. They are seeking to deem that as artificially diverting his income to you.

  • gambit says:

    Hi, sorry I can’t offer any advice, I am on the other end and my ex refuses to pay any maintenance for our 2 children.

    Just felt I had to write a quick response as your situation just show’s how messed up the CSA is!

    My ex has a 4 bedroom house, 2 cars, goes 4 holidays a year, and I’ve given them details of where he works, what hourse etc, yet I’m being told there’s not much they can do atm to force him to pay up.

    Then we have your situation, where your being forced into debt to pay an astronomical amount of money when you were already paying £30 per week religiously to help with the upbringing of your husband’s other child, I SHOULD be getting £50 for my 2 kids, and I’d be more than happy with that, it would go so far in helping with clubs, trips, school lunches etc. so imo, £30 for one child is a fair payment per week!

    CSA needs a good shaking up, they are an absolute disgrace!

  • Jason says:

    Wish I could help you more!

    We symphathise with your situation, CSA are a discrace.

    Keep fighting, try deadbeat dads they may be able to help you.

  • it takes 2 says:

    I am in a similar position house was sold ex had 95% of money as i thought she would use for a deposit for a house which she did , but back to the part where you say morgage was 30k house sold for 280k this leaves a big lump even after the 15k your partner got back i do believe that if you can prove that the morgage was joint morgage and that she had the bulk of the money from the sale of the house tent the csa have to reduce your payment .
    you can find most info on a site called AFAIRERCSAFORALL

    Gambit i would just like to say i wish my ex was as easy to please as you i used to pay her £25 a week (1 child) buy all schhol clothes clarks shoes pay for all activites trips take her abroad for 2weeks every year (my daughter that is)buy most of her other clothes nearly all designer labels as i didnt have them while growing up ,then the next thing i new a letter from the csa asking for payment as she had contacted them.correct me if im wrong but £25 should feed a child for 5 dayss as she is with me for 2 ??

  • CharlotteL says:

    Brokenfather, sorry I didn’t explain that very well did I regarding my employment status. I was in a bit of a state when I typed my original message.

    My husband is self-employed with his own company. I do his secretarial work and his VAT returns. I am paid a small wage for this – roughly £5,000 a year which is by no means excessive or artificially high. I usually do his stuff in the evenings or at weekends. The fact that I do the work reduces accountancy fees by quite a large amount – he would pay someone else far more for the same work. I am not artificially overpaid. I wish I was.

    I also have a separate company of my own which is mine alone and my husband has nothing to do with. He does no work for me and is not paid a wage.
    As I said my husband does receive a pension which is his main income source – he tops this up with his earnings from his business.
    His pension is taxed and we have submitted proof of it to the CSA. If they go digging around in bank accounts they won’t find anything else because there is nothing to find.

    There is no doubt in any of the documents filed at HMRC that I am the higher earner of the two of us and therefore the tax credits shouldn’t be counted. Actually I don’t believe any tax credits should be counted on either side of any CSA case but that’s a whole new issue.

    I am pleased to read that they can’t force him to take more money, the things they have threatened you wouldn’t believe. I did wonder if they were just trying to frighten us to see if any information changed. It won’t because there is nothing to change but is that the sort of game they play ?

    The CSA have been suspiciously quiet now for a couple of weeks, whereas before it was a letter or a phonecall almost everyday.
    Is silence from them good or bad ?
    My husband has continued to pay the previously agreed maintenance while we battle this out so his daughter is not any worse off than before.

  • Play Dirty says:

    Get your own back. Get your husband to transfer his business into your name. His only income would be his pension. Dependant on how much that is and how often the child stays with you. get them to calculate the payments off that. Your payment will almost certainly drop below £30 a week. See how the mother likes that.

  • Mother With Care says:

    Victim’s that’s all I’m hearing!!! A man has children with a previous partner. Then gets with another woman and has children with her. Then all of a sudden the first children should not be the responsibility of the father anymore as the new Mother thinks her children should come first. So the government should now be responsible for the first children. Why are there so many NRP wanting to make the tax payer responsible for their children. Advising people to turn their business into their new partners name just to “See how the mother likes that”. And you want our sympathy!! hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

  • have a bitter ex says:

    I paid maintenance to my ex via a private arrangement, took out loans to help him out and gave him extra as and when needed. His greedy ass got greedy and told csa i haven’t paid anything so i am now left with a load of debt and a load of arrears plus a liability order as he says he’s not recieved anything. I have two children who live with me and struggling with rent/ council tax but csa won’t take any of it into account. I have proof i gave him the loans i took out but csa are not bothered. I feel very depressed and quite frankly welcome a heart attack as i can no longer cope! Makes me mad when rp gets greedy. You must go out and spy on your ex just to see what he/she got and see what ya can fleece outta him/her. So what if theyve got a new car or a new house get on with your life! Why waste your precious time on being a private investigator when you could be spending that precious time with your kids? Ffs!

  • Sharon says:

    My Ex Pays nothing, He continues to state to the CSA that he Lives off his wifes wages, she’s a barmaid and only earns£400 pm, this has been going on since 2008, the mortgage they have on the house alone is just under £600, and they have two vehicles, contract mobiles, cable & net, can afford to go on hols twice a year and spend most weekends in the pub, when you do all the sums, it seems that between the 2 of them they would be £1,600 short every month, but they have no arrears on anything. CSA cant see it though, well maybe the Tax Evasion office will see it differently. Lets hope so. x

  • CareForKids says:

    Just wanted to say that MOTHER WITH CARE is ranting total rubbish. It’s psychotic, bitter and twisted people like this that cause the main problems.

    None of your statements are true, not one person has said they dont want to pay for their kids, they just say that they want to pay a fair share of their proportionate income.

    And it’s very easy to see why your husband left you for a nice woman. And good on him.

    I agree with legally transferring the business, as long as its a genuine transfer. It seems like the best way to get this scavenger off your back, and then you can choose how much you’d like to pay. Without any brainless, gormless CSA staff interfering with your family.

    The CSA staff I spoke to kept telling me I needed to only pay £200 per month. I kept insisting that I had worked it out on their calculator that I should be paying £595. The idiot on the other end would not listen, until the moron finally realised he was looking at the wrong screen (ie looking at someone else’s details).
    With brainless morons like this workibng for the CSA it leaves very little hope, so its understandable that people have to work the sytem to protect themselves and their families.

    Best Regards

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