Mother is alcoholic and aggressive

March 30, 2012

I am a father of 2 boys aged 11 & 13. I seperated from their mother 1 year ago due to the fact that she is an alcoholic and was often very aggressive due to this.

When we split up the kids stayed with me full time for the first month until their mother found a flat. After this we agreed to share the custody of the children and, as I work full time, would allow her to keep claiing child benefit. This would allow her to work part time and claim family tax credit. She also gets a rent rebate and some income from a property that we jointly own and were unable to sell so we rent out. This seemed more than a fair deal to me, especially since I was left with all the debt from the relationship.

Despite our 50 50 care agreement, I actually look after the children more on average, mainly because of their mother being so unreliable. You can imagine, therefore, how shocked I was when I received a call from CSA in early december saying that my ex partner had called them claiming that she had the kids most of the time and I was not contributing to their welfare. When I pointed out to the CSA person that this information was nonsense I was threatened with prosecution.

I was asked to submit a diary of dates and times etc, which I did very accurately. This obviously did not match up with the information provided by my ex so, CSA then took the decision to say that she had the kids 4 nights per week and I had them 3 and, therefore, I was to pay £59 per week.

When I pointed out to them that this was nonsence they did not care, nor did they care that my ex is an alcoholic and only looking for additional drink money. I was told that I could appeal the decision but in the meantime they would be arresting my wages for £600 to cover the alleged arrears.

I pointed out to them that this would put me in a position that I would not be able to pay my rent and therefore me, and my children, would be made homeless.

I sent a letter of appeal that included my original diary dates but with additional dates as well. This clearly showed the children were in my care closer to 60% of the time and was signed by myself and witnessed by both of my parents. I also made a formal complaint against the people who made this decision and the way that I have been treated. My appeal letter found its way to the team that had taken the original decision and, despite my many phone calls, took over a month to actually be forwarded to the appeals dept. My complaint was also withheld by the higher executive officer in barnsely for six weeks. I had to chase this up before the complaints dept were able to track it down.

The appeals people, after several more weeks, decided that they were unable to establish who had the most care of the children so have passed it on to an independant appeals tribunal. Despite this, they are still refusing to cease the arrestment on my wages and another £400 has been taken from me this month. I have given my landlord a months notice to end my tenancy and will have to live in a single bedroom, with my 2 sons, in my parents house until this can be sorted out.

I was informed that the CSA class the parent who is in receipt of child benefit as the parent with the main care. Fortunately, after my first contact with CSA, I made an application for child benefit. Although I have not yet been awarded this, my ex partner has not been in receipt of this either.
This puts us on a perfectly even keel and, until the tribunal is heard in up to 6 months, is a case of her word against mine.

Despite this, however, I am still having my wages arrested, am about to become homeless and have had to be signed off unfit for work with anxiety.

This is a simple case of sexual discrimination!