My CSA hell, for being commited to my son!

June 30, 2008

My son was born on the 14th of April 2003 I was on the birth certificate but was not married to the mother.

I and my son’s mother split up in February 2004. The CSA was contacted by the child’s mother to collect money from 05/March/2004, I made my first payment on 03/June/2004.

It was worked out that I should pay £38.57 per week as I earned around £300 per week (before tax). This amount (£38.57) included a 2/7 reduction, it took into account that I looked after my child 2 out of the 7 nights.

(This, I believe, is an unfair way to calculate the amount of child maintenance because I got nothing from the mother for the 2 nights I looked after my son, how the CSA works is… if the father looks after the child 50% of the time, he would get a 50% discount, but he would still pay 50% and the mother would pay nothing.)

15/Sept/2005 my payments where increased to £45.00 due to the mother relocating and not giving me forwarding address, yes, my child’s mother relocates, stops contact and is rewarded with an extra £6.43 per week. I later found out that the mother stopped contact because she married a British soldier, moved with him to Northern Ireland and wanted to tell everyone that her new partner is my child’s father. I would also find out that the mother had changed my child’s surname to her new partner’s;

I was never informed of this.

I did not think the mother’s marriage would last and I hoped that she would return to her parents’ home in my home town Bridlington so I would not need to start court proceedings for contact, plus I did not know how to go about it anyway.

In June 2006 I was very emotionally upset after not seeing my child for many months and decided that despite the wishes of the mother and her family, I would go to court and fight for my child’s rights to know both parents. I filled in a C4 form (I found out that this is the wrong form) and sent it to my nearest family court, I also send a letter to my child’s grandfather on the mother’s side, I explained that I am applying for a “disclosure of a child’s whereabouts” and I was using his name as a person who knows my child’s whereabouts. Due to the Grandfather’s ill health and unwillingness to attend court, I received a phone call from the mother’s new partner. He was rude but at least I got the address that I needed. This was how I found out that my child had been living in Northern Ireland.

I tried to work with the mother to re-establish contact but it soon broke down again, this time she decided to call me on my birthday (29th March 2007) to cancel my visit. I later found out that the mother stopped contact to hide the fact that social services were then involved with my child because my child told them and his teacher graphically how the mother’s new partner punched him causing him a black eye. My child also stated that the step father often hits him. My child was 3yo. The social services did not inform me because the mother asked them not to (I asked them if this was true in a recorded letter dated (11.11.08)), they did not deny this, they also refused in a letter to give me my child’s records because the mother asked them not to, I later asked the court for this information and the court granted it. To cut this long story short, I attended court in Northern Ireland 9 times over 12 months and ended up with shared residence.

Between Feb 2007 and Jan 2008 I visited my child in Northern Ireland 13 times and attended court in Northern Ireland 8 times. The cost of these trips, court fees and paying the CSA forced me into about £5,000 of debt.

The CSA are supposed to allow for exceptional circumstances. I obviously fit into that category so I sent them a variation application; the CSA received it on the 12/Sept/2007. I enclosed receipts from my previous August visit and I enclosed my court orders (these all had to be originals) I received these original documents back about 5 months later in a letter dated 06/Feb/08 only after writing 4 recorded letters to the agency ( 25/Nov/07, 17/Jan/08, 28/Jan/08, 31/Jan/08 )

Despite sending a further 4 letters (13/Feb/08) (25/Feb/08) (12/Mar/08) (8/Apr/08), I still had not had my exceptions taken into account.

On the 21/Apr/08, after over 7 months since applying for the variation and after sending 8 letters I decided to send a formal complaint to The Chief Executive, I also sent a copy of this letter to my MP, Mr Greg Knight to forward onto the CSA.

In a letter dated 13/May/08, just 3 weeks after writing to my MP, I had my amount of maintenance reduced to reflect my variation request, however, they did not say their working out and I believe this to be totally wrong. I am still trying to resolve this.

With a short note dated the 23/May/08 I received a cheque for £50. The note said “Consol pay for incon caused by agency”.

In a letter to my MP dated the 28/May/08, the senior resolutions manager of the CSA (Gar McAtamney) apologised to my MP for the delay in processing my variation application and said that he arranged for a consolatory payment of £50 in recognition of the delay. I still have not received a personal apology or reply to the letter I sent him. In this letter to my MP Gar also apologises for the agency not replying to my letters as requested. He says that I should see an improvement in future dealings, however, I have not. It is also stated in this letter that they are unable to allow for contact costs (variations application) and overnight stays. The letter states that if I have any queries regarding my variations then I should write to the variations manager, I have done and I await their reply. Finally the letter tells my Mp that if I am not happy with the response I should write to the Independent Case Examiner, I have also done this.

18/Jun/08 as advised by the senior resolutions manager (Gar McAtamney), I sent a letter to the variations manager Geraldine Canning, I have not yet received a response.

19/Jun/08 as advised by the senior resolutions manager (Gar McAtamney) I sent a letter to the Independent Case Examiner (not a part of the CSA), I have received a reply dated the 23/Jun/08. They are processing my complaint.

28/Jun/08 Ipost my story on CSA hell, I still await replys to my letters

I have sent all letters recorded delivery and I have all the slips clipped to the letters, I keep all letters sent and received neatly in order, I recommend you do too as you are sure to need them at some point.

All this because I want to maintain contact with my child, the CSA needs serious reform not just re branding.

Oliver Stones

Comments

  • chall1964 says:

    ‘the CSA needs serious reform not just re branding’

    I couldnt agree with you more Oliver!

    The issue of share care is one of many areas that ‘afairercsaforall’ is highlighting.

    We welcome ALL parents that would like a fairer system to drop by and have an input.

  • >