What chance does any normal person have of working out the CSA’s calculations?

February 2, 2013

I’ve been reading through some of the stories on this site and they all reflect my own.

My ex involved the CSA when she had the idea that I wasn’t paying her enough through our own (solicitor negoiated) arrangement. When the CSA made their assessment, she ended up getting around £30 per month less.

The cold comfort in this is that every time there is a change in circumstances, it takes an age for them to adjust their assessments.

My 2 children are now will be 18 and 14 this year, and my wife and I have had a wee baby boy on 11th July 2012. I wrote to CSA on 25th July 2012 to tell them of this change in circumstances, and i got a revised assessment dated 24th January 2012 – exactly 6 months after I told them! I had made a complaint of course given the amount of time that it had taken them to assess this change.

However, when my step-daughter turned 19, however, my ex managed to get my assessment changed within 2 weeks. Also when my children “decided” that they no longer wanted to have contact with me, the assessment was changed within a similar period of time.

I have made payments over the years based on CSA assessments, and yet when they reviewed my case in 2008, they discovered arrears of £4,053.67. I made arrangments over the course of a 2 year period to pay these arrears off – nearly crippling my family financially.

I have now received a phone call yesterday – off the back of me making a complaint – telling me that they have “discovered” another £6,000 in arrears. Working on the basis that I have 2 children – this equates to 20% of my net income. If you multiply that up it comes to around £30,000 of NET income – approximately 18 months salary based on my wage??? How could this have happened. And when you ask them for figures to substantiate this, they can’t provide anything in any logical or literate format. Or anything that you can tie back to your own assessments you have received from them.

And I’M an accountant – what chance does any ordinary punter in the street have of understanding or challenging anything that the CSA have done?

And if it turns out that another mistake has been made, how in gods name is an ordinary family meant to afford to pay arrears of £6,000?? I am seriously considering declaring myself bankrupt as it has reached the stage where I’d better off not working at all, than have my entire wage being devoted to 2 children who through Parental Alienation do not want to see me or have anything to do with their 6-month old baby brother.

Has anyone out there any advice?



  • KMcQ80 says:

    After 8 years I have never, ever received a letter showing me how my amount was calculated.
    Whenever I ask, I am sent a computer generated letter and leaflet.
    Does it take into account my pension contributions?
    Neither I or the CSA know!
    My income has fallen during the recession but my amount remains the same,why?

    What other organisation could get away with such incompetence?

  • carol says:

    Parental Alienation….paying to be hated and unseen…..

    If you can find a cheaper home, rented, do it up at least liveable for your family, and if bankruptcy would alleviate this madness, then do it.

    You and your wife and baby son had to do without money you were entitled to, because of their delaying. Goal posts are changing and we all have to be prepared to lose it all. Lots already have.

  • Colin G says:

    so i work hard to provide for my family and I have to just roll over?
    It’s not going to happen.
    The update on this story is that they are demanding £6,983 from me….5 minutes checking showed they had missed 16 months payments. I have involved my local MP and they are backtracking…..
    never give up….

  • chall says:


    Is your CSA case calculated under old OR new rules?

    Are you in Scotland?

    It maybe a good idea to request your Data Protection file, with notepad sections dated and a complete account breakdown. There is a £10 fee, cheques/PO should be made payable to; CSA.
    Once in receipt you should be able to establish what the agency have been doing with your case and if any errors have been made.


  • Colin G says:

    my case is calculated under the new rules – as in percentage of income – 2 children = 20%…
    I have been transferred onto the gross pay scheme as yet – not sure if anyone has?

  • carol says:

    I didnt mean to suggest roll over, Colin, just you stated in your post that you were thinking about going bankrupt etc, and seemed like you and your family would be hit hard when trying to pay back this fabricated 6k to the CSA.

    I have had dealings with social services, which lead me to be contacted by other frantic parents, who were contacting their MPs. Guess what…MPs were NO use nor help whatsoever.

    Its hit and usually miss with MPs as they are all in the same club. By all means go for it, but just be prepared to have non action. Most do not want to rock the boat of their privileged position. So they fob you off with jargon to make it seem like they are onto it. Then they use that same jargon to fob you off that its the law, nevermind old chap, you will just have to take it like a man. I hope you get a result however.

    This all comes down to survival. If PWCs cannot be reasonable and keep their emotions out of the situation, then nothing will get better and you have to do right by not just your child to your ex, but your family now. Is it fair? Of course not, its shit how people who have worked hard all their life have to be backed into corners like this. But until the system and PWCs attitudes change, then we have to adapt.

    Another poster mentioned about being informed of having two children, so instead of going from 15% to 20%, they called it transition, and he paid 30% for youngest and 15% for eldest. So heres hoping you do ‘only’ pay the 20%.

  • Carlie Jay says:

    If you don’t agree with their assessment get expert help.

    Dispute it and take them to a tribunal – get expert help to represent you. The sooner you do this the better – sometimes all it takes is one letter from someone who knows what is required.

    We had letters in December saying that as far as the ex was concerned we had diverted income of £33k – the PWC had no proof of this as there was never £33k to divert – when quizzed by the Judge the PWC admitted the figure was plucked from thin air! The CSA calculated that we needed to pay £1100 in areas a month for four months, plus £300.00 per week which would be the new calculation.

    We were told our tribunal was to be in April, but then got a letter out of the blue at the beginning of January saying it was to held first week Feb. We got help and even with so little time to prepare they were absolutely fantastic.

    We did take advice and not surprisingly we won our case.

    We can finally sleep at night.

    PM me for details of who we used – qedemonstratum at bt internet dot com

  • Carlie Jay says:

    and sorry forgot to mention – we now only need to pay £143.00 per month

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