To think that CM should be made harder to avoid?

(384 Posts)
HudYerWeisht Tue 25-Mar-14 21:05:37

Just through a couple of threads I have seen in the last fews days and my own personal experience which I know is shared by many others it has come to light that it seems to be fairly easy to avoid or lower CM payments.

Is it made too easy for NR parents to do this or is it just me that thinks so?

Some of the problem I have come up against, some from the threads and some from other PPs experience include:-

Giving up work to be a SAHP for further children or step children.

Giving up work and working cash in hand.

Going self employed and being economical with the truth re salary

Giving up work to enter into full time education.

Employers (usually of small companies) being economical with the truth re NRP salary.

Moving abroad to work.

Giving up work and claiming benefits.

Giving CMS/CSA the run around.

Constant job hopping.

Moving in with someone who has children

Having further children

Sometimes the list seems endless. I personally am yet to see a single penny towards my DD (almost 3, separated/divorced from 7 weeks) despite him having been working for the past 7 months. He has taken advice from various FFJ posters (yawn) on how to actively avoid contributing financially towards DD. Refusing to CMS the majority of the time until threats of wages arrest then getting in touch to say the details they hold over his salary are incorrect and then when asked for proof starts ignoring again. I appreciate arrears are accruing but if they never get any money from him my DD will never see the benefit of that. He is not the most reliable worked and it beggars belief he has been employed this long. I very much doubt that she will ever see a single penny.

I seem to have on these boards also come across a lot of people who support the NRPs right to change their circumstances at the expense of the RP, in most cases the lowered amount has to be picked up from somewhere else and that place is usually the RPs wage packet even though quite often they are struggling to make ends meet themselves.

I fully appreciate that everyone is vulnerable to unintentional unforeseen financial hardship but if a NRP makes an intentional choice within their life that will directly affect CM payments should they still be held accountable for their existing financial obligation they already have towards their existing children.

Is it too easy for some to slip under the radar thus leaving some RP to pick up the full financial responsibility? Should there be stricter enforcement? Penalties towards NRP for not paying towards their children's upbringing?

If a RP decided to radically over-hall their lifestyle and not be able to contribute towards their children's upbringing the children would be removed. It's that simple really. And yet there doesn't seem to be anything for a NRP to duck out of paying a single penny if they know how.

DISCLAIMER: I am not referring to all NRP, there are plenty great one's out there. Unfortunately I just picked a wrong 'un.

JonSnowIsAProperLover Tue 25-Mar-14 21:10:19

My ex is the same as yours.

It's a constant source of irritation.

angry

HudYerWeisht Tue 25-Mar-14 21:23:02

I just don't get how it seems doable to avoid contributing financially towards your DC for so long. Or why anyone would support someone doing that.

I find it to be quite a confusing topic as I can't get my head round it at all.

SATSmadness Tue 25-Mar-14 21:29:43

IMHO there's a very simple way to try and ensure that the most children eventually get the CM money, to which they are entitled, one way or another.

I would set a realistic sensible minimum CM amount per child, not based on income at all but based on a share of the average cost of housing/feeding/clothing each child (as calculated by official statistician/actuaries or whoever). This would not be affected by the NRP being unemployed/"self-employed but apparently earning very little"/being a SAHP to someone else's dc or a second batch of dc with a subsequent partner. If it wasn't paid at any time due to lack of income then it would accumulate as a debt owed to be paid in the future.

This would make it pointless to feign lack of income or very low income levels until such time as the children were beyond the age for receiving CM as eventually the debt would have to be paid so why put it off.

Any NRP currently unable to pay CM due to low earnings/lack of income would be ineligible for a passport unless for an emergency such as death of close family abroad. Holidays/foreign travel are a luxury which take second place to supporting your first batch of offspring. NRP's would need to think carefully about whether they could afford a second batch of children with a new partner.

The cumulative debt would be exempt from being cleared by declaring oneself bankrupt. There would be no avoiding it in the long run. In the event of death, it would be taken from any assets/funds the deceased had at the time of death.

OlympiaFox Tue 25-Mar-14 21:45:38

SATS; that would certainly benefit the rich by letting them pay far below what they're capable of while punishing the poor with debt they'll never get out of. Taking away their passport too? Of all the reasons to turn the country into a giant prison, that has got to be one of the worst.

I think that the law should prosecute any employer lying about their employees salary to avoid cm, if they're going to give up work to mind further children/step children then the cm should be paid by their partner etc... close up any loopholes for those who can but choose not to support their children. At the same time vulnerable people who are genuinely unemployed/stuck in low paid jobs that barely affords them basic living, need to be protected from debt they have no ability to pay. The government should make up the difference where necessary.

HudYerWeisht Tue 25-Mar-14 21:57:49

You both make interesting points. I definitely think that the system needs an overhaul. I see so many RP picking up the full financial strain themselves and can't help but think that the system is seriously flawed and something really needs to be done.

It's ridiculous that some feckless NRP can go through their entire life having children and yet not pay a penny for more than the one that lives with them at the time.

ShinyTurd Tue 25-Mar-14 22:19:18

My ex hasn't paid in 16 months and unlikely to do for a while as self employed and tbh I will be lucky if I ever get anything. He, along with many NRPs, seem to see it as some sort of badge of honour when they get out of paying for their children. Sad really. Going off on a tangent though, when my son won a national award my ex was happy to post pictures of him (taken from the newspaper) all over his FB page saying how proud he was of him. Likes to look like the fab dad whereas he is anything but. Phew, rant over. Sorry to hijack OP grin

FrogbyAnotherName Tue 25-Mar-14 22:21:24

I seem to have on these boards also come across a lot of people who support the NRPs right to change their circumstances at the expense of the RP

But it is at the expense of the DCs, not the RP.

I interpret the system like this.

The law/society designates one parent to be resident and part of that is to be responsible for managing the monies available to support the DCs - be they benefits, tax credits or child maintenance paid by the NRP.

The RP does not have sole responsibility for deciding the quality of life their DCs will have. They are responsible for making the best use of the pot that is available. A NRP has equal status when it comes to deciding how much to contribute to the pot (within the rules of the CSA or equivalent).

If RP chooses to live with a partner, or have another child, they are making a unilateral decision to change the amount of money they contribute to their DCs pot. It's no different for a NRP. They can make exactly the same choice. The way the system works means that when the NRP makes that decision, the RP has to re-budget and adapt to the new pot. Yes, that might be tricky, it might lead to difficult choices and it might be a burden the RP could do without, but it's part and parcel of being the RP.

Of course there are NRP who abuse the system and try their hardest to avoid contributing anything to their DCs pot. And there are RP who abuse the system and abuse their responsibility to manage their DCs pot of money. Both of these are reprehensible. But, there is legislation (all be it inefficiently enforced) to penalise NRP who abuse the system. There is no such legislation to penalise RP who do the same.

HudYerWeisht Tue 25-Mar-14 22:28:05

But it is at the expense of the DCs, not the RP.

Do you think the children make up the money that is lowered or not being paid? It is at the monetary expense of the RP because they have to make the money up.

HudYerWeisht Tue 25-Mar-14 22:34:33

And as per the rest of your post. I have already stated that if a RP decided to significantly lower the money they spent on DC or indeed stop altogether the child would (rightfully so) be removed from the RPs care.

I can assure you if my DD started turning up to nursery in shoes that don't fit, unclean, clothes torn or too small I would first be invited to a meeting and if no changes happened I would have SS knocking on my door.

That is how it is judged if the RP is distributing their "pot" (what a shitty term by the way) adequately. It is a lot more common for a RP to come under fire within a legal capacity for not providing for the DC properly than it is a NRP.

I don't see why a NRP and their children should be victim to the every whim of the NRP.

HudYerWeisht Tue 25-Mar-14 22:37:00

Shiny not hi-jacking at all. The badge of honour thing, what a vile way to think!

I honestly don't know what the best solution could be with regards to situations like yours. However there must be something. Maybe self employed NRP should have more rigorous checks by HMRC on their businesses at random intervals. I know a few companies that would be rather nervous if they came knocking for this exact reason.

WooWooOwl Tue 25-Mar-14 22:43:18

I agree that it should be made harder to avoid paying child maintenance, I think NRPs that avoid paying should be in debt to the state for the rest of their lives until it is paid off, even if that means recovering the debt from their estate. They should also be denied passports.

But I think resident parents should be expected to pay for their children too.

Your list in the OP is quite unfair, plenty of RPs give up work to be SAHPs to the children in question or subsequent children, they often go into full time education and the state pays for their children, they claim benefits and have further children even when they can't afford to support the ones they already have.

This has to work both ways. All parents should be expected to pay for the children they choose to create, not just the ones that live at a different address to their children.

I also think that men who don't want responsibility for their children, financial or emotional, should be able to make a legal declaration absolving themselves of responsibility within four weeks of finding out that the child exists. Women have the right to absolve themselves of responsibility though abortion, and men should have the same right with regards to the financial and emotional impact on their lives that having a child brings.

That is the only way to achieve equality on this issue.

SATSmadness Tue 25-Mar-14 23:08:13

OlympiaFox

I only said there would be a realistic minimum, I didn't mention there being any cap on a maximum.

Why should a NRP decide that their desire for a holiday is more important than their children's need for food/clothes/a decent roof over their head ?

The UK would be no more a prison for the "unwilling to pay" NRP than it is for the children they need to support financially. That notion is drama llama tosh.

If a NRP's income never reaches a certain level, there would be no payment due to be made just like with student loans and the children would be no worse off than they already are. The point you're missing is that NRPs only need to hide their true income for a number of years (possibly 18 ?) and then they can stop all the obfuscation/procrastination shenanigans and earn normally. Meanwhile the RP foots the shortfall ending up with less money for themselves, their retirement etc. If there is no incentive to temporarily hide your income because the liability, which arose when the children were under 18 will still be there (possibly accruing interest) even when your children are grown up it would cut out a lot of stunts pulled to play for time.

The law can already prosecute employers fraudulently declaring their emloyees' income, because there are employers' responsibilities under HMRC's regulations in respect of PAYE schemes.

If the NRP remained unemployed for their whole working lifetime and died with no assets then yes the RP/children would receive no CM at all but this would be the same if the NRP stayed with the mother of their children would it ? It is not these sort of NRPs that new legislation is required for.

CorusKate Tue 25-Mar-14 23:56:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bochead Wed 26-Mar-14 00:48:36

In certain US states non-payment of maintenance is looked upon in the same we look upon serious residential parental neglect here e.g You WILL go to prison for it! Drivers licences, passport, garnishment of wages and property are all considered fair in the pursuit of child maintenance.

Yet over here the poor male kidult is considered hard done by if his toys are with held so that his offspring are not left sitting cold, hungry and going to school in too small shoes etc. How many teachers give a breakfast or lunch to a child out of their personal pocket that should have come from the NRP's pocket up and down the country every day. How many children are made homeless due to the absence of these fund? CHILDREN pay a very real price for the NRP's fecklessness.

Seems fair to me if we are to be serious about reducing child poverty levels and the reduced life chances that often entails.

It's a deep rooted cultural thing at all levels of a very sexist society. Historically the Lord of the manor was under no obligation to pay for the bastard he created with the chambermaid. Nowadays the middle-class bloke doesn't have to provide for the children from his first marriage unless he wants to. There are no real social, status, financial or criminal repercussions if he chooses not to ensure his offspring is properly provided for.

By the same token the woman who abandons her child is villified and socially ostracised. She may even make the papers if she heads of to turkey for just a fortnight, whereas the male partner can do this year in year out without recrimination.

The bit that most irritates me is the number of second wives who seem to bitterly resent any of their partners money being spent on the first family. I never understand why women do not run a mile from men who are unwilling to provide for the children they already have! There is no sisterhood solidarity on this issue at all!

The final insult to dependent children is that resident parents are now to be charged by the CSA for using their utterly incompetent, useless service!

fideline Wed 26-Mar-14 00:56:14

YANBU. CM should and could be collected via tax code. (All stripes of SE fraud should be cracked down on anyway.)

deakymom Wed 26-Mar-14 01:15:10

mine hasn't paid really for 13 years he paid a little lost his job then got with a lady who is "disabled" then got her pregnant and married her claiming disability because he was depressed blaming me because he couldn't see his daughter (i never stopped him i simply told him i wanted him a,sober b,not on pills and c, NOT to bring his drugs and alcohol into my house and leave them where she could pick them up) i fully supported his drug detox i even went to the meetings with him (even though we were split up)

he told people i was letting him see her (he hadn't been round for contact for three years at this point) he had children and told his mom she couldn't see ours if she wanted to see his the CSA took him to court of the £500 he owed me i got £100 (ish) he also got fined ()paid for by mommy he constantly claims disability (you can't get child support paid off that)

when he is on jsa he never pays he got a job they found out he QUIT and paid me child support at £5 a fortnight for a few months he then went on disability again!

now he is working ive reported him just for the hell of it i dont see why there kids should have expensive things if he cannot be bothered to see or provide for my child petty? maybe most likely actually, but he is a flippin adult and needs to accept responsibility for his actions he has never ever asked for access he claims i "stop" him from seeing her but in reality he knows where we live and he knows where the solicitors are yes its probably not free now but he hasn't seen her for TEN years even if he saved up £1 a week he would have £520 which is enough to start proceedings or send me a letter he has done nothing but whine

the jobcentre know he is full of it but they can do nothing as he goes on disability due to "depression"

they are regular drug takers she rang me one day to "lay down the law to me" because he asked to see her i said fine great ring me we will arrange it spoke to my daughter thinking she would be thrilled she said "no thankyou i don't need him" i was stunned especially as i never said neg thing about him he rang i told him and asked for phone contact off him to start so she could get to know him he told his wife I said he couldn't see her so she got high and called me screamed abuse at me i told her exactly what i told him she calmed down long enough to agree he was supposed to call first he rang once my dd told him everything i bought her for christmas he said her present was in the post we never got it and he never rang again

when i was pregnant i really thought he was a bit of a loser i really wanted to grab my bump and run instead i held on thinking maybe i was wrong? i was not wrong he apparently has another dd in a different town she didn't even put him on the birth certificate

uselessidiot Wed 26-Mar-14 06:58:44

YANBU but I can't see it changing any time soon. Society regards single mothers as scum yet regards single fathers as heroes. In fact they regard fathers as heroes if they so much as see their child for 5 minutes. Given that statistically speak the RP is more likely to be the Mum society is more likely to view her as the bad one.

FrogbyAnotherName Wed 26-Mar-14 07:13:48

I have already stated that if a RP decided to significantly lower the money they spent on DC or indeed stop altogether the child would (rightfully so) be removed from the RPs care.

hud Have you read any of the serious case reviews relating to deaths of children in their single parents care?

Your confidence that the DCs would be removed is as misplaced as trust that the system will pursue NRP.

The rules/laws may be there - but they are not being efficiently enforced. that is what we should be campaigning for.

Oh, and I'm a RP who sold the FMH and left my job - resulting in a significantly lower financial quality of life for my DD. Her Dad had no say. He couldn't stop me. But, the non-financial benefits are worth it, IMO - despite neither her Dad (or the rest of my family) agreeing.

jacks365 Wed 26-Mar-14 07:17:07

Csa is worse than useless. My ex pays via an attachment of earnings but then his company do not forward it on by the due date which means every month me chasing up the csa to chase the firm up, every month the csa saying they have given the firm a warning and will monitor the situation but they never do. It's currently taking approximately 2 months for the payments to reach me but at least I am getting them eventually which reminds me must make another phone call to chase it up again

HudYerWeisht Wed 26-Mar-14 07:34:32

SATSMadness after reading your second post I 100% agree.

From another PP I am with you in being unable to understand how anyone, especially someone who has children themselves could ever support a NRP who pays zero or the bare minimum towards their first children. Or why they think it is acceptable to lower or not contribute payments in order to pay for step children or subsequent children of a new relationship.

A RP does the lions share of the work where child rearing is concerned and pays the lions share of the cost that goes towards that. The fact that there seems to be a resentment towards the RP from often the new partner is lost on me. They quite probably get told a few lies by the NRP but irrespective of that they should still recognise that they have a financial and moral obligation to provide for their children.

HudYerWeisht Wed 26-Mar-14 07:39:40

You're right we should be campaigning for tht

HudYerWeisht Wed 26-Mar-14 07:44:41

That but not instead of NRP paying but as well as.

If you have children you should commit to financially supporting them as well as a multitude of other things.

If you refuse to financially support there should be more severe repercussions. Without it we are going to continue down a road where it has almost be acceptable if not expected for some NRP to absolve themselves of all financial responsibility

HudYerWeisht Wed 26-Mar-14 07:45:42

Apologies for typos phones, buses and mumsnet don't mix well for me grin

FrogbyAnotherName Wed 26-Mar-14 07:47:33

Maybe self employed NRP should have more rigorous checks by HMRC on their businesses at random intervals. I know a few companies that would be rather nervous if they came knocking for this exact reason.

This highlights one of the issues - RP often don't fully understand the system they are relying on. (There isn't a 'company' for HMRC to investigate when someone is self employed).

Very few RP seem to Understand how income is calculated for CM purposes, the different trading statuses that are possible for someone "self employed", the way in which HMRC assess for tax purpose - and they rant about and to the staff at these agencies about how crap they are, whereas a basic understanding would reveal that those poor staff are enforcing the rules as they currently stand.

I saw a post yesterday which clearly indicated that a NRP was tax-dodging. Yet, I was shouted down when I suggested the OP called HMRC and reported him, because someone else, with a very different set of circumstances, has decided that HMRC are crap and not worth talking to.
Agencies can only enforce the rules if they know they are being broken.

Demanding that society changes their attitude is all very well, but the victims are part of society too and if they change their attitude as well - and begin to engage with the system, rather than fight it, change will be a lot more likely.

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