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CSA advice for a man.(171 Posts)
hope you don't mind if I ask a question and get your opinion, I will try to relay the facts without exaggeration and keep it short.
I have a 12 year old son who I have supported financially and spent alternate weekends with him since birth, i have a legally signed PRA form.
For 10 years I have given him mum between £350 and £400 / month till 2011. In addition I pay for his social needs, clothing, educational aids, school uniform, entertainment, Tennis lessons, kick boxing, gymnastics, swimming, theatre, private tennis coaching, mobile phone bills, opened a savings account, started a Junior ISA and saturday language classes.
I am a normal guy on an average London salary, before my own mortgage and bills and expenses.
My son is mad about tennis and so we agreed to cut his other activities and focus on that, he competes at junior level and wants to be a Professional, tennis is not an easy or cheap sport, alot of coaching and matches and ferrying around, which is costly and time consuming, but happily deal with.
During that time, I have been falsely accused of assaulting her, reported to police, her family verbally attacking me, my son being told im irresponsible father, and was never there for him as a baby, I hit her, bullied her, im a liar and unreliable, cutting our phone conversations short, hanging up his phone when I call, not taking him to tennis matches on her weekend, I am not allowed to take him either.
I have put up with this for a long time and decided it has to stop now. I normally just ignore it all and carry on, but im starting to despise her deeply and the image she has portrayed me to be, to my son.
As of this month I stopped the monthly direct debit to her and decided to pay his needs myself to the parties concerned. I Contacted the mediation people and explained the situation, before going to court. I have not taken this step before as I dont want to harm my son. I want her to take up her issues with me not him, I feel she must not involve or attempt to influence his feelings towards me with false accusations.
30mins ago, I received a call from the CSA.
If I pay her directly, all his activities will stop, no tennis, no savings policy, no ISA, no meaningful sport, she has made it clear she does not want him to be a tennis player, but he has his heart set on playing tennis.
If I prove I invest over and above what I should pay her, and he gets what he needs, does this matter to the CSA? Will they be happy with that? I can prove all of the above.
Apologies, no short way to explain.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Hi, I'm sorry but the CSA don't have that kind of discretion. It is completely frustrating but the money has to be paid to her if she requests it through them. I gather from what you are saying that the assessment will be more than £350-400 as you say that all his other activities will have to stop, the implication being that you won't be able to afford them? She can withdraw her request for them to be involved. You could try mediation but it sounds as if positions are a bit entrenched at the moment.
I don't understand why you have stopped the monthly dd to her as you say you pay for the other things on top of this.
If you are trying to dictate how she spends the maintenence money then you are being unreasonable.
Why can you not just continue to pay for tennis lessons as you are now?
Child support is a blunt instrument and there is no discretion. Under the current rules the non resident parent pays a standard rate, 15% of their net income minus deductions for any overnight stays.
Agreed, Tennis is on the proviso he does well at school, and he does. I also provide his clothes, school uniforms, books, pencils, bags, sports clothes, shoes and trainers and pocket money. I also have the school send me separate copies of school reports, to stay informed.
I figured she is working, surely food for 2 is manageable? (she wont reveal what she does or how much she gets paid).
I asked for a detailed breakdown of what his expenses are per month, these are some of them:
Travel £70/Mth (buses are free)
School Books/pencils £25.mth
Hair products £15/mth
I was horrified.....(I think she made it all up).
I got the call from DWP, called them back and it said "welcome to CSA", I hung up.
Doing some research before I call back.
Don't try and fight the reasoning behind what the CSA will make you pay. You'll never win.
The only way you could have more control is if you apply for a residence order, and at a pinch a specific issue order, but if he doesn't live with you then you're going to have to pay for tennis lessons on top of child support payments.
I hate seeing the good men screwed and the `baddies' paying nothing. It's such a shame after all these years it is like this. I obviously don't have both sides or the full story but would it be better for you to go back to the old arrangement? if so is that possible? I back what has been said about basics being more important than Tennis - why do you not see him midweek?
I have put up with this for a long time and decided it has to stop now. I normally just ignore it all and carry on, but i'm starting to despise her deeply and the image she has portrayed me to be, to my son. so you stopped the payments? Surely you see you can't do that.
She knows the system and ultimately it is hurting your DS. Do what you can for him. How much does he know?
Well buses might be free but petrol isn't. Nor is gas, electricity, the rent/mortgage on a property big enough for him to have his own room/ in catchment for decent school. Lots of people find these types of things to be more essential than thousands of activities.
Why are you asking for a detailed breakdown of her expenses btw? You sound like you don't trust her to parent him, he is her son too isn't he?
Csa money is to meet the child's basic needs. In families where both parents are together, you meet your dc's basic essential needs, then look at finances and decide if you can afford an ISA, tennis lessons, trips to the moon etc. I guess that's what you'll have to do.
I think absent parents who refuse to pay towards their dc's basic essential needs are real low lives btw, no matter how they rationalise things.
Partly frustration, principle and clearly she has been taking advantage for years. My bills go up like everyone else and she has never offered to help or ease the situation by cutting back on expenses, plus the negative false accusations about me to my son, family and friends....I just cant do it anymore.
I contacted and met mediators, paid for both of us to attend, but her attitude after the session has not changed, so I cancelled it.
I thought as much, Im reluctant to deal with them, as my son will suffer in the long run, if it goes down this route, then she will have to pay for all his needs, which she wont.
She does not drive, no mortgage, and I have contributed towards her energy bills since he was born, I am an active and permanent fixture in his life, every day of the week, verbally or in person.
Absent parent, lowlife, selfish, all terms she has used against me over the years, maybe you have a point.
I thought as much, I'm reluctant to deal with them, as my son will suffer in the long run, if it goes down this route, then she will have to pay for all his needs, you may not have the option but to deal with them. If she stands firm it is to go down the CSA route you can't choose if you deal with them or not.
How does the £350 - £400 PCM you were paying compare to the CSA minimum?
Pay the CSA amount. If you can afford the tennis lessons after that and you are happy to do so, you can pay those direct. But you and she need to agree about this as a concept as she doesn't want him to become a tennis player (not necessarily unreasonable, plenty out of the top 100 don't earn enough to live on) and you do (and presumably DS does). So perhaps some compromise about it being his main out of school activity but he has to miss a lesson if he has important homework due would be ok (this is too simplistic but hopefully you see what I mean). You are both his parents and this is quite a big decision.
Your right, I don't begrudge paying, this is the first time I have taken this action, its not about money, its the emotional blackmail that sickens me, using him to get to me.
I will consider the legal route, as much as I am reluctant to do so, as least then I can ensure its a fair assessment.
I tend not to discuss these issues with him, he loves his mum and does not need to know. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for her, my fear is he will eventually start believing it.
I don't see how he's an absent parent.
But what you have done is financial blackmail. The first rule of separated parenting is not to conflate money and access/behaviour which is what you've done.
Whatever she has done to you or said about you the money is 'child support'. You have withdrawn it so she has approached the appropriate agency to get it re-instated. What she does with it is her business.
As many other posters have said, if you want your son to have extra-curricular activities you can pay for them. If the amount you have to pay via the CSA precludes you paying this independently you will have to negotiate with your ex.
I mean this gently but you are connecting her behaviour with financial support of your son. The CSA/courts won't see it like that and it sounds like your son will lose so much if the CSA route is what hhappens.
I would suggest you try again to talk it over with her.
Ds expenses etc are irrelevant - it's 15% anyway.
Average spend past 10years approx £550-£600/mth. He stays with me alternate weekends, summer holidays and some days in-between. Not agreed anything with CSA yet. I have always paid far more than is required and didnt mind doing so. If im paying for schools, education, she does not have to, but she expects me to do both with no allowances on her part.
I must repeat, its not about money and not wanting to pay. I am also thinking about his future.
Whilst im pandering to what i think is her unreasonable behaviour, his needs are increasing, I worry about that. If not Tennis it will be his higher education, or uni fees, I have to deal with that, or what chance will he have?
Never thought about it like that, Financial blackmail....its possible I have done that, as its the only thing she seems to care about, regardless of what I do, how much she is getting paid.
I don't understand what you hope to achieve by stopping the direct debit? To punish her and teach her a lesson? Surely you can see that your son will suffer too.
If she is as bad as you say, then by doing this you are playing into her hands and becoming the type of person she says you are.
Also its unfair of you to ask for a breakdown of expenses and then to accuse her of lying
She is not 'getting paid' you are contributing to the upkeep of your child.
Fair point, it started when I cottoned onto the fact her behaviour towards me improved, coinciding with her wanting something, then switched back after she got it.
And I do the reverse.
The only thing the CSA is concerned with is how much is paid direct from the NRP to the RP, which is determined on a percentage of salary and adjusted by the amount of time spent with each parent.
How did you expect stopping the maintenance payment without notice or saying anything to be received?
You sound very controlling OP. She should not have had to provide you with a detailed breakdown of his expenses per month at all - especially if she is then accused of lying.
By paying for individual items like this it also seems like you are dictating how the money is spent. Do you shop with him for clothes/school uniform or do you ask his mother to provide receipts?
You say you don't know if/where she works and what her income is - does she know your salary? Perhaps contacting the csa was the only way she could establish the correct amount that you should be paying for his basic needs (15% of net income).
Once the csa has calculated this it can be paid directly to his mother. She can shop for clothes and sundries for him out of this and then out of that you are free to provide extras such as tennis lessons if you wish.
I dont know what I was hoping to achieve, knee jerk reaction, clarity? Fair play? Transparency? Its a bad move, fair enough.
After checking with several parents and the school, it does not cost £25/mth in toiletries for a boy, nor does it cost £25/mth for school books when they are free and he goes to school on his own, travel costs are £35/mth max.
I am not rich nor a celebrity, an average parent working long hours to keep on top of mounting bills. How much do I haemorrhage before I question where it is going?
If you don't like the word lying, how about excessively exaggerated? I liken this to the expenses scandal.
There is no need for it, as I have always supported them financially.
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