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CSA Tribunal - compelling non-resident parent to submit to financial investigation - advice please

(14 Posts)
FreckledLeopard Fri 07-Jun-13 13:22:16

So, I'm a solicitor myself, but unfortunately practise City law (financial markets) so my knowledge of family law is somewhat limited.

Essentially, the useless father of DD, who has never met her or paid a penny towards her since she was born twelve years ago, is now married with two other children (who he of course is the doting father to).

I'm appealing a CSA decision that he doesn't have to pay any maintenance because, apparently, he earns too little and his outgoings are too large. My grounds to the tribunal is that I believe he has hidden his income (he's self employed) and that his lifestyle is inconsistent with what he claims he earns (he manages to have a 35 ft yacht for example).

I'm trying to ascertain how I can get a court order compelling him to disclose all accounts of his limited companies, all his bank statements, all outgoings and all sources of income. I spoke to the tribunal helpline who say that a judge at the tribunal cannot make an order for disclosure. I'm happy to apply to a court elsewhere and try and get an order for such disclosure, but I have no idea on what grounds I'd be able to do it, or if it's even possible.

Separately, as the CSA are so useless, I'd love to bring a claim independently of them for child support, but again, don't know on what grounds this could be done. Would it be possible to tack it to a claim for a Declaration of Paternity, and thus by-pass the CSA entirely?

Any advice very welcome (and if any family lawyers need financial markets litigation updates, I'd be happy to give them!)

Collaborate Fri 07-Jun-13 13:34:51

The last tribunal I did (taxi driver claiming to earn the regulation £59 wk) the tribunal ordered him to produce documents. I'm sure they have the power. The process is useless otherwise.

prh47bridge Fri 07-Jun-13 14:01:16

I'm afraid there is no way of bypassing the CSA. The courts do not have jurisdiction. Apart from a few special cases (e.g. very high earning NRP) they can only include child maintenance as part of a consent order. Even then either parent can go to the CSA after 12 months and their figure will take precedence over the consent order.

FreckledLeopard Fri 07-Jun-13 16:24:29

Can anyone point me in direction of the judge's powers at the tribunal?

familylawyerlouise Fri 07-Jun-13 16:55:06

If you think he's got capital then you could consider applying for a lump sum under Schedule I of the Children Act.

Earlybird Fri 07-Jun-13 17:05:06

Does he see your dd regularly (or at all)?
Are you struggling to make ends meet? Do you actually need the money?

No doubt, what he has done to you and dd is wrong, wrong, wrong and it galls hugely to think he is being deceptive and shirking his responsibilities. But what you are doing/proposing will take a tremendous amount of time and energy - perhaps time and energy that would be better spent enjoying your life with dd.

If he is such a waste of space, you and dd might be much better served to just move on and keep contact/interaction to a minimum. Even if you 'succeed' with what you propose and 'win', bet anything he won't pay up and then you will be caught in the time/energy cycle of chasing him for it.

I know that is not what you asked.......

Collaborate Fri 07-Jun-13 17:05:19

Am back in the office on Monday. Pm me your details and I'll try and remember to consult my CSA bible. They do have the power though.

Earlybird Fri 07-Jun-13 17:05:46

Sorry - I see you say he has never met dd.

FreckledLeopard Fri 07-Jun-13 17:29:09

I know what you're saying Earlybird and you sort of have a point. He is a total waste of space, a completely horrible human being and in a way I ought to just forget him.

But, it really is so bloody galling seeing him play the doting father on facebook, portraying himself as some kind of nice guy, and all the while ignoring his responsibilities. I know I can't change his attitude, but I would like to force him to pay something, just as an acknowledgement that DD exists, rather than him totally putting his head in the sand.

Earlybird Fri 07-Jun-13 18:24:48

Stop checking his facebook - you are only torturing yourself and stopping yourself from fully moving on. Yes, he is a complete sh*t - but you've always known that - no need to remind yourself on a regular basis.

I'd also think hard about what and how this translates to your dd. Is she being conditioned to feel rejected by a man who doesn't acknowledge her existence in any way? The more time and energy you invest in chasing him, the more she will be constantly reminded that he isn't at all interested. That is a heavy burden for any child - and potentially corrosive to self esteem.

Please think about how this 'quest' is affecting you and your dd. If you can afford to leave him behind completely, do it. I guarantee you and dd will be happier.

STIDW Fri 07-Jun-13 19:55:48

I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding is that although the CSA is limited in the information it can request a tribunal has the powers to require a non resident parent to provides information and documents under the Social Entitlement Chamber procedure rules.

Collaborate Mon 10-Jun-13 12:21:37

Back in the office now.

Although it's a tiny bit out of date (2008) in "Child Maintenance: The New Law" by Burrows and Bird, it says:

In Tribunal proceedings there is no duty of full and frank disclosure as exists in matrimonial proceedings. The legally qualified panel member must therefore prescribe the documents which the tribunal will require and which the parties are required to produce, insofar as these have not been porovided by the Comission with its submissions. Failure to comply with these directions, especially as to disclosure of financial information or documents, may lead the tribunal to draw inferences adverse to a party's case, and parties should generally be informed of this by the Tribunal judge in advance of any decision based on such inferences.

The footnote gives a reference of CDLA 2783/06 - esp at para 4.

I can't find that case online, but there is a website for some reported decisions at here: www.administrativeappeals.tribunals.gov.uk/aspx/default.aspx

Search under most child support decions and you'll find some reference I dare say to the tribunal ordering disclosure in some of the cases.

Collaborate Mon 10-Jun-13 12:31:52
Sun1979 Sat 22-Feb-14 03:01:33

Hi,

I am currently going through a similar situation with my ex. I have been to a tribunal and the judge has asked him to disclose his finances. I am waiting for a second hearing. I saw your thread and wondered how you got on?

Thanks

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