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CSA are rubbish! Sorry if wrong forum.

(185 Posts)
KareninsGirl Wed 23-Oct-13 14:01:33


Seven years it's taken them to review my ex's wages. SEVEN YEARS! And they still haven't done it, despite fortnightly contact.

I want to scream, cry, shout...I'm at my wit's end. Will they backdate?!

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 23-Oct-13 14:45:24

I think they do backdate. However, quite a lot of people never see a penny. When you say 'fortnightly contact' do you mean your ex sees the DCs fortnightly?

KareninsGirl Wed 23-Oct-13 14:52:20

I have been phoning them at their behest every two weeks for the last year or so, cog.

ExH has regular contact.

I cannot believe how utterly useless they are. If I wasn't phoning them, nothing wound get chased up or followed through (employer response/hmrc response).

Meanwhile my beautiful DCs become more and more expensive lol.

Clutterbugsmum Wed 23-Oct-13 14:54:30

Try contacting your MP for help.

LineRunner Wed 23-Oct-13 14:56:47

I honestly don't understand this. They took three months to sort out my claim, were polite and helpful, and now let me know by text about payments.

When my ExH prevaricated, they gave him a warning that they would deduct straight from his wages.

What reasons do they give you for the delay? Is it self-employment?

KareninsGirl Wed 23-Oct-13 15:02:19

They are saying they need to give him/ his employers/hmrc time to respond!

He never responds to anything.

They supposedly wrote to his employers but since my last phone call have admitted this too needs 'chasing up' along with a response from hmrc ( he works as an employee and is also self employed).

I'm at the end of my tether.

What can my MP do?

addictedtolatte Wed 23-Oct-13 15:09:17

Sympathies here op I've given up on CSA. They tell me as he's down on the system as on benefits he doesn't owe me anything. I have explained to them he works, he has humongous amounts of money and has 2 houses tied up in probate. There not interested. I have done whistle blowing but that's was a waste of time. Just pray for karma that's what I do. It keeps me sane angry

KareninsGirl Wed 23-Oct-13 15:13:36

addictedtolatte, so you have told them he's working but they aren't interested? That's shocking! At least the csa have pretended to chase up my ex!

addictedtolatte Wed 23-Oct-13 15:21:36

Yes I have told them the name of his employer. They phoned him up and asked him what he intended doing he said I was lying and nothing else was done shock. I have been dragged back and forth to court by him but child maintenance is not allowed to be mentioned in the court. So my hands are tied. I have a fantastic family who help out and my dad is a pensioner who dotes on my children. He buys them clothes and nappies. My exp knows this and says "isn't your dad kind" angry I told him to shame him. Good luck with yours hope you have better luck smile

elizadofuckall Wed 23-Oct-13 15:24:47

Seriously don't hold your breath for payment. My ex waste of space had payments taken for 13 months out of his wages as he refused to pay, then he worked cash in hand for the next 7 YEARS and told CSA he was living off of friends.

Unbelievably i have recently had a letter from the CSA stating that they have reviewed the case and i OWE HIM £700!!!! As he has overpaid!!! 13 months out of 7 YEARS!!!

You couldnt make it up! I told them that i would rot in hell before i paid anything and would see them in court as THEY decided how much, THEY took it out of his wages and THEY put in into my bank so how exactly had i been overpaid??

Revolting company to deal with and the reason that some peoples cases are sorted quickly is because they only sort the easy ones.

KareninsGirl Wed 23-Oct-13 15:30:05

Oh my goodness eliza! They said that YOU owed HIM money?!

Who exactly is the csa answerable to? Can we complain upwards?

elizadofuckall Wed 23-Oct-13 15:33:21

I involved my local MP but watch out, they lied completely to him and me. Even making things up that i had said to them ( which they had written in my notes to cover themselves).

You literally cant win. My children have just reached 18 so he no longer has to they want me to pay him. I dont think i have ever been as angry as i was when i read that letter. I honestly thought it was a joke!!!

KareninsGirl Wed 23-Oct-13 15:37:42

I'm angry on your behalf! How can our exesoom themselves in the mirror each day? Does your ex have regular contact? Are your DCs aware of the situation?

Mine now ask their father to buy the things I can't afford, but don't tell him that bit. It's a way of clawing back some of the money he owes THEM.

elizadofuckall Wed 23-Oct-13 15:40:15

He hasnt bothered to see them for years. He actually called the CSA and stated 'Eliza had numerous affairs around the time of conception so they are not mine'. When offered DNA he declined. Then in divorce, it was written that 'He requested no contact with either child'.

Lovely man. NOT!!

LineRunner Wed 23-Oct-13 15:40:18

Yes, I must be a relatively easy case. Although I tracked him down myself and passed it all on to the CSA so they had a bit of a flying start and no excuses.

The other experiences on here are just awful.

Mumof3girlys Wed 23-Oct-13 16:22:35

My ex has not paid a penny since I left 5 years ago, he works full time in a car garage (I pass this garage on a daily basis and see him) and it's taken my all this time with photo evidence, weekly phone calls to CSA to get to the point I'm at now!

Which is 2 weeks ago they took him to court and got a lilability order for the arrears, this does not mean I will get the money as they still have to get it but they can now send in balieffs etc.

I reported him/work place to tax offices etc (every 6 months) still they do nothing, makes me mad I have a boyfriend who stays at mine 2 nights a week and I get constant chasing from council saying they have been informed that I have a partner living with me! There very quick to try and police a single mother!!!!

In the last 2 months alone my ex has had a lavish wedding, 3 holidays abroad, and a new 26k car...... Not bad for a man who doesn't work married to a dental nurse!!!!

Keep on at CSA, demand email to make a complaint and hound them weekly DO NOT GIVE UP!!!


wispa31 Wed 23-Oct-13 16:34:30

Im ashamed to say i work in csa sad i hear all this all the time on the phone and i just cringe. I always do what i can to get cases up to date and compliant. Its not that hard to do to keep clients informed on their case. Defo make a formal complaint in writing, dont phone to complain or email, do it in writing. (thats assuming you havent already done that in which case ignore me) and as pp mentioned, raise it with your mp. As long as we gave a notified date for 7 yrs ago (date you requested a review of his pay) then it will be backdated. Dont let it go.

KareninsGirl Wed 23-Oct-13 16:35:05

The csa have always known where he works: I informed them years ago! They just can't be arsed to finish anything they start unless I hound them. Even then they drag their heels and make excuses. Never speak to the same person twice and nobody there seems to know what the hell they're doing. Very frustrating.

I am shocked at the other stories on here. Who exactly do csa report to?

KareninsGirl Wed 23-Oct-13 16:36:38

Ok, will complain in writing. Who do I need to write to exactly?

Mumof3girlys Wed 23-Oct-13 16:53:47

This thread just have me a boost to call them again to find out what is happening, apprantly they are going to instruct balieffs next, asked what happens then if balieffs have not luck and they didn't know!!!!

Just annoys me how you never hear from them unless you chase x

elizadofuckall Wed 23-Oct-13 16:54:56

Dont get your hopes up with complaints (sorry wispa) its just an arse covering exercise on their behalf and nothing gets done while they 'investigate'.

elizadofuckall Wed 23-Oct-13 17:14:55

Good luck Mumof. It might give him a kick in the right direction if the bailiffs turn up.

Never thought i'd be wishing the bailiffs on anybody grin

wispa31 Wed 23-Oct-13 18:59:38

Write into the address of the office desling with your case and mark it fao complaints resolution team. If you go onto website you should find the addresses of each office. If you cant, pm me. Go through everything they havent done and that you are involving your mp also. They have to deal with written complaints seriously and its a joke that you have to do that to get your case upto date.

KareninsGirl Wed 23-Oct-13 19:47:31

Thank you wispa x

stevea565 Thu 24-Oct-13 07:25:10

I'm new here so do excuse me ignorance.
Don't people have and sense of responsilbity or morals?

We are working through some challeneges at home at the moment.
But, if the worse did happen, I would never see my children go without, I can't comprehend how any father would not feel the same way.

You can keep hounding them after your child turns 18. Out of the blue, years after I had given up on the CSA, they started taking money straight from ex's employer. I received money when dd was 19/20. Better late than never...

Steve, sadly too many men just walk away without a backward glance. Then we get castigated as feckless single mothers.

LineRunner Thu 24-Oct-13 08:33:38

My ExH was pretty typical of the non-payers - he decided I didn't 'deserve' the money so simply stopped paying it.

I think many absent partners convince themselves that it's ok not to pay. I think their mental gymnastics are fuelled by a belief that the state will support their children, and I have never understood why taxpayers don't go more ballistic with these (mostly) men.

addictedtolatte Thu 24-Oct-13 08:34:48

Steve your one of the rare species of men we still have on this planet grin when I was with my ex I assumed he had morals but unfortunately not. You stick to your morals and your children will grow up to respect you. My dad was like you and I worship the ground he walks on. He used to walk to work sometimes and give us the money if he was a bit short. I know this as my mum told me. He takes care of my childrens financial well being as well. I refuse but he just will not see his family go without.

addictedtolatte Thu 24-Oct-13 08:43:12

Line runner I have one of them exes sad he says I don't need his money the state will keep me angry I dont want this at all I want my dcs to grow up seeing me earn our money. Unfortunately I need to earn £350 a week to survive so I have no choice. I would have a choice if my ex would cough up. I think the government should put some pressure on these scumbag fathers sad

RalphGnu Thu 24-Oct-13 08:44:22

The CSA are responsible for some of the darkest times of my life and I'm not exaggerating.

DP got a letter from them saying he owed thousands of pounds in maintenance arrears for a child he'd never heard of, to a woman he'd never heard of. For this to be true, DP would have had to have knocked her up when he was 12.hmm

They were adamant they hadn't made a mistake and things got so bad DP almost had a nervous breakdown and I ended up in hospital while pregnant due to the stress. We couldn't afford to eat as they took 40% of his salary - we'd just moved into a new house we could no longer afford, we couldn't buy anything for the baby.

Important documents went 'missing' in the post, they lied to us at every turn and it was only when we turned to our MR in desperation they finally admitted they had got DP mixed up with someone else. It took a further 7 months for any money to be returned and, in fact, they continued to take 40%!

Ralph that's terrible!

ElsieMc Thu 24-Oct-13 14:40:34

I have had nothing but trouble with them for years and it has started again as my GS1's dad is now insisting he is self employed. The CSA have made so many mistakes, they have paid me compensation twice. Don't get too excited however, it was only £50.

I have found the best way to deal with them following an initial phone call is via email. If they do not respond after two, I ask for the matter to be escalated to Complaints. At least you then tend to get someone dedicated to your particular case.

I was also told in September that from November, there is a different appeals process with an independent panel. I believe most people challenge decisions on a variation basis, providing evidence of a lifestyle beyond the NRP's stated means.

A Manager from the CSA advised me that an appeal against decision may well be best as someone had lost a case recently they felt bound to succeed. Briefly,an NRP stated he was out of work, yet £3,000 was arriving in his bank account each month. His ex could prove this as evidence was supplied during separate court proceedings. He stated it was a living allowance paid to him each month by his new partner (a professional) and the CSA accepted this explanation. They reached this decision, because his ex wife could not "prove" this was not the case.

lottieandmia Thu 24-Oct-13 15:34:35

IME the CSA have been good. I had to make a claim from my ex-H and it was all really straight forward. He ignored their letters etc but they got a DEO in place after about 4 months and I've had regular payments ever since.

They are currently working on a case for my younger dd who is 4. Her father doesn't work in the UK all the time but from me telling them where he currently works they seem to have got his address and other details. They did a calculation (which I haven't seen yet) then he disputed parentage. They offered him a DNA test, he refused and they have now presumed parentage. I am not going to hold my breath as to whether we get any money from him as I think as soon as this hits his wallet he will leave the country but I feel it's dd's right for me to open a case if he's working here.

lottieandmia Thu 24-Oct-13 16:16:53

'My ExH was pretty typical of the non-payers - he decided I didn't 'deserve' the money so simply stopped paying it.'

Same thing happened to me with my ex-H. He sees the children every week yet one day just pulled the plug on our private arrangement because, he decided he was paying too much hmm So in the end the CSA calculated that actually he should be paying more than he originally was anyway and he ended up with about £800 of arrears which they must have taken off him all at once. It seems to me that once you're no longer in a relationship with someone, they resent having to pay money to you even though it's to support their children.

lottieandmia Thu 24-Oct-13 16:18:25

Ralph - that really is awful. How come they were taking 40%?! I thought the most they could take was 25%.

wispa31 Fri 25-Oct-13 11:48:56

I couldnt get over how many dads (or mums in some cases!) would leave their child/ren to go without. I dont know how they can look them in the eyes when theyr older and tell them they did their best by them!
The lengths some of them go to to avoid paying is ridiculous and the system is too easy to 'work' to get around paying.

wispa31 Fri 25-Oct-13 11:51:22

Exactly! Whilst they may no longer qualify once 18/19/20, any missed payments are still due so if you want the arrears pursued they will still be made to pay, they are not written off.

RalphGnu Fri 25-Oct-13 12:05:13

lottie, they said the reason they took so much at a time was because it was arrears. And as one charming lady on the phone said..."Because we can".

They said he had been offered a DNA test in the past which he'd refused and that we would have to pay for one ourselves, which we couldn't afford as they were taking all our spare money. DP's parents lent us the money...and then the CSA claimed not to receive any information.

They swore blind they had sent some paperwork to us at a particular the time we hadn't even moved in there yet! When we pointed this out we were hung up on. Umpteen managers assigned to the case and not one single apology.

I just feel really sorry for the woman who made the claim because she obviously suffered by the fuck up too. She must've thought justice at last! And then told ah, yes, actually we got the wrong guy.

KareninsGirl Fri 25-Oct-13 14:47:09

These stories are terrible! Your poor dh, Ralph!

My exh stopped paying what he had agreed in court, once he knew the court order had expired. He then miraculously became 'self employed' and pleaded poverty to the csa, despite actually earning a substantial pay rise and bring employed!

The csa know all of this - they know who his employer is etc, yet continue to drag their heels and be obstructive. All I want is what my children are entitled to!

Canpaywontpay Mon 20-Jan-14 15:26:57

I have been divorced for 3 years and religously paid my maintenance and even increased it at my ex's request when she stated she was struggling. I have one son who i love very much and am happy to pay maintenance for him but find that after having recently instigated court proceedings against my ex, due to my contact being eroded over the last 3 years, she has in a tit for tat response reported me to the CSA. I have over the last 3 years made something of a sucess of my business and earn significantly more than i used to when we were married and would happily sit down and discuss maintenance payments with my ex but she would refuse. She is engaged to be married in May 2014 and pregnant with her new partners child and I am still paying for the debt we incurred when we split based on her taking 4 years off to care for our son (which i dont begrudge) but I will not spend the rest of my life being hounded by the CSA when we had a perfectly acceptable arrangement in place. I will not contribute to another mans child and i will simply take the money i previously paid to my ex partner and put it into a bank account for my son. From a mans point of view I agree the Self Employed loopholes are terrible but i would point out that using the CSA as a point scoring tool is equally as bad and I would not begrudge my ex partner a penny but by reporting me to the CSA she will lose £450 per month and now receive £7 per week. If she would talk to me i would point that out but cannot so I will look like a dead beat dad when I want to pay but wont be instructed to pay by a Govt agency as a revenge attack.

Dahlen Mon 20-Jan-14 16:34:26

I think the link between maintenance and contact should be established rather than kept separate as it is at the moment.

Don't get me wrong, i'm not advocating that only those who can pay should see their DC. Every case should be treated on its own merits, and there will always be some who would walk over hot coals for their children but don't have the ability to pay any hard cash.

However, I've gone without food myself to make sure my children eat. I sacrificed any kind of social life for two years because I couldn't afford even a coffee with a friend without having to cut back on my children's food budget. I've walked around in shoes that have holes in the bottom to ensure my children have shoes that don't leak. I've done this without ever letting on to my DC how hard it has been for me because they are my children - I love them, consider them my responsibility to provide for, and don't want them worrying about adult concerns.

The parents who claim poverty while telling their mates in the pub how hard done by they are make me want to vomit. Just one evening's worth of spending in the pub would buy a child a new pair of shoes.

Any parent who is worthy of the title would not ever try to duck out of paying for their child. Those who won't pay should have their status of parental responsibility reconsidered IMO. Perhaps we could have degrees, based on evidence of commitment to that child, and what better place to start than effort made to pay maintenance - it's not the amount, but the effort. If I were a judge I'd think more highly of an unemployed father who turned up each week with a bag of vegetables he'd grown himself than I would a PAYE with an earnings deductions notice who pays the bare minimum despite earning £30,000 a year.

I would argue strongly that any 'parent' capable of deliberately dodging their financial responsibilities towards their own child is likely to be a negative influence on a child's life, rather than a positive one.

NotQuiteSoOnEdge Mon 20-Jan-14 16:52:51

Sorry canpaywontpay let me get this straight.

You 'incurred a debt' because your partner did FT childcare? Are you mad? How much do you suppose FT child care would have cost you both if she worked? And would you have wanted your DS to be in FT childcare? The money you earned was your family's money, NOT YOURS.

You are earning considerably more, and yet you have not increased your payments? Have you been paying what the CSA would have assessed you as owing? If not, why shouldn't she involve the CSA?

You say she wouldn't sit down with you to discuss it. What reason would she give for this? It seems an odd response unless she fears being bullied or intimidated in some way, as her DS would otherwise benefit.

Clearly the arrangement you had was not 'perfectly acceptable' to her. You don't get to dictate this.

And this makes me the most angry. THE MONEY IS FOR YOUR CHILD. Not her. Not another mans son. That other child is irrelevant here.

And how are you any better? With YOUR revengeful choice. And YOUR tit for tat behaviour. You sound about 6. The only person who loses is your son, whose mother will consequently not be able to provide for him anything like the life he could have with that extra £450.

I suspect you have been massively underpaying, and are now using awful self-justifying arguments to let yourself off the hook of having to pay what you should have been doing all along, and it is your DS who will suffer.

He won't thank you at 18. He'll see you for what you are. You won't LOOK like a 'dead beat dad', if you do this you ARE a dead beat dad.

nocontactforevermore Mon 20-Jan-14 22:58:57


You're a disgrace.

csa are useless, my xh was classed as self employed and I knew what he was earning before I left, he filled forms in and lied so he didn't have to pay anything,(he said he never made any money) he also bought 3 static caravans at the seaside and let them out, (between £300-£500 a week) but that didn't count as an income as they aren't made of brick, these loop holes suck, my son stayed with his dad as he had a college placement, the placement lasted 2 weeks, I had to pay my xh via csa £10 a week, even though I was only getting £59 a week carers allowance as my dd has special needs, I had to pay the £10 a week for 2yrs as the csa wouldn't check with the college that son was still attending, (college had kicked him out)

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 09:32:17

NotQuiteSoOnEdge Very kind of you to assume that it is down to my behaviour that my ex partner will not sit down with me. However it is down to the fact that her new partner had repeatedly visited my home and shouted at me in the street when delivering my son (in front of independant witnesses who were passing at the time) and i reported this to the police who contacted him and asked him to stop this and I requested he played no part in dropping off my son anymore and since then I have not spoken to my ex wife. i believe she was embarassed by his behaviour at the time. When i was married to my partner I earned £35,000 a year and our maintenance was calculated on this basis and i rounded it up to £450 per month. Why should i now 3 years later increase my payments to reflect my new income I would have happily agreed to an index linked based on our income together at the time but don't see why if i earn more post divorce my ex partner should benefit from this. And please dont reply with the standard its for your son. I earn more now and spend it on my son.

I think I speak for most men in that I am happy to pay CSA based on my income pre divorce and would index link this but I fail to see why If i improve my circumstances my ex partner should be financially rewarded. I again realise you will state this is for my son but I am not here to redress an imbalance and give him the same quality of life with both partners. He benefits from my improved circumstances every time he is with me and i will due to my Ltd company status be able to redfuce my payments now to £7 per week but I will take the monoey he would have received if this had not been a Tit for tat thing and place it a bank account for his future and will continiue to pay for the school trips etc as i have always done.

I await the baying response

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 10:02:42

I would point out that many times since i separated i have been out of work for periods and still made my agreed payments before i am villified for not being prepared to pay more when i have more and pay less when i have less. I just dont agree with paying significantly more post divorce I am happy to pay what was due at divorce date and index link that.

LyndaCartersBigPants Tue 21-Jan-14 10:20:08

Cantpay, you should now adjust your payments because your child should benefit from your increased income. The money you are required to pay is not for your ex or her new partner or any other children she may have. It is for the child you fathered. Why should you benefit from the increase in your income while your own child does not?

LyndaCartersBigPants Tue 21-Jan-14 10:20:48

You divorced your wife not your child. That date is irrelevant.

Dahlen Tue 21-Jan-14 10:30:14

Can'tPay - who was primary carer when your DS was young? Who took him to his weekly HV checks? Who took him to dental/doctor's appointments? Whose job/career took a hit because it's impossible to pursue a demanding career as a parent unless you either have a co-parent willing to take up the slack or professional help? I'm guessing your XW was the primary carer, and this is reflected in the fact that she has residency.

If that's the case, the reason your XW has a lesser income now is because she facilitated you in planting the seeds to grow the career you are now reaping the rewards of. If she had pursued her own career as aggressively as yours, she may well be earning her own income comparable to yours. But maybe like a lot of women she put her son before her own career relying on the fact that as her DH and your DS's father, you would pick up the financial slack while she provided the practical side of the arrangement.

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 10:30:46

And he benefits from my improved circumstances every time he is with me

Dahlen Tue 21-Jan-14 10:34:34

So you only want him to feel the benefit of your improved circumstances when he is with you and not at any other time?

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 10:37:17

She walked out of 4 jobs prior to becoming pregnant and as to the appointments etc I did more than my fair share and still do. Actually we have joint custody but over 3 years she has reduced my access because she can, until i could take no more and took her to court prior to this i could not afford to and had to put up and shut up as many women are fully aware. When i finally stand up to her and can afford to the CSA come calling thankfully being fully aware of her nature i planned for this and set up my LTD 3 months prior to serving court papers in preparation of this day and am glad but feel guilty about having to do this.

Dahlen Tue 21-Jan-14 10:56:34

Well it's all a matter of perspective ultimately, isn't it. Perhaps your definition of fair and hers differ wildly.

I still don't understand why you only want your DS to benefit while he's in your care though. There is no love lost between me and my children's father. I have more money than he does. The children reside with me full time and he has little involvement (his choice). Should I die before they reach adulthood and they lived with him, I have made arrangements that he will benefit from my estate so that my children do also. Holding the money in 'trust' for them until they reach adulthood because I don't want him to benefit (and believe me I empathise with you when it comes to feeling that an X doesn't deserve to benefit), will actively harm their day to day life. As their mother, I can't allow that to happen when it is within my power to ensure that it does not.

IComeFromALandDownUnder Tue 21-Jan-14 10:57:47

£7 a week. Very generous of you. You must give me some tips on how to raise a child on £7 a week as that wouldn't cover food for one day in this house.

You say you don't want to be indirectly supporting your ex and new partner's new child. Who do think is going to end up supporting YOUR child? The mind boggles at your arrogance.

I feel very sorry for your son.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 11:03:03

Ah I have just posted a thread about the CSA. In my case I do think they have tried hard to get money for dd3 from her dead beat dad but if the non resident parent is totally non-compliant then it makes it difficult. Dd3's dad tried denying paternity and then refused a DNA test hmm

After a year of this I have just got a maintenance calculation through the post and he is earning loads! The least he could do is to make a contribution for his daughter, he lives alone and has only himself to care about.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 11:07:51

I can see it from both sides. As blended families become more common, i can potentially see it being more of an issue. I know someone who has two children by two different men (not uncommon). One father pays (just over £300 pcm) and the other doesn't. The income goes into the household budget and is distributed by the mother in accordance with the need of each of her children. Essentially, one Dad is subsidising another. The Dad (who does pay) has said that he'd feel more comfortable buying his child the things it needs and providing for his future by was of a savings account. Needless to say, the mother didn't agree.

Also, I was astounded to discover that maintenance doesn't impact state benefits. That can't be right can it?

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 11:11:48

I have stated that i am more than happy to contribute and feel that the calculation should be based on my income at the time we were together and is index linked and is payable regardless of situation. I have paid this for 3 years and have had no complaints about the amount £450 for 1 child. I disagree with an imposed payment that is easy to set and impossible to revise if i was to have reduced income and was happy to pay this amount forever but will not deal with an agency appointed to chase parents who do not want to pay who was instructed because i took her to court for access. I was genuinely in two minds about declaring my full income and paying what the CSA state but the vitriol and disparaging comments i have received have really disappointed me. I was hoping someone might see both sides of the argument but it appears not

LyndaCartersBigPants Tue 21-Jan-14 11:14:39

Contrarian, given how easy it seems to be for feckless parents to suddenly withdraw maintenance or to provide clothes etc in lieu of money, then its reasonable that those payments are not taken into account for the purpose of calculating benefits as ti can be very difficult to work out how much help the resident actually gets from the NRP.

If a NRP suddenly stops paying for whatever reason it can take months for the RP to start receiving the help to which they would be entitled on their reduced income.

If the NRP is forced to start paying again or changes their declared income it would have repercussions on the other parents' ability to manage when benefits are withdrawn again.

Far better that there is a steady family income based on the resident parent's earning and that maintenance, if it is at all forthcoming, is a bonus for those children lucky enough to have NRPs who care.

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 11:16:00

I know of a colleagues sister who divorced her barrister husband and receives £5,000 per month maintenance obviusly tax free and claims Child tax credit because she doesn't work

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 11:19:24

LyndaCBP - I absolutely agree, but if there is no other earned income in the house, then anything that a non-residnent parent pays should go to the exchequer. Otherwise the amount of income in a single parent non-working household will depend on how "lucky" the primary carer was when choosing a partner. Again, that doesn't feel right.

LyndaCartersBigPants Tue 21-Jan-14 11:19:33

But why do you feel that your responsibility to support your child ended at the income bracket you had achieved when you split up?

The fact that your that your business has thrived now that you are no longer trying to support a family full time shows that you have benefitted from the situation. Why should your child not benefit financially from your improved circumstances?

And Contrarian, in your example one dad is not subsidising another, he is contributing an amount which is has been deemed is sufficient to help support his own child and the mother is having to subsidise the non-contributing parent by other means, whether her own income from work, benefits or cutting back what everyone in the family receives.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 11:20:10

As the point from canpaywontpay illustrates.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 11:21:28

LyndaCBP - If the money comes from the same pot.........

Dahlen Tue 21-Jan-14 11:26:25

How many single parents receive £5000 pcm? hmm

60% of single parents don't receive any maintenance.

48% of those on the books of the CSA are assessed at having to pay £5pw (on benefits) or £0 (self-employed or "no income").

If anybody is subsidising another man's child hmm here (also known as your child's sibling), it is the state - thanks to feckless parents not meeting their financial responsibilities.

Marry up benefits, tax and the CSA and a lot of this would be solved.

Dahlen Tue 21-Jan-14 11:26:51

Single parents are twice as likely to live in poverty as anyone else.

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 11:29:28

totally agree with Contrarian If i rolled over and accepted my fate the CSA would increase my payments to approx £850 per month coincidentally about what my ex wife earns now, although at present she is on maternity leave for her new child. I know for a fact she will not return to work if I was to pay this and i will be paying for her to stay at home an look after her new baby. I, as i have previously stated, am still paying for debts incurred when my wife stopped working for our son andi was happy to do this for my own child I will not subsidise someone elses child as well. My son is in full time education now so if his mother chooses to have a child with someone else they can pay for their child if she doesn't want to work anymore not me. However iwould continue to pay the existing agreed post divorce amount i will not be told by the CSA.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 11:30:22

I could not agree more. I honestly think that the state should adjust the tax codes of non-resident parents where primary carers are in receipt of state benefit, or elect to take state asssitance in lieu of a private arrangement. This would provide a degree of certainty for the primary carer and ensure that the feckless (to a degree) met their responsibilities.

arthriticfingers Tue 21-Jan-14 11:32:07

Funny how concrete statistics on payment of child maintenance which clearly point again and again to resident parents struggling are continually outweighed by stories from 'a friend or relative' about 'poor men' being 'fleeced' - for which, there is no statistical evidence whatsoever.

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 11:38:44

Surely all the statistics do I prove that the system does not work and that the investigation and enforcement is not robust enough. As i prevoiusly state i would have happily paid my maintenance based on time of divorce income and index linked it forever. I would happily be debted for non payment with it being recorded on my credit file by the govt thus impacting on my wider situation. An i would happily have no limitation on the chasing for payment ensuring that the ExP is compensated whenever in life the CSA catch up with them or have the money to pay. I will not however be made to pay more when i earn more and be expected to furnish a Govt agency with my details every time i change jobs for the rest of my life.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 11:39:22

That''s one of the problems with this sort of system, the outcomes are unique for everyone.

I'm not here to defend parents (typically fathers) that don't pay. I just think that we've got ourselves into an unholy mess by having the state take over too many of the resposibilities - to the extent now that NRPs know that their children's basic needs are being met whether they contribute or not. If we're going to have the state provide, then any money recovered from the NRP should, in those instances, be returned to the state. Increase state benefits a little if you must (but beware perverse incentives).

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 11:42:26

The argument about blended families doesn't really stand up IMO. People who decide to start a family with someone who already has children know that they will have to cut their cloth accordingly.

Hunnyangel80 Tue 21-Jan-14 11:43:57

I reported ex partner 7 yrs ago as I has to report my ex husband. Ex husband seems to have com

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 11:44:46

It's when those blended families separate that it becomes an issue. Otherwise, you're quite right.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 11:45:43

Cantpaywontpay - do you think you deserve a pat on the back to refuse to pay maintenance for the child that YOU helped to create?

Your wife's wages, past behaviour or anything else are totally irrelevant here. You only have to pay 15% of what you earn for one child. Your whinging is not going to get you much sympathy. Children cost money to raise. Yet it sounds like it is you who is doing the point scoring here, not your ex.

Hunnyangel80 Tue 21-Jan-14 11:46:24

Completely got away with it but ex partner has to pay all arrears from 7 yrs ago to now very erratic getting it but he has to pay it's just a matter of keep ringing up sad

elizadofuckall Tue 21-Jan-14 11:48:32

This is a sad thread and shows how ineffective the CSA (or whatever it is now called) is.

Your argument about paying the original amount isn't really feasible. What would happen if your income dropped? Would you still have to pay the same original amount even though you couldn't pay it?

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 11:50:33

One thing this thread demonstrates is how unfit for purpose this system is. I'd defnitely advocate a collar and cap on payments though. the collar would be alot higher than £5 per fortnight

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 11:50:45

I am happy to pay 15% of what i earned when married and have done even when not working and am happy to continue paying this as stated. A revenge CSA claim solves nothing and merely antagonises people.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 11:52:21

What do you mean 'when I was married'

Do you think your son is not your son any more because you are no longer married?

You should pay 15% of whatever you earn. Your child is entitled to that. That is totally fair.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 11:53:20

The CSA has nothing to do with revenge. It is there because it is very easy for men to walk away from their financial responsibilities when they are not the parent with care.

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 11:54:08

I would pay the original amount if my income dropped yes, as this is my commitment not to disadvantage my son to tune of the income i earned when we were married, if i could not pay as stated i would expect to be debted for it with interest calculated against this and to pay it at some time in my life even if it is taken as a lump sum from my pension.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 11:55:49

Actually, is it toally fair? Say his earning increase to £4k per week. The contribution towards child maintenace would then be more than the UK average salary. There's an argument to say if you've got it, you should pay it, but it would make some sort of cap a sensible proposition.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 11:56:15

Cantpaywontpay - I cannot make any sense of your posts. The law says the non resident parent pays 15% of what they earn and that is completely fair IMO. It sounds to me like you have rewritten history in your mind because you don't like having to pay up.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 11:57:05

No there should not be a cap. If a parent is wealthy then their child should benefit from that in the same way they would if their parents were still married.

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 11:58:36

I mean the income i earned when married. I am not stating my son is no longer my son. 2 weeks after i apply for the access my divorce granted me to be reinstated i get a CSA demand. I as i say am still paying for the debt incurred whislt married whilst my ex is debt free so whilst my income is now substantial this is not taken into account and for me to build a stable future for my son it is better my income pays off these debts than goes to allow his mum to stop working. I am still happy to pay what we agreed in our dicorce papers based on my income at the time.

elizadofuckall Tue 21-Jan-14 11:58:43

Even if it was taken with interest at a later date, that doesn't pay for your child in the meantime.

I don't have the answer, i can just see the pitfalls in your argument.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 11:59:59

I couldn't agree more, but it can become an issue with blended families. The op has a responsibility to his child, not to anyone elses. In that respect, I have a degree of sympathy with him.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 12:00:08

Oh come off it can't pay. Who are you kidding? Yourself most of all I reckon.

elizadofuckall Tue 21-Jan-14 12:00:43

I really think that your argument would come across better if you stopped with the whole 'mum stop working' stuff.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 12:01:01

Eliza - A fixed amount paid by the state and recovered via a tax code would be the simplest soultion.

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 12:03:08

An to be fair Contrarian78 your not far off the mark there I would be paying £850 per month tax free to allow my ex to stay at home. A child does not need £850 per month and if a cap was in force based on a reasonable assesment taking into account holidays school trips clothes and food and all other things that would be fairer and I would happily pay that but my son benefits from my improved position with me.

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 12:05:33

She works now and when married i was happy for her to care for our son and she did very well for 4 years before returning to work. I agreed wholeheartedly with her doing this inspite of the financial consequences but I do not agree with my income going to pay for my ex to stay off work now to bring up someone elses child it's that simple.

elizadofuckall Tue 21-Jan-14 12:05:49

contrarian I think that this is a great idea, not convinced that OP would agree.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 12:08:02

People will find endless justifications for why they should not pay for their children. Even when they see those children every week.

This happened with my children's father. He agreed an amount to pay in child maintenance when we separated. One day he just stopped paying, apparently because he thought he was paying too much. When the CSA caught up with him, he ignored them until they put a DEO in place.

In the end they calculated that he should pay more than he did initially. So he shot himself in the foot as I would have been happy with what he was originally paying.

In comes down to the point that some people resent have to pay money to a partner that they no longer love and miss the point that it's for their child.

elizadofuckall Tue 21-Jan-14 12:08:23

Its not that simple though. You wouldnt be paying for her to stay home looking after someone elses child. You would be paying a % of your wage for your son.

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 12:09:17

An i would agree with a tax code amendment coz what you don't see you don't miss but that would have been the way since our divorce. It's the CSA and having something imposed via rules that do not take into account the many different factors each person brings to the table.

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 12:09:23

An i would agree with a tax code amendment coz what you don't see you don't miss but that would have been the way since our divorce. It's the CSA and having something imposed via rules that do not take into account the many different factors each person brings to the table.

happybubblebrain Tue 21-Jan-14 12:10:55

OP - The CSA are not on your side, nor your child's side.
They are a waste of time and emotions.
Unfortunately we do not have a fair system, not by a long shot, and children are the victims.

Owllady Tue 21-Jan-14 12:12:42

The csa seems to create more problems than it solves. They are law to themselves sad

randomAXEofkindness Tue 21-Jan-14 12:33:39

It isn't always the case that the mother is disadvantaged financially during the marriage either. Dh and exw were together 5 years. Dh worked, paid the mortgage, all of the bills, childcare etc. Exw never worked and went to university for 4 years. Dh's shift finished at midday, but Exw stayed at university/with friends until after dss bedtime, so dh was the main carer. Dh paid for a childminder in the mornings.

When they divorced, the house was sold and everything divided. Exw student debts were paid off, as was her car, and she was given 60% of what remained, and the contents of the house, because she 'had to support dss'. She walked into a professional well paid role on the back of her degree. With no debts and loads of cash in the bank (for her wedding to om). OM had a house, so no worries there.

DH bought a dilapidated house in a bad area with the small portion he received. His job was poorly paid, it had been enough before, but now the house prices had shot up and he was struggling with the larger mortgage. He had to do all of the pick ups/drop/offs - she was much too busy with her important better paid job. He ended up looking after dss more than she did, but she would never admit it. He felt trapped in his dead end job having to work within school hours. She was earning twice as much as him, her oh was earning 3/4 times as much, so dss was left with an affluent family on one side and a poor family on the other. Once we didn't have heating/hot water for 5 months because we couldn't afford to fix the boiler, dss cost us as much/more (because of travel) as he cost exw for necessities, but dh has always been expected to pay exw csa. When he stopped he was vilified. People always give a vague reason, like 'he's supposed to support his child!'. How is he not supporting his child? I would absolutely love to know precisely what people think he should be paying for.

Sorry for hijacking your thread op!

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 12:39:13

The CSA reduces the support the NRP has to pay for every day their children stay overnight with them. I think that when you have a child, both people have to accept that they will both be financially responsible for the children until they grow up whether their relationship survives or not. Just because one parent earns more that does not mean the parent earning less should not contribute. And you are never expected to contribute if you are not working anyway. So I don't buy that the CSA fleeces people.

kawaii Tue 21-Jan-14 12:39:26

The CSA admitted to me that has ex partner is self employed there is nothing they can do!

Really it is not good enough, I am 'lucky' in that that my ex pays by private arrangement but he only pays half what he should.

Why is there not more done to get a working system in place or sanctions placed on men who won't pay?

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 12:40:18

Also when people separate, the issue of who contributed what to the marriage is a separate issue to the issue of child support and is treated as such.

kawaii Tue 21-Jan-14 12:40:33

** or women if the NRP is female.

kinkyfuckery Tue 21-Jan-14 12:42:25

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

randomAXEofkindness Tue 21-Jan-14 12:44:37

lottie dss is with us 50:50, even with the csa reduced for every night with us, we would still have to pay for every night with exw. If we have to pay for his time with exw, why shouldn't exw pay for his time spent with us? That would be fair. We could call that awash, and say, no csa to be paid! But it doesn't work like that - some people do get fleeced.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 12:47:48

random, I see what you're saying but the child maintenance is generally paid to the person who is going to be paying for new uniform and other expenses the most.

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 12:50:47

Cheers kinkyfuckery very constructive

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 12:56:17

Or at least it should be. Like any system I am sure there are cases where it is not going to be completely fair to 100% of people. My extensive experience of the CSA is that in my case they have tried hard to get maintenance for my dds. Perhaps I have been lucky though as I have heard of people who were told that unless the PWC knows where the NRP works they can do nothing. Clearly this isn't true since they can do a trace at HMRC to see if they are on a pay roll.

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 13:05:37

Guess I was hoping that the other perspective might be more constructive but I was mistaken. I can and have payed maintenance and am happy to pay maintenance and still pay maintenance. But I feel that post divorce increased earnings should not be included. I spend all my free money on my son anyway and have had to fight even to have his passport, the moment i win in court Im supposed to lose financially as a result. I have the opportunity to work the system and i genuinely don't want to take it and would continue with the existing arrangement i have. I also pay for a foreign holiday for him with his mother and half of all clothes and school expenses as well as the agreed maintenance but i am the bad guy according to mumsnet

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 13:13:38

Why exactly should you not pay according to how much you earn?? You are talking nonsense. Your marriage and past relationship and how long it lasted are totally irrelevant. Your son is still your son however long you were or weren't married.

But you continue with the denial you are in can't pay as I imagine you are not going to listen to any stranger on the internet.

Look at your posts - they are all about your ex. What she does do, what she doesn't do. And crap about her 'reporting' you to the CSA. She is merely trying to get what YOUR son is entitled to. Focus on your son and stop making this about your ex and her new relationship.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 13:14:30

This shouldn't be a difficult issue to solve.

The maintenance paid should (IMHO) be calcualted as follows:-

£45 per week flat contribution (Collected through tax code)
15% of earnings above £500 (per week) to a miximum of of £50

This money should be paid to each and every primary carer by the state and then be collected via the tax system from the NRP. Where the primary carer is in receipt of state benefits, these should be reduced accordingly.


lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 13:21:04


What about in the case of a very well off family where the father earns loads and the children are at private school? I have often heard of parents splitting and one parent refusing to continue to pay school fees.

I think 15% of whatever is earned insures that the children don't miss out on whatever standard of living they would have had had their parents not separated.

However, I agree that it's unfair that someone who only gets £5 a week maintenance would get the same income support as another parent who received £100 a week.

QueenRavenna Tue 21-Jan-14 13:21:06

Can't pay has a point - kids don't cost £850 a month. Unless his son's mother is using his son's maintenance to improve standard of life directly i.e private school payments, then he'll understandably be a bit p'd off that his ex would be using his maintenance payments to fund her lifestyle choices (not working). Both parents have a financial obligation for their kids, and it shouldn't lay solely with the NRP. I assume he'd be happier paying what his son is assessed as needing each month, and then sharing his improved income via discretionary payments for trips, clothes, nice things etc - exactly as resident parents do (pay for what their children need, and then decide what nice extra's they should have).

randomAXEofkindness Tue 21-Jan-14 13:21:13

lottie, I agree that that is usually the case. And there are a lot of arseholes who try to argue that they shouldn't pay, when they clearly should. I just hate it that dh is made out to be some scumbag for not going along with something that, to me, is illogical and unfair.

We have to buy a set of everything ourselves, because exw has always refused to share dss's stuff (and that isn't completely uncommon). He isn't allowed to move anything from her house to ours, inc clothes/shoes etc. It undoubtedly costs us more to support ds because we have to buy all of the things exw does (ridiculous waste) and pay the extra travel expenses (about £2000 a year) aswell. But child benefit was always paid to exw, so she was always considered the main carer (it didn't mean she actually was).

I've got a good feeling that they would change it over (I don't think she even qualifies for it now it's changed), but I'm worried it would cause trouble (she'd probably take it out on dss). And I think people would still think dh was a wanker regardless, so it wouldn't help there.

I'll shut up now, it's no help to the op - sorry op!

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 13:24:06

QueenRavenna - the son is entitled to get the benefit of the money his father earns. It is not fair that he should miss out just because his parents are separated.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 13:24:58

Yes random, that is a difficult situation I agree.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 13:27:48

QueenRavenna makes a sensible enough point. The NRP is reposnible for paying half of the expenses (and that's something I took into account when working through my seemingly arbitary calcualtion (above).

My kids used to be educated privately until we worked out that it was an aboslute con and we saw many of their little friends (at least 5 - spread over three families) leave the school following marriage breakdowns. The fact is that as a parent - regardless of how wealthy you are, you have a legal obligation to ensure that your kids' basic needs are met. This does not mean that you're obliged to pay for foreign holidays or private schools. You could make a case that morally you should - and most of us want what's best for our kids - but actually, it's enough to make sure that basic needs are met. All to often though, not even this happens.

QueenRavenna Tue 21-Jan-14 13:29:05

Kids who live with their parents don't have a right to 15% of their parents' income. Their parents pay for what they need - food, shelter, education, and then decide on what else they should have. I think the same should apply for non resident children too.

Kids aren't entitled to a parents income. They're entitled to be well looked after. That's all.

SaidFlorence Tue 21-Jan-14 13:32:47

They are completely useless. I badgered them for years to try and get money out of my ex. Got payments for about 3 months, then he fled the country and now doesn't pay a penny. They sent me a letter threatening to fine me for not keeping them up to date with his details!

NettleTea Tue 21-Jan-14 13:33:25


you seem to be under some miscomprehension.

You say you paid the £450 happily, which would be what CSA said, plus more. Thats good of you.

If you were out of work you could have paid less. Your agreement was such that it wasnt court ordered I think, just an agreement. Even had it been CSA calculated you could have asked for an adjustment according to your income at the time.

Yes, your ex would have jhad less, but if you were not earning she wouldnt really have been able to complain. No-one would be calculating the shortfall and making you pay in the future, thats plain wrong.

The only time you would have to pay in the future is if you didnt tell them of a change of circuymstances, and it became arrears. Even then you could appeal and given the evidence, got your arrears reduced.

But similarly if your income increases then your contribution increases. Not index linked, but at the % calculated as reasonable, because, as others said, you are the child's father and frankly 15% is peanuts considering how much of your wages would go towards supporting a child if you were still married. Wouldnt even cover nursery if you were both working, never mind food, clothing, activities, holidays, etc. You still get 85%.

And it is exactly because you are a single man, not having to deal with the responsibility of having a child live with you, that you have been able to concentrate on building your career and getting to the position you are in now

I think, and you clearly state, that what you actually object to is being told what to do by an outside agency. You deliberately set up a ltd company so your 'wages' are minimal. Shame on you.

NettleTea Tue 21-Jan-14 13:34:40

oh, and there is a top limit isnt there. high earners are not calculated at 15% but each case looked at individually.
my mother and sister worked in CSA for years. Hated it.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 13:40:54

If private school is involved it is unfair to disrupt a child's education though, particularly if they are about to sit GCSEs or something. The NRP is expected to help to meet these costs in some cases that go to court as far as I know.

Nettle tea - I completely agree with what you say about someone who does not have a child living with them having the benefit of being able to build a career.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 13:41:26

So if high earners are done on a case by case basis that sounds more than fair to me...

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 13:45:13

It wouldn't, but it would cover half the nursey (at least).

I think the op is getting a pretty hard time from some. If the op is contributiing an amount which ensures that at the very least the child's basic needs are met, then what's the problem? If the op is a high earner, then it's up to him to decide to contribute more to his ExW or enhance the childs life (or not) as he sees fit during the access that he has.

NettleTea Tue 21-Jan-14 13:48:19

I think the OP's case has been lost in the foray....

OP I despair with you. Have an ex who pays £5 a week since about 4 years ago. Nothing before then. Arrears which never get paid. Works as a cabbie, cash in hand, wods of cash, multiple foreign holidays, 2 bed flat and new car.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 13:50:38

The problem is that he could easily afford to pay more for the benefit of his son but doesn't want to because of being controlling. That is how it comes across.

This issue of basic care is a nonsense. No family is assessed as having the need of a set amount of money - that is not how anyone's finances work.

randomAXEofkindness Tue 21-Jan-14 13:54:44

I think everyone needs to reread the actual op.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 13:55:05

People who were married to high earners often expect to get a reasonable amount of money from their ex because they helped their partner by being a part of their team. They would not buy the argument that they are now only entitled to basics. And the same goes for child support in my view. Why should a child be penalised because their parents are no longer married?

QueenRavenna Tue 21-Jan-14 13:55:13

Cantpay's son is in school, so doesn't require nursery fees. He supported his ex as a SAHM for the four years his son was at home. So a CSA assessment of £850 is ludicrous.

CSA don't assess 'high earners' differently. They have different rates depending on earnings up to £3000 a week. Anything above this requires a court order. So the CSA could technically award 15% of a 80,000 net salary - £1000 a month maintenance payments. Anyone who doesn't think this is justifying subsidy of an ex partner is just deluding themselves.

randomAXEofkindness Tue 21-Jan-14 13:55:24

I'm as guilty as anyone for derailing blush

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 13:55:58

The original OP was in November last year. This thread has been resurrected by mr doesn't see why he should pay, presumably to ease his conscience.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 13:56:49

In fairness, I don't think it's an issue of being controlling. That's not how it seemed to me.

I don't think that the issue of basic care is a nonsense. We all have basic needs which must be met. As parents, we're legally obliged to ensure that those needs are met in respect of our dependents. Where we are unable to (and this is not to debate the rights and wrongs of the benefits system, or the level at which benefits are set) the state odes it for us.

The ones which end up properly disadvantaged in this scenario are the primary carers which go out to work.

randomAXEofkindness Tue 21-Jan-14 13:57:19

Ohhh! blush blush

I didn't even think to check the date on it.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 13:58:28

That isn't meant as an attack on single parents or SAHMs by the way. Just an observation.

NettleTea Tue 21-Jan-14 13:59:48

But also take offense at Contrarians 'deciding as he see's fit' in last post.

I think thats the crux of it, and certainly the crux of Canpays posts

THEY want to be able to decide, probably because THEY want to remain in control. They want to be able to give or take as they see fit. Too many times we see them using money (as often I accept we see women using contact, sadly) to try to exert control over the ex wives life, with no thought at all that it actually is for the benefit of the child.

Withholding it if they dont approve of what its been spent on, or because the ex wife disagreed with them about something, or got a new boyfriend. Effectively punishing for behaviour they dont approve of. SOME MEN, of course, not ALL MEN. Or they make the ex beg. Or wait. Or never know if, and how much, it might be, and then have to be appropriately appreciative when they get it from Mr Bountiful.

And in this case its best to hand it to a 3rd party so that it is constant and clear cut.

And also, I dont see WHY its such a bad thing if the maintanance payment improves the life for the ex wife too - 15% is nowhere near the financial level of income during the marriage, where often, as others have said, she may have given up her career prospects to raise the child, and support his house and home to enable him to work. Women who leave, especially when kids are young, are some of the most likely to be in povety. Things must be pretty rough if she would prefer to be in poverty than stay - we see this on the relationship boards all the time. If the maintanance does add to the family quality of life, then it benefits the child. Just because the father earns a huge amount, why should the child be punished by living in relative povety?

QueenRavenna Tue 21-Jan-14 14:01:04

And the new system is worse because it's gross. 12% of gross up to £800 a week, and 9% of gross income over £800 a week up to £3000 a week.

The system doesn't work, not for the mums receiving £5 a week and not for high earners who are paying over the odds.

Should return to the old needs assessment system - fairer all round.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 14:03:17

Quite, Nettletea

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 14:07:13

A couple of things....

I qualified it by saying that the op should contribute an amount which ensures that his child's basic needs are met (or at least half of that amount). Thereafter, it is up to the individual as to how they spend their own money.

When a couple agree to separate/divorce, it should mean exactly that. Your liability towards your children does not cease but your liability towards your ex-spouse/partner ought to. I don't think that's unreasonable.

Also, we need to consider "poverty" in absolute, rather than relative, terms. That was the biggest swindle the left ever pulled!

ElsieMc Tue 21-Jan-14 14:12:06

I have not read all the thread, but I have found over the years the best thing to do is make a complaint and get it referred to the complaints review team. Do it by email. The calls will be costing you a lot and stressing you out. I understand your frustration completely. They tend to contact you within about ten days. Hopefully you will get a named worker/manager who will deal with your case.

The problem as the CSA continually tell me, is that they are not an investigative agency. You can appeal their decisions, but the onus is on you to prove what you are saying. I was actually told I had to produce one of the childrens' father's wage slips. How the hell am I going to do that?

I have received compensation from them three times now when I have not even asked for it. It is only a very small amount, £50 each time.

He has now gone self employed, so I am expecting all payments to end and the CSA tell me this is likely. How on earth can this be right? He states he only earns £230 per week, yet works long days and weekends so he does not see my GS. The CSA did a comparable and have indicated they believe he earns around £26,000. They told me not to rock the boat, because I am receiving £30 a week at present and this took me years to achieve.

I think they are okay for straightforward cases, but generally by the time you have had to go to them they are the difficult cases.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 14:13:41

Contrarian - I don't think someone who spent a long marriage with someone who they supported while they built up their career would see it your way.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 14:16:59

Yes, but in those circumstances the marital assets would be divided accordingly. I'm not saying it's perfect, but it's as equitable as we can reasonably get.

educationforlife Tue 21-Jan-14 14:21:31

My gob is smacked and my flabber well and truly gasted.
So the nr parent is responsible only for their child not dying of cold or hunger? Anything above that is a discretionary luxury probably financing the rp going to the bingo in designer heels? shock
Bring back the poor houses - they had more compassion for women and children.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 14:25:35

er, no. I was merely pointing out that as humans we all have basic needs. There is a legal obligation as a parent (whether or not you're separated) to ensure that those needs are met in respect of your issue. Once those needs have been met, you legal responsibility ceases.

In reality it doesn't work like this, but in the case of separated parents, that's where we need to set the bar.

educationforlife Tue 21-Jan-14 14:35:13

How low on this do you place your responsibilty for your children's needs because they might translate into a demand on your money.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 14:40:08

I don't agree that that is where we need to set the bar. I think it's quite reasonable that a parent should pay the same contribution for their child as if they were still married to the child's other parent. And 15% is not a high percentage.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 14:42:33

If I was a high earner and had a child who did not live with me I would want that child to benefit as much as I did from my standard of living. I would not be greedily trying to work out how I could keep as much as possible for me while giving the bare minimum of what I could get away with!

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 14:48:31

Well to be honest, only the bottom two (the bottom one really) would likely have an impact on cash. Of course we have a responsibility to ove as far up the pyramid as possible, but in terms of hard finacial support......just the bottom two.

Listen, I'm not in favour of NRPs ducking their responsibilties; however, there has been very little in the way of constructive suggestions. This is exactly the sort of issue MN should be lobbying on, especailly as it's one that sadly seems to be effecting an ever-increasing number of people.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 14:52:12

But how do you do that without necessarily enriching the life of your ex-partner - which you may not want to do. Children's needs have to be met. Their wants do not need to be met. What would a wealthy NRP possibly provide (above the basics) that a child could justifyably lay claim to (apart from an education - if you believe in the private education system).

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 14:55:49

But you see that brings us to the original crux of the issue -- that all too often the reason why the NRP doesn't want to pay is because they resent not being able to control what the money is spent on.

It's tough, frankly. The child's needs and rights should come first IMO. It's sad that some people can't be adult enough to do that.

Dahlen Tue 21-Jan-14 15:14:26

This is how I'd do it:

HMRC, DWP and CSA/CMEC should all work with an integrated database, so that pulling up one person on the database can instantly reveal their earnings, benefits and taxation and calculate CSA payments automatically.

A typical cost of raising a child should be calculated in the same way that benefit rates are currently based on "the law says you need x amount to live on."

In cases where the parents are cohabiting the state can top up or not depending on the household income. I

In cases where the parents are no longer together, each parent should be held liable for 50% of the costs.

The 50/50 costs ratio can be adjusted depending on other factors, such as how often each parent has the child in their care.

The state should pay the other non-resident parent's contribution and recoup those costs from the non-resident parent depending on their ability to pay, but always with a minimum contribution even for those on benefits, the self-employed, or those with no income of their own whose lifestyles funded by others (these choices should not be an option for those with children to support in the same way that a parent with care cannot choose to abdicate responsibility due to the threat of prosecution for neglect or abandonment). The costs could be discounted for compliant behaviour.

Where the non-resident parent is assessed as capable of paying the full amount of their 50%, their income should be assessed and a percentage of the disposable income above that threshold also given to the child. The costs of any subsequent children (as calculated above) and an individual's basic living costs should be removed from that disposable income but nothing else should be.

I'd also like to see childcare costs factored into matters. Where a resident parent works and relies on childcare and the non-resident parent is able to work without worrying about childcare, I'd like to see the non-resident parent made to contribute to 50% of those childcare costs as much as they are able. This might encourage a few parents to help out more.

It's about time the state stopped picking up the pieces left behind by feckless parents, but they should target those feckless parents. At the moment we have a situation where parents who meet their responsibilities and care for their children are vilified by media for being scroungers claiming tax credits etc when the truth is that if the other parent paid 50% of those child's costs, many of those single parents wouldn't need to claim.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 15:22:29

Excellent post by Dahlen. I don't agree with all of it, but it's at least constructive.

Canpaywontpay Tue 21-Jan-14 16:36:01

I have to say i agree however I would stipulate child care being paid direct to the provider and would ask for the disposable income element to be placed in a bank account for the future benefit of the child aged 18 or to be used if both parents agree on the use therefore encouraging communication regrarding the child and their needs.

Dahlen Tue 21-Jan-14 16:51:02

I wouldn't have a problem with childcare being paid direct to the provider, who could perhaps invoice each parent for 50% each.

I don't understand why you'd insist on the disposable income element being held in trust though.

While many wealthy parents often hold wealth in trust for their offpsring, not many insist that their children live the same standard of living as those at the bottom of the socio-economic scale. Are you advocating some form of communism? Otherwise it really does appear as though you're advocating people punish their own children in order to make life harder for the X is the X has the temerity to disagree about how money is spent in the interest of the child. If a parent is good enough to care for your child on a primary basis, they are good enough to make day to day decisions regarding that child's care. A parent who doesn't believe that would surely be going to court to get single issue orders or a residency order in their favour because it's tantamount to saying you think your child is being neglected.

Personally, I think a court would throw out anyone who claimed their child would be better off with them because they disagree with how money is spent.

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 17:27:03

Dahlen, I don't hold that it's necessarily the case that you'd want to punish your child by witholding your wealth - having already provided for a pre-agreed minimum standard. That standard should be sensible and approrpiate, but a legal liability beyond that would seem strange.

Children are NOT entitled to share the wealth of their parents. For most of us, we do share our wealth, and whilst I certainly don't begrudge sharing what I have with my children (they benefit from having their own rooms, sizable gardens, extra curricular activities, etc.) they cannot lay any claim to it as an entitlement. I could just as easily rent a two bedroom house and squeeze us all in, and still meet my obligations to my children as many people - perhaps not through choice - do every day. It sounds perverse, but it's surely right.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 17:42:02

A 15% contribution certainly does not represent a claim to a parents wealth. It is a relatively small proportion of a persons income.

Doasbedoneby Tue 21-Jan-14 17:47:14


If the NRP could look after the child rather than using childcare should they,under your regime, have first call?

Contrarian78 Tue 21-Jan-14 17:47:41

It is though that's only the case if it's disposable income

That said, 15% of a £100,000 salary, although not a huge proportion, would amount to £15k or £288 per week, which on top of child benefit, tax credits, etc..........

In this sense, percentages are somewhat meaningless.

Actually, I should confess, I don't know if the calcualtion is made gross or net, but the premise still holds.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 17:58:15

Some people are not entitled to any tax credits at all, in fact a lot of people aren't since the government slashed the threshold.

honeycrest Tue 21-Jan-14 18:04:10

Why is everyone ignoring the fact that canpay says he pays for a foreign holiday for his son, school trips and puts money into an account for him? I presume he also buys him clothes and gifts the same as any parent would. This seems fair to me. He is contributing to the raising of his child a lot more than a lot of NRPs do. No child needs £850 a month except maybe those in private schools and then the money should be paid directly to the school. High earners having to pay £1000+ a month is ridiculous, especially when presumably they are also covering other costs

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 18:09:35

I think you're missing the point entirely - can't pay has cheated the system by pretending he gets paid a pittance. All because he feels bitter towards ex...

honeycrest Tue 21-Jan-14 18:39:04

I'm not condoning cheating the system but I can see why some people would. £850 a month is more than one child needs, it's practically a salary, especially if the NRP is also contributing in other ways. If I was getting that tax free whilst on maternity leave (or at any time)I would certainly be enjoying it.

honeycrest Tue 21-Jan-14 18:42:53

I do think the minimum payment should be raised, canpay should be paying more than £7 a week (or whatever low amount it was) I just think it should also be capped.

lottieandmia Tue 21-Jan-14 22:15:45

Something tells me he would be fine paying it if his ex did had not found happiness with someone else. Call me cynical... It's already been established that high earners are worked out on a case by case basis anyway. They have to have some way to do it and 15% is not a lot. You have to consider that if you were still living with your child you would be paying more anyway.

Dahlen Wed 22-Jan-14 09:50:15

Given that the average salary in the UK is £26,500 and the typical salary is more like £21,500, and that only 25% of people earn more than 36,000, all this talk of children receiving £850 a week applies in theory to only a very small number of children. In practice it will be even less. It's something of a red herring, especially as high earners are already taken on a case-by-case basis.

My ex has never paid a penny in 13 years
I gave them everything (name, address, DOB, employer, reg of work van, NI number the lot)
Still after 13 years there is nothing they can do as he can't be found
They are fucking useless (I told them this the last time I called)
They told me that if I didn't call them regularly then my case would be closed
I told them they where fucking useless and to shove it up their arse

I'm also having CSA issues, but not because of there system. But because dd father is a useless waste of time to human life. I plan on making his life very difficult in the near future wink

Contrarian78 Wed 22-Jan-14 11:36:57

I despair at these cases, I really do. As always it's the kids that suffer due to feckless parents. Although the welfare state is part of the problem, a good too many people would be poggered without it. It just doesn't seem right that as a so-called advanced economy/civilisation we can't make better arrangements.

I was discussiing this last night with a pal (as you do) and he said that in some european countries, state support was more generous for married mothers (or those that had been married). I'm not conivinced that would work here or even be desirable but he seemed to think it would have popular support.

Dahlen Wed 22-Jan-14 11:46:04

I'm sure it would, but it doesn't mean it would be a good idea. The thing with marriage and children is that while a child is less likely to experience his/her parents separating if they are married as opposed to cohabiting, it doesn't follow that it's the relationship itself that results in better outcomes for the child.

All the research in this area that investigates the poor outcomes for children from single parent families show that money is the major factor. When your control for income, the outcomes are no different, and even when you don't the outcomes are still the same if the educational attainment of the primary carer is degree level or higher.

From a psychology approach, most of the damage children experience comes from warring parents, and we all know that staying together doesn't ameliorate any of that. I'd hazard a guess that quite a lot of the one parent families we see today are headed by individuals who grew up in households where the parents stayed together but abuse, neglect and alcoholism were a feature. Those things are more damaging than separation and divorce IMO.

What we really need is a much more direct approach to getting people to think about the quality of their relationships before they have children, and for society to internalise the view that responsibility towards a child does not end at the same time as a relationship and that if you don't want to forego a significant part of your income on your child post split, don't have a child with that person.

Good piece of advice I wish I'd been given before having my own: Never have children with someone you can't see yourself amicably divorced from.

McFox Wed 22-Jan-14 11:53:02

They do backdate.

Believe me, being in the other side of this where they are trying to extract money from you is no picnic either.

They shouldn't have to try and extract money from you. As a biological parent of a child, you have a duty to pay. It's a childs right to be supported, not an option hmm

McFox Wed 22-Jan-14 12:35:33

Well that all depends on whether its your child or not. Just like a poster up thread, sorry I forget the name, my DH has been forced to pay thousands in the past 2 years for a child which, by his ex's own admission, may not be his.

He came home from work one day to find her and 'their' 1 year old gone, and a note saying that she'd been having an affair for 2 years and was leaving with this guy. She also stated that he might be the kid's dad, they were going to live as a family, and not to try to find them. He did, for several years, with no success. Her family and friends refused to tell me, but said to leave them alone as this guy was the child's dad now. It destroyed him. He still regularly breaks down over his missing child and it's terrible to see. Every birthday, every Christmas is hard for him and he thinks and talks about the child all the time.

9 years later, just as we're planning our wedding, the CSA appear and demand £16k within 2 years and threaten him with jail. He explains the position, asks for a DNA test and it is refused. All requests for contact and discussion with her is refused. He still has no idea where she is, so he can do nothing but pay up, which he has done. He continues to pay. We now have a child on the way, and he will continue to pay, even though that will impact on this child.

So now tell me that's fair. If he was proved to be my DH's biological child, he would of course be happy to pay. As it stands, it seems that he is being targeted as an easy win by both this woman, and the CSA. Why wait so long to try to get money out of him? What has changed in her luff ghat she felt that she needed it? It sickens me, and I just wonder, if there are 2 people in this thread alone who have had this happen, how many others are there out there?

Contrarian78 Wed 22-Jan-14 13:43:11

What utterly depressing stories.

Dahlen, you're absolutely right (again). What you're saying though (and I don't doubt that your premis is correct is that in order to solve the problem we have to either:

Pay more money to single parents (politically unpopular)
Insist that parents who don't reach a certain academic standard and/or have no means of supporting themselves are prevented from breeding (politically popular - though difficut to enforce.)

Your last two paras are as sound a basis as I could ever come up with.

Dahlen Wed 22-Jan-14 14:48:31

I think there are more options that that, but they all require political will and a lot of money.

Non-payment, or avoidance, of child support to result in a criminal conviction possibly leading to imprisonment, much as they do in other countries. Obviously each case would have to go to court as there would be extenuating circumstances in some cases, but that's no different than is the case for other criminal offences ATM, and TBH I'd consider financially neglecting your child as a worse offence than shop lifting or speeding. This would probably be quite easy to sell to the public, despite the inevitable backlash from people who claim that many women are falsely claiming paternity/witholding access (some, of course, will be, but they are a statistical minority in comparison to the genuine cases where single parents are literally left holding the baby with no financial support from the other parent).

More PSHE type education in schools and a greater focus on what a baby really means. Anyone remember the experiment in the US where they gave an electronic doll to the children? It had a huge effect on reducing the number of girls whose primary ambition was to have a child. Again, despite the backlash from those who will claim this is a parent's job, not a teacher's, I think this would be sold to the public quite easily, depending on the spin put on it.

Far greater intervention from the likes of the police and social services in cases where parental conflict or poor behaviour form either parent impacts negatively on children. Bad parenting creates huge social damage. This will probably be unpopular and popular in equal measure. Some will feel it's a gross invasion of privacy. I think if we want a better generation, we need to raise them better. Given the stats on child abuse, neglect, and abandonment, I think it's worth it.

Most single parents are actually mid-30-somethings out of a long-term married/cohabiting relationship, but popular opinion presides that they are jobless 17-year olds. Playing to that, I'd like to see a greater focus on education generally. Raising the age to 18 for full time education is a step towards this. It won't achieve anything though until we get rid of the idea that only academic qualifications are worth having (FWIW most of my peers who got a trade are significantly out-earning me with my 1st class degree and MA). Let's start pushing youngsters - particularly female ones - into vocations, rather than open-ended academic qualifications that don't mean much unless you are prepared to aggressively pursue a career, probably move away, etc etc - all those things that young women in deprived areas who traditionally choose to have children as a type of 'career' - will shy away from.

I could say more but I'm probably boring everyone now.

I am a very lucky single parent. I am in the 1% who own their own home. I still fell foul of a co-parent who abdicated his responsibilities. I lived with him for 6 years before we had our children. I never thought him capable of treating me so badly, let alone our very much planned and saved-up-for DC. Despite all those best laid plans, I still found myself at the mercy of the state when it all went wrong and he refused to pay (self-employed so on a hiding to nothing with the CSA despite holidays and cars). I had a full-time job but with two children to support, a house to find and full-time childcare to pay for, I could not have done it without state assistance towards my childcare costs. As it was I regularly did not eat for the first two years.

Despite all that, and despite hardly bothering to see them (the last time was over 6 months ago), he still has the legal right to override my choice of school for the DC, my religious preferences for them, to prevent me from taking them to see family abroad for an extended period - he still has full parental responsibilities (interpreted in his eyes as rights).

Until people like my X face the very real threat of prison for abandoning (and yes I choose that word deliberately) their children in the same way as I would have done had I just left them at home on their own and walked out, nothing will change. THat's the biggest thing that needs to change.

Contrarian78 Wed 22-Jan-14 15:09:22

Rational and reasoned debate are essential. Having hovered on these boards for some time you see some of the less savoury aspects of human nature. For many most there is no happy ever after. The problems are often so complex that the advice given is of little use. Here though, Mumsnet could use the real life experience (which is actually quite broad) to make a meaningful contribution to government policy.

None of us know what's around the corner, and although I remain convinced that a loving and stable marriage is the best basis on which to raise children, I'm long enough in the tooth to understand that for many, that isn't a reality. What is clear is that the current system does a dis-service to all that come into contact with it - particularly children.

Lastly, if I had my time again.........I'd definitely get a trade. smile

Dahlen Wed 22-Jan-14 15:54:40

The children's society report suggested that children do best when they have a large extended network of adults who are emotionally invested in their welfare. This significantly reduced the incidence of abuse and negative changes in circumstance due to the check and balances inherent. To some extent, you could argue that the nuclear family is a mistake and we should all return to old-fashioned extended family set-ups.

Personally, I think that a child born by sperm donor to a single mother will do better than a child born into a dysfunctional marriage where both adults are convinced they need to stay together for the sake of the children.

Stability and relationships with adults seems to be what counts I agree. However, I think that judging the presence of those traits by marriage is a misnomer. Marriage may make people less likely to split, but it doesn't mean their relationship is any less likely to be unhealthy than a cohabiting or live-out one.

Interestingly, homosexual couples seem to provide the best outcomes for children, rather than heterosexual ones. Arguably they are more committed to parenthood because they have to jump through more hoops to make it happen, whereas more than half of pregnancies in the UK are apparently unplanned. I'd like to see that changed for sure.

Contrarian78 Wed 22-Jan-14 16:08:28

With regard to your first point, I don't thik it's a case of "either" "or" The nuclear family can (and does for man) exist within an extended family set-up.

Second para: Yes, they probably would, but what as a society we should measure is "Does a child brought up in a stable and happy marriage do better than a child born to a single mother" controlling for everything else. I'm a proponent of marriage, but I accept that it's not for everyone.

Third para: I agree. Intelectually, it shouldn't make any difference, but somehow it seems to (or so the evidence suggests).

Fourth para: I'm realtively liberal, but still haven't managed to totally reconcile homosexuals raising child. Not becasue I think they make bad parents (I'm not convinced they're any better or worse than anyone else) but rather becasue I always thought that being homosexual (by definition) meant that you were precluded (biologically) from parenthood. Definitely agree that it's a disgrace that 50% of pregnancies are unplanned. Come on ladies.......... grin

Dahlen Wed 22-Jan-14 16:19:35

I hope I don't sound humourless because I know your grin means you are joking, but sadly it would appear that most people do think it's down to the woman when an unplanned pregnancy occurs. Possibly a debate for another day though. wink

I don't see why you would produce the inability for homosexual couples to have children as a reason for why you have trouble reconciling them as parents. Do you do the same for couples with fertility problems who have IVF, surgery or adopt? Surely if it's about happening 'naturally', the same rules apply.

Contrarian78 Wed 22-Jan-14 16:34:15

Of course, it's not just down to a woman when an unplanned pregnancy occurs; however, it's (often) down to the woman when an unplanned birth occuurs. I'm uncomfortable with abortion being used as contraceptive, but not as uncomfortable as I would be if the freedom of choice was removed. This is one of the most fundamental rights woemn have, but with that right comes responsibility. Fractionally more so than a man (because of the right to choose).

I think it's because all else being equal, a man and a women could reproduce. FOr homosexuals, it's a biological impossibility. I'm not satying they shouldn't be parents, but rather, in the natural order of things, they're precluded.

Dahlen Wed 22-Jan-14 16:53:22

If men and women were equal I'd agree, but they're not. 1 in 9 women will be raped and 1 in 4 sexually assaulted. The exercising of control over sex and reproduction remains one of the hallmarks of an abusive relationship and 1 in 4 women will experience one of those. If women are to be held to greater account because of their right to choose, men should be held to greater account over their responsibility to determine enthusiastic consent.

Back on the subject of homosexuality, I don't see how the natural order of things is an excuse. The natural order of things mean many women would die in childbirth and their children be raised by others - whether a single father or an aunt. What's so unnatural about someone sharing this task with a person of the same sex? Especially when the evidence seems to show they do a better job of it than many heterosexual couples.

Dahlen Wed 22-Jan-14 16:55:12

And the natural order of things - people dying through lack of antibiotics, fathers abandoning women who get pregnant, only the fittest and most powerful having rights, famine - is not necessarily a good thing.

Contrarian78 Wed 22-Jan-14 17:01:15

I agree.

It's not particularly an excuse. Itellectually, I'm not particularly against homosexual people parenting. It's not the raising of children that's the issue, but rather the biological impediment to concieving them.

Contrarian78 Wed 22-Jan-14 17:04:21

No, you're right, it's not necessarily a good thing - but for better or worse, it's got us to this point.

Contrarian78 Wed 22-Jan-14 17:08:30

I should also point out that whilst I enjoy debate and taking contrary points of view, I am not homophobic. That said, despite considering myself to be relatively liberal/enlightened (you're all pissing yourselves laughuing I'm sure) I'm not afraid of my own prejudices to the extent that I won't challenge them.

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