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AIBU to want to take my useless Ex to court over child maintenance because the CSA are s**t at their job!!!

(18 Posts)
Daisycat22 Tue 18-Oct-11 14:06:28

My son is 14 years old, his father and I broke up while I was pregnant and he's mainly been absent ever since.
The CSA got involved when my son was 1 years old and quite frankly, they have been about as much use as a chocolate teapot!...I have only received 9 payments from this man in 14 years and apparently the CSA can never find him, it's like he's disappeared off the face of the earth!!
I know he hasn't as I have some contact with his mum still but she doesn't see him much and I think that she probably wouldn't tell me where he is anyway.
I am on a low income so can I get legal aid to take him to court myself?...has anyone ever done this before?...I'm sick to death of this man not pulling his weight while I struggle to get by each month.

ScaredKittyWitchyKitty Tue 18-Oct-11 14:13:52

I feel your pain because I'm in the same boat - split up when pregnant, ex disappears, changes addresses and jobs etc. I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure you can't go to court for maintenance issues unless you were married. That's what the CSA are for - they replaced the court system. Have you tried contacting your MP to get your case escalated? I did that and it worked to an extent and I now get a whopping £12.50 per fortnight! I'm still chasing them to reassess him for the proper amount though. I'm not going to hold my breath on that one...

Daisycat22 Tue 18-Oct-11 14:31:44

Hi Scared, thanks for your reply.

It's just so crap and unfair, we certainly seem to be in the same boat. My Ex seems to do regular moonlight flits from jobs, homes etc
I hadn't thought of my MP I'll definitely be contacting them, I've got to do something

ElsieMc Tue 18-Oct-11 14:44:23

I think you need to go through the process before going to your MP. Have you asked for it to be looked at by complaints? Its all a bit complicatated there are complaints then complaints reviews (or something similar).

I found it best to email them. Email them and tell them you are dissatisfied with their service, explain why and what you want them to do about it. Ask for it to go to Complaints immediately.

You will then receive an email acknowledging your complaint and then a phone call when they will tell you it has been passed on to the Complaints Team and when they will contact you. Their complaints form is on their website and its quite straightforward.

If you really want to pursue it, you will have to put in some work in chasing them.Give this a try and then go to your MP if it is not resolved properly.

They will tell you they are not an investigative agency, but they can write to his employer, ring them and even get an investigative officer in if necessary. that is of course presuming he works. They can go to the tax office to see if he is paying tax and this will provide some kind of trace.

Give this a try, don't spend your time on the phone, let them do the running once you email them. Good luck.

youllbewaiting Tue 18-Oct-11 14:46:00

I agree your ex should be paying and should have been all along.

But, he's only liable for four more years or so, what have you got lined up for when the child-benefit, tax credit etc. stop?

Daisycat22 Tue 18-Oct-11 14:53:21

ElsieMc - Thanks for the advice. No I've not done any complaining in writing just spent numerous amounts of money and time complaining on the phone and getting absolutley nowhere!!...I will definitely be complaining in writing now and go from there.

raspberryroop Tue 18-Oct-11 17:51:25

youllbewaiting - shit question really - maybe a relatively child related expense free life.

colken Tue 18-Oct-11 18:18:17

There is one lesson to be learned here by others.

Marriage before babies.

One poster wrote "I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure you can't go to court for maintenance issues unless you were married." Was the father's name on the child's birth certificate?

FabbyChic Tue 18-Oct-11 18:31:13

Unless he pays tax via the normal channels they cannot find it, and no court would be able to enforce an order either if he is not working on PAYE.

Seriously why do you need money? He is 14 surely you work? I supported my kids myself rather than have to wait years to get something off their father.

I didn't get anything until they were 16 and 11!

Andrewofgg Tue 18-Oct-11 19:18:24

colken I believe that you can't chase child maintenance through the courts whether you are married or not. If the CSA can't do it you are left out in the cold.

May be unfair but that is how it is.

raspberryroop Tue 18-Oct-11 19:21:18

Fabbychic words of measure and wisdom as usual. If you can do it - why not everyone else !

ScaredKittyWitchyKitty Tue 18-Oct-11 20:16:37

Fabby asking a poster why she needs the money is neither here nor there. If a man fathers a child he should contribute financially (and ideally practically, emotionally etc as well), whether the mother is on full benefits or is a lottery winner, whether they were married or not, whether he is on the birth certificate or not. I work but I'm still chasing the CSA and will continue to do so until they collect, and pay to me, the correct amount of money my ex should be paying towards the upbringing of my DS.

Daisycat22 Wed 19-Oct-11 11:01:30

Fabby - Thanks for your unhelpful post!...yes I do work but don't earn a great deal and with everything becoming more expensive I am beginning to struggle. Yes he's 14, does that mean I can now stop feeding and clothing him and send him out to work and earn his own money?!...ridiculous!!!

No absent parent (be it man or woman) should be able to have children then just walk away and take no responsibility it's just WRONG!!

FunnyHaHaPeculiar Wed 19-Oct-11 11:37:59

i would pretend he didnt exist and move on, just like you have been doing for 14 years. All you are doing is making yourself more upset, you arent gonna get any money - even if the CSA/court deems it so, he will find another loophole. Your child only has another 2 years of dependency so not really worth the hassle now imo

cuteboots Wed 19-Oct-11 12:51:57

I have to agree with Funnyhahapeculiar. It will only upset your further by pursuing this. My son is seven and they have offered nothing really despite chasing him on numberous occasions! At one stage it had me doubting my own sanity. You sound like a lovely person and I agree he should pay but sometimes you have to admit defeat.

Andrewofgg Wed 19-Oct-11 13:55:28

Daisycat22 You are right but what you say applies to all debt.

If we had ID cards, if everyone had to bank at one central bank, if everyone had to check some sort of register before they paid a debt to see if anything was recorded against the payee - there might be less unpaid maintenance and other debt. There would also be a serf society.

BeaHededd Wed 19-Oct-11 14:13:40

My ex is a director of his own company and for the last seven years I have a a nil assessment.
I mean even those on benefits have to pay a fiver a week but sadly if they don't want to pay they wont it's shit but that is how it goes.
I was married to him and have been told it makes no difference in reply to the poster who said Marriage before children

ScaredKittyWitchyKitty Wed 19-Oct-11 20:44:42

I disagree with the posters who say you should give up. You still have two years worth of maintenance payments due, more if your son stays in education, plus thirteen years of arrears (because it's counted from the day you apply, which was when your son was one). I've almost given up at times but what spurs me on is imagining my son in say 10 years's time, asking me why his father doesn't provide any money - and I don't want to have to say that I was chasing it but gave up because it was a little bit too stressful.

The way to do it and still stay sane, is to chase it as best you can without getting overly stressed about it, but don't ever expect to get any money. If you rely on yourself and the money you bring in, anything you then get from your ex will be a bonus.

I'd do down the complaints/MP route if I were you. You can get a meeting with your MP at their local surgery, which could be a starting point. Good luck.

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