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To involve the CSA?

(59 Posts)
pinguthepenguin Sun 07-Oct-12 20:50:43

Hi All,

Hoping to canvass opinion here on whether or not I'm heading down the right road.

Comnunication is not great between my ex and I. We have periods of getting on fine, then for a myriad of reasons, it becomes bad again...and not just a brief falling out, but spectacularly bad. We rarely have shouting matches..his preferred method is to wait til he gets home and then send lengthy from his and his wife detailing all my failings as a parent...and without fail, there will be a reference in it somewhere to how I am paid above and beyond what they have to. This comment will be made in spite of the fact that I have never once raised the issue of money with him.

It never fails to amaze me, given that the maintanence aspect is one thing we have never disagreed about and yet it is routinely thrown into an email in relation to a completely different discussion. Its patently obvious he resents the money, yet he says he takes his financial contribution to his dd 'very seriously'. Exp pays regular maintanence for DD, we have an informal arrangement, and has never missed a payment etc - it just never comes up between us verbally. He pays a set amount, and this hasnt changed in the 5 years since we split. In fact it went down last year by £100 per month after the birth of his new baby. This was suggested by me as I thought it would be the fair thing to do. To be honest, I am always trying to find ways to improve things between us and thought this might be one of the ways to do. As with most things though, he took the reduction, but reminded me it wasn't a 'favour' to him, but something he was thinking about anyway, now that our dd's childcare costs had gone down. (!)

He is notoriously tight, when we were together money was an actual obsession for him, so its clear to me that while he pays the maintanence, it is a source of discontentment between him and his wife. It makes me feel like a money grabbibg shit bag when he throws these comments into the emails or texts - and yet he will not say one word to my face about it. Its so bizzare. I don't think he is trying to scare me about withdrawing or reducing it, because I have a decent job...and in all honesty, if I relied on it, we would have starved by now!
I have never once in all the years approached him for extra money or asked him to pick up any costs for dd outside of his payment

So, my thoughts are.....I have no control over his routine put downs about my parenting, but I am now thinking that I can formalise maintanence so he can shut the fuck up about paying me 'over and above' what he has to. I may well get less by going down the CSA route, but I don't care. He does a 30 mile round trip to collect dd, and she sleeps there twice a week, plus he has a new family, so I'm well aware this will all be taken into account when assessing his contribution. He is self employed and would probably cook the hell out of his books anyway.

As an aside,my own DP wants me to refuse maintanence from him altogether, because he believes that the amount is pathetic and hates the way he batters me over the head with it every time he gets the chance. I will of course not do this as it will play into his hands, but I'm thinking that formalsing our arrangement will remove at least one more thing he can control me with.

flow4 Mon 08-Oct-12 22:43:47

SusanneLinder, that's good to hear... My DS will turn 18 in six months without me ever having received a penny of maintenance, and I did wonder whether the arrears would continue to be due to me after he reached adulthood.

Could I please PM you re tactics sometime? (Not urgently - I certainly won't so it tonight, and of course there would be no hurry for you to respond smile )

pinguthepenguin Mon 08-Oct-12 14:54:22

Thanks everyone. I think the consensus here is to leave well alone, so that is prob what I will do....however it can't hurt to be prepared so I'll also be doing a bit of research on the company.

Will also take all your advice about how to deal with the shitty correspondence and to stop actually believing all the lies they write

Thanks again wink

Tabliope Mon 08-Oct-12 14:07:36

pingu, there is a CSA calculator if you want to work out how much you think you should be getting. Just google CSA calculator.

SusanneLinder Mon 08-Oct-12 13:44:20

I used the CSA and have only FINALLY got my arrears from my ex.They were 5 and 8 when we split up, they are now 20 and 23.And that was only after about 5 complaints and 2 through my MP.

Tbh if you are getting maintenance, I would let sleeping dogs lie.

Tabliope Mon 08-Oct-12 13:43:24

pingu, don't make any rash decisions. Check Companies House online - you don't need to write to them - you pay £1 I think for any document on the company you're interested in which should include something that shows who the directors are. It's very little money and could be quite enlightening. Don't give the maintenance money up. Don't rise to his bait though like niceguy2 said. I'd curb him seeing your DD on days that aren't his - it should be something that works but it only seems to work in his favour so I'd tell him not to arrange things on those days - take an element of control back. The point is - you're dancing to his tune over everything so I'd limit that and keep everything else business like. I'd be very curious to know what's on the Companies House website about his company. Don't make waves for the sake of it though.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 08-Oct-12 13:41:28

yes pingu it is true and is used loads by people to reduce liability.

fwiw the csa would only ask for 15% of his income after deductions are made to allow for him having another child living with him and his contact being over 52 days a year he could also apply for a variation to allow for travel.

other ways he could reduce liability are by claiming his partner pays him and less than he does or offsetting personal assests to claim them as company expenses some nrp's will do anything they can think of to reduce maintainance

pinguthepenguin Mon 08-Oct-12 13:24:37

NADM- really? Jeez, who knew people would go that far?

I see what you mean about cutting off my nose etc, it just irks me so much because it so clearly is a pathetic amount in relation to what he earns and yet he can't stop himself reminding me that it's 'more than he has to'. There is not a prayer in heaven's chance that it is half of what it takes to give our child the life she has now, so I just wish he would shut the hell up about itangry

NotaDisneyMum Mon 08-Oct-12 13:20:26

pingu she might be listed as a director, though.
It is a known CSA loophole - the profit your ex's company makes will be split between all the directors directors - so she can take a proportion of the profit if she is a director which will go into their household but won't be assessed for CSA.

KateByChristmas Mon 08-Oct-12 13:19:48

Hmm I've re written this post a good few times but I think you may be cutting you nose off to spite your face by refusing to take maintenance, its his responsibility and hes willing to pay (quite rightly) so it makes no sense to me really. But I do sympathise with how this makes you feel so how about looking at it this way - he says he pays over and above what he has to you say indeed you do and the extra money is enriching DDs life but nobody is making you, if it's an issue then fill out the on line CSA calculator and get the figure from that, it's very simple smile all bright and breezy just give the issue back to him to deal with.

Or send an email back saying the money keeps being mentioned and it shouldn't be a constant bone of contention but an agreed amount that's not going to cause issues.

pinguthepenguin Mon 08-Oct-12 13:17:19

Thanks guys

We weren't married, thank god!
His DW doesn't work for him. She has a completely separate profession. Ex runs it with a partner.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 08-Oct-12 13:02:12

flow you are correct with saying that once you use the csa you are prohibited from using the courts for child maintainance and the csa effectivly overide the court order.

you may also need to concider that if his dp is involved with the company he could very easyly get away with saying she runs it and pays him peanuts. lifestyle inconsistant via the csa will apsolutly not help you with this as he could easyly claim she compleatly supports him and the house even if the house is solely his and she has no real claim on it i know this because thats what happened with me.

flow4 Mon 08-Oct-12 12:35:05

I have just had another thought re. the CSA,which makes me suggest that you don't go to them if you were married to your ex. Once-married people have a legal right to seek maintenance for children through the family courts. Never-married separated parents do not have this legal route, and the CSA is their only recourse. Court action is always resolved, one way or the other, whereas CSA action often is not. (As I said, I have been waiting almost 15 years for maintenance). The CSA's priority is to save money for the state, not recover maintenance for the child, so they tend to pursue absent parents who work when the resident parent does not, in order to save state benefit payments - and don't seem to do much about the others. I think - though I may be wrong and you should ask your solicitor - that once you go down the CSA route you cannot also pursue maintenance through the courts... Which means you are less likely to get any sad

pinguthepenguin Mon 08-Oct-12 12:09:32

fw - you must be right about the emails because my sol has said the most recent one is particularly ugly ( they even attack my dp) and that a court would be interested in seeing it. Obviously I know sols might say what you want to hear, but it brought me some comfort all the same. Heres hoping they have slipped up this time grin
Niceguy, thanks for the perspective, think i will def keep a copy of them though

financialwizard Mon 08-Oct-12 11:42:16

niceguy2 makes a lot of sense. The only thing I will say is please make sure you keep the emails he sends you. Whilst you may think they are carefully crafted I bet that he and his wife slip up somewhere along the line. My ex sends me plenty of vile emails, and has done for the last 11 years. I have kept every one and the last time we ended up in court they were VERY useful.

I am not going to go into specific details about my exh on here because I don't want to derail the thread, but if you want to PM me feel free.

niceguy2 Mon 08-Oct-12 11:24:28

I've been a single dad now for over ten years. To be honest it sounds very normal to me. If you got on, you'd still be together!

The good thing is, is that he has regular contact and he does pay maintenance religiously. Many parents/kids are not so lucky.

What I'm seeing here is emotions overruling logic and the result may well be you cut off your own nose to spite your face.

Do you think if you went to the CSA the stroppograms will stop? Of course not. The content will just vary a bit. Do you think it will stop you from falling out? No. So you'd be £200 a month down and no better off.

Going via solicitors, CSA & contacting companies house will just inflame the situation and make matters worse.

Do what I do. Ignore ignore ignore. My ex & I get on for the most part and like you we occasionally fall out big time. I'll get some text/email about how nasty I am and how I'm trying to push the kids out of her life etc. Just ignore them. Delete button is your friend. Take away the response and eventually they tire of sending the snottograms and not getting a reply. It's the reply they crave. To see you react. To see you hurt. Deny them that.

As for maintenance. What you could do, if you don't need the money is just set up a bank account and put the money in there each month. Give it to your daughter at 18. God knows you'll need it for driving lessons, uni fees/whatever.

The thing you need to realise is that this is not a battle over money or contact. It's a battle for control. React to his threats/texts & emails and you are dancing to his tune. Smile, ignore them and keep talking in a level voice about the facts, don't get drawn into tit for tat arguments and you take the high moral ground and it pisses them off no end that it's not working.

pinguthepenguin Mon 08-Oct-12 11:12:24

Thanks for the responses, they really are helpful in calming me down about these letters. grin
It's a bloody shame it's like this because when things are fine we can discuss contact quite rationally, and we can happily ask each other to do swaps etc to tie in with what each other needs. When it's tits up like this though, the contact schedule will be adhered to rigourously on their side with no flexibility and on mine, they will continue to ask for swaps etc and send crappy emails when If I say no- it's all so shit. A favourite is ' oh, we have asked dd if she wants to do that really fun activity with us her family at the weekend. We know it's not our weekend but it would be great for her to join us and she will be upset if you refuse her'. The manipulation is rifeangry

Anyway, thanks for the advice. it's good to know a solicitor will filter any veiled nastiness. I was always under the impression they would write whatever you paid them to- hence the fact that they are not very popular when it comes to family disputes!

Brill idea about writing to company house btw, love it! grin

flow4 Mon 08-Oct-12 09:50:23

If he's been told by a solicitor only to contact you through them, then his emails should stop, and that should help smile If he does contact you directly despite being told not to, don't even read the email: just forward it, and your solicitor will deal with it.
It won't sound worse through a solicitor... Your ex's solicitor isn't free to be rude or libellous, as you ex may feel he can be: he will be obliged to 'translate' any horrible ranty statements and/or allegations that your ex makes into something that doesn't break any laws. So if your ex says (for instance) "She's a rubbish mother; she never puts DD first; she did X, Y and Z", the solicitor will ask him if he has any evidence for X, Y or Z, and if there isn't any, won't put any of those allegations in writing. Instead he will write something neutral like "My client has expressed some concerns and seeks assurances that your client will always act in the best interests of their child". If your ex is anything like my friend's, this will be easily read by your solicitor as 'legal code' for "My client is a pita and will make some fuss, but really your client has nothing to worry about"! grin

Tabliope Mon 08-Oct-12 09:20:12

pingu, I'm not sure what your ex does job-wise but if he's become a limited company it might be worth just out of interest applying to Companies House to get a copy of his latest accounts - just so you can see what his income is. It might be quite informative - you might be able to work out from there whether £200 is a good deal or not (I think for one child he should be giving you 20% of his income) or it might tell you he's cooking his books massively. In which case I'd store that information away as you might want to report him to inland revenue. The CSA will look into whether a person's lifestyle matches what their tax returns say. I'm in a similar situation. The wheels at the CSA grind very slowly but I'm hopeful of a decision next month so in my case it's been worth pursuing, but it's exhausting and emotionally draining dealing with the CSA.

Next I'd start biting back. Tell him his DW is not contributing to your DD so can he stop putting "we". Tell him his emails amount to harassment and if they continue in that vein you'll be speaking to the police. If you discover anything from Companies House I'd also make a few threats of my own - but not on email, verbally - about if he doesn't get his act together and start treating you with a bit more respect you'll be having a word with the inland revenue. You have options. You don't need to take his shit.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 08-Oct-12 09:02:09

You can't change him - you can change you wink

Assume that his behaviour will never change and put strategies in place yourself to deal with it.

If you can't deal with his emails at the moment, put an auto-forward on your email so messages from all his addresses are sent somewhere else and deleted from your inbox - send them to your DP, or an inbox you check once a week - whatever works for you.
I've done this many times - my ex used to send me diatribes of criticism of my behaviour, parenting, failures etc etc - it got so wearing, I stopped reading them, sent them to my BF for her to have a good laugh - she told me the salient points and even drafted any replies for me, too grin

Block his texts and phone calls if these are abusive, harassing or rude.

Arrange hand overs via school or a third party - do not come face to face with him. Minimise the contact you have with him.

Time does help - but you don't have to tolerate unreasonable behaviour.

And yes, I'd go to the CSA.

pinguthepenguin Mon 08-Oct-12 09:00:18

Think he would happily take dd from me yes, although distance might permit it at the moment ( unless he re-registered her at another school). I have recently instructed a sol, so do expect the emails to calm down a bit anyway, however I guess I'm scared they will sound even worse if they are written by a sol? he has been told to only contact me through them for now

flow4 Mon 08-Oct-12 08:47:00

Could you see a lawyer? A friend of mine has an emotionally abusive ex-partner with mental health issues - he has brought up their children - and she has a habit of phoning and texting and emailing terrible things. Finally, after almost a decade of tolerance, he consulted a lawyer, who instructed her (via her own lawyer) only to make contact through him. Now most of the communication is via lawyers, and it has massively reduced the stress for my friend.

Chrysanthemum5 Mon 08-Oct-12 08:39:08

I would say to your ex that his emails are unacceptable, and that from now on all communication must be sent to your DPs email address. That he will read them, and pass on any relevant information It sounds like your ex is a controlling bully, and like most bullies I imagine he'll be scared to say these things to another man.

Of course, it means your DP may have to read some unpleasant messages, but it seems as if he won't get as upset by them.

gettingeasier Mon 08-Oct-12 08:33:44

So does he want custody of your DD Pingu ?

pinguthepenguin Mon 08-Oct-12 08:31:20

Thanks everyone. I do need the money ( or rather DD does) but I loathe the way both him and his wife make me feel about it and if I had to do without it I would. DP has said he would support her, and in fact, already does to a large extent, because let's face it, £200 a month when your childcare fees alone are £250 doesnt really cut it. If we are splitting the costs of DD in half, that would mean the sum total of his contribution to her living expenses is £75 per month. Jesus. That's less than £20 a week for her clothes, roof, activities, shoes bla bla bla.
Both him and his wife are high earners. I know DW's salary has nothing to do with it, but similarly, I wish she would refrain from using words like 'we pay you more than we are required to'angry

With regards to the letters and emails, they are absolutely crushingsad honestly....if it was full of ranty bollocks I could probably get past it with a bit of work. The trouble is they are written in case they would ever make it to court, you know, damning allegations about my parenting, how they only want the best for DD and would love it if I felt the same, how they are 'saddened' at my inability to put her first', how they wish I wouldn't leave her with strangers. Oh god, they are just foul. And they leave me feeling sick for dayssad

gettingeasier Mon 08-Oct-12 08:27:59

No way should you give up the maintenance he pays for your DD

I dont mean to sound critical but what need is there for any communication with him after 5 years apart other than the bare bones of contact arrangements ?

I think maybe as you said you need to work on yourself and find out why you arent emailing him back explaining you have no interest in his nasty little opinions and could he kindly just stick to what needs to be talked about

Going via CSA or giving up maintenance isnt going to change anything just leave you £200 a month worse off and potentially angry with yourself in the future for letting him off the hook

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