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To think the government should scrap the Child Maintenance Service and start all over?

(28 Posts)
PatSharpIsMyBoyfriend Thu 07-Jan-16 16:22:45

I wish they would take this issue more seriously, and come up with an efficient way to collect maintenance from absent parents. The CMS seems just as incompetent as the Child Support Agency, except now you have to pay £20 a time to feel frustrated.

I have had a case open since May 2015 with no payments made from my ex partner. I received a call today, to say that my case is going to be 'adjudicated', because I need to fill out a form with my bank details and send it to them, so they can send it to my ex partner. So back to square 1 we go. This is just a formality apparently, as he already has my details, but why couldn't they tell me this 6 months ago?! On top of that I've been told not to ring in for another 2 weeks, and even then not to expect that any progress will be made. They have had his details from the beginning, they know he is working. Every time I ring in, I am told the same thing, wait 5 days, 30 days, letter A or B needs to be sent etc. The whole thing, and amount of red tape you have to wade through makes it just seem like a complete joke.

splendide Thu 07-Jan-16 16:26:46

why would adjudication mean you're back to square one?

splendide Thu 07-Jan-16 16:27:26

Sorry if I'm being obtuse, sounds like a nightmare anyway

VimFuego101 Thu 07-Jan-16 16:35:17

I agree there should be heavier penalties for non-payment - the CSA is pretty feeble in that respect. In the US where I live they can (and do) confiscate drivers licenses, withold tax refunds and eventually send to prison for non-payment. In the UK it seems like they take everything that the NRP tells them as a given and really can't do a lot if they're self-employed.

UndramaticPause Thu 07-Jan-16 16:36:59

Is this charge just for new cases because I've never been charged and never had an issue that the root of which wasn't my ex

Viviennemary Thu 07-Jan-16 16:43:46

It's feeble in that they can't seem to be able to enforce payment. It's like making income tax voluntary. Lots of people wouldn't bother paying it. If they are no penalities for non payment no wonder so many don't pay.

AutumnLeavesArePretty Thu 07-Jan-16 16:58:53

Far better to run it as a private company with charges. Let it be ran as a business. The minimal charges now are a pittance and the state shouldnt be responsible for it now maintainence is no longer deducted from benefits. If parents can agree privately great, if not a paid service like anything else.

Before there can be penalties though, it has to be fair. Penalising the NRP when there are so many PWC not financially providing would be wrong. Both should provide regardless of sex.

PatSharpIsMyBoyfriend Thu 07-Jan-16 17:38:37

Splendide - The lady I spoke to said adjudicated, but what I think she actually meant was that the case has been reviewed and it's no longer moving to collect and pay - where they collect the money from him, but will stay as direct pay, which means he 'should' continue to pay me the money directly. Somewhat silly, when they assure you at the point of opening a case that they will start to take action after 5 days if there is no payment. It has now been 8 months of non payment. Makes absolutely no sense. Once he officially has my bank details my case will be looked at again, and only then will the ball get rolling. This will probably be months from now, if their past actions are anything to go by.

Undramatic - The charges are for new cases with the CMS only, I believe there are a few exemptions, but most people have to pay now to set up a case.

I agree, there should be much harsher penalties for non-paying parents. My ex partner has been ignoring letters for most of the time the case has been open, and they seem to take from that fact that he is not receiving them, over simply getting them and throwing them straight into the bin! A business model may well be a better way of running things, at least then they have some incentive to achieve results.

Andrewofgg Thu 07-Jan-16 17:56:57

Taking away driving licences will often just put the NRP out of work which does not help anyone. Locking them up even more so.

In fact the methods of making people pay their just debts in this country are inadequate and that does not only apply to CM. Ask anyone in business who has ever sued for debt.

I don't have the answer but I do know that treating debt as crime is not it.

Given that my screen name does not lie I shoudl add that I am not and never have been an NRP.

KingJoffreyLikesJaffaCakes Thu 07-Jan-16 17:59:55

They have, haven't they?

I've been told that if I still want the hefty £5 a week I have to beg for it.

BogusCatAndThePunk Thu 07-Jan-16 18:18:19

Yes I wrote a post in this a while back and I don't even have kids.

It should be a government organisation that is linked to the tax guys.

When you split if you don't have a private agreement, the RP would apply to them,they would look at the earnings for the previous year (taking in to account num of children, time spent with each etc) make an assessment and pay it to the RP on a weekly/monthly basis.

They would then send a bill to the NRP and would and should have the legal power to fine/garnish wages/imprison those who don't pay. And if they have to imprison the debt would just keep climbing.

Because the assessment will be made on the previous years earning it will stop those arses who suddenly quit their jobs etc. If for some reason their earning potential had legitamitily changed, Job loss etc that should be relatively easy to prove and taken in to account but just up and quiting would be taken as an act of fraud.

For the self employed, (OH being one) the tax man gets very interested if your paying yourself a very small amount and they would be able to see if money is been hidden. And adjust the claim accordingly.

The point being that as the RP can depend on the money being paid regularly it gives them more choices.

If you know you can't afford childcare if the NRP decides not to pay that month or as in a thread before Christmas spends it on presents for the child (cause being the big present giver is more important that your child having a roof over their head...) why would you risk working and having to constantly let your employer down and end up being let go, for example. And waiting for benefits to kick back in.

the thing is most NRPs are good people and want to do their best for their children. So if this was set up /run properly they could concentrate on the arses.

It would stop NRP and children living with uncertainty. Help get people off benefits, and improve everyone's life. Non payers would be held to account and punished so the arses would have to think twice before they swan off without a backwards glance.

I know some people will say this is a bit too Big Brother. But they would only be involved with the non payers and the ones who use this as power over their ex's. So do the right thing you'll be fine.

Yes there will be some RP that might use it vindictively, but I'm will to bet it would be a tiny % compared to NRP who think that leaving their relationship means abdicating responsibility for their child.

As you can see I get a little het up about this.

Andrewofgg Thu 07-Jan-16 18:21:02

The Inland Revenue will never agree to being used to collect private debt. Not in a million years.

enderwoman Thu 07-Jan-16 18:23:19

I totally agree. I can't help but wonder if the reason for the incompetence is that there are people in power like politicians who are not paying their ex wives and partners the correct amounts.

If you didn't pay council tax or your employer didn't pay you it wouldn't take years to get money. Non payment of child maintenance is child abuse and should be taken very seriously.

Andrewofgg Thu 07-Jan-16 18:29:28

enderwoman There are unpaid council tax bills going back years in every local authority. Unpaid employees don't let arrears build up; they quit. I'm sorry I sound so negative but I speak as I find.

AyeAmarok Thu 07-Jan-16 18:36:36

The CMS is one of the biggest insults to women in the UK.

Fucking joke.

MotherOfMinions Thu 07-Jan-16 18:37:14

I'm sure enderwoman is correct and politicians won't do anything to stop this happening because they use it to their own advantage.

redexpat Thu 07-Jan-16 18:37:29

This wont help any of you but in Denmark the council pays if the nrp fails to, and then the amount is added to their tax bill. I think thats how it works. So non payment only becomes a problem for the non payer.

sonuma Thu 07-Jan-16 18:55:26

It comes down to the CSA not having sufficient powers to enforce - they say they do but in case of non-paying, especially self-employed NRP, they can't do much at all. My ex has refused to pay around £1000 arrears for the last 9.5 years, is self-employed, pays himself minimal salary to avoid tax, and in the bargain gets off with paying a pittance in CM too. I applied for a variation but he had it overturned after he disposed of a rental property (sold to his dad for peanuts to avoid going over the £65k assets threshold). Every time the CSA send an enforcement notice he raises a dispute, which they're obliged to investigate, which takes another few months. I agree not all NRPs do this -- but most parents who are able to reach sensible agreement privately wouldn't need to resort to CSA in the first place. I've applied for variation again based on discrepancy between declared income and lifestyle etc, but had to send lots of evidence, which they misplaced/lost...frustrating having to do it again and again - and the longer this has gone on, the less evidence i can provide about his current finances. (Shouldn't they be able to investigate?!) I've pretty much given up -- and i'm sure many other RPs do too. The only positive to come out of it is the vindication that i was right to leave this particular low-life...I don't blame the CSA case workers -- many i've spoken to are equally frustrated with the system -- they would do more if they had the power to do so.

BogusCatAndThePunk Thu 07-Jan-16 18:56:48

Well I know it would never happen. But I disagree that it is private debt, it would be money owed to the government by the NRP.

As I said I don't have children but though one of my OHs roles I've come in contact with some serious dicks who seem to forget that children grow and eat etc.

Oh and 2 classics who are very much of the pay per view attitude, and in their case as they choose not to 'view' why should they pay. Actual out of sight out of mind.

The funny thing is that both of these people see themselves as moral law abiding people. One of them wonders why his ex can't 'get off her arse and get a job and stop grubbing off him' the fact that they have a severely disabled child that he refuses to care for and she'd never get childcare for is a fact he likes to ignore. Even when I point it out…

The other delight would agree to have the kids overnight or babysit as he called it and then cancel last minute. His ex is a Nurse. She'd then have to scramble to find overnight childcare or let down work. She was on a final warning when she moved 20 miles away, yes 20 to live with her Mum.

He refused to visit (too far) and to have them for longer than an hour at a time. The children in question are now lovely teenagers and refuse to even acknowledge him. Both are planning on changing their name to their Mums maiden name as soon as they turn 18.

Anyway as I said they see nothing wrong in what they did/are doing. If the CSA or what ever it was called at the time had had some teeth and treated them as criminals they would have paid up, moaned about it but paid.

Single parents (and let's be honest it's usually Mums) are blamed so much for so much. The mind set needs to change and highlight the ones who think children are disposable

Toffeelatteplease Thu 07-Jan-16 19:09:44

I totally get where you are coming from. Still with the CSA atm. They have the powers but they do bugger all to use them.

And I currently h

Toffeelatteplease Thu 07-Jan-16 19:20:54

Posted too soon

They keep trying to telll me how difficult it is to get the deduction of earnings order enforced (third warning letter, all bark no bite) so wouldn't it be better to deal with him direct before the switchover.

Then I remind them why I came to the CSA in first place.

I am not looking forward to the privilege of paying them in order that I can phone them fortnightly and remind them to do their job.

megletthesecond Thu 07-Jan-16 19:27:10

Still with the csa which has never failed me. Soon that'll be stopped and I'll have to pay monthly to receive maintenance, lucky me. Abusive XP wouldn't do a private agreement in the past so I'm going for direct pay.

The tories hate single parents with a passion.

girlsmum1510 Thu 07-Jan-16 20:51:17

I contacted my local MP back in June, worked and won't hesitate to so again. Just email yours they will help

Lurkedforever1 Thu 07-Jan-16 21:42:36

Yadnbu. I'm owed a fortune, it's an absolute joke. My only hope is that at some point it will be enforced before dd is an adult, by which time even with the rise in house prices she'll be able to buy one for cash with the back pay.

I'd also take it further, and add large penalties and interest to late payments. With the proviso they can never be written off. And castration without anaesthetic in some cases.

cannotlogin Thu 07-Jan-16 22:08:44

Taking away driving licences will often just put the NRP out of work which does not help anyone. Locking them up even more so.

and yet if I neglected our children - refusing to acknowledge that they have to eat and be clothed and transported and have things to play with and access to medical care etc etc etc - then I could be prosecuted for neglect, ultimately ending in a prison sentence.

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