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AIBU to just not understand why child maintenance works the way it does??

(182 Posts)
Oreosaretasty Sun 10-Jul-16 09:25:04

I just don't get it. why do so many people get away with not paying? Especially the ones who pay and still see their kids? While I do not suggest withholding contact unless they pay (Wouldn't necessarily flame you for it either, but I wouldn't suggest it and can see arguments for and against...) Why is it so allowed and wide spread? What is the problem? AIBU to not understand it?
My main stance is, If I had a kid (Unfortunately I don't yet) and decided one day to not pay for the roof over their head, not pay for their food,school uniforms, travel/whatever else kids need. How long do you think social services would take to remove said kid...?
Not very long I'm betting.... So
I just cannot comprehend it!
AIBU to think people shouldn't get away with this??

TutanKaDashian Sun 10-Jul-16 09:33:52

I could have written your post.

It's almost as if it's an optional 'bill' and government are not taking this seriously.

My ex is currently trying to force me to give up my arrears (he hasn't paid in 4 years btw) as he 'can't afford it'. Well if I told DS that I couldn't afford food/clothes/rent etc then he'd be in care eventually. At least he has one parent that does what they should. I haven't had new clothes in god knows how long whereas my ex was in Superdry only the other weekend. Not that poor then.

Ashhead24 Sun 10-Jul-16 09:34:52

Don't get it either. We've got a perfectly good tax system that will take the right about of student loan from people's salaries, why can't it be applied to maintenance. And anyone paying maintenance should be required to file a tax return that calculates the correct amount of maintenance. The systems are already in place, it wouldn't be difficult. The penalties for not doing so are already in place as well, and the systems for chasing up that money. There's just a lack of political will to do anything about it.

branofthemist Sun 10-Jul-16 09:35:41

Its ridiculous. Personally, I think it should get to a certain point then custodial sentences.

In some cases it's very difficult. If the person is self employed it's easier to hide income.

But there seems to be so many people who just don't pay and nothing happens. I just don't get it.

AyeAmarok Sun 10-Jul-16 09:38:03

The reason IMO comes down to the fact that the country is run by men, predominantly.

And this suits men just fine.

Pohara1 Sun 10-Jul-16 09:39:28

I don't understand either. I haven't chased my ex for maintenance for my 2 DC though for several reasons - it's a more complicated process as we live in different countries, he has no contact initially by his choice now by theirs and I don't want him to think that contact is an option until they want it, and the biggest reason is because he would either be unreliable about paying or he just wouldn't.

Sometimes though, to really irritate myself, I work out how much he should have paid over the last 8 years. £11,975.80.

YouMakeMyDreams Sun 10-Jul-16 09:40:54

Don't understand it either. My ex pays maintenance consistently now but in the early days it was a nightmare and he treated it like he was doing me a favour. He also hid for nearly a year, the fact that he had a considerably better paid job so he didn't have to pay me more. He has constantly told me he's not opting out when he has decided not to pay because he can't afford it or can't afford to come and see them hole never changing his lifestyle or spending elsewhere.
He has improved greatly over the last 2 years but it has been far more of a fight than it needed to be. He used it as a way to continue to control me rather than see it for what it is and how it affects his children.

noeuf Sun 10-Jul-16 09:44:40

I think the whole system should be overhauled.
Maintenance should be tax deductible and taken into account for benefits/ tax credits. It should be taken at source, no question.
Would help with the problem of needing to run two households for the payee and would balance out the inequity of people getting maintenance and benefits against people who don't get maintenance.

throwingpebbles Sun 10-Jul-16 09:49:36


The bit that really outraged me was when CMS got in touch to say ExH only earned a really low salary. I knew this must be incorrect as we had been together then and I had seen his company accounts etc.

It turns out that CMS only ask HMRC for salary details in the first instance.

Only if you challenge them will they ask HMRC to provide details of all income (eg dividends, rental income etc)

This is absolutely appalling


AyeAmarok Sun 10-Jul-16 09:49:45

I would be very happy if the law was changed so that non-payment of CM resulted in:
-Punitive fines, then
-Loss of driving licence, then

It needs to be made as socially unacceptable as drink driving is now.

With no arrears ever written off.

The minimum amount when you're on JSA etc should be £20 a week, not a fucking offensive fiver. If that means the dad (or mum, as women do it too etc) can't afford to eat as much, then so fucking what; you're a parent and feeding your child is the priority.

Plus an enforcement agency with much more teeth than the current offering.

cannotlogin Sun 10-Jul-16 09:49:46

For it to be tax deductible, you have to be paying tax. You will find tha anyone with an ex on PAYE doesn't have a problem - or at least not long term. It is those who are self employed, work cash in hand or who job hop that cause a problem.

throwingpebbles Sun 10-Jul-16 09:50:54

I also dislike that the way it is set up gives dads a financial motivation to push for more "overnights" so that they can reduce the amount of maintenance payable, regardless of whether the arrangement is really in the best interest of the children.

throwingpebbles Sun 10-Jul-16 09:52:33

And yes cannot if your ex, like mine, works in an industry where cash in hand is prevalent then you will never get a fair amount. My ex drives a luxury car, buys the kids huge numbers of toys, can take them on holidays abroad etc but If you believe what he tells CMS he would be on the breadline

wheresthel1ght Sun 10-Jul-16 09:54:20

No idea. Dp religiously pays his cm and quite happy to. We are by no means well off and live pay packet to pay packet. He pays as much over the recommendation as he can afford which I admit is not much. However we have them 2-4 nights a week, pay all school uniform costs, shoes, coats etc, 50% of educational trips, and lots of advice costs.

It makes me cross when people slag off all dads though. Dp didn't want this life. He never had kids wanting to be a part time parent. His exw had an affair and kicked him out (told by her not him) in my books she lost any right to bitch and moan but she still does.

Dp would like more contact ie 50/50 but she refuses. She makes the contact we do have difficult and will cancel/ change without discussion. I am expected to give up my job to look after her kids (dp refuses this) but her own dp who lives with them refuses to be left alone with them.

noeuf Sun 10-Jul-16 09:56:53

I know that cannot but I think it would be a start. May reduce some of the creative accounting and mindset of a few.
There are always issues with people outside of PAYE paying debt/CM/etc as its easy to fudge figures.

applesvpears Sun 10-Jul-16 09:57:07

Sometimes a private arrangement suits both parties though. I know someone who doesn't pay maintenance but buys her the weekly food and clothes etc for his son. He also has him quite often. His words are "if I pay her maintenance she will end up snorting it up her nose"

Queensbelfastvcisasexistprat Sun 10-Jul-16 09:59:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Babynamechange Sun 10-Jul-16 10:01:56

Agree with AyeAmarok about it being due to the fact that the country predominately suits men's interests...and it just seems socially acceptable, there's always an excuse hmm
There's a petition about it atm..
My ex pays nothing despite it being court ordered and if course there have been zero consequences

RedHareWithBlondeHair Sun 10-Jul-16 10:06:52

Yanbu but as has been pointed out it's such a maze that and quite easy to get around. That said, it does seem that there isn't even any effort on the part of the organisation meant to deal with it in the first place.

As crazy as it sounds I've actually considered just having a child solo as to avoid the hassle of this shit - at least if I know from the off that it'll be all up to me then I can avoid the feelings of resentment and sleepless nights chasing them.

applesvpears Sun 10-Jul-16 10:08:25

Not saying whether I agree with this or not but some suggest that those being paid maintenance should provide receipts for the purchases made with the money.

peggyundercrackers Sun 10-Jul-16 10:10:16

I don't really agree with the system and the way it is. I don't get that CM is a sliding amount which depends on what a person gets paid. Children don't need more money spent on them just because one parent gets paid more. If one parent decides to be a sahp the other should not have to pay for this decision - each parent should stand on their own feet so to speak.

I think all arrangements for parenting should be 50/50 by default unless there are extreme circumstances which mean this isn't possible. If one parent doesn't want to do 50/50 then they should make appropriate payments to the other person.

There should be sanctions for both the nrp and the rp if they don't stick to the rules. Non payment and blocking access should be treated the same as they both harm the child.

IneedAdinosaurNickname Sun 10-Jul-16 10:11:33

I get maintenance because the CSA take it straight from his benefits. Actually I think that's ended and I need to start a new claim via the CMS.

What annoys me is my ex met a woman with 2 dc. They had 2 more dc and at some point he quit his job to help her look after them confused
He's phoned the CSA a few times to ask for a reduction as he "can't afford to pay it. I have other children" confused

If I decided I can't afford my children anymore they'd be taken into care!

lifeissweet Sun 10-Jul-16 10:13:31

I think there are so many situations where the system is absolute rubbish.

Just anecdotally, from my own experience:

My DD's father left when she was a year old. I earn more than him, but still struggle to pay for her to be in full time childcare on my one salary - while also paying my mortgage and bills...etc.

DD's father lives with his girlfriend and her 3 children.

He has to pay so little maintenance it is ridiculous. He technically has her for 3 nights a week, but it is literally that - I pick her up from nursery and give her dinner, he takes her home and puts her to bed and I pick her up at 7am, give her breakfast and take her to nursery. His costs of being a father are £50 a month. It is pitiful and I don't think it's fair.

Then my Boyfriend has shared custody of his DS. He has him with him from Wednesday to Saturday every week.

He pays for nearly all expenses - his phone, uniform, clothes, school trips...absolutely everything.

Yet he gives his DS's mum £250 a month thanks to CMS - and we don't really know why! She is officially the 'resident parent' because she has him one extra night a week. She earns more than DP and lives with a wealthy Partner. She has no childcare costs (when he was in childcare they paid for the days they needed - so she paid for Mondays and Tuesdays and my DP paid for Wednesday-Friday). It feels mad to me that my DP is paying £250 that his ex doesn't really need and I'm getting £50 a month that is way less than my DD needs.

It is baffling.

Enb76 Sun 10-Jul-16 10:17:29

I have a private arrangement with my child's father. He pays over CSA amount and automatically ups it when his pay goes up. This is how it should be. People tell me that he's so great but this is how it should be. Men who do not shoulder their responsibilities should have their pay deducted at source and be pilloried. There should be an absolute stigma against not paying for your child which means a change in public attitudes.

datingbarb Sun 10-Jul-16 10:18:51

I don't get it either! My ex hasn't paid s penny since we spilt 8 years ago, current outstanding arrears are now 21k

When the change happened and CMS took over from CSA he was we assested and told he had to pay me £6.33 per week for 3 kids.... He still can't even do this

He works, has company van but isn't registered as self employed or employed so they can do nothing despite me providing details of his work place and photos

This year alone he is taking the our 3 kids to Florida for two weeks and they have paid for IVF, him and his wife holiday 4 times a year!

Yet as I single parent I am constantly having to prove i live alone etc to be entitled to my benefits

Like you say wonder what would happen if I decided not to clothe, feed my kids hmm

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