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Is the CSA legislation wrong?

(82 Posts)
erasurefan Fri 27-Oct-17 13:29:01

Hi Guys,

First time poster here. I just had to get something off my chest before I go insane.

Until a week ago, since 2008 (when the ex moved her and my kid to Glasgow, 300 miles away) I'd been paying £25 a week for my child to my ex. This was based on the CSA calculator, by us both sitting down and calculating it based on the fact my child would stay with 3-4 nights a week if my ex stayed living just around the corner from me, so making the respective reduction in the actual payment. We wrote up a little letter and both signed it, to this agreement.

Aside from the child maintenance, since 2008, I've also been putting £40 a month (as have my parents - so £80 a month in all) into a bank account (which my and my parents set up) for said child to spend on whatever she likes - I have no idea where this money goes or what its spent on - I've never asked.

I've also contributed £100 every year towards school trips, and £50 a year for school uniforms, without any questions..

So... All in all my daughter gets money to her mum, and money to herself.

Last week, things took a twist and shes approached the CSA, who've said that around £44ish a week is more realistic and told me that is what I have to pay going forwards. Now, considering I actually earn about £2k a year less than when we were together, I found that as a bit of a stab in the chest in the steep (IMO) rise.

I've spoke to CSA for hours over the last few days and asked how this is a fair assessment considering I live so far away. The only reduction they can make are for my travelling expenses (roughly £200 each journey, four times a year), and for the fact I have her 52 days a year.

However - My ex has told the CSA that I dont have her 52 days a year - So, they've just gone with that, due to their "legislation" which favours the mother in every scenario, and theyve refused that particular reduction.

I try to organise to have my child every school holiday, but, as the years have gone by, my ex is making this increasingly difficult to arrange. She leaves everything to the last minute (and now my child does the same!) so my current partner and I have to either pay a fortune for any kind of holiday for us all, or cant get the time off work, anyway and have to only see her for a couple of days.

So, my question, I guess, is, do you think the CSA regulation of going with whatever the mum says is right....?

Because, the situation I'm in at the moment is my ex will do everything in her power to make sure I don't get to have my child more than 52 days a year, which is kind of, IMO, denying access... Safe in the knowledge that she will actually get paid MORE money from me for the "privilege".

I've been on the phone to the CSA for two hours this morning, and all they can suggest (even though they sympathise with me greatly) is that if I dont agree with their regulation to write a letter to my MP to try to get the regulation amended. Yeah, right.

It's heartbreaking to know I keep getting a raw deal - I cant talk about it without having tears in my eyes - I do all the travelling, pay all this money, and have the nightmare of logistics four times a year and a very, very awkward ex, and I'm the bad guy.

I just wondered if there were any Dad's out there in a similar situation that could lend an ear, as, at the moment - although my girlfriend as been absolutely amazing and a rock for me - it still feels like no-one is this same situation, and it feels....well, lonely, I guess.

HelloSquirrels Fri 27-Oct-17 13:46:38

Youre probably going to get the shit ripped out of you on here (even though its not you thats moved)

How often do you have your child over night? They only count nights. If you have her 365 days a year 9-5 it counts for shit all and you get no reduction.

I have found they side with the mother and its up to the father to prove themselves right (thats being rp or nrp we have seen both sides) but if you can prove when you have your daughter you should be fine.

They cant enforce you seeing her though. Youre right to try do things in advance. Maybe send an email or a letter setting out proposed dates for each year? I dont think thats unreasonable. If ex ignores it you could try mediation, and if that doesnt work i would get a court order and set out dates for each year. If youre trying and shes stopping you they will see that. Keep evevery text you send every email etc.

Samesituation Sun 29-Oct-17 20:33:25

It is the number of overnight stays that count for a shared care reduction and the minimum is 52 per year.
A variation on contact costs is a reduction against your income for the costs you incur in maintaining contact. The 2 are very different and calculated very differently.
Your first paragraph is a little confusing, the original £25 per werk agreement- was that an actual CSA calculation or an amount you and EW agreed between yourselves?
Also CSA or CMS as it is now known, could not make a calculation on 3 or 4 nights as 4 nights is very different to 3 as this would make you the primary carer and no payment of maintenance required.
If there is no agreement on at least the minimum number of nights, shared care is not usually awarded. You can ask for a mandatory reconsideration, and then appeal if you need to.
However, if you only have contact costs 4 times a year how do you meet the minimum 52 nights, sorry if I am missing something.
With regards to regular contact you need to take this up with the family courts. CMS have no power to enforce contact arrangements. I would however as evidence, keep a detailed record of when your daughter stays with you. You can then give this to CMS.
Any additional funds such as what you have mentioned CMS are not interested in. In their eyes you are only required to pay their assessment and will not get involved in anything above and beyond that amount.
Just as a final point the way in maintenance is calculated changed in 2012 so this could be why you are paying more now. Income amounts are obtained direct from HMRC now, but if you think it's incorrect as above you need a mandatory reconsideration and can appeal if you still disagree.

Jux Mon 30-Oct-17 13:13:13

How much does it actually cost to keep a child fed, clothed, schooled, entertained, and housed, full time? I think it's quite a lot more than £44 a week. I suspect you're getting off lightly, tbh.

TopBitchoftheWitches Mon 30-Oct-17 13:16:51

op are you self employed?

AdalindSchade Mon 30-Oct-17 13:20:19

Perhaps you shouldn't have been giving the child £80 a month? I expect the mother could have done with that money for essential expenses and considered herself how much pocket money was appropriate (£80 a month is ridiculous). It seems quite controlling to limit your maintenance to £100 a month then give almost the same again to the child. I'd be furious if my ex did that, as if he didn't trust me to make good financial decisions.
Also, if you aren't happy with the level of contact you should go to court. It's the only way to formalise arrangements and would give you holiday dates well in advance.

erasurefan Mon 30-Oct-17 13:23:16

So youre saying I should pay everything and she should pay nothing towards my child's upkeep?

....Sounds fair!!

erasurefan Mon 30-Oct-17 13:23:48

Hi, No I'm not.

erasurefan Mon 30-Oct-17 13:25:59

Well... She'll have to decide what's right and wrong for the level of pocket money from now on...

Whether that's right or wrong, I still can't work out, but that's the way it Is, now....

erasurefan Mon 30-Oct-17 13:27:48

Thanks for your reply, samesituation, you've been really helpful. Thank you smile

Lottie509 Mon 30-Oct-17 13:29:28

How are to you paying for everything for your childs up keep? You think paying £44 a week pays for everything.... wow

erasurefan Mon 30-Oct-17 13:31:03

....thats the thing tho... I don't trust her to make a decent decision regards money.

In fact, I don't trust her to make a good decision about ANYTHING.

You'd be furious, probably, because you're a good parent that's always got your child at the forefront of every decision you make.... Unfortunately, I don't have that luxury with my ex.

AdalindSchade Mon 30-Oct-17 13:32:03

So youre saying I should pay everything and she should pay nothing towards my child's upkeep?

Do you think you can raise a child on £170 a month?!

AdalindSchade Mon 30-Oct-17 13:33:31

In that case - why not go to court to formalise contact?

erasurefan Mon 30-Oct-17 13:35:16


Battleax Mon 30-Oct-17 13:35:27

So youre saying I should pay everything and she should pay nothing towards my child's upkeep?

....Sounds fair!!

£44 per week?! What planet are you on?

Lottie509 Mon 30-Oct-17 13:38:25

Oh op you are funny, Are you part of fathers for justice by any chance? 😂

LesLavandes Mon 30-Oct-17 13:42:30

£44 a week for helping rearing your child. That is very very low.

KatnissMellark Mon 30-Oct-17 13:42:43

£25 a week is absolutely fuck all. Get a grip.

Catinthecorner Mon 30-Oct-17 13:43:10

Are you kidding? Let’s do the calculations.
That’s what you think is your share of the expense of raising a child?

Let’s double it (so you both pay equally). £2,900.

Could you live on that? I couldn’t.

Even if you go up to £44 a week, and still do the £150 for school stuff a year that’s only £2438 a year you’re putting towards the upbringing of your child. Hardly you paying everything.

That’s £4,876 if she matched it. That’s £400 a month, to put a roof over your child’s head, food in her belly, clothes on her back and everything else she needs from books to hot water.

Ninjakittysmells Mon 30-Oct-17 13:43:46

So how many nights DO you have your daughter?Could YOU raise a child on £44 a week?!?

I’d love to hear the other side of this to be honest!

Battleax Mon 30-Oct-17 13:49:17

If you were to stop paying the £100 for trips annually and the £50 for uniform annually and also stop paying your DD £40 per month directly and roll it into the maintainenve payment, that would increase the weekly payment from £25 to £37.

So you're actually kicking up a ridiculous fuss about a £7pw week increase. Which after ten years paying the lesser amount is a bit shameful really.

Do you know how much food, utilities, housing etc have gone up in the past ten years?

HelloSquirrels Mon 30-Oct-17 13:49:50

It gets me when people say it costa bla bla bla to raise a child. There is no set cost. And the child has two parents, ita not oos responsibility to finance this child entirely.

I think we forget that a lot of resident parents gets tax credits and child benefit that help towards raising the child. Obviously nrps dont get that.

Battleax Mon 30-Oct-17 13:51:39

£44per week is never going to come close to "funding a child entirely" squirrels. I'd be very surprised if it came close to half the cost, either, no matter how frugally the Mim is scraping by.

HelloSquirrels Mon 30-Oct-17 13:53:14

Like ds for instance. Before we had him we probablt spent say a tenner less a month on gas and electric. Our shopping has pronably gone up £30 or so a month. Nappies probably £20 a month. Wipes about £6. Clothes? Probably dont even spend £20 a month. So it costs me aprox £86 a month to look after him. But if me an dp split i could probably get nearly triple that out of him.

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