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MNHQ here: Parliamentary debate on the Child Maintenance Service - an MP wants to know your views

(120 Posts)
BojanaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 17-Jul-19 17:29:02


Parliament's engagement team have asked us to share details of an upcoming debate on the Child Maintenance Service. Here's what they say.

"Martyn Day MP argues that “the current Child Maintenance Service system is letting down many constituents across Great Britain – both paying and receiving parents. I would like all children to benefit from receiving maintenance payments that are consistent and compatible with the paying parent’s income level.”

"On Tuesday 23 July, he will lead a Westminster Hall debate on the effectiveness of the Child Maintenance Service. He wants to hear about your experiences to help inform his debate.

"Have you had a positive experience in your dealings with the Child Maintenance Service?
If not, what were some of the issues you faced?
What would make the Child Maintenance Service work better for you?

"We’ll pass your comments on to him and he may use your examples during his debate. We’ll post links to watch the debate and read the transcript when they become available on Tuesday 23 July.

"Please submit your comments before midday on Monday 22 July.


"Your name, and any information or opinions you provide, may be shared with Martin Day MP and used in a parliamentary debate which will be on the record and available on Parliament TV and Hansard. Please ensure that you are happy with your comment before sharing.

"To see our online discussion rules, please visit:"

Graphista Sat 20-Jul-19 03:25:08

"If that happens it would just further cement the view that second families are second class citizens and only deserve the dregs of what's left." Rubbish! The precise OPPOSITE is the reality! Older children for whom cm is due are CONSTANTLY treated as if they should be grateful for whatever crumbs of affection, practical support or financial support they get from the nrp while second families enjoy all of that and more!

JoanMavisIcecreamGirl Sat 20-Jul-19 08:07:09

That is my experience at all.

In fact thats a massive generalisation and actually pretty offensive. To infer that all nrps give not a shit about their older kids and swan off and have babies?

Maybe some do. Not all. Probably not even the majority.

The reduction for another child living in the household, btw, was literally pennies for us. 96p a week less or something like that.

The impression i get is that dps first and only priority are his "first family" and me and ds his "second family" should fend for ourselves. We should be grateful for any time or money he spends with us and oh because we have two wages coming in i should spend on my step child too because obv yeno were loaded.

Thats certainly the view of his ex, his parents and most of MN.

Thankfully he doesnt share that view and we actually work things out like a normal family. Not one split into two competing for dps cash. That seems to be how it is in a lot of step families because of this bizarre expectation that you should support your ex and kids for life and never dare move on.

llfamily Sat 20-Jul-19 10:51:12

The CMS absolutely must have teeth... so an effective deterrent to non-payers. I have no idea what. But the painful reality of (mostly women) and their children enduring containing deprivation cannot continue. It's sad that it seems 'acceptable' to avoid paying for your children.


- increase income tax
- short prison stay
- take driving licence away
- criminal record?

I know it will be tricky to implement a strategy that doesn't actually prevent a person working. But it can't be impossible.

I think we need a shift in thinking that makes not paying for your own children as shameful as smoking.

llfamily Sat 20-Jul-19 10:54:09

Can the CMS threaten to take away goods and sell them? Luke expensive cars, etc?

Amibeingdaft81 Sat 20-Jul-19 11:07:13

*increase income tax *
*- short prison stay*
*- take driving licence away *
- criminal record? **

Would backfire
Earning prospects diminished even terminated if criminal record
No licence perhaps means no work and may mean struggles to collect etc children
Increase income tax - adds yet another layer to our tax structure and present image that tax is a punishment rather than a society contribution

Solution I think is

Deductions from pay by hmrc

If self employed - then they automatically get investigated if CMS involved. Annually.

Amibeingdaft81 Sat 20-Jul-19 11:09:15

*Can the CMS threaten to take away goods and sell them? Luke expensive cars, etc?*

No but would be good if they could appoint bailiffs

Hairyhat Sat 20-Jul-19 11:19:33

I've asked no less than 6 times to use collect and pay. I've sent in my bank statements for a year to prove how little I have received from my ex. They know I am frightened of him. They also know about the huge arrears but yet nothing ever changes.
The CMS is a shambles. Children are suffering while greedy non resident parents get off Scott free!

Graphista Sat 20-Jul-19 11:39:31

IN THEORY cms can

Take money from earnings
Take money direct from bank account

Via court:
Send in bailiffs
Seize and sell property to cover costs

In reality - I have never ever once heard of this ever actually happening nor seen a news report of it happening.

I know very many cases of nrps not paying maintenance and using every loophole they can to not pay or at best not pay consistently.

Quite honestly it's somewhat a moot point whether action impeded the nrps ability to earn as if they're not paying anyway this doesn't affect the child or rp and it would certainly incentivise the less entrenched or more cowardly non payers to stop pissing about!

I KNOW my ex definitely would have paid up if there were a clear disincentive not to do so. He was in the armed forces initially and at first his original boss (who I knew) was helpful in kicking his butt once he knew, but when he moved to another posting the boss there was also an nrp and was an unhelpful arse! Then when he left the forces he claimed not to be working for over a year - which turned out to be a lie - and then it took AGES for (then) csa to get on the case properly and then when I got moved to cms it was basically a case of starting all over again!

So yea, for an nrp who paid up at the first roar from his boss I strongly suspect if he thought there was even a CHANCE of losing his precious flash car or having to explain to wife 2 why bailiffs were at the door LET ALONE prison (where he really wouldn't last 5 mins!) I think if the cms got and bared some teeth more often and more publicly it would motivate a lot of non payers.

NotBeingRobbed Sat 20-Jul-19 12:58:20

So often the CMS money is used as a means of control by the NRP. For example threatening to cut off money at any time. The reality is this money does not cover the cost of raising a child. Try feeding, clothing and most of all housing a child on this money. The RP will always be paying much more and making greater sacrifices so to feel like you are then asking for a handout and that it could be cut off at any time is galling. The NRPs are able to get away with dodging responsibilities for years and nobody seems to care that children are losing out.

ineedaknittedhat Sat 20-Jul-19 17:25:16

How to avoid paying child support:

Quit your job.

Find a new partner.

Go 'self employed'. Something involving lots of cash transactions or get business put in partner's name and get her to pay you pennies.

Claim you're earning nothing.

Dodge tax and cms payments.

Have a nice lifestyle and foreign annual holiday.

Bob's your uncle (he probably avoids paying too).

BobTheDuvet Sat 20-Jul-19 20:28:49

Exactly the same thing has happened to me as to zillapilla - I was told that due to repeated missed payments collect and pay would be set up. I got a letter confirming the bank details I had given them to enable it. Then I got a message to call them, called and the person said they had no idea why I'd been asked to call, collect and pay all set up to start from the 1st July.

Then another message to call them, and this time they said nrp had said he will pay direct, and they have accepted this. I said I didn't want direct pay because he uses it to try to control me and doesn't pay. I asked why they were allowing it when collect and pay had been set up. The person said collect and pay has not been set up. I asked why they had sent a letter confirming my bank details, he just said collect and pay was not set up, and nrp will pay before the annual review in August.

No payment received so far.

I had felt good about it being one less thing he could use to threaten me/coerce/contact me about. And now I'm back to square one and he can mess us around for a bit longer.

ZillaPilla Sat 20-Jul-19 23:17:48

Wow @BobTheDuvet exactly the same scenario (aren't we just lucky!). Let us know the outcome. They said they'd call me next week and explain. I said someone should be accountable for accepting his word when he's ignoring everything so far.

MyShinyWhiteTeeth Sun 21-Jul-19 02:48:24

I don't get any maintenance because I don't want 50/50 shared care. I know my ex will push for that if I try to get any money off him. We are better off struggling for money each month than forcing him to be a parent.

Rainbowqueeen Sun 21-Jul-19 03:12:16

In Australia when you go to the airport to go abroad and customs scan your passport the system flags any child maintenance debt. You are not permitted to fly until the debt is cleared.

Just one of the tools that could be used to obtain payment from non payers.

Ella1980 Sun 21-Jul-19 06:30:09

How does an abusive and controlling narcissist ex-husband who was awarded 50:50 shared care and earning in excess of £105k pa not have to pay anything in the way of maintenance for his children?

The financial struggles I have had to face since leaving him in 2014 have been unreal.

JoanMavisIcecreamGirl Sun 21-Jul-19 07:52:08

How does an abusive and controlling narcissist ex-husband who was awarded 50:50 shared care and earning in excess of £105k pa not have to pay anything in the way of maintenance for his children?

Because he has them 50% of the time? Why would you even expect maintenance??

NotBeingRobbed Sun 21-Jul-19 08:01:50

The truth is if an absent parent doesn’t pay then the families that are really struggling will rely on tax credits and benefits. Why does our government think it’s more acceptable to hand out taxpayers’ cash than to enforce payment by parents for their own families? A proper enforcement regime would mean families were better off AND reduce public expenditure.

JoanMavisIcecreamGirl Sun 21-Jul-19 08:06:30

The truth is if an absent parent doesn’t pay then the families that are really struggling will rely on tax credits and benefits

Families who are entitled to benefits get them regardless of whether they recieve maintenance or not. Maintenance is not taken into account when assessing eligibility for benefits, so enforcing payment of maintenance will not reduce payments of benefits.

NeverTwerkNaked Sun 21-Jul-19 08:07:21


In Australia when you go to the airport to go abroad and customs scan your passport the system flags any child maintenance debt. You are not permitted to fly until the debt is cleared.*.

This would be an excellent system. My ex regularly stops paying/delays paying whenever he decides he would rather spend the money on an expensive holiday instead

DropOfffArtiste Sun 21-Jul-19 09:30:04

Resident parents are not all receiving benefits and better enforcement of maintenance would be fairer to everyone.

If children were adequately supported by both their parents there would be less need for benefit claims.

Avoidance of maintenance and lack of contact should be treated as child neglect, exactly the same as if the RP didn't feed, clothe or emotionally support the child.

Jaffacakebeast Sun 21-Jul-19 10:00:44

Sorry to derail, but for those of you wanting collect and pay, the Cms dragging their feet : if u can afford to miss a few mths : call your bank and block payments from your ex, then they’ll be in arrears and collect and pay can kick in, this is what I did, what I was advised to2 via the Cms

NotBeingRobbed Sun 21-Jul-19 10:04:46

What I mean is lots of absent NRPs don’t pay because they think the taxpayer will pick up the bill. Meanwhile they have new cars, flash holidays etc.

RamsayBoltonsConscience Sun 21-Jul-19 10:09:32

The CMS are not fit for purpose when it comes to non-paying parents. They do not have enough teeth e.g. my ex claims he is not working even though he lives in a static caravan on his bosses land and I have evidence (that I have sent to CMS) that he IS working. He is earning so much that he has been able to take two trips to NZ in the last two years while I'm working two jobs to make ends meet. The rules in Australia mean that non-paying parents aren't able to leave the country until all arrears are cleared. Why don't we have that? The CMS need greater powers!

JoanMavisIcecreamGirl Sun 21-Jul-19 13:34:06

If children were adequately supported by both their parents there would be less need for benefit claims

There wouldn't because if the rp is entitled to benefits they get them whether they get cm or not. Do you really think people wont claim what theyre entitled to?

DropOfffArtiste Sun 21-Jul-19 14:13:20

If maintenance was paid in every case, without fail, then it could be included as income for benefit purposes. The reason it isn't, is that so many NRPs don't pay.

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