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Ex claims to be living off savings - won't pay child maintenance

(46 Posts)
Betsybob Sat 13-Apr-13 16:01:44

In February 2 years ago, my ex partner resigned from his job, and stopped paying child maintenance for our 3 children. The CSA were vague and dithering, but finally told me that he claimed to be living off his savings, and therefore was not obliged to pay me child maintenance.

I find it hard to believe that over 2 years later, he still has not found a job (or even thought that he might have a moral obligation to find one to help support his children). I am also baffled as to where these savings could have come from, as for the 13 years that we were together we had none! I phoned the CSA yesterday, but they say that without any new information, I cannot challenge the decision. The woman I spoke to said that she would phone him to ask if he is now working, but when I asked: 'And how will you know if he is telling the truth?', she fell silent as if this was a completely new concept to her.

For the past 2 years my ex-partner has paid his own mortgage, fed and clothed himself, and has apparently not done a day's work. Meanwhile, I am a struggling single mother who works long hours doing a difficult job, and yet it is a real struggle to pay my own mortgage each month. I am really struggling financially, and don't see why it is morally justifiable that he can refuse to support his children because he is 'living off savings'. Surely there must be something I can do to challenge this? Does anyone have any advice?

LineRunner Sat 13-Apr-13 16:08:21

How frustrating. <being polite> It sounds awful, OP.

Does the CSA not have access to HMRC and other records, to check his sources of income?

Or do you think he is working cash-in-hand jobs? In which case again, the HMRC should be involved, surely.

gallicgirl Sat 13-Apr-13 16:08:27

Did they ask how much savings he had 2 years ago?

I know csa do investigations if expenditure seems to vastly exceed income.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 13-Apr-13 16:09:23

I thought they had the right to investigate?

LineRunner Sat 13-Apr-13 16:10:13

Is there a process where you can formally request the CSA to carry out an investigation, do you know, gallicgirl?

gallicgirl Sat 13-Apr-13 16:12:58

No idea, sorry. I only know because I did a witness statement for an investigation.

Betsybob Sat 13-Apr-13 16:41:00

I really don't know whether he is working cash-in-hand, unfortunately - he doesn't see me or his children, and we don't know his address. His parents maintain that he isn't working.

The CSA woman did say she could send me a form to fill in - something about changes to circumstances. I said I only suspected but had no proof; it was then that she said she would phone him, and was startled at the suggestion that he might not tell her the truth!

Surely, though, this 'living off savings' rule would have been for those in financial hardship, for example, those who have lost their jobs and cannot find work, and surely NOT for those who clearly have enough savings to live off fairly comfortably for 2 years plus? Where is the moral obligation to find a job?

I'm exhausted every day, am on anti-depressants for stress and anxiety, have to support our eldest who has a long term illness, and cannot believe that it the CSA thinks that it is fair for him to do not work and not to contribute at all!!!

LineRunner Sat 13-Apr-13 16:45:33

There must surely be a civil remedy against such men sitting on money but not paying any child support / maintenance. Unfortunately I don't know what it is.

Collaborate Sat 13-Apr-13 16:53:07

I'd suggest a 2 pronged attack. Apply for a lump sum under the children act to meet capital needs in lieu of maintenance, and challenge the assessment/ apply for a variation through the CSA tribunal on the grounds that 1. He's lied about his income and 2 lifestyle inconsistent with declared income.

LineRunner Sat 13-Apr-13 17:25:48

Collorate that is brilliant, thank you for the information.

Betsybob Sat 13-Apr-13 17:27:45

Thanks for the suggestions. Collaborate, I will challenge on the basis of inconsistent lifestyle. Could you let me know more about applying for a lump sum under the children act - I've googled it, but don't understand how I would proceed.

LineRunner Sat 13-Apr-13 17:29:52

BetsyBob, can you get a free half hour appointment with a family law solictor near you?

Betsybob Sat 13-Apr-13 17:56:13

Yes, my sister has recommended one. But her appointment over-ran, and she had to pay for the extra time.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 13-Apr-13 19:13:24

You can request a variation regarding undisclosed income or lifestyle inconsistent.

But I wouldn't hold out much hope

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 13-Apr-13 19:15:38

Its my understanding that you cannot apply for a lump sum in lieu if the csa are involved.

LineRunner Sat 13-Apr-13 19:34:45

Sock, but ... if the CSA refuses to make an order, then they aren't really involved, so there surely has to be a civil remedy for the children if the absent parent has funds?

STIDW Sun 14-Apr-13 00:08:10

Listen to Collaborate. As far as the CSA is concerned it up to the parent with care to apply for a variation to the basic assessment if they think other circumstances should be taken into account. The CSA are limited in the information they can collect and if you are unhappy with the outcome of a variation you can then appeal. Appeals are heard by a tribunal who have more powers to get information from the non resident parent.

Even if the CSA are involved it's possible to apply under Schedule 1, Children Act 1989 for a lump sum to cover capital expenditure for a child eg bedroom furniture. The consideration is the resources of both parents and the child so your ex would need to provide details of his finances including bank statements and it would be apparent he isn't paying any child support.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 14-Apr-13 00:08:43

Have they actually refused to do an order or just sent a nil assessment because that's normally what they do.

I could be completely wrong and this is based on personal experience but my second court application was refused on the grounds that after my ex refused to comply with the first court order I engaged the csa who came back with a £5pw (self employed rich ex who just gave the company to his gf)so the court then refused to get involved in the matter saying that as the csa had been engaged they no longer had the ability to over ride them.

It was a few years ago mind you.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 14-Apr-13 00:11:05

St is correct the csa tribunal people are much much better and can accept much more evidence .

Would like to stress that my court action was solely for maintenance and not for any lump sum one off big buys.

STIDW Sun 14-Apr-13 00:15:22

It's quite correct the courts cannot normally order child maintenance or a variation if the CSA are involved but there are exceptions. One of those exceptions is making an order under Schedule 1 CA1989 for a lump sum to meet the capital needs of a child.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 14-Apr-13 00:31:10

Do you know what else I think is shocking about the csa?

A nrp can apply for a variation to lower their payments if they have a disabled child residing with them but if the child they are paying towards who lives with the pwc is also disabled the pwc cannot get a variation to increase support.

Collaborate Sun 14-Apr-13 09:00:38

One other thought is if the AP has his own company then the CSA won't look at any dividend income unless the PWC applies for a variation. Could this be the reason for the low assessment? Do a search at companies house to see if he's a registered director.

RedHelenB Sun 14-Apr-13 11:31:01

What sort of job did he have when living with you?Is he living with someone else now? Do you have his NI number?

RedHelenB Sun 14-Apr-13 11:37:02

I know plenty of people that work for the CSA & I can assure you they are aware of the lies/stunts NRPs (and RP's for that matter!) can pull!

Might be worth contacting your MP because they will pressure the CSA to take what action they can.

If I were you I would definitely do a bit of detective work to find out what he is up to now as then you might uncover something for the CSA to workj from.

kittycat68 Tue 16-Apr-13 09:34:48

i would like to point out whatever the csa or tribunal ordr the nrp can appeal all descions made so in effect you can appeal an appeal thats refused etc. this means if he doesnt want to pay he can continually appeal. FNF and F4J have loads of pages on their websites for NRP to avoid child support. Also you have to supply hard evidence to tribunal that ex is reciveing monies. you can not just say how is he living?

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