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Should I engage a lawyer for a child maintenance appeal?

(25 Posts)
writingsonthewall Fri 17-Feb-17 14:31:49

Just that really.
I've had my mandatory reconsideration rejected and now I have the right to an appeal. On the form it gives me the option to attend a hearing, or to have the decision made on the paper alone. Given I have no evidence but just know from having a brain that he doesn't earn £58 per week, I feel I need to attend the hearing to have a chance, but do I need a lawyer?


writingsonthewall Fri 17-Feb-17 15:02:27

On second thoughts maybe not. I just called one to see the costs and they said it's £275 per hour plus VAT, which means for a hearing that would be minimum of a couple of hours, plus probably an hour or two before/after, and that if the case dragged on then possibly a couple more hours!!!
I imagine I'll only ever get two or three hundred pounds a month maintenance even if successful so that could eat up months of it!
Guess I'm on my own confused

TheFormidableMrsC Fri 17-Feb-17 15:08:59

I would attend a hearing and self rep. Gather as much information as you can present, it is ludicrous for somebody to say they are earning that and for the CMS to just accept that. They are bloody useless. Good luck, I feel your pain, I am about to take my ex-h to court (which I can do as we have a child with a registered disability, so falls under Children's Act). They are bastards, they really are flowers

writingsonthewall Fri 17-Feb-17 15:35:00

Thank you. One of my children is also in receipt of DLA, would that/should that make any difference to my appeal?

TheFormidableMrsC Fri 17-Feb-17 15:46:20

I am given to understand that they have to take into consideration if you have a child with a disability. Maybe you should consider the court route? I am doing this because my ex-h has done everything possible to avoid supporting our son properly. He pays below CMS minimum but lives the life of bloody riley. Google maintenance applications under the Children's Act. There is a lot of information out there. The CMS were beyond useless, they basically said they couldn't do much if he was self employed and that it would be better if we came to an arrangement between ourselves. They are not fit for purpose. In your situation, I would have the hearing you describe above and if that fails, I would take him to court.

reallyanotherone Fri 17-Feb-17 15:58:09

Gather as much information as you can present, it is ludicrous for somebody to say they are earning that and for the CMS to just accept that.

It's also ludicrous for someone to say a person is earning more than they are and the cms to just accept that.

O/p, if you don't have evidence would it be worth paying for one hour legal consultation to see if there are other ways to present your appeal, or if there are legal ways to force him to reveal his earnings?

When you say you know he is earning more, what do you base this on? You will need to be able to prove it for successful appeal.
Hmrc/companies house should hold evidence of self employed earnings and dividends.

There used to be a clause about "living above income" so nrp with large savings or lumps sums but no income still had to pay.

writingsonthewall Fri 17-Feb-17 16:09:52

Ok thanks - I'll do that.

Reallyanotherone - according to the cms he earns £58 per week. He works all the hours god sends and has a Facebook page with almost daily photos of all the business he is doing. He has had a large wedding recently, a honeymoon in the Maldives and is now off skiing this weekend. On £58 per week I am not sure how anyone could even eat and live let alone do anything else.

I'm not sure how I'm supposed to get "evidence", I sent all that to the cms and they said it wasn't evidence. Clearly given data protection I cannot get access to his bank statements so what am I supposed to do? Just accept that he'll be paying nothing? Thanks for any advice, maybe an hour of advice as how best to present the case would be worth it

writingsonthewall Fri 17-Feb-17 16:11:50

Sorry also. His company doesn't appear to be on companies house so I'm guessing it's not limited. He only went self-employed fully in April 2016 so the latest tax return willl contain earnings from his previous PAYE job which he says no longer apply. Clearly I am not able to see what hmrc data says but the cms tell me it says he earns £58 per week...

writingsonthewall Fri 17-Feb-17 16:14:19

Fwiw I don't believe he has lump sum or big savings, I believe he is earning money, I'm not sure how he is hiding it because I don't know how /what data the cms have got. He's either, paying himself in dividends - which I don't believe as per previous limited company info. Or diverting income to his wife (possible), or not declaring income to hmrc (unlikely as the jobs he does are often for companies that pay by cheque). Most likely I think the cms are taking his word for his income as they don't have any hmrc data to go on (because the latest tax return is no longer valid as he left the paye role)

namechangedtoday15 Fri 17-Feb-17 16:19:06

Lots of family solicitors offer a free half hour. I would ring around your local solicitors, explain the situation in that you want specific advice in relation to a child maintenance appeal and see if they can help. You just want information on how to gather evidence / present it at the hearing and you could do it yourself. If you can't find anyone (and I'd be surprised if you couldn't) then offer to pay for an hour. I also think that £275 plus VAT is expensive. You need to call others.

TheFormidableMrsC Fri 17-Feb-17 16:21:05

reallyanotherone Yes I am fully aware of that. However, most people can't pay for thousands of pounds worth of holidays, buy new cars or live in 5 bedroomed detached houses on £58.00 per week (or indeed zero earnings as my ex husband claims). Unfortunately, the CMS do just accept what these shirkers say because it's too much bother to investigate otherwise.

OP, you could ring companies house, they were very helpful to me actually. Just double, triple check. If he is advertising his business, then provide evidence of that. Evidence from social media is now frequently used in court. It really is the most frustrating thing. Again, consider an application under the Children's Act after your appeal if it is unsuccessful.

writingsonthewall Fri 17-Feb-17 16:23:36

Thanks name, I'll try a couple of others

TheFormidableMrsC Fri 17-Feb-17 16:24:23

Indeed as namechange says, ring around and get other quotes, that is a huge amount but not unusual in my experience. You could try Resolution for recommendations...

PigletWasPoohsFriend Fri 17-Feb-17 16:26:29

On £58 per week I am not sure how anyone could even eat and live let alone do anything else.

No but they could be living on his DW wage though if she is working.

kittybiscuits Fri 17-Feb-17 16:28:26

Ignore the goady fuckers OP. Good luck flowers

PigletWasPoohsFriend Fri 17-Feb-17 16:29:59

Ignore the goady fuckers

hmm no one has been goady!

ladylambkin Fri 17-Feb-17 16:30:53

The issue here is a man who is committing tax evasion ...have you reported him to HMRC?

reallyanotherone Fri 17-Feb-17 16:39:23

As piglet says if it's his wife paying for all that it doesn't necessarily mean he is earning more than he says. My dh earns £0 at the moment because he lost his job, Bu i am earning, so to the outside world, our financial situation is unchanged.

It lloks like you could be in a tough place at the minute, if he only went se in april he may not have done a tax return yet. The question i'd be asking in that case is if his tax return does show he is earning more, are you able to backdate your claims.

If he is hiding se income (cash in hand etc) you can report him to hmrc. Chances are they'd investigate that as part of tax fraud than they would a cms case.

He can't divert income through his wife, unless cash, as cheques can be traced. So if he isn't ltd, and not doing cash in hand, it will be hard to hide oce his tax returns are in.

writingsonthewall Fri 17-Feb-17 16:48:29

She works for his business.
I'm not even sure it is tax evasion though as I don't believe they are using his tax return as his circumstances have changed since the last one he lodged

writingsonthewall Fri 17-Feb-17 16:49:43

I guess it may be "their" business now that they're married

reallyanotherone Fri 17-Feb-17 16:54:34

If it is "their" business and they're not ltd then they'd have to file joint accounts as a partnership.

He can't "employ" her if he is a sole trader. If there are two identical businesses trading from the same address i'm sure hmrc would be interested.

Have you rung hmrc? They've always been bloody helpful to me, and will tell you of there's a way you can find out this stuff.

writingsonthewall Fri 17-Feb-17 17:21:39

I haven't but I will ring them Monday - thanks for the tip. I didn't realise he can't employ her if he's a sole trader at all. He has others that do work for him too.

TheFormidableMrsC Fri 17-Feb-17 17:43:35

He can use sub-contractors, which is probably how he is doing it.

writingsonthewall Fri 17-Feb-17 18:55:04

Yeah that's what I thought

prh47bridge Fri 17-Feb-17 19:27:08

He can't "employ" her if he is a sole trader

Yes he can. Most sole traders don't have employees but some do. There is nothing to prevent a sole trader having employees.

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