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Child Support Agency - Tribunal

(34 Posts)
scoobydoolady Fri 28-May-10 18:36:09

I thought I'd put my experiences with my ex & the CSA on a thread (which may help others) whilst asking if anyone had to go to a tribunal to get their maintence resolved.

Over 3 years ago my ex got a good promotion at work and therefore a good pay rise. Up until this point we had a maintenance agreement set by the courts when we got divorced. A solicitor told me to apply through the CSA and OMG did life get stressful!

Within 2 months of the CSA assessing what his maintenance payment for my 2 DD's should be, he increased his pension contribution to nearly 40% of his earnings. This meant he had less income and therefore had to pay less maintenance - tight git.

To be fair the CSA have been OK. I have continually kept on top of them and have a 2 inch thick file but they are hindered by bad organisation and crap legislation which does not help in difficult cases.

After nearly 2 years of appeals etc I was told that I now have to attend an tribunal and I'm absolutley dreading it.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated in this ongoing saga - and if anyone needs help on dealing with the CSA direct please ask me cos I've become unwillingly knowledgeable.wink

Ta

kittycat68 Fri 28-May-10 19:38:38

i just a note to let you know i have been going to tribunal for two whole years after two years with dealing with the csa have three children still no maintenace he changed the tribunal hearing centre three times now its the dates he cant do! when i complained i was told to contact my mp about it!My ex is a total waste of space so much for caring about his kids.i think there must be a hand book given to all EP when they divorce on how to get out of maintence!

scoobydoolady Fri 28-May-10 19:50:18

OMG what a nightmare - you poor thing.

How have the CSA handled it - have you written a letter of complaint to them yet?

kittycat68 Fri 28-May-10 22:14:16

the csa are using the complex case officer who apparently is very experienced! but they need to follow certain rules etc etc!they have worked out that to date he owes approx10,000 but say they cant take enforcemnet action whilst its going through tribunal. catch twenty two!they say that all hearings normally are held whithin 11 weeks but not so according to the csa officer said its very difficult to pin some men down if i wasnt phoning them every month and following it all up with 10 inches of paperwork of proof of eanings and lifestyle i am sure we wouldnt be this far along.
Just wanted you to know that if your ex dont want to pay he will drag this out too so dont count on it being over with soon. the csa only works if dads agree to pay.
Csa have assured me that eventually they will sort it out and he will have to apy monies due but that dont help me or my disabled kids now does it. it shows me that my EP dont give two *** about his three kids despite what he tells people. sorry now on a rant!

scoobydoolady Sun 30-May-10 18:30:20

I'm sorry to hear what you've been through, it sounds a nightmare.

I am lucky that I now get maintenance (but didn't get it for 6 months of last year) I was also told that they couldn't enforce payment whilst appeals/tribunals are going but let me tell you catergorically that thats"A load of Rubbish!"

I found this out after I put in a big complaint with the CSA. I suggest you get back onto them and tell them that is an urban myth within the CSA to stop cases getting messy. If they don't enforce payment, then write a complaint letter like I did. It's not fair that they keep telling everyone this.

I am so enraged for you that I'm going to wrtie to my MP asking why this is information is still been given.

Its my ex that is making the appeal not me. He earns £80,000 a year and pays maintenance of £500 for my 2 kids, which i think is fair. He doesn't want to hence the appeal.

BUT I am so cross at all the nonsense that comes out of the CSA. I am defo going to make some noises.

kittycat68 Sun 30-May-10 18:53:28

will try writting a complaint to csa and to tribunalsee what happens my ex was on 40,000 when we separated and obviuosly plays father xmas on contact etc whilst we have to live on benfits. will see if i can also find out who mp is now and try them also.

ravinglooneymum Sat 07-Aug-10 16:04:55

This is my first post so please bear with me!

My exH has also played the Pension card and has claimed he pays £500 PER WEEK into his private pension, leaving the amount after adjustments that he is 'assessed' on at just £320...........UNBELIEVEABLE!

As he is an Actuary, I have no doubt the PP is a scam anyway and I know he has not truthfully declared his 'real' income.

WOW, a massive £41.00 per week for my 17 year old DD who btw I haven't received a penny for in the last 10 years, since divorcing him.

Absolute disgrace to be called a 'father'.

ElsieMc Sun 08-Aug-10 19:34:45

My DS's dad stated in court recently that he worked a 60 hour week and this was why he could never collect his son. I found this slightly odd as he has informed the CSA he earns £240 per week net, hardly possible under current minimum wage/employment law.

I asked the CSA to look again at his wage slips. An attachment of earnings order is in place and I am receiving money each week,albeit not much. I should have smelt a bit of a rat when the money began being paid in weekly rather than monthly.

You can imagine my surprise when his so-called employers said he did not work there. He insisted to the CSA he did. The CSA then issued warning notices to his employers to send wage slips and dad has now admitted he does not work there.

The CSA now claim to know where he works and have asked this "employer" for wage slips. However, the CSA told me that he had done nothing wrong. But their own literature states that changing employers while an attachment of earnings order is in place and not informing them is actually a criminal offence. Why do they make statements contrary to their own literature/legislation?

Has anyone else experienced anything strange like this? I dont want a fortune just a fair sum for DS.

STIDW Mon 09-Aug-10 09:26:22

The pensions loophole was brought about through changes to the maximum amount someone can contribute to a pension. The loophole is being closed with the introduction of the gross income scheme in 2011.

It is a good idea to complain to your MP because apart from the UK Parliament being responsible for the legislation there is a special unit at the CSA for MPs to contact.

ravinglooneymum Mon 09-Aug-10 09:49:29

Thanks STIDW!

As DD will be 18 and off to University next year I will no longer be eligible anyway but, just for the record think that it is an absolute disgrace that this is allowed to happen.

bangoutoforder Tue 11-Jan-11 16:47:25

I have a tribunal coming up soon. My ex is challenging the amount he pays for our child on the grounds that when we were sharing the same house (before I actually moved out with my child), but after we had signed a Consent Order setting out the terms of his access), that I went out several nights a week and left him in charge. I didn't make a claim to the CSA until after I moved out, since when the Consent Order on which my award was based has been followed to the letter, so I'm at a loss to understand how the tribunal can consider his case. Does anyone know?
He is also claiming that he has increased the amount of money that he puts into his pension (thereby reducing his income, and the amount he should be paying me). Can he get away with doing this? If so, will I have to pay him money back?
Nightmare!

prh47bridge Tue 11-Jan-11 18:12:03

The tribunal has to consider any appeal that is made regardless of whether or not there is any chance of the appeal succeeding. SO they are hearing your ex's appeal because they have no choice.

Yes, he can increase his pension contribution which will reduce the amount he pays you but the money must genuinely be going into a pension scheme and there are limits on how much of his salary he can use in this way. However, you will not have to pay any money back. If the change is big enough to have a significant effect the CSA will reassess his payments. The new payments will come in after they have reassessed him and will not be backdated.

rubin Tue 11-Jan-11 22:12:27

Just thought I'd add to this thread that the father of my children pays £8 per week for each of his two boys. Recently he added insult to injury by boasting that he was buying himself a house worth approx £500K. I have been told on numerous occasions by the CSA that there is nothing there can do about it. It is appalling ...

Resolution Tue 11-Jan-11 23:41:43

Rubin - you can apply for a vairation - father's lifestyle inconsistant with his income used in the assessment. Ask the CSA for an application form, or download one from their site (I presume thereis a downloadable form).

Bangy - the tribunal can backdate the change in the assessment. He will be appealing a particular assessment. It will be backdated to that date.
The shared care argument sounds barmy. Take a diary or calendar with you for proof, and the consent order. Not so sure (at home at the mo and no access to books) about the current ension rules.

prh47bridge Wed 12-Jan-11 00:41:56

Just for clarity, I assumed that the change in pension contributions happened after the assessment in which case it is a change of circumstances which will not be backdated. Indeed, unless his increased pension contributions reduce his net pay by at least 5% it won't affect his payments until the next regular reassessment.

As Resolution says, any change made by the tribunal will be backdated but I share Resolution's views on his argument.

Resolution Wed 12-Jan-11 07:04:47

An appeal can only be made after the CSA has made a decision - perhaps not to take into account his pension contribs. The tribunal can order the agency to change this decision, hence it will always be retrospective.

prh47bridge Wed 12-Jan-11 09:49:03

It may not be obvious but I think Resolution and I are actually agreeing here!

There are two processes which may be getting confused.

Firstly, once the CSA has issued an assessment either parent can appeal to the tribunal and argue that the assessment is incorrect. If the tribunal agrees that the CSA got it wrong the change will be backdated to the date of the original assessment.

Secondly, if the absent parent's circumstances change after the assessment is issued, e.g. their earnings are reduced or they become unemployed, they should inform the CSA. If the change in circumstances means that the amount they should be paying in maintenance changes by 5% or more the CSA will issue a new assessment. This does not involve going to the tribunal although, of course, both parents have the right to appeal against this new assessment.

The wording of the OP leads me to believe that the ex is going to tribunal to challenge the current assessment with an argument about child care but that he has also increased his pension contributions since the assessment and is therefore also asking the CSA, not the tribunal, for a new assessment on the grounds that his circumstances have changed. I may, of course, be wrong.

bangoutoforder Wed 12-Jan-11 16:59:09

Thanks Resolution and prh47bridge. I guess I will have to go along with my calendar for the past year, and see what happens. I've not heard that ex has appealed to the CSA for a change to the original assessment based on the fact that he's increased his pension contributions, but he did argue this in his papers for to the tribunal. I do know that the CSA dismissed his appeal about child care, but this was before he came up with the idea of tinkering with his pension to claw back some money. Hence his appeal to the tribunal.
Is it usual to have representation at this kind of tribunal? I plan just to take a friend for moral support, as I've already spent a fortune on court cases and lawyers.Thanks for all help!

prh47bridge Wed 12-Jan-11 17:25:25

I don't fancy his chances much. You will be fine with a friend for moral support. You shouldn't need anyone to represent you.

prh47bridge Wed 12-Jan-11 17:27:37

And obviously I did misunderstand if he is going straight to the tribunal with the pension change. Sorry.

Resolution Wed 12-Jan-11 23:36:30

He can only go to the tribunal to appeal a decision or action of the CSA - ie a refusal to allow him his pension contributions.

There should be someone legaly qualified at the tribunal, or an accountant. The CSA rep will be there, and though they will be outwardly neutral, they will usually back up what the agency has done.

Good luck

bangoutoforder Mon 28-Feb-11 17:41:56

His appeal was dismissed, on the grounds that the CSA official argued that the circumstances before I made a claim (when we were still living under the same roof) were irrelevant, and that in cases like mine, they base their assessment on the intended (future) childcare arrangements (in my case, the Consent Order), which has been adhered to for a year now. The judge backed this, and the issue of his pension contributions didn't even come up. So, there is some justice! Thanks for all advice, and hope my experience is helpful

denisemaria Tue 30-Oct-12 16:48:27

hi i have a tribunal soon my ex states that he has the children 50% of the week when he only has them to sleep and not during the day time, they have all the meals at mine and spend all day at mine on their games consoles. the children dont always spend 3.5 nights at the dads each week sleeping, how can i fight this at a tribunal?

Brightgirl123 Thu 07-Jan-16 23:15:49

We went to tribunal yesterday - my husband had to defend his position having just retired from work due to health reasons. The mother of his child (I can't even call her his "ex" as they were never a couple) has constantly hounded us for more money every year via the CSA. We decided due to many different reasons - his health being the main one - that I would go back to work and he would become the stay-at-home dad. Previously she had received £273 pm and this stopped when he finished work. She refused to accept this and to cut a long story short, we ended up at a tribunal yesterday. We wrote 4 letters prior to the tribunal explaining our reasons, setting out our finances (yet she has to reveal nothing, even though she lives in a 4 bed house mortgage free) and had to combat countless allegations she made regarding savings that we just don't have. Anyway, it was worth doing all the work beforehand as the ruling went in our favour and we are on a nil assessment. She now had to get off her lazy backside and start thinking about how she can support herself.

MidniteScribbler Fri 08-Jan-16 07:16:15

So your husband now doesn't have to do anything to support the child he created. Slow clap. Congratulations on your "win". hmm

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