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Absent parents 'should pay direct from their wages'

(26 Posts)
gillybean2 Sun 03-Jul-11 09:24:57

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-14004900

More talk, but when will they actually do something...!?

DollyTwat Sun 03-Jul-11 09:27:34

My exh quit his job as soon as there was an attachment if earnings!
We get £5 a week from his dole now
Aren't we lucky!

FeelingOld Sun 03-Jul-11 12:33:26

They will probably do something just as my ds reaches 16!!
I havent had a penny in 5 years so not holding out much hope of actually getting any money.... and my ex isnt totally absent, he has ds 1 night most weekends but thats all, no actual help from him.

gillybean2 Sun 03-Jul-11 16:08:12

FeelingOld - I think you are being optmistic thinking it will be sorted by the time your ds is 16!

Maelstrom Tue 05-Jul-11 23:09:48

If only...

ivykaty44 Tue 05-Jul-11 23:12:49

I doubt it will be sorted by the time my child reaches 105

Riakin Wed 06-Jul-11 11:19:05

NRP's should have the option to pay directly to the other parent by S/O or D/D.

It shouldn't be treated as tax. It is a support payment and therefore if the CSA got the mindset of the situation right, it could quite easily succeed.

I've said it before and i'll say it again, the CSA only increases hostility and resentment.

Situation:
NRP has been paying 15% of salary for 7years following, daughter has been staying 2 nights per week every week for those 7years. Only just realised (because of my advice) they could have 2/7th reduction... overpayment because of lack of advice £5,000+

PaigeTurner Wed 06-Jul-11 12:04:00

Riakin, surely no one uses the CSA if the NRP is compliant in paying maintenance on a regular basis?

ChocHobNob Wed 06-Jul-11 17:29:46

PaigeTurner, yes people go to the CSA in those circumstances. Sometimes out of spite. Sometimes because they believe they'll get more money. Sometimes they might just not want to have to deal with the NRP direct anymore for whatever reason.

I don't think taking it directly from wages as the norm will make much difference. Those who don't receive money, it's normally down to the fact that a deductions of earnings can not be added, such as someone self employed, someone working cash in hand, someone not working.

I also dislike the term "absent parent" used to describe all NRPs. An NRP could be paying maintenance and have their child stay with them 50% of the year. Many play a big role in their children's lives. The proposals were for non resident parents to pay from their earnings or bank accounts. Absent parents are just that, absent in their child's life.

Maelstrom Wed 06-Jul-11 23:22:19

Choc, the term "absent parent" is falling in disuse, someone proposed to change it to NRP to avoid the implications of the "absent" word.

But I agree that most people that ask the CSA to intervene do because they have not been able to sort the things between themselves.

Riakin Thu 07-Jul-11 08:51:15

PaigeTurner, you would actually be surprised. The CSA is often used as it can be a (usually) documented system to prove payment is made.

But yes i do agree most people do go because of disputes or spite.

allnewtaketwo Thu 07-Jul-11 09:01:31

"Riakin, surely no one uses the CSA if the NRP is compliant in paying maintenance on a regular basis?"

You'd be surprised. Many PWCs go out of spite, or greed. Many then also lie that the NRP has been making payments when they have, the CSA believe them, and then the NRP is handed a bill for thousands.

Also I've read so many threads on here where people are dishing out advice for PWCs to go to the CSA, even when they are getting decent, monthly payments, in the offchance that they could get more money.

Actually the CSA focus on these 'easy win' cases, because of course the NRP is paying anyway, and so makes their numbers look good. Rather than chasing the problem cases.

moomoo1967 Thu 07-Jul-11 16:21:53

My X works cash in hand deliberately so that he cannot be traced by the CSA and there must be more cases like that so it wouldn't work in a situation like that.
I have had £70 from him in nearly 9 years and that was for Trumpet tuition, I got lumbered with paying the rest as he wouldn't then cough up the rest.
I have been awarded money by the CSA but I don't know where he lives to tell them.

PaigeTurner Thu 07-Jul-11 19:24:47

I had no idea people used the CSA for vengeance as in the above. I know the world is not made of marshmallows and candy floss but that's quite sad.

I've not bothered going to the CSA as I know DS's father will deny parentage to delay, and squirm until the last second, and I find the thought of that too upsetting at present.

I do think though that in these (my) sort of case(s) that an earnings attachment would be appropriate and cause least aggro. Especially when there would be plenty of bad feeling and resentment in the first place...

Maelstrom Thu 07-Jul-11 22:17:58

I'm sure that if I used the CSA I would be accused of being greedy, but that doesn't remove the fact that my son's father doesn't pay what he should.

runningonmt Thu 07-Jul-11 22:23:50

I think they should run a system where the NRP pays to the CSA who passes it on to the PWC (as it does now) but if the NRP falls into arrears of (ten days late for example) it automatically goes to a deduction from earnings system. Mine has been paying less than the CSA have told him to for years but because he is paying something he doesnt get persued for it - The CSA seem uninspired to chase him up and the arrears keep on building - every now and again they add the arrears to his monthly payments and tell him to pay more and guess what ...... he doesnt ..... and guess what ..... they do nothing about it !

Deduct from the earnings and you just remove the option for the NRP to pay what they feel like paying - surely this would cut down work for the CSA and give them more time to chase parents who dont pay at all. It would also give the PWC more financial stability.

I really like the idea ..... but then again,I would, wouldnt I ?

colditz Thu 07-Jul-11 22:33:14

How is it greedy to want 20% of someone's take home pay, when that'someone' is jointly responsible for the financial upkeep of your two children? That is all the CSA will take! I get £30 a week - I can#'t half raise two children on that, but there we are. He gives me what the CSA says he should.

sunshineandbooks Thu 07-Jul-11 22:37:42

The CSA was set up precisely to deal with situations where there was no payments being made to the RP. (Well, actually it was set up so that the government could reduce the benefits bill, but that's a whole other thread. wink)

With that background, it's not surprising that one of the most common themes in people using the CSA is disagreement over what constitutes fair maintenance.

I'm not sure what the solution is TBH. Unless you make it mandatory that all separating parents use the CSA and all payments are made through the CSA's system rather than direct payments, there is always going to be cases where one parent claims the other is ripping them off/not paying when this isn't true. That would require a nanny state and it seems ridiculous to foist that on those couples who have managed to come up with a mutually agreed settlement.

What I would like to see though is an end to those who can slip through the net getting away with it. I disagree with allnewtaketwo a lot on the issue of maintenance, but she is right when she says the CSA concentrates on those it knows it can make pay and it ignores those who are harder to track down. Linking the CSA to HMRC could end that overnight. It's a lot harder to evade the HMRC than the CSA - very few people are untraceable to them.

Link the CSA to HMRC and enforce attachment-to-earnings orders on people who consistently miss payments and the CSA would have something like a 95% success rate, I'm sure.

runningonmt Thu 07-Jul-11 22:56:40

she is right when she says the CSA concentrates on those it knows it can make pay and it ignores those who are harder to track down.

Sunshine - My ex works for a well known supermarket in senior management and has done for nearly 30 years - they know where he works, where he lives and all his contact phone numbers. Yet still if he pays less than they have told him to pay they do absolutely nothing. If he misses a payment - they do nothing.

This could be because our case is clerical because their computer malfunctioned when processing my claim for child support 7 years ago. Which means that a person has to do some work and not just their computer. Getting them to do anything requires hundreds of phone calls and another bunch of grey hairs. My stress levels go through the roof if I ever have to talk to them as they give me the usual bunch of waffle and give them selves 12 weeks in which to do something. 12 weeks later still nothing has been done and we go back to the beginning again. Mine really should be such a simple and straight forward case and they cant even get that right so what hope has anyone got who's ex is a serial job-jumper.

It is my experience that they ignore those that are easy to track down too ...... angry

sunshineandbooks Thu 07-Jul-11 23:19:30

runningonmt - have you tried involving your MP? There is a long precedent of cases being magically resolved once an MP gets involved in a case.

Some stats taken from CMEC figures released in March this year:

Number of those using the CSA: 1,145,700

Cases in which NRPs considered eligible to pay: 861,700

In 47.3% of assessed cases the non-resident parent is not employed, 44.7%
are employed and 8.0% self employed.

Overall CSA success rate: 77.6% (this includes cases where maintenance is paid at the appropriate rate and those who pay the minimum £5 a week while on benefits)

Non-resident parents owed a total of £3.787bn in December 2010.

Of those not using the CSA, 60% have no maintenance arrangements according to DWP.

runningonmt Thu 07-Jul-11 23:38:52

have you tried involving your MP? Sunshine - Are there any MP's left - I thought they had all been banged up for fiddling their expenses ? wink

I have asked for a reassessment and if they dont come good (they have 10 weeks left) then I will contact my MP and ask him to intervene on my behalf.

Dont you think it is wrong though ? Next time I have a customer come into my office at work I will listen to their request and tell them I will get back to them in 3 months !!! I wonder how long the business would last if we took that kind of attitude ?

Involving the MP seems to be common advice - arnt they supposed to be running the country rather than wasting their time kicking the CSA up their backsides ?

It feels like a full time job just trying to get maintenance for my DS. I already have enough full time jobs with work (school hours), raising my DS on my own and dealing with all the extra stuff because my DS is disabled (school problems / doctors/medical appointments/ child care in holidays etc...) I wish something that should be so simple (CSA and maintenance) was simple - I am just cheesed off about it - after 7 years they really should be able to get something right.

Non-resident parents owed a total of £3.787bn in December 2010 blimey ! I wanted to write some amusing gumph about my ex's arrears being close to that figure but I am so shocked I have lost the ability to be witty! shock

sunshineandbooks Thu 07-Jul-11 23:47:46

You have my sympathy mt. It must be so frustrating. This is precisely why I haven't bothered to go for maintenance. My XP alternates between being untraceably self-employed and unemployed. He has also fathered other children since. Given that I think he'd rather set himself on fire and extract all his teeth without pain-relief before paying any maintenance for any of his children, I know I wouldn't get anywhere without a severe cost to my sanity, and what I would get would be something like £4 a month, so really not worth it. It's definitely wrong though. We chose to have these children together, after two years of planning for it. Yet now they're solely my responsibility and he sees them maybe once every two months.

moomoo1967 Fri 08-Jul-11 09:24:39

paigeturner, how does my post make me out to be seeking vengeance ! My X walked out on Xmas eve nearly 9 years ago and in all that time has only paid £70.
The CSA contacted me regarding him once I registered for Tax Credits. I have no wish to seek vengeance but I do think that he should pay for his child and also the four others he has with various women. An earnings attachment would not work in this case as he deliberately only works cash in hand so that the CSA cannot get any money from him.

theredhen Fri 08-Jul-11 10:15:19

Good NRP gets stung, not so good NRP get away with it.

Costs too much to chase the crap ones, so they don't bother and now they want the PWC to pay a fee for the priviledge of them not collecting any money.

At least if they were to change tax codings for some NRP, that would collect some of the money, just add the maitenance to the tax bill. The government manage to collect student loans that way, why not maintenance too. That might help some of the PWC who have ex's who are self employed (at least those who declare a profit anyway!)

sunshineandbooks Fri 08-Jul-11 10:20:42

I don't believe many people do use the CSA out of vengeance, or spite, or whatever you want to call it. Some, yes I'm sure, but I think they are in a minority.

There are 2.5 million single parent families. The CSA is responsible for making 861,700 of them pay. That's 34.4% of NRPs in the whole country that the CSA is gathering payment from. More than half of RPs don't go to the CSA at all.

Of the 861,700 that are paying nearly half (47.3%) are only paying £5 per week regardless of how many children they have.

And I don't think going to the CSA when the NRP is already making payments is a sign of greed either. If the NRP's offer is less than the CSAs calculation then the NRP is the one being 'greedy' (and selfish) IMO. The CSA recognises that it is not always possible to get people to pay a fair proportion of what it really costs to raise a child, because people on low or no incomes can never pay their fair share without making themselves destitute. So what the CSA does is determine what is a fair proportion out of the NRPs income. If an informal offer is well below what the CSA suggests, it is not greedy for the RP to go to the CSA if discussion with the NRP gets nowhere. In fact, you could argue that it is the child's right for the RP to do that and maximise financial security for the child.

In an ideal world, and obviously barring cases of abuse etc, we'd have a situation where contact was unlimited and NRPs paid without fail. Sadly there are bad NRPs and bad RPs, but if you're looking at the currently available evidence, the number of NRPs not paying anything is by far the much bigger problem. That doesn't mean the other problems should be ignored, but if we're going to put children at the centre of this, and make it all about them, we need to prioritise the problems.

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