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Did you know that our Government is now lifting children out of poverty by making other children homeless

162 replies

Twinklemegan · 08/08/2007 21:13

I just want people to know about this as it is so so shocking.

For the past few months the Government has been ordering the CSA to take out court orders against absent parents who are complying with existing agreements. This occurs where arrears cannot be paid back in two years. There is no mention in the enforcement guidance of ensuring that any other children do not lose their home or suffer other severe hardship as a result. The Government will try to recover arrears through the courts even when they are outside the legal time limit and has powers to force an absent parent to sell their home.

Even the CSA does not agree with this!

OP posts:
Twinklemegan · 08/08/2007 22:54

In our case the CSA didn't contact DH for six years, then made up an assessment and backdated it six years

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gomez · 08/08/2007 22:54

x-posted. Thanks.

Twinklemegan · 08/08/2007 22:54

Gomez - I meant thanks - honestly.

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Twinklemegan · 08/08/2007 22:56

Also DH hasn't exactly acknowledged the debt. He's paid what he has to to avoid enforcement (so we thought), but disputed the amount every step of the way. Anyhow, we need professional advice on that bit I think.

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gomez · 08/08/2007 22:57

S'cool, TM thanks.

Freckle has clarified/corrected for you thou'.

Hope you can get things sorted.

Twinklemegan · 08/08/2007 22:58

Does anyone believe me yet lol? If so, my work here is done and I'll go to bed.

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localgirl · 08/08/2007 22:59

TM go to the CAB before you pay for any legal advice. They are very good. Signing off now hope it all works out for you

startouchedtrinity · 08/08/2007 23:09

Our local CAB doesn't even answer the phone let alone have any free appointments.

Hope this works out for you xxx

catsmother · 08/08/2007 23:28

Twinklemegan, have only just read this thread, and hope (obviously), from what the others have said so far that if this gets as far as court, it is completely blown out of the water.

Has your DH contacted his MP yet - this is exactly the sort of thing they should be able to do something about (if they had a heart). Mind you, guess they might also not get revved up about it until you were actually ordered to sell.

FWIW, I do understand completely your point about some children being more "equal" than others when it comes to second families. I don't want to get on my soapbox and hijack your thread, but there is huge inequality within the tax credit system for example, which does leave some second children in a potentially vulnerable position (due to what is and isn't counted as income for each respective family). Will elaborate if anyone's interested ......

And BTW, wanting equal rights for all the children in your family isn't wrong.

Finally, if there are any "second" wives or partners reading this who sometimes feel so (wrongly) vilified they may as well admit to being the devil in disguise and be done with it, who'd like to talk to others in the same boat, have a look at this site: British Second Wives Club. I've been a member for 2 years and it has saved my sanity.

Twinklemegan · 08/08/2007 23:41

Oh catsmother - thanks so much for your lovely post. I think I know where you're coming from with the tax credits thing as well. Maintenance disregarded as income for first family. Maintenance payments disregarded as outgoings for second family - right? I might take a look at that website - perhaps tomorrow though.

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Twinklemegan · 08/08/2007 23:43

Although, actually I'm a first wife.

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Tortington · 09/08/2007 00:28

i think even though local girl may be correctly regurgitating what she is being told internally - that legally you need professional advice.

if you haven't been contacted about your debt AT ALL in the last 6 years it is wiped.

i understand that now you are trying to raise the profile of what does indeed seem like an insanity - to make homeless one family becuase of a debt the CSA say isn't paid when there was an agreement in place - just not through them.

the difficulty people on this thread have is that you have been "told" this by someone at the CSA. isit in writing? do you have the govt policy? the CSA policy or guidelines?

i rarely go off what one departmental government fuckwit tells me - becuase i work with too many who elongate and exagerate to achieve targets.

it is only with hard evidence that one may go forth and fuck them up the arse

Rainbow · 09/08/2007 02:30

Instead of chasing fathers who are paying, why not chase fathers who aren't? My ex has paid £10 a fortnight in total for all three DSs. Yet he can afford designer clothes, new television (plasma,) goes out every week.

Does it really matter if the arrears are not paid back in two years as longer as they are being paid back?

I agree with the government being able to force an absent parent to sell their home but only if no other children are involved and the the absent parent is making no effort to pay maintainence.

WideWebWitch · 09/08/2007 07:26

I';m with gomez et al, you post rudely and talk to us us as if we're fools then you won't get any help from me.

tatt · 09/08/2007 08:53

this was really annoying me last night - it still is. "AP pays what he's asked to pay. Would be stupid to pay any more than that"

So an AP pays the least they can get away with to avoid legal action. The CSA finally sorts itself out and realises they could have afforded to pay more and haven't been doing so. I'm then supposed to feel sorry for him! My sympathy is with the children whose father doesn't give a for them. I'll spare some sympathy for the kids he has now having a for a father - but I don't have any to spare for him or his current woman, who both knew what they were doing.

catsmother · 09/08/2007 09:32

Twinklemegan, spot on with the tax credit thing !

That site I referred to ..... it isn't literally for women who are second wives.
It's for a wife, or partner, of a man who's been married, or had a partner before, and who'd like friendship, advice & support from women in a similar position to themselves.

Tatt ..... I think you have taken TM's comment out of context. Read the whole thread and she explains that her DH disputes the sum in question but has been paying back the minimum requested in the meantime because otherwise enforcement measures were being threatened. She also mentions that her DH had tried to offer a voluntary plan (to presumably pay this off) but this had been rejected.

All of that does NOT equal a lack of care for his children on his part, nor does it mean TM is somehow in collusion with him as you imply. The CSA is a law unto itself ..... very sadly, it would appear that the genuine feckless fathers (the ones who "disappear" or work cash in hand) out there are low down on their list of priorities, but the responsible fathers who have always fully co-operated with the CSA are, conversely, often given little flexibility with regards to payments & arrangements. It very often isn't a question of the CSA "deciding that someone could have afforded more", it's a question of them, sometimes years down the line, realising that they made an original error (or errors) in their calculations ..... and then, despite the absent parent doing nothing wrong, they are then ordered to rectify the CSA's mistake within an impossible timeframe.

When you have been in the system for a while - and particularly so if there are near continuous reassessments (in my partner's case, every 7 or 8 weeks, due to an ex hell bent on removing the "shared care" element my partner is fully entitled to - by repeatedly lying to the CSA about the no. of overnight stays ..... causing ridiculous amounts of admin for all concerned & wasting taxpayer's money ........ though I'm not suggesting this is the case for TM) it's often near impossible to work out what you should be paying, from which date.

My partner advised the CSA immediately he had a new job, yet it took them 7 months to reassess him based on his new salary. He was then told he had "arrears", and that these could be paid back at no less than 5% of his gross salary per month (which may not seem a lot, but is when your mortgage, travel to work & maintenance already takes 80% or more of his net salary) ..... irrespective of how affordable this actually was, and irrespective of his repeated requests for them to get their finger out
and tell him what was due so he could start paying it back. He obviously had an idea of what "extra" was due, but couldn't calculate it properly due to all the to-ing and fro-ing which goes on continually in his case. And the CSA refuses totally to negotiate on this 5% business.

Nowhere in TM's posts have I got the impression that her DH is irresponsible, nor that he's refusing to pay back what is due, within a reasonable timeframe. Her opening post was prompted by the excrutiating fear that her home may have to be sold, which would of course affect her own children as well as her DH's "first" children for that matter. Them being made homeless could potentially affect DH's job, which could then maybe have a knock-on effect on how much maintenance he's due to pay etc.

Twinklemegan · 09/08/2007 13:23

Thanks catsmother for the injection of sanity.

My DH does contracting work and the CSA has been completely unable to cope with variable income, leading to huge assessments when he was earning nothing whatsoever. He currently has no work because all his work involves being away from home at short notice. To do that we would have to pay for full time childcare which we would only need some of the time - this would cancel out any income he did bring in. He has been unsuccessful in finding other work at this time to fit around childcare.

I myself am currently paying the maintenance and arrears assessment whilst the CSA takes their time (as usual) to decide that no income equals can't afford to pay. The arrears accumulated during 6 years when the CSA failed to provide an assessment or give any means of paying. The PWC did not chase them at all during this time.

You can all think what you like, but don't you dare to throw accusations at DH and myself. We love his "first" kids and have a good relationship with them. They are grown up btw, the youngest is 16. We are good people trying to do the right thing, but for me, of course my own DS has to come first.

I have no idea why I am defending my family on a internet forum, I really don't. I am pretty disgusted by your attitudes to be honest. A child is a child, whether from a "first" or "second" family and as mothers I am very sorry that the welfare of some children doesn't matter to you.

I know I flew off the handle last night and I have apologised for that, but I am really sick of the attitude on Mumsnet that only first families are worthy of any sympathy. Incidentally, the ex left DH, not the other way around.

OP posts:
Twinklemegan · 09/08/2007 13:25

And Tatt I take real exception to your offensive slight on a loving father and I request that you withdraw it.

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Twinklemegan · 09/08/2007 13:27

WWW I wasn't asking for help from you or anyone else. Why would I trust anything said on an an internet forum fgs? I was trying to raise awareness of a genuine issue. Take it, or leave it. But like I said, the lack of concern shown on here for the welfare of children is truly shocking.

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PSCMUM · 09/08/2007 13:43

o those poor dads...imagine being forced to pay for their own children. how awful. the CSA rates of payment are an absolutel pittance anyway, most dad's who have had to go trhough the CSA at all it is because they did not pay up volunatrily in the first place, and if arrears have been accured this means that they have had to be chased by the CSA to pay at all, during which time arrears have mounted up. for crying out loud, why should anyone feel sorry for these t*ssers?!
And they don't have to sell thier houses straight away, they usually just have a charge put on their house so that if they do sell it, they have to pay their CHILDREN the money they need TO LIVE ON out of the proceeds. how is that wrong?

PSCMUM · 09/08/2007 13:48

i love also that there is a perception that the money is for the ex, not for the kids. how stupid can you get.

expatinscotland · 09/08/2007 14:34

Plenty of concern shown for children on this board.

But when you chose to go and have them with someone whom you know has other children he must support, how can you expect sympathy when you whinge about what a strain it is for him to pay for children from his previous relationship?

I mean, you knew taht going into the bargain.

beansprout · 09/08/2007 19:51

Well, you can accuse MN of many things, but lack of concern for children is hardly one of them!!

nightowl · 09/08/2007 20:35

twinklemegan had a thread the other night that seemed to indicate her partner had been paying maintenance to his ex, just not through csa (correct me if im wrong twinklemegan).

so if that's the case, his ex should inform csa that its already been paid and i fail to see why they would still go after him.

even when i was on benefit, csa told me ds's dad could pay them and they would give me £10 of it, or he could pay me and my benefit would be adjusted accordingly.

im on the other side here but in my experience, ive been the one holding the cards. if i say "cancel it" they do (so long as im not claiming benefit of course). if i say "carry on" i have to nag the hell out of them to get anywhere at all.

i dont understand why they are going after him, unless his ex has lied, or he hasn't paid.

LittleBellatrixLeBoot · 09/08/2007 20:40

Did you know that the government is making children homeless by allowing non-resident parents not to pay maintenance, or allowing them to pay risible sums like a fiver a week?

Doesn't really sound like a reasonable opening gambit, does it?

Sorry if thread has moved on considerably since then - have only skimmed, am not feeling strong enough to do more.

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