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TOPIC: No income but she's denying access

No income but she's denying access 3 years 9 months ago #76434

Hi guys, just looking for a little advice, I apologise in advance if I have put this in the wrong place and for the long post.

A very close friend of mine has a 12 year old son with his ex, he gets on extremely well with his son, who is his mini-me, however the Ex, well lets just say she hasn't quite gotten over the fact that he left her and uses their son as a pawn to get what she wants.

She leaves the 12 year old at home for 3 hours a day whilst she goes out to work, at this time, he is left in charge of his 7 year old brother, who has behavioral difficulities and their family dog. The child broke down in tears to his dad this weekend as he is fed up with the responsibility and says it is too much for him, that his brother does not listen to him, and occasionally becomes violent. My friend then asked his Ex if he can have his son come to stay with him for a week, to give him a break and get him away from things like this.

She has stated that he can only do this if he starts paying child maintenance AND reimburses her for the last 2 years when he has not been paying her. The issue is, he has no income, literally zero, he is living off savings whilst starting his own business and we have researched and been told that as he has no income, he is not required to pay maintenance, is this correct? (they don't go through CSA)

She wishes for him to repay what she feels she is owed from the last two years, plus start paying a monthly fee again, or she will not let him take his child out of what is a potentially dangerous situation for just one week. His only access to his son is a fortnightly saturday, he often requests that his son stay with him overnight, and his son often asks for this too, but his mother always says no for various silly reasons.

I am at my wits end as to what to do. I have no children of my own, but watching my friend upset, and his son upset breaks my heart. I have become 'friends' with the mother in an attempt to mediate the situation, but this has not helped. He cannot pay the maintenance she is requesting with no income, but doesn't want to leave his little boy suffering in this situation.

I would very much appreciate any advice anyone can offer :/

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No income but she's denying access 3 years 9 months ago #76438

  • Mojo
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Hi there

This is an awful situation for your friends son. Maintenance and contact are two separate issues and one is not reliant on the other. If your friend has savings, he might like to consider giving her a small amount to stop this arguments. Depending on how much he has in savings, if she were to open a case with the CSA (now the CMS), they may find he is liable. It might be a good idea to give them a call and find out what the situation is.

As far as the situation with leaving the child and it being too much for him, your friend needs to discuss this with the mothers and ask her to make other arrangements or agree to the. Hold spending more time with him. If the mother won't listen I suggest that your friend contacts the childs school and also has a word with Childrens Services, the child isn't coping and it isn't right.

Your friend can also start the process of getting a better quality of contact with his son, there's no reason why he. Shouldn't be spending full weekends from Friday to Monday and time in the week with his Dad. It's all about what's best for the child and not what suits the mothers work schedule!

His first step would be to attend mediation, the mediator would then contact the mother and ask her to attend, if she refuses or mediation fails. The mediator will sign the form to enable your friend to apply to the court for a Child Arrangements Order. At 12 years old the childs widhes will carry weight.

There's lots of stickys at the top of the legal eagle section about the court process which you might find useful. Court is doable without a solicitor and as your friend has little income he may be entitled to funding for mediation and a full or part exemption from the court fee, which is normally £215.

Have a chat twith your friend and try and encourage him to join the forum, were a friendly bunch and will do our best to advise and support him.

Best of luck

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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

No income but she's denying access 3 years 9 months ago #76488

Hello Londonlady

With child maintenance and contact being separate concerns that are not linked in law, I am not an expert when it comes to making contact arrangements. However, I would still like to try and help your friend, at what sounds like a very distressing time for him, by offering some information about child maintenance.

All parents have a responsibility to provide regular and reliable financial support for their children. However, with a family-based arrangement, it does not only have to be about money.

A family-based arrangement is a flexible agreement, where your friend and his son’s mother can decide together who will provide what for him, without any involvement from the Government or legal system. These types of arrangements are not legally binding and therefore, have no set rules that must be followed.

If your friend is unable to offer a regular cash payment, he may wish to consider offering other kinds of support when he is able, such as buying clothes and other essentials for his son.

Your friend can find more information about family-based arrangements, including a range of tools and guides that can help with reaching one, on the Child Maintenance Options website at www.cmoptions.org .

If it is not possible to reach a family-based arrangement, either parent can make an application to the Child Maintenance Service. They are the Government’s statutory maintenance service and can either calculate the child maintenance, then leave your friend and his son’s mother to arrange payments between themselves (known as Direct Pay), or they can collect payments and pass them on for him (known as Collect and Pay).

The Child Maintenance Service usually calculate maintenance based on a paying parent’s gross taxable income. Your friend can find more information about how they work out child maintenance payments on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/how-child-maintenance-is-work...ut-child-maintenance .

If an application is made to the Child Maintenance Service in the future, your friend’s responsibility to pay will start from around the point he is contact them. This means they would not be able to backdate payments for the past 2 years that he has not been paying.

Further information about putting in place a statutory arrangement and the fees involved with this, is available on the Child Maintenance Options website.

The alternative to a family-based arrangement and the Child Maintenance Service is to arrange maintenance using the legal system. This is known as a Consent Order in England and Wales or a Minute of Agreement in Scotland.

For more information on the different ways to set up child maintenance and for a more personalised service, your friend would be welcome to call Child Maintenance Options free on 0800 988 0988.

I can see that Mojo, has provided you with some advice around steps that your friend can take in order to put a more satisfactory contact arrangement in place. He may also find the Children and Parenting section of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) web application, Sorting out Separation, helpful, as it covers the topic of contact concerns.



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This information which Child Maintenance Options has provided is not a substitute for independent professional advice and users should obtain professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances.

Please note: the Child Maintenance Options team cannot answer any questions relating to a specific CSA or Child Maintenance Service case

No income but she's denying access 3 years 9 months ago #76582

Hi there. I contacted the cms at the outset of dealing with my very difficult ex as I simply didn't trust her not to cause problems further down the line. It was probably a few months after the split I contacted them and I had huge worries as I was still paying the mortgage in its entirety and all other household bills.

I was worried about retrospective backdating to the point of the split but the call handler told me not to worry, the days of backdating had gone and any arrangement would only start from the day she or as was the case, me instigating the start. Your friend is not liable for backdating even if he had an income.

I could be wrong as I didn't encounter this gender bias nightmare until the cms had risen from the ashes of its devil like predecessor, the csa. Although I wasn't in situ at that time I'm pretty sure the csa practices although never admitted publicly of course had to be watered down to stop innocent dads being shafted anymore than they are now, hence the birth of the cms.

Of course like said it sounds like your friend is a good dad and if he had a wage and was beyond the breadline would of course give what he could.

It's very important to seperate the two issues. Park finance as clearly that's not viable just now. When working or more comfortable, your friend is clearly of a conscience that he will do best by his son.

Concentrate on seeing his son. Start the mediation, he has nothing to lose. Fortnightly Saturdays is pathetic but because she permits this, it negates the chance of any fabricated reasoning she comes up with being accepted by the court. The rationale being that if she had concerns of dads suitability, why is she ok with the Saturdays? An increase is the next logical moral and legal step.

Your dad has jumped the 1st fence already..pm me if your friend needs any further advice. I have lived this nightmare. It can be defeated.

Love to you both


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