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TOPIC: newbie advice please

newbie advice please 3 years 5 months ago #81947

hello everyone
some advice if I may.

I pay my x wife child maintenance and previously both boys were with her.
My eldest now 16 has decided to live with me and I still pay money each month direct (we don't use CSA anymore) although less than I did when they were both there.

My x wife only works 5 hours a week but her fiancée who lives with her and my youngest son permanently works full time.

Should they pay child maintenance for my elder son who lives with me from their combined earnings as they are both in the household?

any advice or direction to somewhere that can help greatly appreciated.

I am reluctant to speak to the CSA as they previously took money from me not owing but that's another subject

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newbie advice please 3 years 5 months ago #81954

Hello Michael_3

If one of your children is now living with you, your ex-wife is indeed responsible to contribute to his upkeep.

Maintenance payments are calculated based on the gross, taxable income of the paying parent only, so your ex-wife’s fiancée’s income would not be taken into account.

The Child Support Agency (CSA) no longer deal with new applications, so if you were to start a statutory maintenance arrangement, it would be set up via the Child Maintenance Service.

There are various different ways to set up a maintenance arrangement, including the family-based arrangement which you have at the moment, the Child Maintenance Service and the Consent Order.

If you would like some information about your options and to receive a more personalised service, you can contact Child Maintenance Options directly, www.cmoptions.org

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have a website, ‘Sorting out separation’. It aims to make it much easier for separating and separated parents (and childless couples) to find the support they need, when and where they need it, and encourages them to collaborate on a range of issues. The link is www.sortingoutseparation.org.uk/



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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

newbie advice please 3 years 5 months ago #81957


Dont be quick to assume that "you don't use CSA anymore". The CSA (and less so the CMS) are notorious for not closing cases - and also some parents think "using the CSA/CMS" only refers to using CSA to "collect payment" and that when they "direct pay" this is then *not* using the CSA/CMS. This is misguided, as when a CSA/CMS case is opened (by either parent) it remains "open" until the child (or children) are no longer eligible to attract child maintenance - or the parent who opens the case expressly and directly contacts the CSA/CMS to ask them to close the case.

There are a number of parents on these forums that have got into a pickle because they assumed CSA/CMS was no longer involved....and took it upon themselves to vary (reduce) the amount they paid via direct payment.

Secondly, if you really are not using CSA - then you have a voluntary (or family-based) agreement. The terms of such agreement can be whatever is deemed acceptable by both parents. This means, there is no wrong or right answer here. Often what the CSA/CMS would hypothetically do is used as a benchmark - and in the scenario you present, yes the non-resident parent should pay maintenance towards the upkeep of the child with whom they do not reside.

That is the theory.

In practical terms - the CMS (CSA) will (by default) simply assume that whoever receives child benefit (a HMRC issue) also has day-to-day care of that child. So if your ex is claiming CB, then this is your first obstacle. Secondly, even if you raised the CB issue with HMRC, it cannot (ordinarily) be split between 2 parents (you can contest/dispute that CB be paid to the mother- but without evidence of the child living with you (such as a court order) they are likely to go with the status quo). Thirdly, CSA/CMS will as a default assume that everything your ex says is true - and ask you to provide extraordinary levels of "evidence" to prove otherwise. Even with a court order stating shared child arrangements - the CSA (old system - the new CMS system differs slightly on this point) may continue to declare a child maintenance liability for the non-resident parent who does not receive child benefit. The same goes for "netting" of child maintenance whereby each parent is the resident parent for one child each.

The new system is slightly fairer in this regard - but it still remains very much an uphill battle to get through the CMS hoops and hurdles to sort issues like this out. In other words - stay with a family-based agreement for as long as you can - and only revert to CMS as a last resort. Of course, you cannot do very much about this if the other parent opens a case - so therefore you should take account of the CMS baseline child maintenance figures (this does not always mean pay at least as much as what the CSA/CMS would prescribe - but obviously if you try to argue for a lot less, you hand the other parent motivation to seek CMS intervention...) in setting any family-based agreement.

Hope helps

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