Yesterday i had the forms drop through my door from the CSA. I spoke to a representative straight away and was honest and cooperative with them. However when it came to the subject of nights he spends with me i was told the mother has said he spends a minimum of 1 night a fortnight at my house. I told them this was completely untrue as my son, who is now 13, spends pretty much every weekend from Friday after school, to Sunday evening with me.
I'd estimate there is maybe 4 or 5 times a year he doesn't spend the weekend & this has been the same since i split with my ex when he was 3. He also stays roughly half of his school holidays with me.
The rep told me they'd have to go with the lower estimate, i.e hers.
How do i appeal or prove this is not the case, as with her estimate my contributions are going to be higher than they should?
I have always paid maintenance to her on time as well as covering all his costs (clothes, activities, holidays, phone etc) and also paid a regular amount into a bank account for his future.
She recently asked for my payments to double to which i refused which i suspect is why she has gone this route.
A bit of back ground,,,, i left her because of regular drug abuse (cocaine), physical abuse, constant verbal abuse.
Her house is a constant mess, she's unreliable & i've lost count of the times i've dropped him home to she's not there and uncontactable, (he'll then stay an extra night & i make arrangements to get him to school on time the following day. His school attendance is historically bad where she often fails to get him to school. She is a complete car crash! The only positive i can say is she has never tried to stop me seeing him.
This is all untrodden ground for me so any advice or courses of action would be most appreciated.
Unfortunately, it's difficult to find any proof that the CMS find acceptable - I have heard that in a dispute, they will default to one night per week (which gives you some discount) but not sure if that still holds true.
basically you need a court order which states how many nights your children stay with you. CMS can not dispute this. When i rang them about number of nights, they asked if I have a court order about this. after i sent them a copy, they recalculated my payments.
first you would have to attempt mediation. You can attend one by yourself. called MIAM Assessment. Last year I did a short video call with one. £89. they gave me permission to make court application.
I would suggest that you should use this opportunity to ask court to give you more time/nights to spend with your children, if you want more. also if you dont have anything in place, about taking your kids on holiday abroad, then ask court to put this in order, regarding giving passports etc.
you have to pay £215 to make application to court.
That's a change in attitude - wonder if that happened when CSA became CMS, the CSA used to say that the court order didn't prove the actual number of nights (techincally correct, as there's no guarantee that it will happen even with a court order). Much more sensible that they do accept it though.