Hi all, I am sure I am not the only one who has had very difficult communications to the CMA. But I need some advice here please.
Called them yesterday in response to an application by my ex-wife for direct pay through CMA rather than our previous arrangement which has always worked but based on the CM formula. To add I have always paid the correct amount by DD, not missed one payment for 10 years and correctly calculated and updated the DD every year. There has been a recent change to the frequency of stays, due to kids being teenagers and sadly being manipulated/controlled by the mother. Obviously the CMA are not interested in the fact the reduction in overnights is not mutually agreed and are basing the calculation on how it is right now in a very difficult period for me who wants to retain the contact levels that had been working previously.
Emotionally not seeing my kids is very difficult but there seems to be a continual twisting of the knife which is generated by the system and only rewards the resident parents manipulating behaviour and leaves me helpless with very few options.
Two main questions I have are.
1 - I am self employed. CMS had calculated my income of the last tax return they could access (on 24th Jan 2020) which was from 2017/2018. I was expecting them to be able to 'refresh' their data based on my last return 2018/2019 as this would have now been showing on whatever systems they use to access this data. The response I got was delivered in the most awful way by somebody void of any empathy was that unless there is a 25% difference in the figure they will not recalculate. I have earnt significantly less between the two tax years, but not 25% less. I was shocked that they pull nearly two year old information as part of the application and this appears to be set in stone unless there is 25% difference. I queried this several times but it was explained that they will not 'refresh' their data. The man actually said you should have done your tax return sooner ! Shocking.
Is there a process for challenging this ? Any experiences/advice would be appreciated.
So it seems that I am forced to have my payments calculated by an old income figure, and have no way of generating a re-calculation. This leaves me paying significantly more than previously due to a, the reduced number of nights (not agreed) and b, an out of date income figure. Needless to say if I explain this to the mother and request we reduce the payments to take into account my actual current income this will fall of deaf ears.
Like I say, this is shocking and a twist of the knife in what is already a very distressing time.
2 - I asked a hypothetical question of what happens if I end up in financial difficulty as a result of the extra payments I have to make, I used examples of not being able to pay tax bills, mortgage/rent utility bills etc. And moved that further querying that this could cause difficulty with my current housing for both me, my kids, my partner and her kids. It was explained in the 'most charming way' that CM payments are classed as a tier 1 debt and above the priority of HMRC and housing costs, ie mortgages/rents etc. Surely this cant be right...……
I am continuing to try and return the number of nights back to the previous working regime but not getting far at the moment as there is no communication coming back from my ex and very little from my teenage boys. I know teenagers are awkward little so and so's and their priorities change but they are not being encouraged by their mum, indeed they are being manipulated to not stay over and the system rewards this behaviour.
I really do not want to go to court to get a contact order in place as I fear the children will be put in front of a cafcass officer, one of theg kids is in the middle of his GCSE's for one and I also fear the level of manipulation will be ramped up. I am also being isolated (this has been repeated) from key education/further education choices despite my efforts to maintain involvement.
Trying not to sound bitter but the continual 'knife twisting' is unbearable. All I want like so many other non resident parents is to feel that I am being treated fairly and maintain a relationship with my children.
It really is unfortunate how they deal with this. I called them myself to discuss my situation, and I got the same sort of response. I asked them why do they include my car allowance when calculating the payment, if i cannot afford my car, i cannot work. They actually suggested i sell my car? I said that is not possible, as I will then be unemployed (i have to travel up and down the country for meetings) they just said find another job that does not involve using a car. I have no problem contributing to my children, and at the moment, i am not getting any overnights, this will change in a few months or so. they do not seem to care she lives with her partner so their household gets two incomes (full time) she gets all the benefits and everything else. I am not stupid, and I know the amount I pay is more than enough to support the kids for a month but they refuse to help.
All i can say is, you have to pay what you are told, no matter how hard up it makes you. It is not fair, but it's the way it has to be
I will look at the link provided in detail earlier but at first sight it seems incredibly difficult to correct. If indeed it can be.
The system is simply wrong.
I am not in a position to 'manipulate' my income and more to the point why should I put myself on that position.
Why oh why is the system so wrong. I appreciate there are some who will manipulate and lie to avoid paying but that can't be the majority can it.
I am, and always have been happy to pay the correct figure for my children despite I am not convinced all of the money directly benefits them. But I have always paid and will continue to do so but the system encourages manipulation by the resident parent to their gain and actually the children's disadvantage.
Surely the whole system needs major reform. Is this on the cards ? I will write to my MP.
Any other thoughts on my questions above would be appreciated.
you mention there are other kids living with you, your partners? have you told CMS, as they will reduce your payments.
yes CMS can be silly at times. I signed up with them last year. first thing they did was write to me and ex and state that they checked my income for last year. my salary was £0 so i do not need to pay anything! like you i am self-employed. my income was showing under dividends, 0 for salary. so i rang them back and told them to take my dividend figure into account. sent them some info from my accountant and they sorted it out. on phone they asked me if my current tax return is ready? i said no. so they said then they need income details for last tax year. so i sent to them.
check your CMS paperwork. they review your income once a year.so when that time comes, hopefully you can send them info of the most recent tax return.
i tried using their portal. i uploaded my court order. when i rang and asked did they get it, they said they printed the doc but blank pages came out LOL. then they said can i post it to them, which i did.