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TOPIC: The dreaded CSA letter

The dreaded CSA letter 2 weeks 1 day ago #108670

Hi,

New here. I never thought that I would have to use these forums yet here I am. I have two daughters, aged 12 and 14. I have had them every single weekend since 2008 when I split with the kids mum (never married).

I have always paid her her maintenance on time and never missed a payment even once.

Since lockdown started the kids lived with me for 3 whole months so of course during that time I wasn't paying her. They have been back with her for the last few weeks though

She called last week to ask how much I would be paying her. I told her the full amount, but then explained that given during this time one or both of the kids often stay with me (or at my mum's) for weeks at a time then that would influence what I would pay her, as I would have to split it between her and my mother

She wanted a solid answer because she was filling in a tax return for some photography business she runs on the side (she's on benefits and hardly makes anything from that business) and wanted to put in a value. I explained multiple times what the full amount is if they both stay with her for the whole month but if one is at my mum's for a week then I have to split it accordingly. This was frustrating her but I wasn't sure what else to say. It was right, right?

Low and behold, after 12 years of paying and never missing a payment, having my kids every single weekend without fail, buying all their toys, clothes, electronics etc throughout the years (literally 100% of them) I now have a letter from the CSA saying that I need to pay her (despite never missing a payment).

She has chosen the 'collect and pay' route which involves a 20% additional cost for me and a 4% deduction for her

I have desperately been trying to contact her to resolve this but she will not take my calls. I knocked on her door today and managed to talk to her for a bit, but she simply doubled down and said she was doing it as she wanted no contact with me whatsoever

What should I do here? I cannot accept 24% of my payment going to the government just because she is being vindictive. We will all be poorer for that

Add to this the fact that my elder daughter barely lives with her anymore, even prior to lockdown she was usually at her grandmother's (my mum) throughout the month but officially she lives with the mum.

Also during the 3 months the kids were with me during lockdown I received nothing whatsoever from their mum

I am shocked by this after all these years and incredibly anxious, and the amount they are attempting to charge is ridiculous.

Clearly 'direct pay' would be the better option for everyone, yet she is insisting on collect and pay which would involve a fee. WTH???

Is there anything I can do here? What should I do? I am at my wit's end here and she is incredibly difficult to deal with

Note: I haven't replied to the CSA yet. We also argue sometimes in a bad way so the desire to have zero communication is mutually beneficial.

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Last Edit: by EastClintwood. Reason: adding notes

The dreaded CSA letter 2 weeks 1 day ago #108672

Hi

I'm no expert here and I'm sure one of the other posters will advise in more detail however my understanding is that she cannot choose collect and pay if you are willing to do direct pay and do not have a history of missing payments.. i would appeal to your ex and explain she will lose 4% of the amount received (this is technically from you but its from the amount she receives)..

You mentioned CSA rather than CMS, have you had a case with them for some time when they were previously known as CSA? Do you have a history of missing payments? Paying less than amount due? Paying late or any other action causing dispute with CSA in the past?

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The dreaded CSA letter 2 weeks 1 day ago #108673

Thanks for the reply. I have never missed a single payment. The only time even close is during the first three months of lockdown where they lived with me full time and didn’t see their mum once, during which time I didn’t pay her

This month, as the kids have gone back to her, I paid her again at an increased rate as I got a new job on a higher salary

And yes, it is the cms. I’m just used to calling them the csa. My bad

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Last Edit: by EastClintwood.

The dreaded CSA letter 2 weeks 1 day ago #108674

By using the CMS are the payments likely to go up to her or having you been paying what you should be?

If there is no change to the amount other than an extra 20% for you (4% comes off her received amount) then maybe try explaining that to her as she may be under the understanding that there is no loss to her as you will pay an extra 4% which isn't the case..

Are there any third parties or mutual friends who could mediate and speak to her about things? Do you ever give her money above what you should pay her? If you have to pay 20% then an extra money would also have to stop etc
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Last Edit: by Daddyup.

The dreaded CSA letter 2 weeks 21 hours ago #108675

I see no reason why collect and pay should be implemented, there is no justification for it. She has opened a case and the norm would be for it to be direct pay, if there is no other history.

Suggest call CMS and tell them there is no need for collect and pay, you are choosing Direct pay. They should then change it to that.

Also suggest getting a login to the CMS portal, where you can put messages and documents(where relevant) in without speaking to anyone(which is difficult currently).

They have been responding very fast to my ongoing issues recently via the portal. You can then write a letter via the portal stating you have been assessed, but wish for Direct pay.
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The dreaded CSA letter 2 weeks 21 hours ago #108677

No they cant put you straight on collect and pay just cos your ex says so, it says this in their literature.

If you don't have a court order then you are going to have trouble proving the overnights. Esp if she has the child benefit paid.

Bad situation, and the ones that are going to be affected by this the most are the kids, and it is all your greedy ex's fault.

Best of luck.
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The dreaded CSA letter 2 weeks 21 hours ago #108678

Thanks for the replies

The previous payments never went via cms. I just paid her £250 per month without fail

They’re saying they’re now going to charge me about 500 a month, plus the 20%. It’s mad

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The dreaded CSA letter 2 weeks 20 hours ago #108679

Why so high? I expect they will be using your P60 from 2019 -2020 tax year, that is quite a jump.

As said before they cant put you straight on collect and pay, something isn't adding up.

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The dreaded CSA letter 2 weeks 20 hours ago #108680

Hi

The figures you have now provided sheds different light.

If they are asking you to double your payments then either you clearly have arrears or you have been paying half of what you should have done or you have had a significant pay rise and not increased your payments accordingly?

Thanks

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The dreaded CSA letter 2 weeks 20 hours ago #108681

If any of those 3 apply then there is a possibility that they can put you straight onto collect and pay?

Is the £500 just the normal monthly payment? Are there any arrears?

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The dreaded CSA letter 2 weeks 20 hours ago #108682

I haven’t been underpaying. This was the agreed amount and there’s never been issue with it and trust me, I’m not cheap skating.

I pay for absolutely everything they own and all their holidays. All she pays for is food, gas and electric for them between Monday and Friday

There are no arrears

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Last Edit: by EastClintwood.

The dreaded CSA letter 2 weeks 20 hours ago #108683

then now you are with CMS, you dont need to pay for any of these extras. With the exception of the holidays you take them on.

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