CMS - overpayment refund (Small claims court)
I have been paying CMS for almost two years because my ex-wife wouldn't agree to have an equal 50/50 care share for our two children. Although CMS calculated wrongly the value I should be paying for CMS, my solicitor advised me to pay a much higher value voluntarily. After many months doing this, CMS re-calculated the value I should be paying and asked me to pay a few thousand in arrears back in May 2023. After I spoke with them on the phone and explained that I have been also paying the voluntary amount on top of that, they asked me to submit via their portal alongside with the bank statements proving it. I have called every two weeks until now (November 2023) to check the status and for them to recalculate the payments without the arrears, and their answer was always they were looking into it.
Last July 2023 I finally agreed with my ex-wife the equal 50/50 care share for our two children and I let CMS know. They have done nothing about the payments and insisted I had to keep paying. They said they have tried to call my ex-wife for months to confirm the new agreement without any answer. In October 2023 my ex-wife finally answered the CMS call and confirmed the agreement. CMS closed the case immediately without consulting anything with me. When I called to check what happened with the voluntary payments that had been in review for months and the extra payments I have done since July, they said I cannot get any money back because the case is now closed. And because I have been paying using direct pay I would need to go through the Small Claims court to claim any money back.
This is beyond unfair, when I stopped paying for a couple of months while the new payments were being calculated CMS threatened me with prison. When took them 6 months reviewing my voluntary payment, they quickly closed my case without finished reviewing. And now if I want to pursuit it, I need to take my ex-wife to the Small Claims Court. This was not her fault, CMS is the one that has forced to keep paying.
I told the person on the phone, the whole system is against dads, and the lady confirmed she hears that a lot.
Is this the only thing I can do?
I think it will be difficult to get money back. Think solicitor gave bad advice. I recommend you join this support group. Experienced people there and they can advise: