Family Agreement in place for 11 years - but just got a letter from CMS
Hi, I have had a Family agreement in place for over 11 years, it has been tweeked slightly in that time due to changing circumatances and the childrens needs. I have never in all that time missed a payment. Out of the blue today I got a letter from CMS that more than doubles the Private agreement payments, this will literally drive me into bankrunptcy! What are my rights to challenge CMS? Unfortunately communication with my ex partner broke down last year after access right to my youngest child who is 16 became non existent, I had a whatsapp from my ex asking me to help support my oldest (20) at Uni which I have been doing every month. I am at a loss as to whether the private agreement as has any legal standing or how to proceed. Any help advice greatly appreciated.
unfortunately now that your ex opened a case with CMS, they will likely take over and you would have to pay maintenance based on their calculation. you mention 1 child is at uni, so this means you do not pay child maintenance once child starts advanced education.
has CMS listed both children on the case? and is the 16 year old still in full-time education?
CMS do state they take a private/family based arrangement into account:
Q: Do you take family-based arrangements into account?
A: Yes, we do.
A family-based arrangement is when two parents decide between
themselves on how best to support a child or children without involving
the Child Maintenance Service. This can either be a formal arrangement,
such as an order for maintenance made by a court, or an informal one,
when the parents have made their own personal agreement.
If a paying parent pays child maintenance for a child through a
family-based arrangement, we take this responsibility into account.
We do this by:
1. counting the child with a family-based arrangement as a child that a
paying parent must pay child maintenance for when we work
2. reducing the amount of child maintenance that must be paid through
us to take into account the family-based arrangement.
First, we work out the weekly amount of child maintenance that must
be paid in Step 5. This amount is then split between the number of
children the paying parent must pay child maintenance for.
We then adjust the final weekly amount of child maintenance in Step 5
to take any family-based arrangement into account.
If a paying parent pays the Flat rate of child maintenance, we don’t take
family-based arrangements into account.
I would suggest you contact CMS and ask about this.