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Quoted over £900 in CSA payments.... any advice?

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Hey all..

I’m in a quandary.

I’ve been a single dad for 5 years..never married, never missed payments never late for pickup I have kids 2-3 days and nights a week, pay for school and relaxed clothes, toys etc..

To do this I have had to live in a very cheap 3 bed run down house with structural issues, however its 3 beds and kids have enough room not to complain too much. Just doing what I can as a dad.

Kids mum has landed with our family house, family car and isusing the csa money i give her for her own benefit and girls hols to Newyork etc (pre covid)… However I'm happy as long as i know I’ve paid…although it is frustrating that i live in squalor while she gets the house, car and a holidays.


My query is .... I currently pay 300 pm in csa on a 35k wage..

I’ve secured a contractor role that boosts me to 130k per year if it lasts a year… However csa calcs on the year are over £900 per month and if it doesn't last a year, i will have overpaid a substantial amount.

Im not shirking responsibility but is there ANY RECOURSE as how is £900 pm appropriate as cost for kids for the ex is the same as if I was on a 30k job… It means I am constantly battling to improve my own situation for me and kids…while she get looked after by me and the state.

The scary thing is it means the ex also has more funds if she wanted to seek legal help to squeeze even more out…. Is there anything that people have done to manage this…?

I want the kids to have the best life but surely I can provide that based on my wages (and a fair contribution given to their mum).

She has more opportunity to abuse the system (which he has done plenty of) so by taking the job I'm guaranteed she will push for more and more legally which will decimate my extra funds as well as mentally send me even further down.

Help very much appreciated.

Topic starter Posted : 12/06/2021 8:53 am
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Honorable Member Registered


Unfortunately there is no recourse. CMS is based on your gross salary. Often the receiving parent is left better off financially than the paying parent. Many dad's have given up on improving their situations to avoid lining the pockets of their ex. Frustrating yes but it is the way it is. It's important to not let it get to you. You mention that the cost of raising the kids is the same regardless of your income which is correct, however the system is designed to improved the lives of your kids as you improve your life (although doesn't always work as there is no obligation on ex to spend the additional amount on the kids  she is entitled to spend it on whatever she wants).. Whilst your payments go up so does your disposable income and therefore your own circumstances significantly improve too.. Plus I'm sure this opportunity  may well help your future career at a time when you will no longer have to pay CMS.

Its important to make sure that the CMS calculation is based on the correct number of nights you have the kids to avoid overpaying..

Also CMS is paid in arrears and therefore if you do lose the role part way through the year and your income drops by at least 25% you can request a recalculation to avoid overpaying..


As you were not married you don't have to worry about paying her any more than CMS. If your payments go up to £900 then you could make it clear that you will not pay anything further to the kids.


All the best. 

Posted : 12/06/2021 10:23 am
Active Member Registered

thanks for the quick reponse.... its such a poorly run benefit..... horrendous as its open to soo much manipulation.


whats weird is it assumes i pay nothing to kids upkeep.... and its almost designed to make me think that way..... soo frustrating especially as a 30k wage isn't that bas but am still struggling with no benefits..and a 130k potential is great, with the added benefit of seeing very little of that benefit the kids except for the money i spend on them....

its such a crazy set of rules that is encourages the paying party to no longer support outside CMS which ruins any possible friendly relationship and keeps it as via CMS only,,, strange times.


great advice thank you,,

Topic starter Posted : 12/06/2021 12:33 pm
New Member Registered

am in a  related situation. 

Is it possible to reason with her, about the costs, and open an ISA, or some other no-withdrawals-before-18 account for them which you can put the money in directly for when they're older?

Posted : 06/07/2021 1:43 am
Famed Member

CMS does not really give parents incentives to work hard and earn more. theres lot of evidence that it can push both parents into poverty. take look at this: 


This post was modified 1 month ago by Bill337
Posted : 06/07/2021 11:05 am

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