Free online course for separated parents
Forum - Ask questions. Get answers.
Free online course for separated parents
Should I go to cour...
Clear all

Should I go to court & pension contributions

New Member Registered

Hello DADs,

I'm reaching out to this community with a heavy heart, seeking support and guidance from those who have walked a similar path. For the past few years, I've cherished every moment with my 11-year-old daughter, who stays with me two days a week. However, the system seems to be working against us, dads, and my frustration with the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is growing by the day, it's like talking to wall. The ex earns more than I do, they (CMS) don't consider her income nor do they tax the money she receives and the worst part is that the maintenance is not used on purpose!

Despite my commitment to being a present and loving father, the CMS has made some decisions that feel incredibly unfair. Because my daughter stays with me for under 103 days per year, her mother receives a higher financial amount, which has created tension and a sense of injustice. I firmly believe that the bond we share and the time we spend together should be acknowledged more equitably. Although our private arrangement is to have her two days per week ex works out the "allowance" to be exactly under 103 days per year, I'm only having her for 10 days of her 48-day summer holiday. If I take her for one half term I wouldn't see her for two weeks after that, she always works the days I have her to be exactly under 103 days per year.

I'm at a crossroads and considering taking this matter to court to fight for more balanced shared care of my daughter. The idea of a legal battle is daunting, and I'm unsure if it's the right step. That's why I'm turning to you, fellow dads, for advice and support.

Have any of you faced similar situations with the CMS? Did going to court help improve your shared care arrangements? How did it impact your relationship with your child and the overall family dynamics? The one thing that kept me from doing this was the fact that she would force her to lie to CAFCASS or the court so that the arrangement would stay the same. I'm worried that I might even lose the precious 103 days I have at the moment, God forbid.

Additionally, I plan to increase my pension contributions to 25% and submit a change of income to CMS. Doing the math this will cause a 25% drop in my income since I got a large bonus the year before and was assessed on a higher income earlier this year. According to the Financial Services Authority guidelines (36014), the maximum pension contribution is 18% (since I started in my 30s). I wonder if this strategy might work and how many months back CMS typically asks for evidence, such as payslips. Has anyone had experience with CMS potentially declining such a request? I rather give the difference in maintenance directly to my daughter than pay my ex's mortgage. I already give her pocket money and I teach her to appreciate the value of things and not their price.

She means the world to me!

Thank you!

Topic starter Posted : 05/07/2024 4:00 pm
Illustrious Member


you could try mediation. failing that, courts. be mindful that courts will not be interested in giving more time with child if its to lower child maintenance. 10 days/nights in summer holidays does seem restrictive. should be able to get half of holidays. you could self represent. feel free to get in touch if you need help. sending you private message.

Posted : 06/07/2024 7:04 pm
New Member Registered

Thank you for your reply. Yeah, I did mediation shortly after we separated a few years ago and it failed miserably. I have been on an emotional roller coaster since whether I should go to court or not. As I said, my ex will tell her to lie in court and that's the one thing stopping me, I don't want to lose the few precious moments I have with her.

Topic starter Posted : 10/07/2024 1:16 pm
Active Member Registered

I've spent a long time at this and one thing for sure is not to be frightened to fight your own corner!  You are an equal parent and have parental rights.  More importantly, it is your daughters right to have a wonderful relationship with you her father and not your ex's.  

My situation through the courts over the years cost me thousands with solicitors, barristers, Mckenzie friends and the like and I found that I was getting nowhere with the snake oil sales people. I decided to represented myself as a litigant in person and this was a huge change with a far better outcome.  The courts will never really give you a 50-50 arrangement because the system is corrupt (it's a business!) but you can get close. 

The choice of having to go to court can only be yours and I think that most on here would agree that they wouldn't go if they really didn't have to.  Unfortunately, sometimes you have to go when there is no other way, especially if you are unable to mediate or you have an ex that believes she can use the child to control you.  

The courts can be a daunting place at first and sap the life out of you, but stand tall and don't let your ex control you or your daughter's future.  All I can say is that the kids grow fast and you cannot replace the time.  

There is nothing stopping you writing to you ex (evidence) proposing a better parenting arrangement for your daughter and requesting her reply? Consider what would be ideal for you and your daughters relationship and built it around that.  At least if you end up going to court to fight your corner you will be able to demonstrate that you have your child's best interests at heart and have attempted to resolve issues prior.   

Posted : 15/07/2024 9:27 pm
Eminent Member Registered

I hear you, and I'm really sorry you're going through this. It’s clear how much you love your daughter and want to be there for her. The CMS system can be incredibly frustrating, especially when it feels like it’s working against you.

I’ve been in a similar situation with the CMS and it’s tough. Going to court is a big step, but it can help if you feel the current arrangement is unfair. In my case, it did improve my shared care arrangement. The process was stressful and took a toll, but in the end, it was worth it for my relationship with my child. Just make sure you’re prepared for the emotional and financial costs.

Posted : 16/07/2024 4:52 am

Pin It on Pinterest