Child Support and Overseas Parents

child-support-overseasI recently heard a case about a father, living overseas, who was billed £12,000 for child maintenance by the Child Support Agency (CSA) when he returned to England. My first thought was there had been an administrative error. The rules on child maintenance state that the CSA is unable to become involved in a case when the non-resident parent is habitually resident abroad.

When I explored the facts before me, however, I was soon engulfed in the CSA’s labyrinthine complexities.

According to the CSA’s Quarterly Statistics, more than 6,200 non-resident parents are living abroad but only a quarter of these are paying child maintenance through the CSA. The CSA is unable to enforce maintenance abroad, but this does not mean that the assessed maintenance is written off. Instead, a debt accrues at the CSA in each case. No wonder the CSA has a resource problem – combined, these debts could be in the millions!

Legislation introduced in 1991 meant that on the face of it, a move abroad and habitual residence there was the ideal way for a non-resident parent to evade financial responsibility for a child. This changed in 2000, when the rules were amended to allow for certain circumstances when the CSA would still have jurisdiction to enforce maintenance. These circumstances include:

  • When the non-resident parent works for a UK based company abroad.
  • When the non-resident parent is a civil servant or works within Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service or Her Majesty’s Overseas Civil Service.
  • When the non-resident parent is a member of the armed forces.
  • When the non-resident parent works abroad on a secondment for a prescribed body such as a NHS trust or a local authority.

Additionally, the vagueness of the term “habitual residence” can give rise to grey areas. The CSA does not define habitual residence; nor is there any case law that deals with this definition in the context of the CSA.

In general terms, “habitual residence” would suggest that you are resident in the country in which you are living. However if the non-resident parent’s sole motivation for a move abroad is work commitments, and they intend to come back to the UK, then the CSA could view their habitual residence as being in the UK. This is especially true if there is already a home and family in the UK, or if the parent spends more than 92 days a year in the UK and is registered as resident for tax purposes.

So when doubt hangs over a parent’s “habitual residence”, that parent may face a bill for ongoing maintenance and arrears accrued during time spent abroad. If this bill is left unpaid, it can be enforced by the CSA through the courts, using a Deduction of Earnings Order. This would mean that the CSA could take a sum out of the parent’s earnings each month, at source. Alternatively the non-resident parent could contact the CSA and try to come to some agreement over how much they can pay and when.

There are other processes whereby maintenance can be enforced upon a parent living abroad. The Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO) allows orders made for maintenance in a UK court on behalf of a UK resident to be enforced by either the courts or authorities of the foreign country in which the non-resident parent is living. A list of countries that are party to this process can be found on the CSA website.

In order to begin this process, the parent with care of the children should either apply to the magistrates’ court to register an already existing order abroad, or apply to the magistrates’ court to make an order for maintenance to be registered abroad. The order then effectively becomes an order of that foreign country and is, therefore, governed by the law of that country.

If arrears of maintenance accrue through the courts and are backdated by more than 12 months you must obtain leave of the court before you are able to reclaim these.  By contrast the CSA has no cut off date for arrears and are entitled to enforce arrears which are more than 12 months old. A CSA assessment will not accrue arrears if it is suspended by the parties, but will otherwise continue to accumulate.

Ultimately, it should be remembered that child maintenance is money that is owed to the child, not the other parent. Child maintenance is the responsibility of the non-resident parent and therefore it should be paid.

If the non-resident parent believes that their assessment is wrong or they cannot afford to pay then there may be some virtue in asking for a review or an appeal of their assessment. However this must be done within one month of receipt of the letter detailing the assessed amount that they are liable to pay.

So it seems that non-resident parents who think moving abroad will help them elude the CSA may have to think again. Parents who move abroad for legitimate reasons also need to consider whether they remain subject to the CSA’s assessments – and prepare accordingly.

rachel-baul

Rachel Baul joined Stowe Family Law in 2004, and is a member of the Law Society’s Family Law Panel. She specialises in all areas of family law and ancillary relief, and has been commended by a number of the firm’s high profile clients.

 

 

Note: This blog receives lots of queries related to the Child Support Agency (CSA). Unfortunately, because of the complex and labyrinthine nature of CSA processes and rules, such questions often call for lengthy and long-winded answers. For this reason, it is difficult to answer such queries on an individual basis.

If you are seeking advice about a situation that involves the CSA, perhaps these earlier posts will help. If your CSA-related query is of a pressing nature, I recommend that you contact the National Association for Child Support Action: a hardworking organisation that can provide ongoing assistance, advice and support.

Child and sea image credit: Pingu1963.

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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65 comments

stephanie Botterill - August 24, 2010 at 4:42pm

When my son was nine months old his father left and to cut a long story short, didn’t contribute towards his upbringing, emotionally or financially. My son would get a visit once every six months if he was lucky.

In early 2003 (when my son turned 4-years old) the Child Support Agency finally started to pay us from my sons father’s wages. This lasted until August 2004 when his father went abroad, our payments abruptly stopped and I was told that there was nothing that could be done. However I was told that his account would remain open until he notified them personally that he was out of the country. I was quite happy knowing that as long as he was out of the country he would still accrue arrears.

I spoke to the Child Support Agency later in 2006 who then decided that, because he was still out of the country, his account would freeze and no longer build up arrears from that point on.

I would like to draw to your attention the fact that I was a lone parent at the time (for five years), in and out of work trying to make ends meet and there was my son’s father having a very long holiday and not taking care of his responsibilities.

On his return to England in February 2009 my case was re-opened in July 2009. He then returned to work in late 2009 and the CSA then had to track him down again and reassess his income.
A year later we have received a letter from the CSA stating that my son will be entitled to £14.00 per week.
His father claims to be self employed (but works for his brother) and claims that his income varies drastically. Yet he works full time and has only declared weekly earnings of £137.00, hence my son getting a minimal amount of financial support. I’m having to seriously question what is going on here.

My biggest issue now is that I have been informed that the arrears he started to accrue when he first left the country will now be wiped clean. The law states that if a Non- Resident Parent leaves the country and stops paying Child Support (through choice) and is not working for a British company, no arrears will accrue from the moment they leave the country. Does a parent’s responsibilities cease just because they’re out of the country? Does the Government find it acceptable to let someone run away from their responsibilities so easily? I understand it is hard to keep track of someone’s employment when abroad, but I would have thought that a default amount would be set per month for the father (or mother) whilst out of the country, then re-paid to the child when they return to work in England.

This legislation needs to be reassessed, because from my view point it looks like the CSA are only there to benefit the parents shirking their responsibilities and not to benefit the children.
Mothers and fathers who have been left by themselves are being miserably failed by an outdated system , this law NEEDS to change within the CSA.

I have complained more than once to the CSA about these issues and they have told that me they can’t do anything as the law and legislation is very black and white.

I have spoken to the CSA again today and they have confirmed to me yet again that when the Non- Resident Parent leaves the country and doesn’t work for a British company, they stop acrruing arreas. How is this fair? Why can he get away with this? So what if didn’t work for a British company, surely my son should be owed something!

I’m going to kick up a big fuss about this as my son and I have been treated so badly and the CSA have only done favours for my son’s father, not my son.

S A Botterill.

Name Witheld - August 16, 2011 at 5:18am

I am a non resident parent living abroad.

I fought the Child Support Agency for 6 years. For one child I was meant to pay 15% of my earnings. The calculations by the Child Support Agency reached as high as 90% of my earnings.

The CSA refused to accept copies of my bank statements or Income Tax returns and stated all information had to come from the resident parent.

I tried to fight the Child Support Agency through the Court but I was told by the Magistrate to “sit down and be quiet, if the Secretary of State says you owe money, then you owe money”. The Child Support Agency does not have to explain there calculations therefore if you are the father of the child you are guilty and a Court Liability Order is issued. At the end of 2009 the Child Support Agency was given new powers and could directly issue Liability Orders bypassing the court.

I tried to enlist help at four big law firms in Doncaster and was shown the doors, one solicitor that would talk to me advised me that as long as I had property I would not be left alone. I attended the Citizens Advice Bureau in Thorne and was told that there was nothing they could do for me. They said the Child Support Agency was a law unto themselves and that legal firms had stopped taking the cases because they could not win.

With the help of my father we wrote to everybody we could think of from the Ombudsman to the Priminister to no avail as all letters directed us back to the Child Support Agency.

In 2010 the Child Support Agency took out a court order on my property in Doncaster. The next step would be to force the sale of the property and take the proceeds. This action would also close my self employed business as I would have no where to store my stock..

The Child Support Agency is responsible for suicides as fathers are left with no finances and no hope. The only other option currently left to fathers is to leave the country and disappear. The Child Support Agency has and is trying to have passports automatically removed to stop this happening.

Realising that our property was about to be pulled from under us along with it my business, I sold everything I could and chose to disappear. I now live abroad and will not return to the UK. At best the future for me in the UK would have been a bed-sit on the DHSS and no money to take my daughter out, at worst a prison sentence for non payment of money I could not afford and did not owe..

I love my daughter very much and do not believe I took an easy way out. I keep in touch with my daughter by email, and still support her financially.

M

I currently hold a three inch file verifying all the above and my story in great detail.

Tulsa Divorce Attorneys - September 10, 2011 at 6:57pm

So according to the 2000 amendments, the CSA does have jurisdiction over non-residents living abroad and if the non-resident does not pay CS, then an arrearage accrues that the CSA keeps track of and the CSA has the legal authority to collect on the arrearage??? very interesting.

I would have thought that the Hague Convention would come into play into play in this scenario.

susan - January 24, 2012 at 7:59pm

the csa, did nothing to help me all those years ago, my x husband at the time, worked in car showroom, ran two buisnessess from home was told not allowed to touch that income, all my child was awarded was £ 2.50 a week when he lived the life of luxury , holidays abroad, we dont no what it is to have a holiday. they let us down , and to this day im sure they are letting alot of others down.
he also has a daughter, bit younger than our son, and a 3rd now in thai land. so im not sure how much he owes the csa thats probaly why he left the country after making a profit on 28 charter house road. i hope they get their payment but he will always lie and cheat his way out of his resposibility for at least 2 of his children, i no of their maybe many more.

Lancelot - January 29, 2012 at 5:29pm

@Susan

We, we, we… Me, me, me. Good on your ex moving away. All you want is money for yourself and holidays. Why should he pay for your luxuries?

It gets me so mad. You women get EVERYTHING from the state. Help towards bills, housing, benefits and most of you work part time or not at all and sit on your asses.

I think it’s a joke. A guy does well for himself, and the women only want for themselves. Selfish the lot of you.

If you’re in hardship you should have thought about that before you had children, you should have made better life choices and made a career for yourself like your ex has.
Note Editor has removed the rest of this post as abusive.

Pauline - February 21, 2012 at 7:51am

I have a letter saying my child’s support is to cease because I live abroad. That is, the non-resident father continues to live in the UK but will no longer need to pay for his child because the child now lives in another European country. The letter says that the decision is because I am not habitually resident. Yet I continue to pay my national insurance and to pay tax in the UK.

Melanie - February 22, 2012 at 6:41am

My daughter found out yesterday her dad is moving to Germany in March, he told her he won’t be paying any maintenance, but yet his wife and child he wil maintain while they still live in London. I am not one of these parents that uses the money for myself it goes to my daughters schooling, clothes, travel, lessons, food etc. I will have to move and take my daughter out of school which she was very happy in. I think it is selfish for any parent not to support their child. I financially support my child the best I can and so should the absent father.

Tony D. - March 8, 2012 at 1:56pm

After being kicked out the family home and on the street penniless and suicidal with no where to turn. The wife moves her new lover in to our home whilst I seek what little comfort I could at the local doctors to prescribe me something, anything to relive me of the 24/7 agonising pain.

I found myself a cheap bedsit and carried on working hardly eating properly for days trying to piece things together. Then the CSA got in touch they demanded almost half of what I was earning which isn’t a great deal and there was no way I could possibly live on what was left. I was in regular contact with my son but the mother was so cold hearted and made my life such a living hell when it came to our son by mentally torturing me I was seconds away from committing suicide by hanging myself in my bedsit but something then sparked inside me, a light shone, a message from somewhere….move abroad don’t give up on life yet!. I cashed whatever I could lay my hands on and headed for the airport with a new 10 year passport reeling in pain about my son and not knowing what the future held for me. That was 6 years ago…I’m now remarried, living in the sun, speak another language fluently and have the most amazing life one could ever dream of.

When my son is 17 he will receive a large cash payout from me that will set him up for life, his mother is well off and grandparents are very well off, he will not go without apart from a dad to be there for him but if I had stayed I would of topped myself anyway…so as far as my X wife and the CSA are concerned they can stick their paper work and demands where the sun don’t shine because its certainly shining where I am right now :-)

missy - March 13, 2012 at 8:27pm

i am a woman. and let me tell you its a shame cash goes to these mothers. i know most mothers who spend all that cash the guy can barely afford to pay on themselves. its a joke. should be another way of doing this. pay to the court maybe to transfer cash onto a food card. and also buy what the kids need themself and send receipts to courts. its ridiculous how woman get money from state aid and help etc and still want and use all that money on ThemSELVES.

kaytee - May 20, 2012 at 3:01pm

How dare the small minded minority assume that the mothers are all money grabbing women who unfortunately most times are not the guilty party in the separation or divorce. You have obviously little knowledge of those single mothers trying to hold down jobs etc. to look after their children without the help of the father. Two people bring the children into the world… two should look after their welfare and not walk off and leave it all to the other. You obviously don’t realise what these children have to go through. My ex husband decided to have an affairs behind my back with young girls with an eye for money. We both worked for our business I even cleaned and worked in a bar abroad to help. That man left us with nothing, got our house repossessed and left me and my son with no home, sold our villa and furniture while he carried on with his business and also opened a shop.. while he was bankrupt. He was the richest bankrupt I ever known and made sure we knew it. Because of him the state also had to help us. If it wasn’t for those men who neglected their responsibilities to their children these woman would not have to ‘live off the state’. He has since got in financially difficulty and text me from Spain to say its all too much for him and has moved.. and cant afford to pay for his son nor be around to look after him whilst I work. He has abandoned his son and responsibility with his new baby and romanian girlfriend who is a bit younger than the other daughters he also doesn’t see. I have my own business I just started and am taking my degree this year… For four years I have studied worked, I dont smoke, drink very rarely and hardly go out. My money goes on my son. Whilst his father opens another shop in Spain and scarpers! And he can get away with it. I tried to get a divorce so he laughed and said is going bankrupt again and will put it all in his girlfriends name… who incidently owes money over here… so… On behalf of all the decent mums and dads out there we are entitled to a life too just because we are labled ‘single parents’ doesnt mean we should be sneered at for not being in a position to fully contribute to society… we do our best. As for me, me, me its a case of… the child, the child, the child so until you are the the situation to judge…don’t!

Jack - September 15, 2012 at 3:05am

Guys,
Alot of negitivaty the point to make is that both parties are resposible to support the child.But keep it in line with what is needed.
I pay my ex every month with out question, also buy laptops clothes shoes ect for my son he is 11, But she is a money grabber I have a better job now abroad and she wants more money well above what he needs. She has re married and has another son who is now 5 she has not worked for 5-6 years lives in a 4 bed detached house and has lied and conned money out of me for whatever.
Not all are the same but both should take care of a child but in my case its time to she wants around 600 pound a month when she is a kept women LOL!!! I will hand over control of my house to someone and tell the CSA to go jump and take her with them. I will contuinue to pay of course I have a duty to him but it dont cost 600 a month to run an 11year old. It will cost me 500 to hand over I will take this out of her payments, I offerd more money but she wants every penny she can get LOL!. Bless her and for all you guys who dont pay get real and pay its not right to pay nothing, butn if she is a grabber like mine out fox her or you will suffer. take care everyone.

Observer - September 16, 2012 at 3:40pm

“a move abroad and habitual residence there was the ideal way for a non-resident parent to evade financial responsibility for a child.”

Actually, it probably has more to do with wanting to escape the pain, wipe the slate clean, and go into exile in protest against a nation that hypocritically claims to put child welfare first.

But we can conveniently leave that stuff out….

Nesa Simon David - November 5, 2012 at 1:30pm

@Kaytee, why did you marry such a man in the first place? Seems like your childrens’ misfortunes (and incidentally yours) was a product of YOUR life choices…

Richard - November 22, 2012 at 9:19pm

It all sounds very frustrating and believe me I know exactly what you mean guys. It seems many people and authorities can not understand how much we do care about our children, how much we love them. Equal rights ? No chance. The mother decides to move out after cheating etc… get’s benefits, rent paid, the whole lot, whilst I had lost everything and not entitled to any benefits etc…. Couldn’t find work neither so went abroad to work for a while renting a small room, paying more maintenance then I should hoping this would give the kids a better live, but no, non of the money was spend at the kids, just went to the mother and her new husband, both not working and not even taking the kids out to the park or for a swim once a month. Came over 4 – 5 times a year taking my kids on a holiday and paying maintenance at the same time and still had to buy them decent shoes, clothes, presents etc…. Kept looking for work in the UK but wasn’t success full. Anyway, after 1,5 years working abroad so I could financially support my kids, I had managed to get a job in the UK near the kids and told my ex-wife I’ll be back in the UK in September. Guess what ? She had left the UK with my children within a week. Abduction this should be ? They moved to Holland and you know what ? I tried many solicitors for months now…and no one who wants to help me yet, tried authorities, embassies the whole lot and have been told I have to get a solicitor in Holland and fight this in a Dutch court costing a fortune and no chance to get the kids out of Holland although shared custody and authority. The EU and it so called laws are a joke, a discrase and if you are not able to pay solicitors in each country involved, all the travelling to see your kids and to go to court then you are F…..d. Sick of Europe, sick of courts, all pen pushers who don’t care being part of a System that doesn’t know what justice is and can’t understand how much it hurts. Sad sad world…

Observer - November 23, 2012 at 12:49am

You are not alone Richard. Your case is one among thousands that prove absolutely that the child welfare principle so beloved of those who make a profit from it is in reality what might be called the child abuse principle.

But again, that’s nowhere up for debate, and is something that cannot even be mentioned except on forums that all of 2 people might be reading.

JamesB - November 23, 2012 at 11:47am

I just wanted to say that I have just read ‘Name Witheld’s story and feel very moved and sad by him and like him prey for an end to the CSA and the repeal or superceeding of the CS Act 1991.

I also wanted to say to Observer that I do not think only 2 people read these sites. I have seen, both on here and on familylore.co.uk that the government and csa read all these threads along with many thousands of people. If you put specific child support or divorce or separation or contact questions into search engines marilyn stowe and john bolsh for example come up at or near the top often. Marilyn and John have also both mentioned that the CSA and government have contacted them following and during these threads. If you or John disagree please advise, but I think that is fair.

Also I have found the forums useful for support and in that they advise when there is to be another government consultation. Then I do make a point of writing in and objecting as you should and we all should to stop this bad law. I think we should not be down hearted and should not regard our efforts and comments as futile, we are valuable nice people too, chin up mate ;-) .

JamesB - November 23, 2012 at 11:49am

If we all keep on then we can get things to change. For example Payne v Payne and overseas relocation is not just signed off as it used to be and many other examples of the system slowly beginning to realise that men and nrps are people too and also usually good for their children.

Linda - December 2, 2012 at 8:15am

All I can say to everybody is to put up a fight, and keep fighting. The CSA/CMEC are the most corrupt organisation out there, and they now have carte blanche to prosecute NRP’s without a Court process, using information based entirely on their own ‘calculations’. I have spent 6 years fighting them through Appeal Tribunals, and not just for one error, there have been so many horrendous and appalling errors on my husbands case too numerous to mention (he is the NRP). We have received a few thousand back, but are still owed some £3000. I eventually exhausted the CSA’s own Complaints procedure and was then free to go to the Parliamentary Ombudsman, or so I thought. Only to be told that I HAD to first go to The Independent Case Examiner. The ICE took 2 years to look at the case, with all my supporting documented evidence to prove my case, only to be told No Go. I was stunned. I then went to the PHSO and they have recently said the same. I provided proof from CSA’s own paperwork of every single error, and terrible calculations, and have been told “we can see nothing to indicate that this was because of any failures by the CSA” !! I have now had to ask PHSO to review the complaint, and because there has been ‘unlawfulness’ in the reviews of the complaint by both CSA, ICE and PHSO it now looks as if this will have to go to Judicial Review, which is a phenomenally expensive procedure unless we qualify for legal funding. And there you have it in a nutshell.. The system is designed to make it so impossibly difficult, that they hope it will shake you off. the Complaints procedures are so time consuming (and in the meantime you still HAVE to pay what they say), and don’t expect help from either ICE or PHSO unless your complaint is only fairly minor and they can then be seen to compensate for a couple of thousand. If your case is complicated and the errors are serious, as in our case, you will get nowhere because the Government are terrified of a “Floodgate” epidemic, where if they compensate one serious case then the resultant floodgate claims will bring this Government to it’s knees financially. They know only too well that the CSA are so appallingly bad, and the staff so totally incompetent that all they can do is to arm them with more powers, akin to giving a madman a gun, and to close the protection net so tightly around them, that nobody can get through. But fight we must, and the best advice that I can give anybody not knowing where to turn is to first arm yourself with a copy of The CSA Handbook, which is available from The Child Poverty Action Group..cost about £27, or around £8 if you are on benefits. If you have ever been to a Tribunal (which incidentally, it’s quite often the case that the ‘Judge’ at these Tribunals is actually a solicitor for the CSA!!) you will notice that this is the book that the Judge refers to. It is a fantastic book and you will then discover how to fight them, and how to challenge them. The other thing that it is vitally important that you do is to contact your CSA office (in writing) and request a copy of ALL your DPU prints, which will cost you £10. These are copies of everything on your case, and if it hadn’t have been for that we would never have seen the horrendous errors. We knew they were there of course, but calls and letters to them, as you all know, only result in the “we are right” response. With these you get your proof. Don’t give up. We have got to see this corrupt organisation fall. I will leave you with food for thought.. Are you aware that CSA staff have targets and bonuses on what is collected?? and one member of CSA staff has been prosecuted for stealing from an NRP .. makes you wonder doesn’t it ?

Sadie - March 12, 2013 at 11:14pm

My sons father moved to Spain and hence the CSA stopped taking maintenance from him. I do not have a court order for CSA in place, does anyone know how much the courts charge to make one and apply for a REMO? And how then will they calculate the amount of maintenance owed if he works abroad and I have no idea of the company he works for or his earnings?

Marilyn Stowe - March 13, 2013 at 12:11pm

Dear Sadie
You need to go to the local court and issue your application for maintenance. You will need to complete the necessary forms about your finances and so will he.
For information about REMO this is the link. Call them on the number.
As its tricky, if you can afford it, consult a solicitor.
https://www.gov.uk/remo-unit-helpline
Best wishes
Marilyn

suzanne - March 15, 2013 at 8:19pm

i am married and we seperated in 2006 dec and we have a little girl who is 8 nearly 9 and i live in france with my little girl and he did up until 2006 Dec and he now lives in UK , he wants nothing to do with his daughter and i am wanting to know if i can claim any money from the CSA for our little girl , with me living in france and him living in the uk and working
We have not got divorced as he refused a divorce in 2007 so are just not together , can anyone shed any light on what i may claim or not claim

Marilyn Stowe - March 16, 2013 at 1:47pm

Dear Suzanne
I think you need some fast personal legal advice about the possibility of being divorced in England, obtaining a financial settlement in England such as spousal and child maintenance in addition to a capital payment which may include property and pension sharing. He can’t just “refuse” a divorce in English law.
The reason for my concern is that whichever country the divorce is issued in will most likely hear the financial side and French law may be unfair to you.
So please get yourself some English and French legal advice and act on it in your best interests.
The CSA does not deal with cases where the recipient and child live abroad.
Regards
Marilyn

JamesB - March 17, 2013 at 2:40am

If I was him and I got such a divorce petition first thing I would do would be to dispute the jurisdiction then lawyers fees go through the roof. Hence why people struggle with lawyers. Will cost more in lawyers bills then she might get in maintenance. The other thing to do would be to issue proceedings in France for child support (never spent any married life with him outside of France) and then rely on reciprocal arrangement with England. Again more lawyers involved with their fees. If I was her I would start by phoning him and asking which country he would prefer to be divorced in.

It is disappointing and the route of a lot of problems that people regard divorce predominantly as a money grabbing exercise. That is not what it is about and does devalue marriage that attitude.

naomi - March 17, 2013 at 2:44pm

james from most of the comments i have read that you have put on here it seems like you have been hurt quite badly by somebody and that seems a shame as you appear to be a very nice genuine bloke. i can seem quite harsh in some of my comments but i assure you i am quite the opposite i reality let me prove to you that not all us women are money grabbing monsters naomiswenson@hotmail.co.uk
lets have a drink.. ill pay :)

JamesB - March 18, 2013 at 12:45am

Hiya, thank you for that Naomi, it was a nice message to receive. I will e-mail you, I like nice. Plus, yes, my last post was speaking from experience. I would say though that I do not think most women are like that. Indeed my ex father in law did cause most of the difficulties in my divorce which I allude to. Have a good week.

JamesB - March 18, 2013 at 1:58pm

May end up in your spam folder by mistake and perhaps keep an eye on that as well as your inbox. I think naomi is a nice name btw.

naomi - March 18, 2013 at 8:28pm

most problems in relationships do stem from the other partys family in my expierience @jamesb

Marj - March 29, 2013 at 12:26am

There are always 2 sides of a story, however at the end of the day, the parent left caring of the child/ren needs support both financially and emotionally. It’s tough being a single parent. It doesn’t help when the paying parent takes off and moves abroad without taking into consideration, there is a child who still needs to cared for. I believe that the law does not protect the single parent enough. the length of process and the crap that goes with it. Not all single parent have housing benefits or income support. In this day and age, there has to be a better way to easily track a parent who avoids what is ultimately his/her responsibility to pay for his/her child. It is not the governments.

Kathryn - April 13, 2013 at 9:17am

My daughters father is an oil rig manager (he is not on window cleaners money). He took great pleasure in telling me that he was moving to Bahrain, where I presume he still Perseus his career in the oil industry. Knowing I would be worried, he knew I would ring the CSA to inform them, so with a couple of phone calls, one to him stating he was moving permanently my daughters payments were stopped! Which of course suited him! So he and his wife who both retain property’s in the UK with tenants in, and in the area where my daughter and I live are laughing at me……but of course they lack in site when it comes to the needs of my seven year old.

I am a registered nurse and have three jobs, looking after then needs of dying patients at night time, and two health promotion jobs in secondary schools, I recently went for a fourth interview. As you can imagine, child care costs are steep, although my daughter is now in primary school. I have the help of my aged mother 70 this year, who fills the financial gap as best she can otherwise we would be homeless on just my part time wage!!!! So we continue to live with my mother who looks after my daughter at night so I can drive sometimes 45 miles to work at night.

So between my pensioner mum and me a part time staff nurse my daughter gets the bare basics. I have to say no to swimming lessons, no to piano lessons, no to things in the shop window, and mull over whether I can afford to buy my daughter something in the Charity shop!

Because of my daughters fathers lack of responsibility and his choice to move abroad, to get out of making payments, my daughter has to suffer. If she was born to a prince she should expect the same lifestyle to that of her father, if she was born to an oil rig manager, she should expect the same standard of living, if she was born to a window cleaner then she should live by the window cleaners standards.

While he is sunning himself on his time off, I am struggling to buy school shoes for my daughter.

What are the rights of the child in these circumstances?

I went to court last week, he did not show up Obviously as he is living abroad. It would seem the law and the CSA protect that of feckless parents who do not care about the children they chose to have and leave behind!

Peter - May 6, 2013 at 7:58pm

The Background: I’m a NRP. My daughter is 21 years old and at university, for which I pay her fees. I’ve lived in France since 2000, with two returns for periods longer than a quick visit. One period was in 2001 when I did summer work, the next was in 2003. On this second occassion I returned to take my driving test and stayed at my parents. I did claim income support on this second occassion and was actively looking for work not knowing whether or not I’d pass my test – in which case I’d decided to stay in England until I did pass. In fact, I passed and returned to live and work in France.
I had frequent contact with my daughter until 2000. I actually had been granted a contact order (1996) to see her regularly since her mother had been trying to deny me access. However, this contact order was thrown to the wind when her mother moved to the other end of the UK. Nevertheless I kept contact, including numerous visits, until having my bags thrown out and told to go. I went to France. No – I’m not a bad guy and have done much for my daughter’s mother – only to have it thrown back in my face when she’s over a crisis period and back on her feet.
Anyway, somehow, in 2000, after I’d started work in France as a TEFL teacher, a solicitor was persuaded to write me a letter advising me that my daughter (then aged 8 yrs) didn’t wish to have contact with me and so I should refrain from having contact with her. I actually tried to keep contact, but received no response to even know whether my attempted communications were getting through. So, finally, I refrained from paying any child support.
Contact was re-established through my daughter’s wishes in 2005. But now the CSA is demanded payment for the period 2001 – 2003, when I returned to the UK twice – which they call ‘frequent’. The amount of arrears is around 7k euros.
I’m trying to keep this short and simple, but could you tell me where I stand. Also, as a TEFL teacher I’m not on a great salary, but if I have to pay any money can I ensure this goes to my daughter who is independent and needs money for her studies – rather than for her mother who I feel would use the money in a way for which it is not intended.
Thank-you

joanne bell - May 13, 2013 at 10:06am

I spit with my daughters father in 2004 when she was three and a half.He payed maintenance for a few years but stopped paying about five years ago. He lives in France with his new family and comes over here to see his mother. He says he does want to see her but he has not sent any letters or birthday cards . Please help me to get intouch with the right people, the C S A have no authority to help me as he works for himself . I have also been to see a solicitor five years ago but he did not respond to the letters.

Marilyn Stowe - May 15, 2013 at 10:21am

Dear Joanne
You need to make an application to your local court for an order for child maintenance as he lives abroad. The order can then be enforced through REMO in London. Its not an easy process and it wont be quick. A lot of it you can do yourself, but I think a local solicitor might give you some free advise about which is the best court and give you the necessary forms to complete.
By far the easiest way is to try and sort it out amicably. Perhaps he isnt seeing his daughter and if he did, it might do the trick?
Regards
Marilyn
Best wishes
Marilyn

Philip NEWMAN - May 15, 2013 at 7:34pm

Hi again Marilyn,
I was hoping for a reply (message May 6th 7.58 pm) and would still be very grateful to receive one if possible. Perhaps my situation is one to which you’d prefer not comment? A private note to this effect would be greatly appreciated as I’m still trying to decide on what is my correct course of action.
Thanks in advance,
Phil NEWMAN

Marilyn Stowe - May 16, 2013 at 4:51pm

Dear Philip
I don’t give advise about CSA issues. I would suggest as a starter you contact a solicitor who does specialise in this area. There are several who advertise on Google.
Regards
Marilyn

Matt - May 20, 2013 at 10:11am

Hi,

I split up from my ex in 2005, we have 2 kids, who I had regular contact with, I always paid my child support payments c£800pcm, bought the majority of clothing and was regularly frustrated that due to her lifestyle (despite having a good job) she regularly ran out of money to buy food, pay for school trips, etc. I feel that there should be some control concerning what the payment is used for, i.e. towards the children.

In 2010, after agreeing to my kids visiting iceland to visit her parents over Christmas (she is an Icelandic national), she never returned.

After a bit of a breakdown (I’m very close to my kids), I sorted myself out and got legal advice, however the only thing that was clear was that it would be tortuous, expensive and hurtful. My ex told both me and the kids it was only for 2 years. I have made regular visits since, paid all travel expenses (they stay with me at Xmas and the whole summer), so imagine my surprise when the Icelandic government issued me a huge bill for unpaid child support! Apparently my ex has been paid by them since 2010, and they are trying to recoup this from me.

I’m not really sure where I stand on this, as I don’t recognise any responsibility for this claim

Thanks

Matt

JOANNE - June 14, 2013 at 2:13pm

I have two children to my ex partner, we split over 5 years ago, He dosnt pay anything or has any contact with our children. CSA contacted me and informed me he now has to pay I was espected to receive payment this month and havnt i didnt hold my breath for the payment although it would of been polite to inform me this wasnt happening. Ive now been informed that as the company he works for is not in the uk an attachment of earnings wouldnt be honored he is still a resident of the uk, they planning to take legal proceedings against him and im not sure if the company will be prossecuted aswell for false information. All i can say is i know all of you will live to regret to time you have lost with your CHILDREN hope the money was worth it.

Luke - June 14, 2013 at 5:59pm

A lot of very distressing cases and hurt people here – too many unstable relationships having too many children – depressingly there is an air of inevitability about it and once the initial bad decision is made many people are stuck…

Irina - June 23, 2013 at 5:55pm

Dear Marilyn,
The father of my child who is Chilean citizen, cut off all the contacts after the news I was pregnant. He resides in Chile being a partner in a law firm. My son has only a mother written into his Birth Certificate. Is it realistic to start the court procedures with regards to proving his parental responsibilities (including DNA test) and enforcing child support payments?
Many thanks.
Irina

Marilyn Stowe - June 23, 2013 at 6:08pm

Dear Irina
This is the link to countries with reciprocal maintenance enforcement arrangements in force: http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/protecting-the-vulnerable/official-solicitor/reciprocal-enforcement-of-maintenance-orders/remo-location-list.pdf
Chile is on the list.
Regards
Marilyn.

Irina - June 23, 2013 at 10:50pm

Thank you

Sean - June 23, 2013 at 11:25pm

Hi all read all the above and im being screwed by the csa , they said i would had paid my arears in september , rang them last week to be told ive got to still pay until december then goes back to normal rate for my daughter , joke feel the same as most of you and fed up with all the rubish they keep dishing out , half the time think they make it up , and yes my child walks around in rags while my ex lives it up with her partner , dont blame any man for leaving this money grabbing dump we call great britan cant be bothered with it all , after going to court spending loads on costs ect , they have the kids with us but use the kids as tools to get more , not saying all women are like it . Im thinking very strongly what is the point anymore. And think its time to cut my losses .

sandra - July 3, 2013 at 6:25pm

My husband is here in USA on a green card but now it looks like he has to pay child support to his son in Sweden, which he is doing according to Sweden standards but now the case was sent to USA court, we do not know how much he will be asked to pay since his kid is not in USA but in Sweden!!!!!!!

Zee - July 26, 2013 at 12:38pm

To be honest… I am an absent father but I agree an absent parent should pay towards the childs upbringingI see my daughter every second weekend. What I cant understand is that there are some cases where the contributions are extotionate (based at 15%) and this contribution increases everytime your salary increases. Are we saying the same child upbringing increases or changes that drastically. Some parents can pay £100 plus a week for one child depending on what they earn. Most unemployed adults are on jobseekers allowance which is far below this but yet they are expected to survive on this allowance – PAY BILLS , FOOD CLOTHING ETC. Somehow i really think the law is very mother orientated and there is no policing on how really the money is spent. Im sue my daughters mother spends it not just on the childs essentials but also her Bobby Brown makeup and Dior perfume. Im also aware she gets working tax credits so really this law and gov rules are to blame. My advice ato all fathers is yes contribute within your means and if you cant then follow your heart and the sun.

Jane - August 20, 2013 at 3:52am

My ex works in Iraq as a body guard , he earnings are in the excess of 70k tax free , he also owns a property in the uk which he rents out for 10k I don’t get a penny for our son I was married for 19 years worked throughout my marriage earning more than my ex on many occasions . But this fact isn’t even a issue , I’ve been informed by CSA that I could use there service to obtain support but I have no faith in them what so ever , I am currently going through the courts for support for my son, I can’t understand how someone who does not pay child support but yet can obtain a mortgage using income from abroad ? Mean while I have to rely on uk tax payers to support my income which is a insult to all uk tax payers in my opinion including the judge who will be hearing the case , some benefits I know I’m entitled to but still I feel I shouldn’t claim out of justification to all who pay uk tax , I was brought up to believe you work for a living by my mother who left my drunken father with nothing but 2 bin liners of children’s clothes , I’m pleased to say and very proud that now she employs over 90 people in the city of Leeds , I’d say shes come along way from having 4 children and 6 months in the Salvation Army home . … She’s living proof that I have the survival instincts instilled in me . so all that’s left to say is BRING IT ON child support avoider ! Ya barrister dont scare me .

Gentlergiant - September 12, 2013 at 12:47pm

From a bit further up there^^

“The reason for my concern is that whichever country the divorce is issued in will most likely hear the financial side and French law may be unfair to you.”

Marilyn, just how is the law in France ‘unfair’?

From my understanding of it, (and I am not a lawyer), under French law, pre-marital property, however acquired, is respected as belonging to it’s original owner. A sort of pre-nuptual by default. If the same stance were adopted by the Courts in this country, the prospects for a ‘gold digger’ (for want of a better term) would be limited back to realism. Huge sections of society would benefit, and many many men could get on with their post-marital lives without the real and justified rage that burns throughout. We could, in fact, get off forums like this and start rebuilding our lives. Not only would the institution of marriage be healthier and more honest, but the children of these unfortunate relationships would have two happy parents, not one with a new house, and one incoherent with depression. To suggest that the English system is better or fairer is, I believe, to ignore the facts in front of you.

*Bitter and twisted*

Marilyn Stowe - September 13, 2013 at 11:23am

Dear Gentlergiant
You are absolutely entitled to your opinion, and it is one that is shared by many.
Regards
Marilyn

JamesB - September 13, 2013 at 1:08pm

Jane there is something in GentlerGiant’s words that ring true. Well done to your mother. I do point out though that she did not have to pay her ex maintenance. If she did I expect it would have made the situation harder for her. As GentlerGiant says, it really is something we struggle with making psychological sense, paying to be insulted.

JamesB - September 13, 2013 at 1:12pm

Thinking about it, I think a resolution would be to pay the support to the child directly perhaps. Financing my ex’s luxurious lifestyle in house I bought and paid for while I really stuggle is not fair. And his point about 2 happy parents rather than 1 makes sense.

Marthe - October 8, 2013 at 9:47pm

I was re-located to The Netherlands two years ago. My ex-Partner with whom I have a son has not paid any child maintenance for over 18 months. My son is currently attending school in the UK as the Dutch school was not a good fit. My ex-Partner has properties, pensions, etc. How do I go about making a move to secure maintenance for my son. Does the fact that my son lives in the UK allow me to make a claim via the UK CSA or must I try to obtain a magistrates’ court order for maintenance in The Netherlands to be then registered in The UK? I am looking for some guidance on the right steps.

Marilyn Stowe - October 8, 2013 at 10:00pm

Dear Marthe
This may help. http://www.cmoptions.org/en/other-arrangements/statutory-service.asp
I suggest you call them to discuss what you can do to sort the problem out.
Regards
Marilyn

JanP - October 15, 2013 at 5:35pm

Can you advise if a British born but permanent resident of NZ , who has avoided paying child support ordered by the NZ courts for the last two and a half years, whilst the mother of his child has been seeking relocation (which has now been agreed on) is liable to pay child support to the child who will be now residing in the UK,

Marilyn Stowe - October 19, 2013 at 3:19pm

Dear JanP
All parents have a financial responsibility for their child, all that differs is the process depending on the whereabouts of the parent. A parent living offshore is not subject to the CSA regime in this country,consequently the application should be made to an English court and then enforced through REMO an inter country reciprocal enforcement agency.
Regards
Marilyn

emma - October 19, 2013 at 12:56pm

I have to comment , some of these comments are disgusting , esp about single mothers getting everything , u really need to need to live in the real world of bringing up a child alone , i can tell u now it was something i never wanted to do or would ever wish on anybody , its hard and draining ,and very stressful , of course we read articles about mums spending it on drink ,drugs ect but not all of us r like that , in a mental health nurse who has brought my daughter up alone , whilst her father decided that 3months after she was born it wasn’t the life for him , so he left , not only leaving me with a baby but no home either, is this fair ??? I think not !! 10 yrs on in happily married but my ex works on oil rigs, earning 50k , and pays what he thinks a mother should get 20 pounds a week , whilst he has life of luxury csa cant touch as he works out of English waters , as far as in concerned i would rather work overtime to provide than have to fight him , as the csa wont help , what else can i do ??? I have the satisfaction of knowing i get my daughter what she needs and she will remember this !!;

Lukey - October 19, 2013 at 7:52pm

I have to comment , some of these comments are disgusting , esp about fathers not giving anything when they don’t get to see their kids, u really need to live in the real world…

See how that works the other way too Emma ?

There will be cases where women do badly, however, I think it reasonable to give the view that for the most part, in my opinion, fathers are shafted in family court.

Part of this is I think unavoidable because small children have to primarily live with one parent and that realistically usually ends up being the mother – but I would also add that I think the deal for men overall is so bad now that any man who gets married is woefully misinformed or is an idiot.

I am not saying this as a man who has been emotionally burned by marriage – I have helped deal with a family case and co-workers who want to discuss it. It had never occurred to me that I wouldn’t marry, but as the laws have changed against husbands it is no longer a rational option, and with the move to trap male cohabitees as well it gets even worse…

emma - October 20, 2013 at 1:53pm

I didn’t say it didn’t work the other way lukey , and i agree that some fathers are shafted as u put it , but i have never once stopped my daughter seeing her dad despite all the crap we have endured , and i do feel totally annoyed by the csa , in that some fathers have to pay beyond there means , and my ex gets away with despite living in England , but works away and doesn’t contribute to tax and nat ins either , he gives my daughter what he thinks i should have , when someone earns 50k a year they should be paying a fair amount not what they want too .

Jab - October 25, 2013 at 3:41pm

Hi,

I’ve just read a lot of these comments and really feel for the horrendous situation both mothers and fathers are put in by each other…. and the CSA! I’m appalled at the fact that some fathers, who are able to support their kids just completely abandon their young children and leave it all to the mother, although i know there are some cases where the mothers remarry in months making that whole situation very difficult to put up with never mind pay for!. But I’m equally appalled at mothers who see the fathers as some kind of life cash cow for their kids AND themselves. My feeling is that cash payments should be replaced by 50% food and clothes coupons and the rest cash. But the cash payment should be based on the needs of the child and child care. I’m lucky in that i earn well and Im more than happy to pay for my sons needs. However, when the calcs are done by the CSA the amount of money i have to pay,.. is around £800 per month for one 12 year old boy on top of his school fees of £900 per month it really does curtail my life and how i want to spend it solely because my ex wants me to pay her as much as she can get (due to the CSA) and not what she actually needs for my son,.. and here’s the worst bit,… she recently inherited a lot of money following her parents death (which now makes her more than twice as wealthy as me) but still wants me to pay for everything. The CSA do not take her situation into account at all. Its ridiculous! The resentment i feel in having to do this is driving me to seriously consider moving abroad for good and if i do that we will ALL loose. My ex will loose her money, my son will loose me, i will loose him,.. Why is it that some women have absolutely no self pride or even self respect when it comes to living off other people even when they can afford to pay their own way themselves and they continue to use the child as an emotional weapon in order to get what they want. I actually said to my solicitor… “what if she wins £10m on the lottery”? … “makes no difference” he said!!!! Yes this whole legislation and the way it is thought out is in a total mess and totally biased towards the mother no matter what her circumstances are. Its totally unfair for fathers who want to do the right thing but at the same time just cant stand being ripped off by uncaring and spiteful woman who just use their children as meal tickets to support their own lavish lifestyles,… well over and above what is needed for the child! It makes my blood boil!

Alison - November 28, 2013 at 2:50pm

Dear Marilyn
Dubai
I’m at my wits end. I have three children 17, 13 and 9. I’ve been through a lengthy divorce. There is a court order. My ex husband is moving soon to live/work in Dubai.

I know that there is high possibility that he will not pay me maintenance from Dubai and this country is not covered through REMO.

What on earth can I do? He leaves the country at the end of December 2013.

Marilyn Stowe - November 28, 2013 at 10:18pm

Dear Alison
You can apply to have the maintenance secured against assets in this country. You don’t mention how the money is paid by his company and into which bank account and it may be possible to still enforce offshore. I agree its tough and potentially expensive but your solicitor will know the position much better than I do, do take advice. It can be done.
It might just be worth thinking laterally also. Instead of maintenance is there some other deal that can be done?
Regards
Marilyn

alice louise westbrook - January 4, 2014 at 8:06am

Hi
I remarried a chap who is in the forces. We have been posted abroad. We still pay UK tax. My ex has stopped his £20 a week payments as he says as we live abroad he doesnt have to pay.

He is avoiding discussing access arrangements despite offers to stay with us or school holidays in the uk.

Any advice? I have found nothing on websites.

Thanks
Alice

Marilyn Stowe - January 4, 2014 at 4:55pm

Dear Alice
Para 14 of Schedule 1 Children’s Act 1989 permits you to apply for financial provision for a child even though you and the child are resident outside the country. So tell your ex to resume his payments or you will go to court and ask the court to make a better order and potentially even pay your legal costs as well.
It might be an idea to first call Child Maintenance Options which although you don’t qualify under the scheme could give you a better idea of the correct figure you should be receiving.
Regards
Marilyn

mark - January 15, 2014 at 11:21pm

hi there need a bit of advice my ex and kids relocated to australia and i continued to pay maintenance on the agreement that i would get to see them once a year fully paid by myself …this was 5 years ago…the kids came back at xmas but i only got to see them twice which wa unfair …Am i obliged by law to pay maintenance to her in Australia even without a court order …as i have said that i will not be paying maintenance till she sticks to her agreement regards mark

Ruth - January 30, 2014 at 12:27am

I have a son with my ex partner. He has never met his son.
Been avoiding and hiding. Now i know where he is. Can i claim
maintainance since the child wap born. He has missed so much in hip upbringing. His father is a doctor in UK.

Marilyn Stowe - February 1, 2014 at 8:57pm

Dear Ruth
You can apply to the court under Schedule 1 Children act 1989 and make an application for capital provision and income too. I think you need some detailed advice so contact a firm of solicitors in this country for more advice.
Regards
Marilyn

Yuna8 - April 18, 2014 at 1:33pm

Hi Marylin,
I would be ever so grateful if you could please advise me on where to appy for an EEO (European Enforcement Order). It’s for the divorce costs and further to the notice of commencement of assessment of bill of costs I obtained a Default Costs Certificate from the Senior Courts Costs Office. My ex obviously ignored everything.
From there on I’ve been stuck because the PRFD don’t know what I’m talking about and the SCCO sends me back to PRFD. I heard a rumour somewhere that the EEO application should be made to the Queen’s Bench Division. Is that correct and how much is the fee please?

Marilyn Stowe - April 18, 2014 at 5:48pm

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