Millionaire father pays £7 per week in child support

child maintenance

A High Court Judge has expressed his concerns about rules which allow the millionaire father of a teenage boy to pay just £7 a week in child support.

The teen’s mother had applied for a total of £20,600 from the father, to help her replace her car and cover various expenses relating to their son, ‘N’, who is now 16. These included funds to help pay for a trip to Israel, a trip to China, a kayak, and a new laptop.

High Court Judge Mr Justice Mostyn described the sums sought as “relatively modest”.

The couple have been separated for 15 years and have engaged in “virtually continuous litigation” since 2003. In his newly published ruling, the Judge went so far as to describe this as “extraordinarily ferocious litigation combat”, including confrontations in the County Court, the Family Court, the High Court and the tribunal system.

However, Mr Justice Mostyn did not go into details, noting that:

“The details are well known to the parties and it is not necessary for the purposes of my decision for me to spell them out.”

He went to explain that:

“…the court does not have jurisdiction to make an award to meet the quotidian expenses of living; to meet, if you like, the cost of one’s daily bread. It can only make an award for genuinely capital expenditure of a singular nature.”

However, he believed that the funds sought by the mother did indeed fall into the latter category and so could be legitimately be claimed.

The veteran judge had forthright words for the husband:

“Can the father afford to pay £20,600? Of course he can. He is a rich man, as I will explain. Yet even though he has millions which may be properly regarded as his resources he has paid a mere pittance in child support.”

The father paid just £3,819.40 in child support between April 2009 and April 2014. Since the beginning of 2017, his liability had been assessed at only £7 per week, meaning he has made a total payment of £111.28 since the beginning of this year.

This was, said Mr Justice Mostyn, a “most disturbing state of affairs”.

“It is an indictment of the child support system that it has not been able to furnish reasonable maintenance in the mother’s hands for N.”

These low payments, despite the father’s considerable assets, related to the removal of a previous legal facility which allowed family court judges to increase child support payments if the payer had identifiable assets. However, this provision has now been removed. In this case, the father had reached state pension age and his £7 per week liability automatically reflected this, regardless of his wealth.

The Judge explained:

“For reasons which I cannot fathom the “assets” ground of variation [the ability to increase or decrease child support] has been removed … Therefore, it is possible, as in this case, for a father to live on his capital, which may be very substantial indeed, and to pay no child support at all. The father was only required to pay the pitiful minimum sum of £7 a week from the early part of this year because it was then that he received his state pension. In my opinion the government needs to consider urgently the reinstatement of the “assets” ground of variation.”

Judge Mostyn ordered the father to pay the £20,600, describing this sum as “manifestly proportionate and reasonable”.

Read the ruling here.

Image by Niklas Morberg via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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20 comments

Paul - May 5, 2017 at 2:58pm

Creative accounting is at the heart of all the UK’s problems. I bet David Beckham could get away with less than a fiver. Yet chumps like me on the PAYE system will have to pay over £200 a month. Under the current scheme they can means test you and leave you with £149.00 a month to live on. An that is somehow acceptible ??? – try to imagine working a 30-40 hour week then having £149 to live on that month. I doubt a solicitor would be able to visualise that senario in their mind. Or the depression that comes with it. if you go unemployed the CSA can’t even touch you.
I would argue that theyprobably take more than they shod off PAYE payers to make up for their failure to recover anything from self employed people.
But I can’t fault him. its a quagmire this maintainance issue isn’t it? It basicly encourages all the worst aspects of human behaviour. Just creates accounting chaos.
Funny it could be so much easier. If courts made sure kids went to see daddy then he would have no choice but to pay his way. When your little princess or your son looks at you an says dad I need some new shoes for school. Or dad ive grown out of my old clothes. No man with money in his pocket would ever say no. The issue of contact an maintainance should never have been seperated. NO CONTACT NO MAINTAINANCE. Thats a very simple and fair rule that we can all follow. If you want your dads money go an see your dad. The govenment should have nothing to do with it. The CMS costs more to run than they will ever recover. Its a white elephant.
(*Comment edited – our moderation policy is here).

Andrew - May 5, 2017 at 4:36pm

Children are not pay-per-view and of course contact and maintenance must be kept separate. Would you be content if a mother could say “Keep your money and stay away”? Or if another could say “Right, you’ve lost your job, on your uppers, you can’t pay, right, stay away?”

Funny case, this. I can’t see the trips as part of quotidian expenses but there you go. The father must be counting down to the boy turning eighteen. I hope the mother is not allowed to pile up assets against that day!

JamesB - May 5, 2017 at 7:16pm

Of course contact and maintenance are linked. To say otherwise is to say parents should pay whether or not they see their children. Not much of a theory and not realistic. Its like expecting UK people to pay for Hollywood pensioners plastic surgery. Also, you disregard that adults need to see their children and that children need to see their parents and denigrate the role of the non resident parent to that of a walking wallet. Your dodgy lawyers point is wrong on so many levels.

Bernie - May 5, 2017 at 8:34pm

In the real world contact and maintenance are linked whether you like it or not. What sort of father tries to dodge fair child maintenance? in my experience the sort that fails to maintain contact and persistently lets the child down… usually resulting in end of contact.

Andrew - May 5, 2017 at 9:51pm

James: When you are right you are right and when you are wrong you are very, very wrong. Liability for maintenance is a function of biology; the amount is a function of means. (Which is not to say that proper adjustment should not be made for the cost of contact where it is significant; it should.)
_
You don’t answer my questions, perhaps you would like to, and here is another: If reasons of work force the NRP to move away so that he cannot see the child much or at all, should he be entitled to pay less or nothing?
_
Oh: and when you refer to my “dodgy lawyers point” is the point which is dodgy or the lawyer or both?

Bernie Mulligan - May 5, 2017 at 5:45pm

The fault here seems to lie within the law and the removal of allowing variation on the ground of assets. My case is due to go to tribunal soon
Its about time the Government accept that the CMS generally exists for absent parents who want to pay as little as possible for their abandoned offspring yet NEVER take action against advent fathers that commit fraud. Does anyone consider how children feel knowing the absent parent behaves like this and lives a millionaire lifestyle for themselves, emotional abuse thats what I think it is
(*Comment edited – please see our moderation policy)

Le - May 5, 2017 at 10:23pm

I read this case with utter disgust. The man is a sad ephigy of a father. How does he sleep at night . I do believe the asset part of cms being removed was a big mistake .
Can I ask now this has been discussed by mostyn, how long would this take to come into force if passed ?
Personally I would have asked the court for a higher capital payment for the children , and insist on a Legal services order and funds to pay for a flawed assessment .

Men like this don’t deserve to be called fathers . What little importance he must put on his own flesh and blood

Paul - May 6, 2017 at 12:23am

We know nothing about the people involved in this. She may have been a grade A ‘Alienator’ who has stopped him seeing his child but still thinks its his obligation to pay. He could have been a play boy the had his fun then ran for the hills. She could have deliberatly got preggo to him because of his assets. Its hard to apply a ‘social justice’ verdict to this case without getting the background. But their in lay the problem child support does not factor in who is deserving or who has behaved proparly it simply rules that all children are deserving then applys a formula..
Im not sure not paying for a few ski holdays is going to massively upset the kids life.
I agree children should not be pay perview. But that would be infinatly better than what we have at the moment. View only if mother thinks your worthy. If not she will wage a smear campaign against you and then issolate you. The courts will frame you with nonsense charges an Oh yeh an here is your CMS bill sucka.
Pay perview is more humane than what we have now. But your right its not the long term solution.
Maintainance and contact are not linked at all. Your obligation to pay maintanance is the only right a man has towards his children in UK law. House hold pets have more laws protecting their rights..

JamesB - May 6, 2017 at 1:02am

The pick n mix nature of separation you suggest does not make sense. Dad as money and child minder puts their back up.

Lions kill the cubs when they move in. You suggest the ousted lions pay maintenance and the new lions raise them all and perhaps ma intense to others. Then ousted lions take the cubs for weekends.Crazy and unnatural and asking too much.

Human beings, homo sapiens are animals not robots and emotional and you cannot reasonably expect them naturally to behave like that, just to use for childminding and money.

JamesB - May 6, 2017 at 1:44am

The law treats non resident parents as optional extras, perhaps good enough for childminding or money but nothing else.

To expect them to pay through the nose to be treated like that is unnatural and unrealistic and feminist nonsense and dogma. Me, the man in the article and millions of others never agreed to that and resent it. It’s not natural or in the marriage vows and the judges politicians and lawyers can shove it or change their dodgy approach.

Brian - May 6, 2017 at 7:43pm

I bet the father’s solicitor, barrister and accountant got their children through Eaton, new Porsche and the second house paid off with their fee’s on this case than the meeting of basic needs of the Child in question. With decent blokes not seeing their children and millionaires not paying basic maintenance, doesn’t that tell you there is something seriously wrong with a system which has “broad and unfettered” powers?

Paul - May 7, 2017 at 1:55pm

Joking aside. I have reveived a letter from CSA. I contacted them and provided 3 wage slips. I subsiquantly sent a copy of my 20 hour contract. I work 20 hours and earn £600 a month. I used to have a full time job until my ex ‘claimed’ harassment and I lost my full time job as a security guard. Now i only have 20 hours in retail. The CMS have chosen to ignore the upto date information i sent in and decided to go ahead and deduct my wages based on my previous tax return. Which i was working full time and earning £331 per week. So they are planning to take £64.00 per WEEK from someone who earns £600 per MONTH. £20 of this will be charges to the CMS for using the CMS collect and pay service. I have no choice but to collect and pay because if I try to call my expartner to arrange a settlement I will be in breach of the harrassment notice I received for no reason. She is an Alienating parent so she will not be reasonable about anything. Incuding maintainance. I am already racked with depression because I have not seen my kids in two years, I lost a job I enjoyed, I now do a job I hate I have very few hours. I already suffer anxiety at the thought of leaving the house incase I spend money I can’t replace. I have to depend on my girlfriend to buy the occassional meal because I can’t afford food. If I take on more hours i would still be bellow the breadline because I would become eligable for more rent an more csa payments. I am a burden on my family and freinds and cannot afford to take part in any social or family gatherings. But above all of that i miss my son and my daughter like crazy. I can’t afford to persue them in court so I self represent. I am expecting an entirely predudicial outcome. I can’t really think about job prospects or career advancement because the massive injustice I have faced so far is mentally draining and I can’t pit it out of my mind. I feel like I have no future. Any advice ? – its not really a comfort to know if I was a millionaire I could get away with paying £7 a week. I will go to CAB on Monday an call CMS. But they just don’t listen. An i have really had enough now.

Cameron Paterson - May 8, 2017 at 10:25am

It sounds like you’re having a very tough time of things at the moment. Maybe an organisation like Families Need Fathers could help? https://fnf.org.uk/
Also, remember that wise maxim “If you’re going through hell, keep going”

Andy - May 8, 2017 at 7:41am

The CMS has been given powers that quite frankly demand hounded and kicked out fathers..who ever is at fault is no interest it’s the system that has caused the problem…
CMS has chased non payers for years and now recently MP’s have made sure they pay via tactics that decimate any father who is reduced to living like a dog…
The Mother on the other hand gains wealth via no penalty whotsoever as the PWC and the CMS know this..If the scenario was on the reverse I bet you she would do the same pay as little as possible…
Some one has to pay but it should be equal not one sided..They still think that the Vicky Pollards of this world don’t work and live off state hand outs.
In this century mothers have well paid jobs and my and your contribution is a great benefit for her life style…
It should be means tested as then this showed the income by both parties then both can live especially the father in all this…

Yvie - May 8, 2017 at 11:49am

Everything is geared towards making sure the mother is supported following divorce. She almost certainly will end up with the family home as a starter. There are various benefits to which she will be entitled such as child benefit, child credits etc. She may have a well paid job already, as not all single mums rely on benefits, she may have re-married and gained a second source of income. Nothing wrong with that but some thought should be given to dads on low income who have the same expenses as their ex wives to find each month. On top of that is the child support. He may have shared care of the children, but unlike his ex wife, he will not qualify for child benefit or child credit, and most probably he will be ineligible for housing benefit if he is still trying to hold a job down, albeit poorly paid. The fortunes of single mothers are raised consistently in Parliament but there is seldom a word about single dads, other than to remind the public that these dads are feckless fathers or deadbeat dads, and that they owe thousands of pounds in child maintenance which has not been collected due to them hiding their income. Assessment of both incomes might be the place to start to make child maintenance a lot fairer.

Paul - May 8, 2017 at 1:15pm

Thanks for response. I went to CAB. Just got back. Sent them wage slips and contract AGAIN.
If some one just phoned you up an said would you like to put a standing order in for child maintainance based on our online calculator. I would just have said fine go ahead. Id be happier with a standing order than a DEO.But CMS don’t opperate like that. They threaten you with fines, court and enforcement from the get go.It seems now they skip straight to the part where they cream 20% off for themselves. They are wrong on so many levels.

Paul - May 8, 2017 at 3:01pm

Returned home to a letter which stated. They are calculating my income based on my last tax return (when i was employed full time)
1. I have not provided evidence of my change in income.
This is catogorically not true, i faxed 3 monthly wage slips and posted a copy of my contract. (With witnesses present)
2. They contacted my employer and they could not confirm my hours have changed.
I find it extremely doubtfull they have had time to contact my employer at all. My employer is a major clothing retailer with hundreds of staff. They would hardly not respond to an official enquiry. I’m going to check this with my employer today.
I think this is just a load of lies.
I can prove that they have the information and I have provided it because I faxed it from the CAB. With witnesses. If I can prove the CMS made no attempt to contact my employer.
Would this amount to fraud by deception ? – seems to me they are trying to ignore evidence I have provided about my income and they have given me no oppertunity to make volunary contributions towards my kids. They have moved me straight to ‘collect and pay’ were they intend to charge a 20% fee for their service.
If they have lied about me not providing evidence. An they have lied about contacting my employer. Which I should be able to prove. I would say this amounts to an attempt at ‘fraud by deception.’
I think now the CMS are charging for there service I think they have opened themselves up for all kinds of litigation.

Andy - May 12, 2017 at 7:32pm

CMS are a compete wate of time and incompetent…I wish and hope a increasing group of fathers fight for this just like the idiots who whine about non payers such groups are MUM’s net and alike..they seem to run the CMS not the CMS themselves…

We all complain about this, then do somting about it…fight and keep fighting…they can’t all cope with the stated enforcement and threats can they the system would fall over…
The other countries seem to do what they like and it all grinders to a halt…rant over…

nattasha - July 7, 2017 at 2:51pm

I’m glad that this mother took this pathetic excuse of a father to court and won! The law is failing children and their rights, it needs to change, whether it’s father rights it shouldn’t automatically come down to the mother. In my case, my millionaire ex is living a life of luxury he doesn’t want to see our girls and now lives in Spain. He has avaded the CMS and has to pay £40 p/m for both and still pays nothing. They are a joke, they victimise genuine people and yet let the people who can afford to pay lie about their wealth. Very sad!

wisdom patrick - September 8, 2017 at 11:01am

we are small local NGOs in Ghana and we need your support to assist the less privilege in the country most especially in the rural areas. life has become so expensive to most people in the country. we hope your support would wipe away the tears many Ghanaian.

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