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Child Maintenance Service

CMS / CSA – Update

Posted on 31st May 2016 in boys/ children/ CSA/ divorce/ ex-husband/ parenting

In February of this year, my case with the CSA was passed on to the new CMS (Child Maintenance Service). This was purported to be the new and improved version of the CSA…

Having still not heard from them, or received any payments, I rang them today for an update. Unsurprisingly, the update is that nothing has happened. You may recall that in March they advised me I would begin receiving payments from the 1 April and that as expected the 1 April came and went without any payment arriving, as did the 1 May and I would imagine the 1 June will be equally devoid of payment.

So today I have phoned them to query what is happening and why they haven’t responded to the two letters I have sent them. The answer is that they sent payment details to my ex and that he hasn’t responded. As to why they’ve ignored my letters, well they ignored that question.

As a result of my phone call the case will now be referred to the direct collections team who will, in their own sweet time, write to my ex again and give him 14 days to respond. They will then write to him again and warn him that if he doesn’t respond with 14 days of this letter that he will be referred to the deduction of earning team.

I can only guess what happens at that point… I would place my bets on it being either a) nothing or b) they write to him and give him 14 days to respond.

So, since transferring to the CMS in February they have established that my ex IS in employment and that he SHOULD be paying but they’ve done nothing to make that happen.

Also, with the CSA a substantial amount of arrears had accrued. When the case was transferred to the CMS I was asked if I wanted the arrears wiped off or if I wanted them transferred to the CMS (yes, I really was asked that question), needless to say I asked for them to be transferred. However, the CMS have no record of the arrears. Apparently they are now a separate issue and will be transferred at some point in the future at which point the CMS will write to my ex and ask him to pay…

Consequently, my advice to anyone who is being transferred to the Child Maintenance Service is to keep on top  of them, set yourself diary reminders to chase them up as they do absolutely nothing without continual prompting.

I am now off to write to the CSA to ask them where the arrears are and why they haven’t been transferred to the CMS!

 

Child Maintenance Service – not impressed!

Posted on 5th April 2016 in break up/ bullying/ children/ CSA/ debt/ family

money in a binHaving suffered at the hands of the CSA I was actually quite pleased to hear that a new child maintenance service was being set up. Not so naiive as to believe that they’d be able to retrieve any payments from my ex-husband, obviously, but I did feel a glimmer of hope that they might have a more professional approach and greater powers available to them.

I was wrong.

It took an inordinate length of time for me to be able to transfer to the new service. This isn’t optional by the way, they just close your existing CSA case on an arbitrary date and unless you set up a new account with the CMS then that is the end of that and your ex gets away Scott free.

So, I jumped through the various hurdles to set up the new account and was advised during these conversations (it doesn’t take just one phone call, obviously) that they would take over and start afresh. As such I was asked if I wanted the arrears to be carried over or wiped off? Seriously, does anyone elect to wipe them off?!

Anyway, back to now, finally, finally, in March I received notification that they had decided what payments should be made and that I would receive the first payment on April 1 (I know, I know). Needless to say no payment has arrived. So I’ve phoned them today (twice, as the first time I failed their security questions…) and discovered that they felt I should have provided my ex-husband with my bank account details.

I should have given the man who has committed fraudulent acts, left me homeless and in debt, stolen from me and my children and my family, been abusive and has no regard or respect for me or my property – I should have given that man my bank account details?

Besides the fact that they had never asked me to do this and had, in fact, in January advised me that they would not expect me to do this given our history. Which the guy I spoke to today agreed was in the case notes, but said it was wrong and that I should never had been told it.

Their suggestion now is that I open a new bank account purely for receiving CMS payments. I asked if they’d actually had any contact with my ex and had any agreement that he would make payments? No, they said, but we have to give him the chance to.

Because 12 years of dodging payments isn’t enough of chance is it; let’s give the fella one more go huh.

Do YOU have to reapply to the CSA?

Posted on 20th March 2015 in child/ children/ CSA/ money

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 19.16.04From June 2014 all new applications for child maintenance are processed via the Child Maintenance Service.

However, a representative of the CSA has confirmed to me today that ALL existing CSA cases are going to be closed.

ALL CASES.

She advised me that this process has commenced and that within the next six months to two years ALL cases with the CSA will be closed and anyone wishing to use the service will have to reapply to the CMS (Child Maintenance Service), for which there will be fees.

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 18.55.34

It has rules, like Fight Club, the first rule of the Child Maintenance Service is that you must talk to the Child Maintenance Service before you can talk to the Child Maintenance Service…

Fees

There will be a £20 fee to apply to the CMS and then there will be a deduction of 4% from the maintenance paid to the person receiving the payment and there will be a 20% fee charged to the person making the payment.

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 18.55.45

So a little example for you – if the person making the payment has 2 children and therefore pays 20% of their salary, they will then pay and extra 20% of that amount in fees to the CMS. If that person is already in arrears, the CMS will endeavour to capture those arrears as quickly as possible, often increase the amount taken by a further 20% – leaving the person making the payment with virtually none of their salary!

I queried this with her and she said it is meant to encourage people to make family arrangements rather than use the service. That’s fine, except that most people using the service do so because the absent parent refuses to pay and is often out of contact entirely. So this system will penalise those who actually need it most.

This is utter madness.

Below is a list of what this new service will do for its money. Yes, it is exactly what the CSA does now.

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 18.55.57

 

For further information please see this article by Gingerbread.

Or visit the Government information page here.

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