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I can't believe how many similar stories about the way parents are being treated by the CSA there are on here, and although reading them makes me feel like at least it isn't only us, it also makes me realise that this is never going to end and I wonder if the CSA will be pleased with themselves if they break up another family because of their stupidity and the mistakes they make.
As with other peoples' stories on here, mine is very similar. I met my husband when I had a 4 year old daughter from a previous relationship and he had a 5 year old son. Maintenance was sorted out between my husband and his ex in a verbal agreement and everything was fine until we bought a nice house in a nice area. At that point she suddenly saw $ signs. If we could afford to live where we did she 'obviously' should be getting more money. After threats and using their son as a pawn he eventually told her to contact the CSA. When the CSA got back to us and said we'd been paying too much because of how often he stayed, other children living with us etc. she was livid and asked if they could go back to their old arrangement. That was a very satisfying conversation as we always knew we had gone above and beyond the call of duty.
It didn't last long though, because after a year of paying what the CSA had calculated they wrote to us saying they had got it wrong and we had to pay a large arrears payment immediately. My husband rang them and explained we had no way of getting that kind of money. After taking months to get back to us we were now in arrears upon arrears, with no way of paying.
My husband was self-employed and had built up a company over seven years. When the credit crunch hit he struggled for a long time and eventually the business went into liquidation. He has now received a court summons for nearly 3,000. He has spent the last year trying to start again as there are very few jobs out there and as it ias we've struggled to pay for the children we have together. We are also in arrears with our mortgage, council tax and utility bills etc. Both our families have been helping us out with money and taking us to the supermarket to make sure there is food in our cupboards!
During all this his ex and her partner have bought a new house, been on holidays abroad, planning to get married and are now having a new baby. I guess all the money will come in nicely for their wedding cake and new pram! It has been a hard year for my husband and I and we are on the verge of splitting up due to the added pressure put on us by the CSA. Currently they are the main cause of most of our arguments and because of them, the two children we have together will suffer as will our whole family unit.
My husband has always looked after and provided for his son and is a wonderful dad. We have taken him on holiday, bought school uniform, school shoes, paid for school trips and he stays Friday, Saturday and Sunday every other week. He stays with me in the school holidays for days sometimes weeks on end so his mum can go to work and doesn't have to pay childcare. All our children get along tremendously and now all this is to be ruined because the CSA made a mistake and miscalculated.
I hope my husband and I can get through all this, but we shall see what the court case brings. If all the gripes on here are are anything to go by, not very much! If we do end up going our separate ways there is one thing for sure, I WILL NOT be contacting the CSA for help with maintenance for our children. They are downright useless and have a hell of a lot to answer for.