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Once again, a gripe about the CSA! Why does a system that is supposed to be there to help our children penalise the good parents?
I am a mother of one who has recently got married to a father of two from a previous marriage. He is an exceptional father who dotes on his children and provides for them over and above his requirements. His children - aged 21 and 15 - stay at our house 2 nights a week and every other weekend as a MINIMUM.
We also look after them when their mother goes on holiday - at least 3 times a year. When we take a holiday, we take them on holiday as well and also have them on lots of other occasions. He provides them with clothes, money and, more importantly, lots of love. My husband has always paid maintenance for his children, but decided to question this last year due to the shared care and the fact that he had also taken on my son to look after.
According to the CSA, £1400 is still outstanding...
The CSA found him in favour and granted him a nil assessment in October 2005. In April 2006, we received a letter from the CSA to state that they had re-assessed the situation (due to his ex-wife contesting it) and had decided that he must pay 38 per week. We had received no correspondence since the October so this was a complete shock, especially as it was more than he was paying previously! This was then backdated to the previous year to give us an outstanding balance of £1400!
We have since contested this decision ourselves and the assessment has gone back to nil, but the £1400 is still outstanding according to the CSA. We have been to court, our local MP, etc for advice, but this money is considered as a DEBT.
How can this be a debt if he should not have had to pay it in the first place? My husband has now got a liability order against him and we are at our wits end. To add insult to injury, I applied to the CSA 5 years ago for my son and have not got one penny from his father. I am now owed nearly £22000! They now claim they cannot trace him - at least the 5th time this has happened, despite him being self employed and having recently got married.
I ask you, where is the justice in all this? We are a loving family who take care of all our children to give them a happy home life, but our children are now suffering because of the appalling systems in the CSA.
If we have to pay the £1400 - which I am sure we will, then that is a holiday with the kids eliminated from next year. I struggled to bring up my 5 year old on my own for 3 years and I am now going to be struggling again. It seems that the CSA spend all their energy chasing the "good dads" whilst the ones who do anything to avoid payments are getting away scot-free.