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Family based child maintenance

  • Tinkerbelle
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14 Aug 12 #349498 by Tinkerbelle
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I see this mentioned on the CSA sight.....they are trying to encourage people to work things out for themselves....I do see mention of people will be given help and support to work this out....but what sort of help support is out there.....

Is this just not a voluntary arrangement.

I have a minute of agreement which includes a voluntary arrangement for maintenance....

There has not been any change in circumstances - however my ex is about to go down the road of CSA..he knows he will pay less if he goes to CSA -

ex is co dir with 2 businesses....new wife also dir.....sadly I dont really trust him to be 100% honest about his income - but I wont be able to back this up.

He is also trying to get daughter to stay with him for 5 days...cos he can provide a better life for her..

I cant argue with the fact when it comes down money/lifestyle - he wins hands down on being in a position to provide a better life...


1. would I have to accept what the CSA calculate...
2. Would i be able to ask for a family based assessment.....or a review of the voluntary arrangement we currently have...
3.what sort of things should be in a voluntary arrangement...when someone earns say 4 times more than the other whats the fair way to split costs etc....
4 if he manages to persuade daughter to stay with him for 5 days - will this make me the non resident parent - will I then need to pay him...Im assuming i would loose child benefit/tax credits....

2 years after divorce....and feel like im back to square one...

when divorce was going through I have to say that both lawyers were happy enough to accept what he wanted to pay for maintence...I was never given the opportunity to discuss or give any input into this...

  • jslgb
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14 Aug 12 #349506 by jslgb
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From what i can gather a family based arrangement isnt monitored the same way a normal CSA arrangement is. My ex tried to persuade e to go down this route after we initially agreed an amount immediately after the split, he decreased it over a matter of weeks to £5 and then was several months behind the CSA agreement! I was told by the CSA if i went down this route and he changed payments of missed payments they had no authority over it whatsoever and i would have to begin the CSA process from scratch.

As you already have a voluntary arrangement it couldnt hurt to explore a family based arrangement in terms of their guidance on the matter. For all other intents and purposes i believe it is the same as what you already have in place.

If you daughter decided to stay with him for 5 days (i presume a week) then yes you would become the NRP, you would lose your tax credits and child benefit and quite possibly will have to pay maintenance to your ex.

Does your ex pay regular maintenance? If you get outside agencies involved do you think he could make things difficult? Do you think he would be honest about his income?

Your obviously not 100% happy with the arrangement but you need to consider if its worth rocking the boat for. From what others have said on here people who are self-employed can use all manners of underhand tactics to avoid paying the correct maintenance and this might be something your ex does if he isnt in agreement.

Good luck!

  • WYSPECIAL
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14 Aug 12 #349507 by WYSPECIAL
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Yes a family based arrangement is basically a voluntary agreement.

You can factor anything you like into a voluntary agreement and you can review it whenever you both want to but you have to be in agreement because it is voluntary.

If you use the CSA that is what you will get and is enforceable. Your ex could choose to pay more on a voluntary basis but you tend to find that once CSA is involved all good will goes out of the window.

If your ex became PWC and had your daughter 5 nights a week then yes he could ask CSA to assess you for CM.

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14 Aug 12 #349524 by Tinkerbelle
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I dont want to rock the boat...
The agreement via the minute of agreement works well...all be it i was not given the opportunity to have any input into it....

He can afford to continue with the agreement we have.....however I think he sees the CSA as a opportunity to legaly reduce what he is paying.....
it also appears there has been a discussion along the lines....if i cut the money to your mum...then you wont be able to do xxx but if you stay with me you will be able to do xxx
My daughter feels she is being put into the position where she is having to choose between lifestyles.....

I just want to be prepared for this.....
I dont want to go down the road of CSA if I can avoid it.....but if ex does - then do I just have to accept this....
If i get a opportunity to sort out another voluntary arrangement I want it to be right this time.....
should we agreen a basic amount things like ie contribution towards housing/heating/food etc
then how much to be spend on clothes and how much we each contribute.
who pays for school trips etc

is that what people do for voluntary agreements

if we came to a agreement do we need to get the minute of agreement changed...im assuming there would be legal costs to get this done....

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14 Aug 12 #349530 by Fiona
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If you can reach agreement a solicitor can document it for you and shouldn''t charge too much. Your ex would still be liable for CM in the Separation Agreement but if you tried to enforce the order the court would take the new agreement into account.

CM is a contribution to all the costs of raising a child so you can draw up a list of all the expenses food, clothing, school trips, toiletries, transport, haircuts, stationery, activities, transport, heating, child care etc etc and income from Child Benefit and any tax credits for discussion. You can agree between what you like. The CM options website has some good resources to help parents make family based arrangements.

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15 Aug 12 #349590 by Tinkerbelle
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Thanks for all help and advise so far...this i think was the road I was going down until lawyers were involved and my ex insisted the amount he was prepared to pay us....lawyers im assuming would have know this was a bit more than CSA so they just insisted no further discussion.....

What I really need to do is keep a diary/keep receipts for everything i pay out for in respect of my daughter for a whole month....that will give me a idea as to what im paying for....then i suppose we can decide who pays what or what needs to stop etc....

last night I found a website ``Footprints`` which claims to have a calculator for the new CSA gross payment/family based agreements etc...if there was ever a reason to try and avoid going down the road of having to use the CSA is what this web site is telling me...

``If you decide to use the new CSA ''gross income'' scheme the first stage is a calculation. This will cost the Parent With Care (PWC) an upfront calculation fee of £20.00. Once payments start the Non Resident Parent (NRP) may have to pay a surcharge on their payments at a rate of 20%. This extra money all goes to the CSA so is dead money which will not reach the PWC. In addition the PWC may have a further 7% deducted from the payment made to them - more dead money the NRP has paid but which does not go to support the children.

For example, on a weekly maintenance assessment of £50.00, the NRP would actually pay £60 per week but the PWC would only receive £46.50 per week. Over a one year period that would amount to £832 paid to the CSA none of which would go to the PWC. On top of that there is a possible further charge of as much as £20.00 arising from application fees.

SO PWC may need to pay out a £20 fee just to use this service plus face a 7% deduction from the payment made to them..
The NRP faces up to a 20% surcharge...

so 27% goes to the CSA just to administer the system...I believe the system was always intended to be funded by the people who use this....

the only alternative to the CSA seems to be to come to agreement yourselves

Personally Id prefer 27% of our money going to our child rather than the CSA.
and if and when the time comes i might be able to show to my ex how much will be wasted by using that service....
If nothing else he may just prefer to pay 20% more to his child rather than the CSA....

Im all for voluntary arrangements - but the only way I see these working is if there is trust - honesty - and a willingness to work together for the benefit of the child - and this will work for many many people....
but some of us sadly - will be forced down the road of having to fund the CSA.. there will always be people who will want to pay as little as they can because they have the means to manipulate the system even though they have the income/lifestyle fund it -

It does not matter how you look at things its always the kids who loose out...there must be a better way of doing this...
I sometimes wonder if my ex paid my daughter rather than me he might look at things differently....

I hate the control my ex has over our lives - and I wish i was in a position where i could tell him what to do with his money - Things would be so much easier in my situation if we were both on a even playing field...but financially we are both on two very different levels.....
and I think he has the upper hand because as co dir he can manipulate his income to suit -

  • maisymoos
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15 Aug 12 #349597 by maisymoos
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As you say a family based arrangement can only work if there is trust. It cannot be enforced. From my personal experience I will be sticking with the CSA despite charges. I believe there is also a plan to get salary info from the tax office. From someone who has an ex that receives large irregular bonuses this is good news. My ex wants to avoid the CSA surprise surprise! But i already know he his pretty adept to cutting and pasting payslips !! Been there once and won''t be going back! The CSA is the only route where income disclosure will rely on other sources not what ex chooses to selectively provide!

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