I need some advice about making an application to vary maintenance received from my ex-husband who is doing a good job of not supporting his children financially.
I received my Decree Absolute in February this year after a protracted, adversarial and expensive (for me) divorce from my ex-husband. He is a Solicitor with his own West End Practice.
I received 100% equity in the house in return for no spousal maintenance as final settlement.
I have two Primary school age children who spend about 30 nights a year with their father.
He pays £500 for both of them, which under CSA rules, implies a gross income of around about £30K pa.
He did a good job of ''fiddling'' his form E - I estimate his real income to be three to four times that, as it was when we were married.
I have documentary evidence that he has not been declaring his true income. There is absolutely no communication between us and he has ignored registered letters from me asking that he pays me £750 per month towards the children.
What should my next move be? I will need to self-represent if I am going the formal court route.
the CSA has jurisdiction on child maintenance, not the courts. You will need to apply to the CSA (assuming there''s either no Consent Order or the Order is over a year old). Assuming he''s earning on a PAYE basis, this is a pretty straightforward process and whilst he can wiggle for a bit, he won''t get out of it! However, if it''s his own business and he''s a director of a limited company and he doesn''t want to pay maintenance, the CSA is pretty useless at dealing with it and you would probably be advised that £500 a month is more than many children receive so stick with it rather than rocking the boat!
There are procedures the CSA can use to take a closer look at his income so if you''re up for a fight, you have (only) the £500 a month to lose but potentially a lot to gain so it''s a bit of a gamble.
essentially, the CSA would ask him to send in his income details and they would believe him. It would be up to you to prove differently. That''s your problem. Many people go down the road of a ''variation'' on the grounds of ''lifestyle inconsistent with declared income''. So, if he claims he''s earning £100 a week but he''s got a new car every year on the driveway, a mortgage of £600k and takes 3 holidays a year to some remote Caribbean island, it''s worth a shot! Problem is, new partners can provide ''lifestyle'' (''my girlfriend pays for everything'') and money can be legitimately pushed their way (my ex used to pay his girlfriend £20k for her professional services - bookkeepeer/accountant - but she worked full-time elsewhere).
Yes, it is possible that the £500 a month becomes something less under the CSA. This is why I say only go through the CSA if you think you have a water-tight case as £500 a month is way more than many people with self-employed exs will ever get (myself included). It''s not fair you should have to do that, I would be the first to agree, but it is worth giving it some serious thought before jumping in. There are various child support websites - have a google - and you''ll see the difficulties that people face. It is, 99% of the time, people with self employed/cash in hand exs that struggle the most in getting child maintenance.
If he''s a limited company and you are either yourself competent at reading accounts and/or know someone who is, it would be worth downloading the last few years worth from the Companies House website and with those in hand, have a conversation with the CSA. It would also be worth having that conversation with the CSA more than once (you''ll get a different answer for every different person who answers the phone, unfortunately). The non-compliant business people are dealt with by the Complex Cases team in Plymouth, as far as I can make out, but it can be hard getting past the switchboard and the average caseworker who picks up the phone.
Again, sorry not to be more positive. Can you manage as you are? Could you manage without the £500 is probably the question you need to be asking yourself?
If your ex is a company director then you can look at the accounts as previously stated and it will givr some indication of Directors pay.
You will nedd the full accounts and not just the abridged version. Companies House has quite a good website.
He will still have to pay tax/NI and his company will have to file a tax return on his behalf or he will file it. This will give his earnings.
I am sure that it is possible to obtain this by legal means if you want to pursue him through the courts,the court could order him to supply his tax returns for the last three years to give an average, but it will be a struggle.
The CSA might be of some help but there advcie can vary and others have already posted about the problems with tem.
PM me if you want to discuss more sensative issues, I work as an accounts manager and do payroll & HMRC tax returns so we might beable to come up with a good idea.