I pay me ex maintenance based on CSA guidelines and a further smaller sum as a contribution towards the childrens school related expenses such as school trips and clubs.
I`m currenlty getting the Consent Order written up and wondered what the consensus is,to allow for future increases on these and how best to word them?
Obviously there are several ways of allowing for this either in line with RPI or in line with pay increases?
I was thinking "maintenance reviewed annually in line with CSA guidelines" might be better though?
For the record,up to now I`ve increased the maintenance in line with pay increases,but this has now put what was £15 2 years ago ,ahead of CSA rates now by £35 ahead of CSA rates.I`ve had 2 years pay increases of 2% whilst CSA has remained the same over the same period!
There are problems with increases based on salary increases or CSA guidelines. For example, how is income to be verified and by whom? which CSA rates, the one at the time of the order or the one when child maintenance is reviewed? To cross all the ts and dot the is in a way that doesn''t cause problems later is actually quite difficult which is why there are reams of CSA regulations.
How often does the CSA change rates? About once a decade. The problem at the moment at least is there are currently two CSA schemes running and another is about to be introduced. So for example, if you applied to the CSA tomorrow the calculation would be done differently than it will in a month or so. Say you then reviewed maintenance next year the dilemma is whether to use the current scheme calculator which will still be running or the new gross income one.
Then there is the issue of verifying income. When it comes to review are you happy to provide your ex with details of your salary, would she be happy for you not too? A flat rate or increasing in line with the index, although not necessarily the RPI, leaves less scope for difficulties.
After 12 months of the date of the order either party may apply to the CSA and when the CSA carries out an assessment the court order ceases to have any effect. At the moment there is no cost involved but there is currently a consultation to charge for CSA assessments and collecting the money in the future.
As dukey says you shouldn''t attempt to draft a Court order yourself.
Experience on wiki has suggested
(a) Linking to RPI - well, my SM order, when I paid SM, used to be linked to RPI but then the Government, for its own reasons, moved the goalposts and linked pensions and benefits to the lower CPI. In my case this hardly mattered as my ex unfortunately died shortly afterwards but over a period of time that could have led to problems.
(b) Index linking clauses commonly used words like " The payments shall be increased each year " when perhaps with the benefit of hindsight it should have said " varied " rather than " increased ". but a year or so ago we had a negative RPI when maintenance should by rights have fallen but the clause only provided for an increase. The sums involved were, of course miniscule and the likelihood of negative RPI is negligible, but all the same the net result was heads she wins, tails you lose.
As I said it was hardly realistic to apply to the Court to vary the clause, but for the future, linking to RPI should now, I think, be avoided.