The submitter of this evidence has requested that the committee consider treating this evidence as anonymous
Dear Public Accounts Committee,
In brief I used to be in CSA and am now in a private arrangement that is broadly based on the CMS formula.
Under CSA I had perhaps over a dozen letters to tell me what my assessment was. The letters were confusing and contradictory. I had no clarity on which letter was correct and what I should pay. I appreciate that the focus of this inquiry is CMS and not CSA. However, as I said, the private agreement was only reached on the understanding that I would pay the CMS calculator amount to my two children.
The key points and things that concern me are:
- The mother earns between 7 and 15 times as much as I do. I have a pretty average salary, her earnings are comfortably in six figures.
- We were not married and after very expensive family court proceedings orders were made for me to spend time with the children regularly – unfortunately these were not complied with and eventually I gave up – it was putting my children in the middle (by the mother) and for my own sanity and wallet I could not continue to fight through the court. When court proceedings ended I had legal bills of over £100,000.
- The mother and I had a failed joint investment that she refused to pay her share towards. It is a separate matter to child maintenance, but it has left me in financial difficulties as I continue to shoulder the losses of that investment, the costs of which are approximately £1,000 a month (and should have been £500 a month if shared). I have not taken the mother to court over this for two reasons:
- It would hinder any prospect of future reconciliation with my children – they are already told lies about me and the last thing they need is to think that I continued to take their mother to court.
- I am exhausted through what I was put through in the family court already and cannot face more of it. The mother had deep pockets and used top lawyers against me – she nevertheless lost the arguments, but I lost the children whom I love dearly.
- I have taken in a lodger to help with this, but live in fear that if the mother went to CMS they would include that income too in their calculation and I won’t be able to afford the modest home I have. If that happens, I will probably feel I have no choice but to retire early as I would be better-off.
- In not taking both parents incomes into account, existing debts (accrued in seeking the best interests of my children) or other the fact that court orders were found by the court to have been deliberately frustrated, I am left in fear of what might happen. Every day I worry about the possibility of further court proceedings.
- The CMS calculations don’t work for many parents just as the CSA calculations did not. They left me struggling whilst the mother had several luxury holidays a year, working part-time. Whilst I am not in CMS now, I continue to live in fear of it. It is such a blunt calculation that in my case it would simply take me out of my paid work life.
- The mother, bitter over me leaving her, with whom I have no direct dealings with, continues to exercise coercive and control over me, assisted by the way CMS operates.