Call us: Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm, Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm
Call local rate 0330 056 3171
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm | Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm
Call local rate 0330 056 3171
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm | Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm

Using the Child Maintenance Service and the courts

Let’s set the scene:

You’re a family lawyer with a new client. There she is, a new mother, sitting before you exhausted from lack of sleep and looking nervous.  Her neck is a blotchy red and she tells you that she is single with a three month old baby.

She and her partner have never lived together. They had been together for three years before she became pregnant, but they always lived in their own homes and her home has become messier and smaller with the arrival of the baby. She is not currently working. She has a reasonably well paid job to which she will return in six months’ time.

The father has signed the birth certificate which gives him parental responsibility but he isn’t particularly interested in the baby or her, and their relationship was always blighted by his refusal to settle down. But she thought one day he might. It’s the same old story.

She asks you: What is his legal responsibility to maintain the baby? And does she have any claim for herself given she’s unable to work?

So you ask about the father. What is his financial position?

Your client tells you he is a high earner, but is able to manipulate income, and can more or less dictate what it will be from one year to the next. He enjoys the high life, owns various homes, holidays frequently, drives an expensive car, and has no debt. However, on paper the information sent to HMRC about his income appears to bear no resemblance to reality. He told them and has told her he has a gross income of £35K per annum.

That means he has a child support liability to pay her £81.00 per week for the child.

In reality, this doesn’t go anywhere near helping her to manage financially. How is she supposed to manage even buying nappies for a week while he thinks nothing of paying £100 for a bottle of wine? A buggy for the baby has already cost her several hundred pounds, let alone all the nursery items she has had to pay for.

So what do you, the lawyer, advise?

First you ask what steps she has taken with the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) who now operate the child support scheme, under the Child Support (Maintenance Calculation) Regulations 2012/2677.

The basic formula is that a non-resident parent, depending on whether he has one, two, or three children living with the parent with care, pays 12, 16, or 19 per cent of his gross income up to £800 per week, and then nine, 12, or 15 per cent of his income from £800 up to the new maximum of £3,000 per week.

Solicitors do not usually deal with the CMS on behalf of their clients, (although of course there are some) but on the whole it is not cost effective. Child Maintenance Options  is a service set up to help people broker agreements between themselves, and the emphasis is very much on reaching agreement without using the CMS. They must be approached before the CMS can get involved. I’ve been to visit them, and found them extremely good. I was able to listen to them advising people, completely free of charge, and they are very well trained. From what I saw, they kept very calm and helpful while dealing with some very distressed people. Do remember that if an agreement is made, it is always sensible to have a consent order in court setting out the terms of the agreement so it can be enforced if the payer stops payment.

If no agreement can be reached through CMO, then an application can be made to the CMS. This link is very useful for non-lawyers, and explains the procedure.

Be warned, however, that payments to the CMS and collection and enforcement charges now apply and must be paid by both paying and receiving party. The application fee is currently £20 and the collection fee is four per cent of the payment to the receiving party and 20 per cent to the paying party.

Now back to the client.

The CMS have decided that, in her case, the payment should be £81 per week. They have made that decision after liaising direct with HMRC and learning from the tax man exactly what he says his gross income is. That is what must happen and they’ve done it. What does she do next? She has to act quickly. She must ask for a mandatory reconsideration of her case within one month from the date of the letter informing her about the decision and she must put her request in writing. She should explain why she believes the assessment is wrong. She probably won’t get anywhere unless she can show he is in receipt of additional income, such as unearned income which might come from a trust or a relation, and/or that he has been diverting it by paying it to someone else, or not drawing it from his company which might be possible to discover via the HMRC by CMS accessing and reading his full accounts. I once saw a small footnote in some company accounts that a shareholder had elected not to draw a dividend and it had been carried over to the following year. It was the husband on the other side of my case trying to reduce his income.

The next step after a mandatory reconsideration is an appeal to the Tribunal again within 28 days. I used to chair these appeals under the old system and they are about fact finding, but Tribunal Judges can only remit the case for a recalculation. So it won’t be over then but don’t worry, because the hearing is more informal than a court and the Tribunal Judge will want to get to the bottom of what is going on. However, the old argument under the old rules about lifestyle inconsistency with standard of living has gone. Instead the CMS will rely on documentation supplied to them by HMRC.

The client tells you she has had a mandatory reconsideration and has got nowhere. She has no evidence to help her. She is going to an appeal and you advise her to ensure the CMS has also demanded all the relevant information from his accountant, which they have power to do A variation of a CMS assessment usually can’t be made within 12 months and it’s intended that every 12 months a reassessment is made anyhow.

So much for the CMS and self-help. What can be done in the courts to help her? As she was never married and she never contributed to any property, her claims are limited to those she can make on behalf of her child.

You advise her about Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 and the claims for child maintenance, school fees, lump sum, property adjustment, and costs orders that can be made against him. In some cases, a “Carer’s Allowance” can be made too, which is an income payment for her, to enable her to care for the baby and allow them to live to a comfortable standard.

All sounds good. And indeed in theory it is, but… and this is where you sigh…

He really does have to be demonstrably rather rich. If he isn’t, the route to any increased child support is circuitous and it takes longer and involves her going back to the CMS.

So let’s compare and contrast what happens with the very rich and everyone else.

First, we have an eye watering case (well into “Gasp Territory” as one astonished barrister described the claims of an ex wife in a recent finances on divorce case) but a phrase that equally applies here. The billionaire father of a child was ordered to pay £204,000 per annum to the mother for the upkeep of a child. Housing provision had been made on terms that the property reverts back to the father when the child is no longer a minor or in full time education. The mother wanted £750,000 per annum income and with £204,000 upheld by the Court of Appeal, was demonstrably unhappy.

But in our case, the only maintenance our client can claim is limited to the CMS assessment alone, because unlike the billionaire above, this father has not been assessed to be earning the maximum by the CMS, which is £3,000 per week income. As such, under the CMS regulations, “top up” payments to increase the basic award can’t be made by the Court. But (tongue in cheek) don’t despair. School fees can still be paid. Not much use for a mother of a three month old baby, though.

So what redress can she get from the court?  In addition to providing her with a more suitable home for her and the baby, until the child finishes full time education or is a no longer a minor (whichever is the sooner), she can also apply for a lump sum or lump sums, instead.


In Dickson v Rennie, Mr Justice Holman made it clear that the minimum income figure to trigger top ups is £3,000 per week without which no more would be paid and, for good measure, made it clear that lump sums were not to be used as disguised maintenance.

So no comfort there. However what our client can do is ensure that in the court case, when disclosure of documents is made, an application can be made by the CMS for the court to release those documents. The client can’t send them, because there is a duty of confidentiality.

So, in terms of income provision, it’s not great is it? I wasn’t happy when I wrote about Dickson v Rennie in 2014, and I’m not overjoyed now. Given that the CMS so obviously want to offload child support as far away from themselves as they can, I’m wondering if it isn’t now time to give more power back to the courts? I don’t see the sense of needing at least £3,000 a week income before a top up may be claimed, which leaves others struggling. Why have an arbitrary figure at all? Why not require a CMS assessment first and then top ups as advised?

Having said that, there is an intentional difference between provision on divorce and provision for an unmarried mother and her family and here we are seeing it. And in the same way we still are seeing the difference for the very wealthy too. £204,000 per annum is a fortune for most – for the mother of the billionaire’s child, it is a drop in the ocean.

So what’s the best advice to give this client?

Keep going with the CMS, apply also to the court and go for capital orders of a lump sum  (say to cover furnishing a new home and a nursery) and lump sums (to cover future capital expenditure) and a new home which will be placed in a trust. Ensure there is full financial disclosure and keep the CMS aware of what they should be applying to court to obtain, or from his accountant. Finally, make it clear that the court costs of this exercise will be paid by him unless he sees sense. And then, who knows? Head to a good lawyer and mediator who knows this very complex area of the law.

NB. As I was coming to the end of my research for this post, I came across this excellent summary of the current law by Samantha Hillas of St Johns Chambers in Manchester. I do recommend a read, particularly for lawyers.

The founder of Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known family law solicitors and divorce lawyers. She retired from Stowe Family Law in 2017.

Contact us

As the UK's largest family law firm we understand that every case is personal.


  1. Jo says:

    Good stuff! But from experience I know that the CSA won’t go to his accountant, even if you furnish them with their name and address. In fact, when I threatened to apply for a Judicial Review, then they began to investigate the NRP who had already been found to be diverting their income, by a previous Tribunal, and should have been paying the maximum.

    However, they still didn’t change the assessment until the next Tribunal decided exactly the same as the last! (By which time he had run up an ‘arrears’ of £35,000)

    Here’s my question…the NRP should have been paying the maximum since at least 2012. Therefore the courts have had jurisdiction (in retrospect) throughout the past four years. Would you say that the ‘arrears’ were not, therefore, CSA arrears but actually a lump sum in lieu of child maintenance? And Kehoe should be irelevant as there was no maximum assessment in that case!

  2. Sam Hillas says:

    Thank you, Marilyn. Great article.

    I have an updated version of that handout if it is of use to anyone.

    Re the previous post. There are some specific rules relating to the backdating of Schedule 1 top up orders which might assist you. Very brief note on it in the handout.

    • Alison Hartwell says:

      Would it be possible to get a copy of the handout and any other information about the backdating of Schedule 1 top up orders? I’m trying to understand how a court can award a top-up if a tribunal makes a decision that is retrospectively over a year old.

  3. Sally says:

    Unfortunately there are too many fathers out there who cook their books on purpose so they don’t have to pay the correct amount to the mother. They don’t consider the kids needs only hurting the mother. My ex husband pays the bare minimum for his two children that barely covers their school lunches. He lives with the matrimonial solicitor who took my pension from me and half of my home and advocates him earning cash and not declaring it all. Having no children of her own she clearly has no understanding of the cost of raising children. My ex has said if I go through the CMS ill get less which I doubt as he’s bought a new Mercedes van and having a new extension built plus bought s house two years ago , how he ever managed to get a mortgage on £13k a year I’ll never know. Anyway having heard other mothers in the same position I think a lot more needs to be done to weedle these cash earners out of dodging paying for their kids.

  4. The Devil's Advocate says:

    This is all well and good and enshrined in stone by Judge Jeffrey in 1989. But it is part of an anachronism which is so far up the duff, it us a laughing stock.
    Money for parental responsibility but not full comprehensive engagement rights l think not.
    You Advocates need to heed the warning.There is a tsunami of underground movement in the political SIAL..which you need to be in the know. .But of course you don’t need to be as long as you can grab your £350 an hour fee! from gullible clients…what matters morals not in your books.
    Well 17 million folk in this country who are like the peasants, beginning to revolt over all family issues including the pound. ..(sorry still kilograms) of flesh….but not for long.
    H’m 17 mill an interesting figure this…reminds me of another one…mind you these were duped by the lies of the Brexiters…but surely not all Advocates were amongst them
    Look to Brazil and Mexico and them take a deep bathe and swallow and do so hard…for the barges of morality are arriving on the beaches and you’re on for a surprise which you should have known about but you did nothing!!!!!

  5. Andy says:

    Very very volatile subject.
    As normal NRP’s and through PAYE is calculated as income earned.Any additional income will only be calculated through what is submitted to HMRC.
    The clever NRP will divert all income and only support what he or she thinks as income to CMS…
    In relation to this. But it seems that the Father is stereo typical in all this what if the Mother did the same hing but left the child with the father…you would only see he same,who is the honest one..neither in this case…

    CMS are so poor at what they do and so incompetent that as a father who is n the situation of dealing with the CMS that what ever you do they just carry on and you will pay…

    There are plenty of ways to reduce your payments as the CMS say your ex partner can have uncapped earnings but the NRP cannot…so no wonder the NRP is so angry that the system enforced payments and hides behind it is for the children. What a load of crap…
    The stereo typical mother in instances wants life style payments and lump sum payments and hold a full time well paid job…

    As this is a government review of the new CSA to CMS same name,same incompetence and same calculations….

  6. spinner says:

    If you had some form of accountability for the money paid as in if requested the NRP could ask the CMS to audit the payments to make sure they were being spent on the children I believe that would encourage a lot of NRP’s to cooperate with the system. Some just won’t and court and so on for them but I think a lot of NRP’s just get annoyed at handing over cash for their children and then have to continue to spend cash on their children when the mother spends it on themselves.

    • Lee says:

      Obviously you think all women do this ! Well it might just be nice if a rich man would pay part of utility bills, Petrol , heat etc and not just part of his own kids food bills . This attitude you have is just your personal experience , same as me. However having hundreds of thousands of assets and classic cars , spending money for fun , whilst kids put no 30 on the list of priorities is real too . My kids get everything . Fish and chips or the shard ! Always a good comparison in my eyes .

  7. JamesB says:

    Stitching ex partner of single parent up not a solution to the welfare state encouraging bad behaviour argument. It just encourages single parenthood and less marriage and breakup of society. If both parents did worse, rather than the parent with care rewarded by lawyers and government for chucking her or his ex out, then there would not be as much break up and agree that should be the goal rather than the unedifying spectacle of fighting for chairs on the titanic which is what the west has passing for family law much of the time, perhaps they could learn from the east in that regard.

  8. JamesB says:

    p.s. yes my wife is from the east and a less entitled upbringing and more family orientated with less divorce and state interference.

  9. JamesB says:

    They still don’t have divorce in her country of origin, it is against the law. I could write you an article on it if you like.

  10. JamesB says:

    People sort their own problems out there rather than running to a lawyer or the government or the school girlfriends expecting others to which makes it worse.

  11. Lee says:

    Hi Marilyn
    Your article is spot on . I wanted to say I’ve written many times to my Mp who has written to the welfare secretary, basically about the court needing jurisdiction . The cms have been less than capable in my case , sending 6 letters to enable me to go to hmrc for a tribunal . 6 incorrect and after 4 months it’s been refused as they dated it 2016 not 2017 . Over year and half fighting , and no nearer, I believe court needs the jurisdiction with schedule 1 as the mandatory reconsideration system is enough to make you lose the will to live.
    If there is evidence of many income diversions and non disclosure then the courts need more power . Try address this to welfare officer at Parliament and they go off on other tangents . Cms, top up etc needs addressing in high court . Meanwhile my children are 3 half years older and I’m no closer than when I first split after 13 years with two children . This lacuna needs shutting down . Mostyn or whoever made these rulings these to sit in on some case studies , as I feel I have been given a gauntlet challenge because nobody really cares! How many simply give up ? Especially without legal aid . Somebody needs challenging in high court and parliament

  12. Lee says:

    Can anybody help please . Digested every schedule 1 financial remedy article position and been representing myself . Difficult due to non disclosure and compulsive lies. I am wanting to ask if you can evident many many income diversions and about to throw in the towel with the cms gauntlet, can you apply for interim pending hmrc appeal ? Based on fact your cms payment should be at least double ? Can you try to claim cms
    Under payments as capital until you nearly die running the cms hmrc gauntlet of death by incompetence ?

  13. Tom says:

    i,m a none resident parent who has always paid reguler maintenance for my children. In May 2016 i immigrated and started a new life for myself . Prior to moving I checked my legal responsibilities regarding one of my twin sons who is still at home as the other had been thrown out as soon as he was sixteen and now lives in my flat which is now his and has a reasonable job.
    His twin who is sverly disabled who is now 19 attends college one day a week for 6hrs. For some reason my ex gets child benefit for him the legislation regarding child benefit clearly states a child at further education must attend for min average of 13hrs a week. So she has lied to the dwp and due to data protection they are not allowed to ask the college for his attendance hrs only if he attends the colllege. They can how ever apply for a court order which obviously they wont. My point being as she is in reciept of child benefit the CMS have now started to arrest my pension to the tune of 365 pounds per month i only get 900 pounds per month so im now in a desperate situation as the country i live in my visa does not allow me to work or i could be sent to prison deported or both plus a substantial fine. the fine would have to be paid before i would be released from prison.
    i have supplied all relevent information witness statements etc to CMS but choose to ignore it.
    They actually owe me approx 6,000 pounds but again refuse to investigate or aknowledge it.
    they are just like a bully with a big stick and thier driven by perfomance targets and KPI’s key performance indicaters.

  14. Catriona says:

    I too have had no joy from the CMS as my ex husband paid himself via an off shore trust as soon as we separated. He gained a nil assessment whilst earning 200k a year. Despite endless phone calls and sending endless evidence the CMS have done nothing.
    I do work full time and bring up my children on my own – they see their father (his choice not mine) 4 times a year for a few hours so the CMS bands fail to meet my situation at all. There is no band for ‘stays 0 nights with other parent’. Initially their child care alone cost more than any maintenance I would receive (had he not been given a nil assessment). I find it galling that, in this age he pays nothing, the CMS have no interest, never looks after his children and let’s him reinvent himself as a single man. How patriarchal.

    • Sharon Read says:

      Wow that’s my life too! After coming off court ordered maintenance and transferring to CMS, suicidal…it’s so awful, their mantra is: well you shouldn’t rely on child maintenance’ should you? What? Shocking. It’s almost as if they enjoy making your life hell. It is completely galling that the ex multi millionaire ex partners get away with it. Falling…..I hope I’m not another one for giving up too.

  15. rum says:

    Can somebody help . Is there any new law or procedure in schedule 1 fin remedy that allows for
    an interim payment for PP whilst the CMS take years to investigate your mandatory reconsideration? if the court can clearly see with evidence that salary goes over the threshold, why has the court been denied any re-dress . Who enforced this stupid system that will not allow my daughter to have her extra tuiton desperately needed this year. Whilst i know there are family struggling to eat, i am struggling on all accounts. However i believe the window of opportunity to have my eldest child on her way to better grades and a carrerr, the system is failing her. The father is rich. They dont want to pay and divert everything. If there are any case law cases that have developed that under assessed dividends etc can be capitalised , i would so love some help . I can’t afford legal help.

    • Jo Archer says:

      I found this very useful… file:///C:/Users/Mummy/Downloads/SCHEDULE-1-CHILDREN-ACT-1989—LAW-SOCIETY-SEMINAR-MARCH-2016.pdf

  16. rum says:

    Dear Marilyn

    I must ask this. As i have had yet another course of engagements with the CMS that just infuriate me. Has anybody challenged SIR JUSTICE HOLMAN in high court regarding taking away the courts Jurisdiction in flawed CMS assessments ? If it is clear as a bell that the salarys and dividends or even the figures show that there is far in excess than what is being taken by a parent, why to i have to go through this hideous process every single year. Why do i have to do this stressful thing every year. Surely a barister or legal practice has experience of these issues day in day out? I believe this system is designed to push applicants away. I really really do. I just wonder has anybody challeged Mr Justice Holman, to give the courts more power ? I will be all too happy to explain to him just how i feel. Why did he do that with 3 children of his own ?

    • Jo Archer says:

      You need to understand that the CSA/CMS are not applying the existing law correctly. I have already tried to challenge them in the Administrative Courts, to no avail (YET). They are using the Kehoe case to justify doing nothing – just as people quote the Data Protection Act in totally irrelevant circumstances! There is an alternative remedy for challenging the amount of an assessment/variation (through the Tribunal Service) but not the process that they used to reach a decision. The key problem, to my mind, is once you have a Tribunal decision, the NRP can ask for a reassessment and the whole process starts again…as if there is no prior history!

  17. rum says:

    Jo thanks for a quick response. I have a tribunal, but just as you say it is not the cms it is the tribunal . The whole system. However it was Justice Holman who ruled in Dickinson and Rennie that the courts have no jurisdiction. Previous to that the court could look and make findings if they thought it was over the max for top up. Im not remembering what KEHOE is, can you remind me ? but surely if the high court changed this ruling, the courts would have more power. The cms dont have any jurisdiction to even look at anything outside hmrc records as you know. Waste of space completely. Uninformative, rude, and chocolate teapots

    • Jo Archer says:

      The courts don’t want to deal with child support (and it is nigh on impossible to get legal aid in family cases these days, anyway) but the CMS DOES have the ‘jurisdiction’ to consider alternative sources of incomes that are not necessarily visible to HMRC – indeed they have a constitutional duty to do so, IMHO. Join the Child Maintenance Support UK facebook group. There’s lots of help and support there.

  18. RUM says:

    WOW just read the case. Lady Hale correctly and strongly wanting to allow the appeal. I am baffled in this day and age that this happened. Of course the flood gates would open and they would not be able to cope if Mrs Kehoe won. So every year we have to do battle, after waiting 3 years nearly to get a tribunal. I sound like my dad used to but, This country is shocking, the system is shocking, and it is i hate to say………..Designed for men

  19. rum says:

    I do know that Jo. I am just exhausted and appalled that i have to apply for a mandatory reconsideration every single year. Then wait up to 3 years etc . So in theory if you have a child around 15, you might as well forget it. I have two, one aged 12. It is just designed in such a way that it emotionally and mentally drains everyone. Everyone except the person that will go to any lengths to avoid giving what they are meant to, just for the children to have a good education and quality of life , not too distance from what they was used to. They continue in luxury and we struggle to meet the bills . Anyway thanks Jo. It is just the system that is so bad. I wonder if Justice Holman could change it

  20. JamesB says:

    Just make it flat fee £30 per month per child and see 99.99% of children get money rather than less than half of children of separated parents who currently do. Enforcement wouldn’t be an issue. Making it a zero sum game driving men and second families to the gutter is issue. Just taking the man’s money for maintenance is not divorce or moving on. Calling the family courts biased for men above did make me lol, the opposite is blatantly the case. Although I accept the rich are more able to dodge. Same for taxes. This is a (feminist) tax anyway.

  21. JamesB says:

    Better still, make it (child maintenance) universally voluntary as it is indeed voluntary for those fathers who live full time with their children. The state / unrepresentative government of occupation has no business or right or morality with this bs man hating pro feminist pro homosexuality tax.

  22. rum says:

    Dear James
    If you had to make 300 + phonecalls and wait two years, to get adequate help from your ex then you may feel different. All we ask is they pay what they should and the percentages are pathetic anyway. I appreciate it does not work adequately for all different parties. Some parents have contact, some don’t. Some parents of course want to help. Others clearly do not. Others hind money that should be spent on their kids. Not this facade that a lot of NRP hide behing, and say the mother lavishes it on herself. It is a failing system that is not adequate . Your right to be heard and have a fair assessment takes years and then if they want they just ask for another 3 year road trip to re-access then following year. Every person’s case is different, but one thing is clear that the system clearly fails all walks of life. Their are no enforcements, the percentages are too low for the lower end earner’s and way to high for the high end earner’s. Too little enforcement, wrong percentages, terrible appeal system, and the only people that suffer are the children. I wear my daugther’s cast offs. I don’t go out much, only with the kids. I spend everything i possibly can on bills and what is left is for the children. However James the other side goes to Boutique hotels, spends thousands a month of designer clothes and classic cars. Every trick in the book is used. So quite frankly James in my shoes, i do believe I am a FEMINIST, and im going to fight all the way for the children. Same as you should if you feel it is wrong

    • JamesB says:

      Well, I do believe it is wrong and the percentages and figures are wrong and not small.

      I am suprised the government came in on the side of the feminists, I suppose they took the easy route, like Iraq, Maastricht, Lisbon, Hillsborough, etc.

      Problem is you now have a broken system where women feel entitled and men would do anything but pay.

      Why should they pay? Government have no authority anymore, especially after the expenses scandle and Brexit etc. They represent noone but themselves.

      The marriage is over unilaterally, but please pay and give house and leave keys and children? That is nonsense. I am surprised its (bad) law.

      Perhaps if women spent as much time trying to make their marriages work rather than bitching to each other and the establishment about their husbands then we wouldn’t have this problem.

      Just because no one consulted us (non resident parents) doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t rather jack in then pay this immoral tax on men. The sense of entitlement from resident mothers is completely misplaced and unnatural.

    • JamesB says:

      You want more money for single Mums? Perhaps stop moaning and write laws which give men half a chance and dont alienate them so they would rather die in the gutter begging for loose change in run down towncentres full of suberban single mums shopping on government money for money to get non molestation orders and ‘maintain’ them in a manner they are entitled needing twice the property and twice the money then if they had salvaged the marriage.

      Oh dear, this is what happens when feminists and lawyers unite and run the country, a right fucking mess.

  23. rum says:

    James James James , you really are a wobble! If two people choose to have children they are both obligated to pay for them. You both have a responsibility. I don’t cheat. I don’t steal. I don’t gossip and walk around town centres gossiping. You sound like somebody that was cheated on. Well so was I for 13 years without a clue. But I suppose I am happy to bring up the kids and juggle and work when I can, and then in a few years hand the house back to my now rich selfish abusive narcissistic arse ! . Do I care , no because I am fighting my cause. Pull yourself out the gutter, and pay for your child.
    *(Comment moderated – please see our policy here)

    • Stitchedup says:

      “Pull yourself out the gutter, and pay for your child.”
      Excuse me !!??!! What makes you think James is in the gutter and doesn’t pay for his children??? Just because he gives the counter narrative to the feminist bs doesn’t mean he doesn’t do his best to provide for his children. Yes, when two people have a child they take on responsibility, hopefully 50/50 so why don’t more women support 50/50 custody? Then each parent can just pay for the time they have with the child and split clothing etc 50/50. Your ex may be rich but it doesn’t mean he should carry a heavier burden.

  24. rum says:


    • JamesB says:

      You contradict yourself, you argue for your entitlement regardless of responsibility, then say, if you have children then you are obliged to pay for them regardless. That is entitlement, not responsibility.

      The way I see it, I am obliged to look after them, if she can’t I’d be happy to. I resent paying her for Fucking up my life.

      Responsibility, what about responsibility to stick to your marriage vows?

      The law needs changing to allow people to write their own marriage vows and contracts including pre nuptial agreements, at least people would then know what they were getting into and could choose accordingly. Either that or go back to the 1950s (not my preference) but the middle ground we have currently is bad.

      Re me. I do support my children and will always. With regards to the gutter. I am not there, but many are and its not right to ignore that. Taking everything off someone and telling them to cheer up and pay child maintenance is taking the Piss when they are below zero and trying to rebuild.

  25. JamesB says:

    p.s. re your last comment. If the only reason society wants you to pull yourself out of the gutter is to pay child maintenance for children who have been taken from you who you have no right to see and don’t live with you then that is not an incentive.

    Perhaps the law makers should start engaging with the likes of me and your ex and men when writing the laws rather than just writing up the shouty feminist mantra not thought through dodgy BS.

  26. JamesB says:

    Clarification of earlier point as it may have, and probably did the way you write go over your head.

    Dictionary definition of divorce, I cant remember exactly, but remember it is absolutely not tying people together with maintenance payments on-going for decades. i.e. divorced is no longer connected.

  27. JamesB says:

    Correction, I resent her very much for Fucking up my life and my children’s lives and then expecting me to pay for that behaviour is taking the piss and very wrong. With re to all that being bad language, well, if you say please before you rape someone it makes no difference, its the act that is vile. As per Ley Lu in The Fifth Element, “never without my consent” like Brexit, politicians need to learn from that, no more respect for the arsehole elites talking shite like child maintenance percentages.

  28. JamesB says:

    Currently there is no consent in family law in the majority of cases and that needs to change. To call them Consent Orders is also a sick joke when they are not, only people being coerced into signing when the alternative is even worse.

  29. Rob Edmunds says:


    I have read this article with interest and would appreciate some advise on how best i can proceed.

    I separated from my Ex-Wife in Nov 2016, with the divorce finalised after 8 (Bloody EIGHT!!) Hearings in March 2019.

    The basis of the separation was that after a couple of years of unhappy marriage (out of 16) my ex-wife decided, shortly after her 40th birthday that she simply did not want to be married any more. She phoned the police and told them i had threatened her (I didn’t, there were witnesses) and had me removed from the FMH making me homeless.

    We had a separate property, opposite the FMH which was tenanted, she “managed” the property, tenancy and Mortgage Payments although it is mortgaged in both of our names. for the 6 month prior to our separation, and for the 6 months following (when i was living in rented accommodation) she took the £750pm rent, and failed to pay the mortgage for 12 months. While she was on holiday (one of 4 in 2017) i evicted the tenants and moved back in to the property, this is when i discovered she was not paying the mortgage as the mortgage company sent a letter addressed to the tenants stating that they were going to court for possession due to the landlord not paying the mortgage. The arrears amounted to approximately £7000 which i have been paying pack monthly since August 2017 in order to stave off the possession order and keep a roof over my head.

    With regards the divorce, my ex-wifes proposal for a “fair” split was that the house i am living in (which ridiculously is Opposite her and my children!) be sold (making me destitute) and that i solely absorb the £15k negative equity debt. Additionally, she wanted to retain the former marital home (FMH) solely as hers, including the £50k equity in the property, and additionally benefit from £300pm “Spousal Maintenance”. My Proposal was that BOTH houses be retained in trust until my youngest daughter reaches the age of 18 and is financially independent, and i could not afford to pay any “Spousal Maintenance” as she had already kept £8500+ of rental income and enjoyed 4 foreign holidays (whilst not having a job).

    The court, eventually, ruled in my favour, however because she refused to see reason and amend her proposal in the previous 7 court hearings, i now also have a £6.5k Solicitors bill to pay back.

    I was awarded a Child Order stating that i have my daughters every weekend, alternate weeks during school holidays, birthdays etc. and extended overnight visitation over the Xmas period, amounting to 43% of the year. She has failed to abide by this order.

    As i live opposite, the children are regularly coming to me for Meals, Lifts to and from extra-curricular Activities, School etc. which she generally refuses to do, instead telling them to “go and ask your father” and i always do the right thing and take them/pick them up even if it is inconvenient or means rescheduling my own work commitments.

    I have paid for School Trips, Uniform, Clothes, Pocket money and Extra-curricular activities such as Running Club and Dance Classes, Dance Shows and competitions from day one, to a value of over £300 per month, but have resisted paying money directly to my ex as, even the children who are 12 and 16, state that “they wont see any of it”

    My ex, in the last 12 months, has been prosecuted for falsely claiming Council Tax Benefit, Driving with no insurance and is currently being investigated over a 35k Bankruptcy fraud involving her Step-Father. She is also falsely claiming Carers Allowance for her Step-Father (there is nothing wrong with him) whilst now working full time as (ironically) a carer! (you cant get Carers allowance and work Full time!)

    Last week, without knowing what was around the corner, i agreed to pay her £150pm into her bank to cover the girls “costs” i did this as a gesture of good will, in the hope she may “thaw” and i would see more of my girls. The following week, i received and order from the CMS, however the award is for £75 per month, so half of what i had offered to pay her.

    Currently i am self-employed and have no pension or savings left. I have been going through a recruitment process to gain full time employment with the NHS and as such i believe she has Pre-empted this new employment by registering her case with the CMA thinking that, as soon as i start this job she will get more money. I have taken the discussion to gain full time employment as i am struggling financially, not least with paying her unpaid mortgage debt.

    I would like to:

    1) Apply for an amendment to the child order, and push for 50/50 shared custody as because i am just over the road there is no reason why this cannot work.

    2) Apply for an Enforcement order, as she has already failed to comply with the original order

    3) Take a small claims action for the unpaid mortgage money

    She has moved on, has a new partner and seems to be getting on with her life, however seems to enjoy prodding me with the big financial stick and trying to keep me down.

    I am reaching the end of my tether, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Kind Regards,


    • Kate Nestor says:

      Sorry to hear about your situation. Your details have been passed to our client care who will get you in touch with one of our lawyers. Kind regards,

  30. BH says:

    May I ask.
    My son was court ordered to live with me (dad) in July this year. CMS accepted the court order and have taken him off mums address/account and have back dated my overpayments that I made whilst this was all sorted out.

    However, the CMS have taken 3 months since this change of residency to calculate how much maintenance mum should pay me.

    I asked if this would also be back dated, CMS say it will not. Its crazy but the court order was enough evidence for the CMS to recognise that our son no longer lives with mum but won’t accept it as proof that my son now lives with me from the same date on the same court order.

    CMS have said that the 3 months of maintenance payments ‘black hole’ in which I have received nothing from mum for our son is something I have to sort out with mum….if I could sort things out with mum I would not have had to go to the CMS in the first place!!

    Ridiculous situation. Where do the CMS think my son went from the day he was collected from his mum to live with me, as per the court order?!?!

    I estimate that mum has saved herself around £1600 in maintenance for our son (thus far) due to the shoddy and inadequate CMS process and her unwillingness to do the right thing and contribute towards our child.

    Would also like to add that when our son came to me in July he came with nothing, no clothes, bike, electricals. She even kept his football boots/equipment that I had bought for our son; I have had to replace everything from scratch and without a penny from mum and the CMS seem to think this is ok.

    Is there anything I can do? Can I go above the CMS appeal process (CMS have told me that I can appeal for back dated maintenance but that its a waste of time and I will not succeed with an appeal – they told me straight!).
    Can I claim the arrears via small claims court to get the maintenance that is due from mum?

    • Kate Nestor says:

      Sorry to hear about your situation. I have passed your details to our Client Care Team who will be able to put you in touch with a lawyer who can help. Regards,

  31. Rachel parkin says:

    My ex husband stopped child maintenance payments in June of this year and the CMS have been absolutely useless! Every week they would say they can see he has wages being paid into his bank but have only chased him 3-4 times on the phone for payment as we were on direct pay! I’d like some advice as during my divorce I obtained a spousal agreement of £1 a year as when we seperated he was on £1100 a week but by the time we got to court he had jobbed hopped several times to avoid Child support! If I were to take him back to court is the spousal agreement worth the paper it’s printed on anymore? I’m scraping by each week and it’s been a case of Central heating or eating some weeks. I don’t want a massive amount but I’m currently paying £25 a week for a private tutor for my daughter who is in her gcse year and even if I could get that covered it would be a massive help? Any advice would be greatly received. My MP has been no help whatsoever. The cms case is now with enforcement but I’m not holding out any hope?

    • Kate Nestor says:

      Sorry to hear about your situation. I have passed your details to our Client Care Team who will be able to put you in touch with a lawyer who can help. Regards,

  32. Terry Osborne says:

    Looking for assistance, I have been paying Maintenance for my children, however when COVID started I lost my job, hence no child maintenance, my ex then went to the CSA – The CSA did not listen to me and carried on billing me, even thou I was not working.
    Once I found employment they put an DEA through my employer. I am currently on 21k per annum the CSA have requested 197.00 per week, this leaves me nothing and will make me street homeless literally, I have been writing to them but they have not responded and I am now in the 8mth, currently my partner is paying my way, but it has not got to a point where she has got her self into debt… Various letters and official complaint have gone through but their not answering, I cant take this no more… What can I do.. Please someone point me in the right direction

  33. Iain says:

    Hi All,
    To cut a long story short, CSA/CMS Payments always paid to the PWC until late 2019 – early 2021 due to unforeseen circumstances. The following links will give you a clear indication that both government and CMS have no interest in the NRP and are totally biased toward the PWC – I had written to local MP’s and the Secretary of State for intervention to no avail. They are not interested in us at all and the calculations they offer are mis-calculated and they offer no support.

    Child maintenance: Calculations, variations and income (UK) (

    The Child Support (Maintenance Calculation) Regulations 2011 ( – In section 13. / 13.2 Pg 36 The potential make up of the taxable income figure for a tax year obtained from returns could consist of a broad range of income, including:-13.2. An employee’s taxable expenses payments and benefits in kind.
    However further in this information set out it states the following Section 23 Pg 38. One important difference is that the definition of current income does not include taxable benefits: where non-resident parents are currently receiving one of them, they will usually have been assessed to pay the flat-rate.

    The second article contradicts itself so you have a taxble BIK

    Id be interested to know your views

Leave a comment

Help & advice categories


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for advice on divorce and relationships from our lawyers, divorce coaches and relationship experts.

What type of information are you looking for?

Privacy Policy