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How Do I Ensure CSA Money is Spent on My Child?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 4 Jun 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Csa Child Support Ex Parent

Q.

I am still paying my ex 15% of my income per month when she earns more than me. I look after my child overnight 2 to 3 nights per week and feel my ex nevers spends a penny on our child's upkeep. Our child is walking around with holes in shoes and secondhand clothing despite me handing over £300 per month.

She seems to be swanning about in designer clothes, shoes, handbags etc, and leaving my child with very sketchy (to say the least) childcare (with minors e.g 17 yr olds and so-called friends), while she goes off on weekends away with her new boyfriend and trips abroad.

She hardly ever seems to stay at home with our child but if I try to say anything to her about her behaviour she just laughs and says CSA allow her to get away with it. Surely this can't be right? What can be done about mothers abusing the system and using children as meal tickets? I am very worried about my child and would be interested to know if there are any positive steps I can take to improve this situation?

(A.S, 22 April 2009)

A.

When the parents of a child split up, both sides are still responsible for the upbringing of the child until they are 16 or leave full-time education. The role of the Child Support Agency (CSA) is to make sure that the non-resident parent contributes financially. Non-resident fathers are required to pay a percentage of their salary to the mother of their child to pay for their day-to-day expenses.

The fact that your wife earns more than you doesn’t make any difference, as you are still responsible to pay a percentage of your own wages in a Child Support. However, the CSA does take into account the amount of time that your child spends regularly with each parent. If this has increased or your circumstances have changed, then it is a good idea to get in touch and have your Contributions Re-assessed.

As for your ex spending your money on herself, this is less easy to address. The CSA system is in place for good reason but unfortunately, as many fathers have found out, it doesn’t come without its problems. Once the money is handed over, there are no rules or regulations in place about how it is spent. Generally, mothers will spend it sensibly towards the needs of their children but there will always be a few less responsible ones who use it for their own needs.

As the resident parent, your ex gets to choose how she spends the money and is in charge of making decisions about the everyday upbringing of your child. As difficult as it is to see your money wasted, there is not much you can do about it legally.

If, however, you have real concerns about the treatment of your child, then this is something that you should raise. Unfortunately, there is nothing to say that she cannot leave your child with babysitters under 17 or friends, as long as they are not endangering your child.

It may be a good idea for you and your ex to Consider Mediation so you can raise your concerns and try to work together more efficiently. However, if she will not agree, and will not listen to your concerns, then you should contact your lawyer or social services to protect your child’s welfare.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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Dad4555 - Your Question:
Can I take money from the maintenance if I’ve bought school shoes for the children. ex kids mother taking over 3 weeks to buy school shoes?

Our Response:
If you have a family-based child maintenance arrangement, then you can decide between you. If you pay via CMS, then you would not be able to deduct this money.
SeparatedDads - 5-Jun-18 @ 2:11 PM
Can I take money from the maintenance if I’ve bought school shoes for the children.. ex kids mother taking over 3 weeks to buy school shoes?
Dad4555 - 4-Jun-18 @ 5:40 PM
Hi, myself and my ex have been separated for 8 Months now ever since i have been paying her R3000.00 every month without a court order any legal advise. she does not pay anything towards my kid i pay everything when i ask her to send me some proof of what she was doing with monies to make sure that school fees and medical aid has been paid she refuses. I don`t get paid a basic salary i only work on commission how much do i as parent really need to pay? advice would be appreciated. Thanks G
Gerie - 29-May-18 @ 8:01 AM
Pecker - Your Question:
My ex partner and I have split for well over 15 years if longer and we have a daughter of 13 yrs of age for who I have being paying for but my daughter was never getting the money spent on her she would come and visit me with holes in her trainers and was not clothed properly when I confronted my ex she told me that it was up to me to pay for them when I asked where the money I was giving her was going I was told to mind my own bussiness and now after having my daughter for 3 months staying we me due to vilonce I was not offered a penny now she has my daughter back in her care and is putting a claim in against me am I in my writes to open up an account for my daughter so I know when she is 18 that she will have the money there for her please help as this is affecting my marriage and my step kids don’t need this

Our Response:
Firstly, your ex does not have to explain what she spends child maintenance money on. Secondly, if your daughter was living with you for a period of time, then it was up to you to put a claim in to CMS to claim child maintenance from your ex. Thirdly, you can certainly open an account for your child to have the money from when she is 18. However, you will also still be required to pay child maintenance directly to the mother of your child.
SeparatedDads - 6-Apr-18 @ 12:42 PM
Anna - Your Question:
I have split up with my ex partner, do they take into account what he’s paid me this year?

Our Response:
I'm not quite sure of your question. However, if you are talking about child maintenance payments then it is based upon your ex's annual earnings and averaged over the year. This only begins when you register with CMS. Therefore, if you have had a family-based arrangement to date, then these payments will not be taken into account. If you mean general money your ex has given you, then neither this will be taken into account.
SeparatedDads - 3-Apr-18 @ 9:07 AM
I have split up with my ex partner, do they take into account what he’s paid me this year?
Anna - 2-Apr-18 @ 7:38 PM
My ex partner and I have split for well over 15 years if longer and we have a daughter of 13 yrs of age for who I have being paying for but my daughter was never getting the money spent on her she would come and visit me with holes in her trainers and was not clothed properly when I confronted my ex she told me that it was up to me to pay for them when I asked where the money I was giving her was going I was told to mind my own bussiness and now after having my daughter for 3 months staying we me due to vilonce I was not offereda penny now she has my daughter back in her care and is putting a claim in against me am I in my writes to open up an account for my daughter so I know when she is 18 that she will have the money there for her please help as this is affecting my marriage and my step kids don’t need this
Pecker - 31-Mar-18 @ 8:41 AM
an - Your Question:
Iv recently set up csa against my ex partner for our 2 children. He makes no effort to help out offers no money and sees them once a week. Now iv made the claim hes started buying clothes claiming he has recipts for things he buys so y should be pay me. Will him showing recent recipts effect the claim??

Our Response:
Regardless of whether your ex has receipts or not, this will not make a difference to your child maintenance claim. Every non-resident parent is responsible for helping to support their children's day-to-day needs. If you cannot come to a family based child maintenance arrangement between you both, then CMS will assess your ex and take the money from him directly.
SeparatedDads - 5-Feb-18 @ 12:06 PM
Iv recently set up csa against my ex partner for our 2 children. He makes no effort to help out offers no money and sees them once a week. Now iv made the claim hes started buying clothes claiming he has recipts for things he buys so y should be pay me. Will him showing recent recipts effect the claim??
an - 3-Feb-18 @ 4:35 PM
@Notfit - Five in 14 days contact isn't bad. Does your ex have a 'diagnosed' personaility disorder? So many people love to diagnose their ex's with personality disorders. Ask most non-resident parent and they'll all say their other half is a narcissist, has bi-polar etc, etc. But there is not much that can be done if they haven't sought help themselves. Then a judge can't take this into consideration either. Also, people can't judge a person on having a personality disorder if they are trying to live life and battle on through it, it's not a crime. As always, the best thing to do is to try to be supportive, this usually gets the best results, especially if you can offer to have the kids more if she is genuinely suffering.
JaseI - 18-Dec-17 @ 10:02 AM
I am in a similar situation to the son of ‘Lin’ (17th May 2017), my ex has a Personality Disorder and demonstrates all the awful behaviours associated with it. At no time has this been considered by a Judge as such, I am left with 5 in 14 days contact and have to comfort my children when they tell me what’s going on. There is clear ‘reenactment’ happening and despite evidence of her deteriorating mental health, there is nothing any of the Services can (will) do other than tell me to ‘wait for something to happen’. There is simply no effective risk assessment going on and it is no wonder children are abused and end up entering the same services as the abuser. I am stuck in a house 30 miles from my children because my ex will not return documents to enable the sale to progress. I fear for the safety of my children and can visualise the day when I hear representatives from legal/health/social care saying ‘...we’ve learned lessons from this...’ - do they really? Is this ever going to change?
Notfit - 16-Dec-17 @ 9:02 AM
Mike - Your Question:
Hi. My daughter is 17 and I'm sending my csa payment to her mother even though she is not living with her. She is living with her older brothers. Mother is not helping them with bills etc so she is obviously putting the money in her own pocket. Am I able to send the payments directly to my daughter ?

Our Response:
Much depends on whether you have a family-based arrangement or pay via CMS. If you have a family-based arrangement you can agree this with your ex, or make your own decision and your ex will have no recourse to complain (unless organised via CMS). If you pay officially via CMS, then you would have to speak with your case adviser directly regarding the change in circumstances.
SeparatedDads - 22-Aug-17 @ 2:54 PM
Hi. My daughter is 17 and I'm sending my csa payment to her mother even though she is not living with her. She is living with her older brothers. Mother is not helping them with bills etc so she is obviously putting the money in her own pocket. Am I able to send the payments directly to my daughter ?
Mike - 18-Aug-17 @ 8:21 PM
I don't know how people can say it doesn't matter how the money is spent. I'm a woman and still see it from csa paying men's perspectives too. If your paying a non working mum hundreds a month and she's saying you need to pay club fees and school uniform as she can't afford it yet will send your photos of shoes she has purchased with the money and takes 3 holidays abroad a year. And then when my parents doesn't want pay for clubs on top tells their son it's his fault he can't go because he should pay. Baring in mind me and my husband don't have the money to do the same for our children but because she's separated seems to have some superior right to their child's needs over ours? We can't afford holidays and we both work. She has two children she claims 2 sets of csa for and doesn't work and has a much better standard of life. Not to mention the amount taken is based on his wage before his tax goes out. All women deserve child support. And 99% of women make the best decisions for their children's well beings with the money. To say she needs to pay bills too...yes out of state handouts and two large amounts of child maintenance. Not with her hard earned work. I would love to be a stay at home mum but because she gets so much and I want the same quality of life for our children I need to finish maternity early. Their son is in secondary school and her other child in primary. Our children on is in primary and the other 4 months old. So to say a woman should spend it on her child and not her lifestyle is unreasonable. We live within our means as should she. As everyone says it takes two to make a child. If she can afford new shoes all the time, nights out every week and 3 holidays abroad a year but asking for additional money for the school trips and clubs and uniform then no I do not think it is unreasonable to question what exactly her money is going on (not that we don't already know as she laughs about it!)
Beth - 4-Aug-17 @ 11:46 AM
MOB765 - Your Question:
I was asked by my ex partner to take on our 5 year old daughter on a full time basis and was told that her younger daughter from another relationship would be going to live with her mum. I did everything that my ex asked me to do changing from nights to days and going part time and we even agreed on the date that this would happen but with a month to go Ive been informed that my daughter is now living with her nan and won't be coming to live with me. My ex has informed me she has done nothing wrong and said I wont ever get custody if I take her to court because court wont split up siblings even half siblings even if im named on my daughter's birth certificate.

Our Response:
You would have to seek legal advice regarding this to see if you have a case. Much will be dependent upon the surrounding circumstances and the larger story.
SeparatedDads - 20-Jun-17 @ 12:50 PM
I was asked by my ex partner to take on our 5 year old daughter on a full time basis and was told that her younger daughter from another relationship would be going to live with her mum. I did everything that my ex asked me to do changing from nights to days and going part time and we even agreed on the date that this would happen but with a month to go Ive been informed that my daughter is now living with her nan and won't be coming to live with me. My ex has informed me she has done nothing wrong and said I wont ever get custody if I take her to court because court wont split up siblings even half siblings even if im named on my daughter's birth certificate.
MOB765 - 19-Jun-17 @ 9:42 PM
My wife and I have 50/50. She has never had a job since our divorce for about 8 years after her divorce and is supported by me and her husband. I pay her $750 a month and never missed a payment. I believe she wanted full custody for the money. Once 50/50 was awarded and she got her money I got the kids. First she started taking multiple vacations a month where I got the boys to now she will only pick up the boys two weekend a month (sometimes). If she sees them she picked them up late on a Friday and return them early on a Sunday. That's either 1 or 2 full days a month and several half days. I pay reverse child support. I pay money to take care of my boys. If I tried to address this she would lie like before to try to make me look like a bad parent and attempt to take them. Sad cause I'm a disabled veteran on disability and I struggle with money in order to take care of my boys.N nothing I can do ?
Ed - 13-Nov-16 @ 3:21 PM
Samys - Your Question:
What difference does it make to any father how the child support is spent?Mortgage/rent, bills, food, clothing, travel, school, child care etc. It all costs money. If you have fathered a child then it's your responsibility to reasonably contribute toward these costs, additionally, if you are the non/resident parent then think on how much child care would cost in the time the child is not in your care.If the mother pays all of the above daily/weekly/monthly from her own income then what business is it of yours if she waits for your contribution to look after her own needs (provided of course that your child is catered for

Our Response:
Many thanks for your comments, I'm sure they will interest our readers.
SeparatedDads - 14-Sep-16 @ 2:13 PM
What difference does it make to any father how the child support is spent? Mortgage/rent, bills, food, clothing, travel, school, child care etc. It all costs money. If you have fathered a child then it's your responsibility to reasonably contribute toward these costs, additionally, if you are the non/resident parent then think on how much child care would cost in the time the child is not in your care. If the mother pays all of the above daily/weekly/monthly from her own income then what business is it of yours if she waits for your contribution to look after her own needs (provided of course that your child is catered for
Samys - 13-Sep-16 @ 11:29 PM
Spud - Your Question:
My son is offering to pay £400 a month f his two boys would he be within his rights to put some of it away in a savings account f them as the mother is a drinker and he fears that she will spend it on other things than shopping,bills n clothing for them? Any info would b appreciated thankyou.

Our Response:
Much depends upon how the money is paid and whether his children's mother is in agreement with his suggestion. If the money is paid as a family-based arrangement then whatever is agreed between the parents can be carried out. However, if the mother disagrees and/or if the payment is organised through the CMS, then by law the money must be paid directly to the mother to help with the day-to-day financial support of his children.
SeparatedDads - 9-Sep-16 @ 11:51 AM
My son is offering to pay £400 a month f his two boys would he be within his rights to put some of it away in a savings account f them as the mother is a drinker and he fears that she will spend it on other things than shopping,bills n clothing for them? Any info would b appreciated thankyou.
Spud - 8-Sep-16 @ 2:24 PM
Charlie7547 - Your Question:
Hi separated from my X when my son was 3 he is now 17 I agreed an amount of £200 a month when we divorced now my son is 17 I have asked for "help" towards his college bus pass at which his reply is no that's what he pays me £200 a month for that should be ample enough to cover it. We have both re married and him and new wife earn in excess of £75,000 a year where me and my husband are living on a much lower income of £26,000 a year it's a struggle and don't think I'm being harsh in asking for a bit extra as his bus pass is £450. My ex has stated if I can't pay for his bus pass out of this money he will stop it all together and pay for his bus pass him self really getting up set and stressed over this to the point where I'm not sleeping. Help any advise greatly received am I in the wrong for asking.

Our Response:
I advise you seek legal advice about taking the matter back to court for a variation, especially if your ex's salary has improved in that time. Also, factoring the rise of the cost of living you should be able to claim much more than you did 14 years ago. If you cannot afford to be represented in court, you can self-litigate which will save on fees.
SeparatedDads - 6-Sep-16 @ 11:37 AM
Hi separated from my X when my son was 3 he is now 17 I agreed an amount of £200 a month when we divorced now my son is 17 I have asked for "help" towards his college bus pass at which his reply is no that's what he pays me £200 a month for that should be ample enough to cover it. We have both re married and him and new wife earn in excess of £75,000 a year where me and my husband are living on a much lower income of £26,000 a year it's a struggle and don't think I'm being harsh in asking for a bit extra as his bus pass is £450. My ex has stated if I can't pay for his bus pass out of this money he will stop it all together and pay for his bus pass him self really getting up set and stressed over this to the point where I'm not sleeping. Help any advise greatly received am I in the wrong for asking.
Charlie7547 - 5-Sep-16 @ 2:27 PM
shell- Your Question:
I know of a father of two in the situation where the CSA payments are being misused. Unfortunately there isn't anything in place to stop this. CSA should be made up into two parts household and clothing. The household ie general living would prove harder to show that it is being implemented, but an allowance for clothing with proof of purchase may help. I know of two children who are being sent to their father every fortnight in clothes that they have out grown whilst the mother and new boyfriend, happily spend the CSA money getting drunk. They also live independently so not to affect any benefits each are in receipt of. Its a shameful situation, but what is a working father to do when his annoyance of the misuse of CSA payments just fall on deaf ears. Any advice would be appreciated.

Our Response:
Child maintenance money does not have to be justified by the resident parent as it is a contribution to the children's day-to-day needs and can take the form of help towards payment of utility bills in order to keep a roof over the children's head, school dinners, school trips, food and clothing etc, meaning it would be impossible to prove that the money was being spent otherwise. Many resident parents send the children to the NRP's in old clothes as this usually forms a bone of contention between parents if clothes are not returned, lost, or ruined. Therefore, there is little I can give with regards to helpful advice here as there is little that can be done.
SeparatedDads - 2-Aug-16 @ 3:03 PM
I know of a father of two in the situation where the CSA payments are being misused. Unfortunately there isn't anything in place to stop this. CSA should be made up into two parts household and clothing. The household ie general living would prove harder to show that it is being implemented, but an allowance for clothing with proof of purchase may help. I know of two children who are being sent to their father every fortnight in clothes that they have out grown whilst the mother and new boyfriend, happily spend the CSA money getting drunk. They also live independently so not to affect any benefits each are in receipt of. Its a shameful situation, but what is a working father to do when his annoyance of the misuse of CSA payments just fall on deaf ears. Any advice would be appreciated.
shell - 2-Aug-16 @ 7:57 AM
Jryan - Your Question:
Hi,I got a girl pregnant on a one night stand. She kept the baby despite a discussion we had saying I could not support her through the pregnancy. She then signed a contract saying she would never contact me again or ask for financial support. A couple years later she is now asking me for financial support. I have moved on with my own family. Does the contract that she has signed have any validity?

Our Response:
The contract she signed has no validity and the mother of your child is entitled to claim financial support in the form of child maintenance.
SeparatedDads - 20-Jul-16 @ 12:46 PM
Hi, I got a girl pregnant on a one night stand. She kept the baby despite a discussion we had saying I could not support her through the pregnancy. She then signed a contract saying she would never contact me again or ask for financial support. A couple years later she is now asking me for financial support. I have moved on with my own family. Does the contract that she has signed have any validity?
Jryan - 19-Jul-16 @ 6:07 PM
arkange1 - Your Question:
Would just like to ask a question any help would be greatful. Have been ducking and diving the csa for twenty years, before anyone starts jumping up and down yes I have been paying for my son, but have payed in cash unfortunatly, having had my son for five weeks holiday a year various weekends.and for a year paid into ex wifes bank account via bank transpher, have always had him for exmas. just wanted to know if my ex has a duty to tell csa about payments made directly to her.

Our Response:
Paying child maintenence in cash is never a good idea. From the moment your ex put in a claim to CSA, this means she is eligible not only to claim currently, but also back pay for this amount of time also. If you cannot prove you have paid her and if she chooses to say you haven't, then you will be the losing party in this debate. If you have some bank transfer details, then they wil help, but you may find a bill for the outstanding amount in arrears for the rest of the time that you either haven't paid, or paid for in cash because it has gone un-recorded.
SeparatedDads - 4-Jul-16 @ 1:49 PM
would just like to ask a question any help would be greatful. Have been ducking and diving the csa for twenty years, before anyone starts jumping up and down yes i have been paying for my son, but have payed in cash unfortunatly, having had my son for five weeks holiday a year various weekends.and for a year paid into ex wifes bank account via bank transpher, have always had him for exmas. just wanted to know if my ex has a duty to tell csa about payments made directly to her.
arkange1 - 3-Jul-16 @ 4:04 PM
Hi guys. I really need help. I split up from my wife in december. We had a rented house that was only in my name. I asked her to move out so that my name could be taken off the contract but she refused and i had to continue paying the rent while she was there. I saved enough money to get the name on the contract transferred to my ex but 2 days before that happened she moved out of the house with no warning. She left the house in a mess which i have had to sort but she is demanding i pay child maintenance. We have not yet agreed what payments i should be making. We have 1 child together and she has a child from a previous relationship. She is saying that as the child that isnt mine sees me as dad then i should pay for that child as well. I am really lost in this whole situation and i dont know which way to turn or what my rights are. My ex is very stubborn and all attempts to be amicable are being blocked. She has also left me with all the debts. I am worried i cant afford legal advice. Can anyone help.
Avfc86 - 1-Jul-16 @ 2:05 PM
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