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

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 3 Sep 2019 | 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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I'm convinced my ex is donating a great deal of my payments (that I pay on time and never miss) on herazy, unemployed boyfriend with a drug habit. Is there no way I can demand proof of where my money goes? Its so one sided all of this, I.e we pay and they have no accountability.
Frustrated one - 3-Sep-19 @ 2:04 PM
Please can someone advise. I have a direct pay arrangement with my ex to pay for our three children via CMS. My ex has updated bank details via CMS and the new bank details are in the name of the eldest child. When I questioned this the advisor told me it was none of my business to which account this money goes to only that I continue to make payments into the new account on schedule. I was a bit taken a back as after all yes I’m due to pay towards my children but this is still my money I work hard for. I find it very odd that this is ok when there are two other children the money goes towards. How do I know they all get a fair share? I have no contact with the children, which is a whole other story so I am clueless as to what is going on. The eldest is now 16 and I don’t even know if he is going into full time education or not. I can’t see CMS checking on my behalf accurately either. Please can anyone advise as to whether this is normal or even correct practice? Thank you
Branded - 19-Aug-19 @ 12:29 AM
Can my ex make a family arrangement where he buys clothes and shoes for the choodren instead of paying the money to me? If he keeps proof of what he spent each month and it is the amount he would have to pay.
Loua - 12-Jul-19 @ 8:30 AM
So I have recently split from my partner or rather my partner split from me.We decided to move up north as I had a job opportunity. I have two children one 4 and one who is one.My partner missed her family and decided to move home after about a month but I was left up north as I had commitments that would cost us money if I left early.She has recently got benefits as she lives rent free with family members until she can get a council house.she does not work and to be honest has never worked even before we had kids.We have debts as a couple that I have had to sign for as I work but since she has moved away she has nothing to do with but items that we both benefited from. I have given what money I could to support my kids given the fact I am trying to survive up north for a period,before I can try to get a place closer to my kids I have been contacted by the Csawho Has stated that given my salary for two kids I need to pay close to 500 per month.If I am to pay this and all the debts we accumulated as a couple but in my name I would not have food to eat. I am not entitled to financial help the csa want a chunk of money and do not care if I get into financial trouble as a result.It is not always black and white.I have recently been told by joint friends of our that she is having a beauty treatment hair and such next month when asked how much it would be she replied one maintenance payment from me as she laughed which infuriates me when I am asked for money constantly for food to feed my kids etc.It should not be black and white.It should not just be fathers pay a percentage we should be able to have a say how the money is spent surely.
Simonsays - 9-Jun-19 @ 11:57 AM
Hi, I don’t know where to start. I have two kids ages 8 & 10 who I haven’t been allowed access to for a few years. No reason other than the mums very spiteful, has a new boyfriend and doesn’t want kids having dad on the scene. She’s brainwashed the kids with all sorts, I 450.00 each month straight to the csa. I tried going through court before she kept making it very difficult and I couldn’t afford it. I have recently been diagnosed with depression due to this it’s really starting to affect my mental health. I want nothing more but to be a dad to my children. Can anyone help me how do I go about trying to get this sorted? You
Hibee - 9-Jun-19 @ 8:36 AM
Hi do I have a right ask my ex to provide me receipts for proof to ensure that our daughter's needs like iPad or laptop etc after I paying direct pay to my ex parnter account?
Dad6969 - 7-Jun-19 @ 3:38 PM
I pay maintenance to my ex for my two children she has. I pay the maximum CSA has told me to pay and I don’t contest it! The kids are starting to look scruffy (school wear) and there shoes are falling to bits. Can I deduct the clothes if I raise it with her and she doesn’t do owt about it?
Noname2019 - 30-Apr-19 @ 4:01 PM
As a father that’s always financially paid my way and then some not that money should and never will be my issue but when when you’ve been paying a lot of money and you find out your x when bankrupt and had never worked for many many years and is now trying to tell the powers that be she should still demand / need the same amount though you don’t earn same amount and you have gave them money and never told the authorities this and they still think you earn that wage and demand that amount but you don’t, is this a false claim and can you take this person to court as they have and are claiming false claims.
T - 4-Apr-19 @ 1:52 AM
@perezmario.i can relate to your story I myself live with my brother .but (I don’t get on with mother off my child )I would (never hurt her) but (I want nothing to do with her )she done things I could (never forgive) it’s (my personality).i made a choice to let her get on with her life with her children and not go for( rights )to my daughter many years ago and (move on with my life ).now she never went to (child support )we both (no why) .(now if she hits me all these years later there is not much I can do about it it is what is )just as long as they leave me alone to get on with my life .i have (finally )put the past to bed it (tormented me )inside over not seeing my daughter but under the circumstances (we didn’t end well )and I didn’t have much off a choice her mother moved and changed numbers wanted to be single .
Chris - 20-Mar-19 @ 10:49 PM
Hi. I am currently paying child maintenance however due a new baby with another partner. I do not live with this partner but will have a family based arrangement seeing as we still get on well. How will child maintenance calculate my payments from then on? Will they simply work out how much I should pay for 2 children and then split it in half for me to pay the recieving mother of my first child? I also live with my brother and he has 2 young children (my nephews which I care for and help my brother to provide for as he is a single father) is this taken into account as me living with 2 dependants or is that only the case if it is a partner I am living with?
PerezMario - 20-Mar-19 @ 6:14 PM
I have been separated from my children’s mother 2 coming up to 3 years. I pay the amount that CSA has calculated , which I don’t contest. I’am picking our children up to to see them with stained,dirty clothes and footwear that isn’t the right size. Both their heads are scabby , mud underneath long uncut nails and inappropriately dressed for certain weather, which makes them frequently ill and they are constantly falling over with huge footwear resulting in injury. I have taken many pictures and kept documents as I believe the money they she gets isn’t going towards the children. I understand the money is for everything (house they live in and bills etc) but it definitely isn’t going on clothing , food and anything else that greatly benefits the children and rather on the lavish stuff for herself , new partner and their baby. I’am having to make sure they have the plenty of food and warm suitable clean clothing when they’re with me. These things don’t cost a great deal and can be bought from Primark and Asda. However what can I do to make sure our children are kept healthy , well fed and clothed? It’s gone on long enough.
LukeO1991 - 28-Oct-18 @ 5:30 PM
My ex has recently decided to go through CSA instead of our original agreement of me paying her directly. I think she may have changed her bank details from the one i have from previous payments i have made. This will be so i default on a payment and then have to pay the extra 20% collection charge. I have been blocked on all modes of contact. What can i do to avoid defaulting and it costing me more??
Johno198512 - 19-Sep-18 @ 9:27 PM
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
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