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Misuse of Maintenance Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 14 Dec 2018 |
 
Child Support Maintenance Dad Misuse Csa

It is not uncommon for separated dads to be concerned at what their ex is doing with the money that is supposed to benefit their child or children. Of course, as responsible and caring dads you want to make sure that the money you pay towards your child's everyday needs is actually being spent on your child. It can be very frustrating and cause considerable anger if you perceive your ex to be splashing out on luxuries, such as holidays and home improvements, with money that you consider to be for your child.

For the Benefit of the Family

Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done about this. The Child Support Agency (CSA) has no control over what happens to the money once payments have been made to the resident parent. It is generally accepted that Child Support Payments can be made to benefit the household, such as on heating bills or other family needs, but often separated dads can suspect that the money is benefiting one person alone: your ex.

Of course, the vast majority of mothers think the world of their children and wouldn't put their own needs before that of their dependants. Your ex may say that she has sources of income that you don't know about, or may say that she is trying to do things that benefit the whole family. Arguably, home improvements or a holiday for all the family may, albeit only on a partial basis, benefit the child – but expensive handbags and shoes won't!

Proving Misuse

On a practical level, it would be very hard to prove that your maintenance payments are being misused. Your ex, as the resident parent, is the decision maker as to household financial expenditure and it is her sole responsibility to ensure that the money is spent appropriately. When confronted, she may simply say that she is using other money to pay for things for herself and using your money for your child's benefit. If there has been a period of time when child support has not been paid, she may 'justify' her expenditure on having to meet the sole financial responsibility during that period.

When You Can Intervene

It is a wholly different scenario if your child's needs are not being met and you are worried about their welfare. For example, it is totally unacceptable for your child to be neglected, abused or poorly treated. If you are seriously worried about the way in which your child is being treated, you need to seek legal advice without delay. Any decision to do so should not be taken lightly and is bound to be met with considerable hostility by your ex. In extreme cases, you could apply for a residence order but bear in mind that the court would always look at the welfare and best interests of the child first.

CSA Reassessment

Of course, there are other options. You could Enter Into Mediation with your ex to try to air your concerns and to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. If you are paying money through the CSA, you could also ask for a reassessment if the money you are paying is causing Financial Difficulties in comparison to your ex's life of luxury.

When making agreements about maintenance payments (and this is where mediation can help), you could offer to be responsible specifics, such as school dinner money, school trips, nursery/holiday club fees, sports clubs, subscriptions etc. This might help you in knowing just where your money is going.

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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[Add a Comment]
@ross.there is nothing stopping you unless it’s guilt for not knowing if he’s the father ?.or you secretly won’t he’s uncle to take on the role as father ?
Raff - 10-Dec-18 @ 8:50 PM
Hi, I pay my ex £75 a week for our child through a family arrangement. She is now threatening to go through CMS as she thinks I don't give her enough even though she gets paid weekly. If I'm already paying her £75 a week through a family arrangement can she still go through CMS?
ross - 10-Dec-18 @ 12:03 PM
@nelly.if my daughter goes to college it would me a miracle I only hope you she does and become a (professional women with a degree)and makes something off her life .her mother is a professional women off the night and has a iq off 13 .and I am fighter so I never needed a iq just a chin and good set of hands and the ability to count my purse money to buy me a carvan with gold trimmings flash style.
Bartley gorman - 6-Dec-18 @ 12:32 AM
The none resident parent has paid maintenance for 2 children without fail for a number of years. One child is now over age so payment has stopped although the none resident parent had to argue with the parent with care about this. None resident parent still paying one child almost 19 although the parent with care refuses to provide paperwork or say what the course child is on. I think that if the parent with care is recieving money and the child is either not on a revelant course or not at college at all. I don't understand after the age of 18 why the Parent with care is not legally obliged to provide proof it's wrong. None resident parent told that they do not to pay if the parent with care is no longer in receipt of child benefit. However there is no way to find this out. I know a number of none resident parents don't pay however many do so why are the parents with care being allowed to commit fraud. This should not be allowed to happen the law and the right thing should work both ways so the none resident parent should pay if child up to 20 and in education 12 plus hours right course however after 18 the parent with care should provide proof. This occurs a lot when the parent with care claims money they should not be in receipt and is fraud but completely allowed. In this case the parent with care has also changed children's surnames without consent although in receipt of maintenance. It just appears that the parent with care can do what they like. Any advice on finding information on if the child is actually at college and on a course that is viable would be appreciated.
Nelly - 5-Dec-18 @ 10:34 PM
Hi My ex Girlfriend has recently confirmed that I am no longer to see my son ( He is my 3rd ) or which I have 2 more. I appreciate what it looks like but actually I pay CMS to all 3 and see them all frequently. I now have a new girlfriend which my ex has got upset over and has decided that I can no longer see my 3rd. She quotes about me using my passed solicitor etc but the truth is that I can not afford to go down the route of instructing solicitors, child maintenance paymentsmortgage, etc etc - Is there anyway I can look to complete the process and represent myself if required at Court? In terms of parenting rights, my name is on the birth certificate, I have proof of continued CMS payments and visits etc - Any advice please help....
HasleBeer - 2-Nov-18 @ 6:35 PM
You serously can’t take child support from mentally handicapped guy who you cheated repeatedly on and is now traumatised and a shadow of his former self from the experience off you having sex beside him why he had lay there and suffer in silence because he couldn’t( protect his daughter) because of his disorder and years off been made fun off with his own family when the poor guy couldn’t even comprehend and is very inadequate. Now that would be ever nice to want money but sense you are the kind of person that is capable of such things I wouldn’t put past you .
Sam - 1-Nov-18 @ 4:32 AM
take this as a serious warning you can have your ugly daughter you hit me money i will come you will see with your own eyes iam not deceased .and if you like trying to make excuses for me like i take drugs or got something hide think again .my hate for you is [serous ]you think its[ game you think you have power] just send your [address girly ]bye end off my visit you and your husband will have completely different outlook on life that i will promise .i will show you how whores get treated in my world .i am judge and jury come into my world you little parasite and you will the full strike of mental illness i am obsessed revenge and want to hurt you gods truth
sam - 31-Oct-18 @ 8:54 PM
if my x hits me after all these years for money .after everything she done to me .it will be on i will track you down and do what said my text messages your boyfriend included gods truth .because i am allen no he is little girl to me gods truth .
sam - 31-Oct-18 @ 4:53 PM
I have 2 daughters aged14 and twelve with my ex and have a direct earnings attachment on my pay of£366 a month my bottom line after this leaves me £900- £1000. I also have 3 children at home 8, 6 and new born. My rent and council tax come in at 0ver £800 every month plus utility bills etc usually leaves me with less than £100 for travel to from work, food clothing etc.Due to not driving and long days on zero hour contract I am often called in short notice hours I can’t refuse but have to rely on public transport/ taxis. This can easily amount to £150 a month. I have no issue paying maintenance always had a private agreement until she met a new partner, to pay what was affordable but now she won’t even hear me out. I’m at my wits end I work for litterally no benefit to my current family.Sometimes wonder if it would be better to just walk away and leave my current family because they would be better off financially without me around.Spend most days contemplating it now my house is falling apart around me struggle to feed them and never see them anyway, if my partner was single she would get almost triple in benefits than I currently earn anyway. What to do?
Rich - 31-Oct-18 @ 3:08 PM
I have 2 daughters aged14 and twelve with my ex and have a direct earnings attachment on my pay of£366 a month my bottom line after this leaves me £900- £1000. I also have 3 children at home 8, 6 and new born. My rent and council tax come in at 0ver £800 every month plus utility bills etc usually leaves me with less than £100 for travel to from work, food clothing etc.Due to not driving and long days on zero hour contract I am often called in short notice hours I can’t refuse but have to rely on public transport/ taxis. This can easily amount to £150 a month. I have no issue paying maintenance always had a private agreement until she met a new partner, to pay what was affordable but now she won’t even hear me out. I’m at my wits end I work for litterally no benefit to my current family.Sometimes wonder if it would be better to just walk away and leave my current family because they would be better off financially without me around.Spend most days contemplating it now my house is falling apart around me struggle to feed them and never see them anyway, if my partner was single she would get almost triple in benefits than I currently earn anyway. What to do?
Rich - 31-Oct-18 @ 3:08 PM
My ex wife provides me with bad clothing when I have them for the weekend. Inadequate and nearly always the same. I pay her maintenance privately which was discussed in court.
Gaz - 30-Oct-18 @ 6:15 AM
our son was 18 yrs old march 2018, he goes college 13hrs a wk, from this sept, he now gets a bursary paid into his bank account of £25 per wk. his mother has told him he may have to get a part time job. He told me that his mother has now had her benefits reassessed and he now gets a bursary. The reassessment included her two older children, one 24yrs on sickness benefit (his mother also his carer) and the other 25yrs full time working. My sons mother also gets housing benefit. If my son gets a bursary now, does that mean his child benefit has stopped? His mother is not approacable to ask and she will certainly keep taking, I also dont want to put my son in a awkward position to ask him if CB has stopped. hence, direct cash maintenance payment should stop., thanks
fairplay2018 - 15-Oct-18 @ 2:00 PM
My son is now 18. He stated he did not attend college the last year yet I paid maintenance as he was enrolled to attend. What can I do? He has just started another course in Sept which he is attending(at the moment) but can I get a deduction as I paid a whole year which was unnecessary and he worked full time instead? Thanks
Jonah - 10-Oct-18 @ 11:29 AM
@Emceeriraf- you can't do anything until child benefit stops. If your daughter doesn't go into college, the college should inform child benefit who will inform CMS.
NIn - 17-Sep-18 @ 2:22 PM
I know my 17 yr old daughter's not in education not living at home but her mum is enrolling her still ??? To claim child benefit what can I do
Emceeriraf - 16-Sep-18 @ 10:22 PM
My partner and his ex are in dispute over how many nights a year they stay when its coming to calculate maintenance, we are just about to get married, have just bought a house and about so about to move, so i suggested getting it recalculated so we know here we were every month - which the CMO did. He has based his calculations on between 52-103 per year which is correct shes claiming its less - what happensthen? we also have 6 weeks where she withheld the children so we could not see them then numerous emails over numerous holidays asking to have them more but her refusing saying they had plans, even though the kids say they were at home playing computer games. We also have an arrangement agreed Through Cafcass in the courts stating we do every other weekend and half the holidays - which she refuses to do adhere to instead withholds them willy nilly. Now i work full time and partner is in the Forces so obviously has to go away on exercise/tour etc (which will effect nights spent once he deploys again in future) but always we try and rearrange but she refuses - so what happens now will they just take her word for it? Just looking for some advice/guidance really a she she is trying to claim the higher amountof below 52 nights per year x Thanks
s87 - 13-Sep-18 @ 1:55 PM
Nooks - Your Question:
My son turned 17 in june he hasn't spoken to me in 2 years I have no communication with my ex wife impossible to do this. Apparently he has decided to go to college I'm not sure he will even go as he never went to school would I have had to pay the 2 months in between July to September as my money stops when he turned 17 and how will I know if he attends college am I not entitled to know if he goes or not if I am paying.

Our Response:
When child benefit stops, then so will child maintenance payments, please see the link here . When child benefit eligibility stops, CMS will be notified and child maintenance payments will stop automatically. Yes, you would continue paying child maintenance in the July-September interim period.
SeparatedDads - 3-Sep-18 @ 3:47 PM
My son turned 17 in june he hasn't spoken to me in 2 years I have no communication with my ex wife impossible to do this. Apparently he has decided to go to college I'm not sure he will even go as he never went to school would I have had to pay the 2 months in between July to September as my money stops when he turned 17 and how will I know if he attends college am I not entitled to know if he goes or not if I am paying.
Nooks - 3-Sep-18 @ 7:51 AM
I have my son most weeks 4 nights overnight stay, my ex has said to the csa he only stays 2 !!!! So how do i prove this wheneven on school holidays hes always with me , she has lied and there seems to be nothing to do , she has a house with no mortgage which i half payed for while I'm struggling , I don't want my son to come less but at 14 he eats like a man and while I'm at work the bills rack up ??? Waiting for a tribunal but court says 18 month waiting time , so in meantime I pay the extra and even if goes to court how do i prove her wrong ??? My word against hers , and involving child isnt an option he wouldn't pick a side either way
Chicken wire - 31-Aug-18 @ 3:53 PM
Why is my son's ex allowed to have access to how much he earns? Surely that violates the data act Why does the money he pays now get deducted from benefits- 3 different dad's paying her mainrainance for 3 children all on top of benefits.....she will never work Meanwhile my son and partner work very hard but have to pay an irrational amount of money for his child how us thus fair?
Alex - 28-Aug-18 @ 8:13 PM
Kurt - Your Question:
I pay more than what I should be paying according to csa but my soon to be x wife is insisting on more. She has just returned from a holiday in Spain with kids and now is demanding more money. What are my rights? I obviously would never see my kids without cloths food etc but she is left with a nice house and recently bought a bmw in light of all this.

Our Response:
You do not have to pay any more than CMS have assessed you should pay. However, if you have a family-based child maintenance arrangement then this should be decided between you.
SeparatedDads - 13-Aug-18 @ 1:43 PM
I pay more than what i should be paying according to csa but my soon to be x wife is insisting on more. She has just returned from a holiday in Spain with kids and now is demanding more money. What are my rights? I obviously would never see my kids without cloths food etc but she is left with a nice house and recently bought a bmw in light of all this...
Kurt - 10-Aug-18 @ 11:33 PM
Yanto2- Your Question:
My ex partner has a documented history of child neglect against my daughter,where do I stand legally in regards to paying my ex maintenance??

Our Response:
Your are still required to may maintenance to the primary carer of your child to help towards the day-to-day care of your daughter.
SeparatedDads - 19-Jul-18 @ 11:37 AM
My ex partner has a documented history of child neglect against my daughter,where do I stand legally in regards to paying my ex maintenance??
Yanto2 - 17-Jul-18 @ 9:37 PM
Hi my partner has been trying to see his kids now for two years, he asks his ex wife to see the kids but she responds with abuse or telling him his kids don't want to see him, she has even gone as far to get them to write letters saying they don't want to see him, but hasn't given a reason why he can't see them. She still let's his ex girlfriend see his kids and uses this to get a reaction from him. He was going to go to court but she manipulated him into backing down after saying it would upset his kids. We recently found out and have on video her giving his children alcohol there are 11 and 12. And she is now telling him she is spending his child support payments on shoes for herself, we also have evidence of this. He pays £430 a month and never sees his children even tho he would like to. We tried mediation and she didn't show up. He is scared if we go to court it wont go in his favor and he will lose Kids forever even tho he doesn't get to see them now he lives in hope one day he will. What is the best thing he can do? He is in arrears with CSA but hasn't missed a payment now for two years. The last time he saw his children there was no problem and they were happy to see him, it is since the breakdown of his last relationship and him starting a new one his ex wife has stopped him seeing his kids We now have a child together the children's half brother and would like them to be part of his life. My partner needs advice
Jen - 11-Jul-18 @ 11:43 PM
Tmj - Your Question:
I received a large bonus last year which was unexpected but much needed. My weekly payment has gone up by a third. I can't afford it but that's the way it goes. However my ex refuses to send my son to me with any clothes. I pick him up from school and he comes with the uniform on his back. If he comes on a non school day he comes in crocs and sweat pants.no coat, trainers, underwear or pyjamas. She's even sent him out to me without a coat in a thunder storm. I've asked many times for her to send a change of clothes but she refuses. Now I'm paying more to her a month than the average mortgage, I can't afford to continue buying clothes on top and she is still refusing to send anything. Is there anything I can do?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, not. Your ex is not responsible for supplying clothes for your child when your child is out of her care. Families deal with such issues usually via negotiation. However, most non-resident parents have a set of everything at their own home.
SeparatedDads - 12-Jun-18 @ 11:32 AM
I received a large bonus last year which was unexpected but much needed. My weekly payment has gone up by a third. I can't afford it but that's the way it goes. However my ex refuses to send my son to me with any clothes. I pick him up from school and he comes with the uniform on his back. If he comes on a non school day he comes in crocs and sweat pants.no coat, trainers, underwear or pyjamas. She's even sent him out to me without a coat in a thunder storm. I've asked many times for her to send achange of clothes but she refuses. Now I'm paying more to her a month than the average mortgage, I can't afford tocontinue buying clothes on top and she is still refusing to send anything. Is there anything I can do?
Tmj - 11-Jun-18 @ 7:37 PM
Hi, my ex has decided to take me to csa even though I have no proplem in providing for my two kids always baught them new shoes haircuts clothes etc even when unemployed I feel that she will definitely not be spending the money on my pair. Also do I need to get in contact with them over holidays and if social is involved in they lives though her fault? ?
Cj - 9-Jun-18 @ 11:46 AM
Xr1200 - Your Question:
Hi all,My ex wife has suffered mental health problems for many years. My son who is now 19 years old failed to return to college in September last year and took a job in September/ October 2018. I was not aware of this and like a jackass kept paying her the CMS assessment until December 2018. My ex wife was sectioned in November 2018 and she currently remains in a mental hospital. On finding out my son is working I informed the CMS in December 2017 they told me there was nothing they could do as she was still receiving child benefit and it was for me to report to their fraud team in the mean time I needed to continue paying her. Child benefit were contacted as well in December 2017. Again the seem to have little interest and I was told to speak to the benefits agency fraud team which I did. It is now 6 months on and the CMS have sent me another assessment for another year of payments. My son will be 20 in November. He also claimed sickness benefit in December 2017. I have had several heated arguments with CMS recently over this matter as it is completely unfair and nobody seems interested. What should I do? My son earns nearly as much as I do!

Our Response:
You can see when you should stop paying child maintenance payments via the link here and here . If your ex is deemed eligible to claim child benefit, then child maintenance will continue (as child maintenance payments stops when eligibility to claim child benefit does). You would have to find out why/on what grounds your ex is still eligible to claim child benefit for your son - you don't say what has been said.As a rule, if a young person leaves college, then child benefit is informed and once child benefit ceases, so does child maintenance automatically.
SeparatedDads - 24-May-18 @ 11:10 AM
@Xr1200.mental heath is a big problem but can be treated.i have known people to fake been ill because they are hiding something or have changed that much from association with shady characters where you would remember them anymore.you can’t reach them once they cross they don’t care for family or old friends they care for only them.
Mother - 23-May-18 @ 12:17 PM
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