Child Maintenance

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  • #52587 Report


    I have residency for my 10yo daughter and my ex wife has until recently been paying child maintenance of just under £300pm. We do not have a good relationship and generally do not communicate.

    My daughter recently came home announcing that mummy had given up her job to pursue her business of selling aloe vera saying that “she was given the opportunity to leave.” I have assumed from this that she has taken voluntary redundancy.

    The first I officially hear of this is a letter from the CMS advising me that she qualifies for nil rate maintenance and therefore payments have stopped.

    She has been running this business for over 3 years and I find it hard to believe that she would give up a well paid job if her business provides her with an income of less than £7 per week (which is what the CMS letter states).

    I assume that there may be a redundancy settlement that based on length of service/earnings would amount to over £30k.

    I have asked the CMS to reconsider the decision and look in to her business earnings but if she is not declaring anything, is there anything I can do?

    She has to pay rent, car finance, bills, food etc and clams to be 10’s of thousands of pounds in debt so she must have a means to support herself, whether that is from a third party/self employment/redundancy but without any communication whatsoever she is now avoiding any responsibility for our daughter’s living expenses.

    My thoughts are that I should write a polite email stating that I will be inviting her to contribute towards our daughter’s expenses while she is not paying child maintenance, limiting this to things like school uniform, school activities, necessary clothes & shoes.

    Does anyone here have any similar experience and advice on how the situation was resolved?

    My daughter will not go without and I will just make adjustments to compensate where possible but I think that morally, it is awful for a parent to not want to contribute towards their child’s costs.

    Many thanks for any advice

    #52629 Report


    Hi Geoman,

    I’m going through a similar experience with the CMS. My child’s father has his own business and was paying the bear minimum of £45 a month through CMS. He has no contact with his daughter. I was really disappointed with the payments. As his business was clearly making profit.
    Since  COVID I was informed that his circumstances had changed so I qualified for nil payments. Yet he has done home improvements, his other two children from a previous relationship are still privately educated and my child gets nothing. He has since purchased a new car.
    I’m totally disgusted with the CMS. I work really hard full time job and I’m not entitled to anything as I earn over the threshold.

    Sorry  more of a rant then any helpful advice x

    #52630 Report


    I completely feel your pain and I’m going to watch this thread as I have also just received (4weeks ago) a letter from cMS stating that my ex, and father of our 3 children apparently now qualifies for nil rate contributions. My 9yo son told me he didn’t like his job so gave it up. He earned £40,000 per annum. Just overnight, all contributions stop without warning. In the last 4 weeks he’s bought himself a new van and a hot tub for his garden. I suspect he’s working for his cousin cash in hand as a trainee to retrain and become self employed to avoid contributing anything indefinitely.

    Further to your questions, I was wondering whether the CMS close the case or do they revisit this annually and recheck declared income? Or do we need to reapply in a year?

    #52634 Report


    In my case, it has remained open and they will recheck annually to see if circumstances change. But I don’t hold out much hope. I suspect he has wrapped up the business and claiming universal credit. Giving his parents the cash to pay for his other children’s school fees. (The lengths he would go to)  He clearly has no intention of paying anything. I really can’t understand why they don’t investigate deeper into cases. If he owned money to HMRC they would be hot on the case to retrieve funds.
    The system is flawed and it only seems to benefit the disingenuous.

    #52638 Report



    I agree it’s morally wrong for a parent to choose not to contribute something (financial or material) towards the raising of their children. I think my children’s father begrudges making contribution for fear he’s ‘lining my purse’, which is ludicrous. I’ve always worked full time and never depended upon him.
    So going back to your question, I don’t see any problem with you sending a carefully worded letter, asking if the other parent would be able to provide some items of school uniform or footwear that they have sourced, or make a financial contribution to school directly towards a trip/dinners etc. The money doesn’t need to come through you. A non response means no.
    If you are struggling then speak with the school as generally they have additional uniform and small amounts of funding to cover these cases.
    Don’t spend the next 8-9yrs winding yourself up about morals, clearly everyone has a different moral compass and we can’t change other people’s behaviours

    #52644 Report


    In some ways I feel quite concerned for my ex because she has given up a secure job paying over £30k to sell Aloe Vera as part of Forever Living Products. Whilst she may have a lump sum of redundancy, it’s not going to last long and then what? From what I’ve read about Forever Living Products it’s a multi level marketing scheme where very few people make any money. Whilst she has been running this ‘business’ for over three years, according to our daughter she rarely sells anything. My concern is that she can be very naive  – a recent idea was that she had spoken with a financial ‘expert’ who insists all mortgages are illegal, that she could get every mortgage payment back AND the mortgage on my house could be cancelled. I think it would be quite easy for someone higher up the chain with FLP to talk her in to this on the promise of the riches to come.

    However, it’s our daughter that comes first and her Mum really should of thought about her parental responsibilities before giving up a job that she told me she loved. Our daughter has just come home from contact with Mum with new clothes, promises of going skiing etc so there is no shortage of money. Mum is a foreign national and I’m sure there will be plenty of trips home when restrictions on travel ease. Thankfully I hold my daughter’s passport so there is little risk of her being removed from the country.

    I have sat down and worked through the finances and we will survive. I am temped to ask for contributions towards the major necessities but I think I’m going to wait for the outcome of my query with the CMS before taking any action. There are some arrears so I would like those recovered first.

    Our daughter is old enough to know what’s going on while she is with her Mum though. If there is anything untoward going on, it will eventually get back to me and I will pass information to the CMS.

    As far as I know, the case with the CMS will remain open. My understanding is that my ex must report any increase in her income within 14 days so I do hope that this is a temporary situation but of course self employment seems to be a very good means of hiding income.

    Thank you for all the responses. I did suspect that many would be going through similar situations and I really sympathise with all of you. I do think that perhaps it says a lot about a parent that uses any means to avoid paying towards the living costs of their child. As you say Greenfinger, I’m sure she thinks that the money just goes in to my pocket when in fact it goes on necessities. There is a lot of bad feeling because of the way things worked out in the courts. I was awarded residency (which still seems quite rare for a Dad) and therefore the financial settlement favoured me. She has since been investigated by social services and was required to attend a parenting course after admitting an instance of physical abuse. There’s lots going on to make her think that stopping child maintenance will hurt me in some way. As you say, worry about the things that you can control and don’t get too worked up about the things you can’t.

    I am really pleased that I found this forum so thanks everyone.

    #52646 Report


    CMS will calculate the maintenance payable based on gross income reported for the last financial year.  If the other parent is self employed or is a business owner, the gross income in this instance will be calculated on the amount of drawings (salary) taken out of the business; this then unfortunately becomes open to manipulation.

    #52649 Report


    Hi Leader1978

    Thanks for the explanation.

    #55012 Report


    Just a little update on this.

    I’m still waiting to hear back from the CMS about the mandatory reconsideration. I’m guessing that things might be a bit slow during the pandemic.

    My ex wife did agree to make “voluntary” payments for a while but they are substantially less than before. I still have no idea what is actually going on with her business but at least I am getting something.

    Having read that only about 1% of people involved in MLM companies ever make a profit, I don’t hold out much hope of support long term.

    #65346 Report


    I’m a single parent. my son is turning 3 the end of the year, the father stays in a different province, doesn’t ask about our son/for pictures/video calls. He only calls on his birthday and that’s it. We don’t communicate because when we do he brings out his victim mentality and toxicity (the reasons I ended it with him) apart from his personality he was unemployed and has not given a cent towards our sons upbringing. I plan to take him to court, but he keeps asking me for a paternity test and I have no clue where he/his mother lives. He has no plans to help me financially even though he does have a job now. Any advice?

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