Child Maintenance Service Tribunal

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  • #7634 Report


    I thought I would share with you my experiences of a CMS tribunal. Awful. It felt like I was on trial and that I was being interrogated as to what evidence I had to support that my ex husband was in fact lying and earns more than £57 per week. 

    The only evidence I could provide were is bank statements (obtained because of a previous court order) and his monthly outgoings. These were deemed as historic so therefore were unusable.

    In a nutshell my ex husband is self employed and earns a nice figure of £57 per week so qualifying for nil rate.

    The paperwork that he had submitted had been accepted by CMS with guesstimate earnings of £5000 per annum.

    This has been accepted by the tribunal.

    I am devastated as I know that NOBODY can live off £57 per week whilst residing in a £250’000 home, but yet he claims his partner pays ALL of the bills.

    I asked the representative from the CMS and also the judge and financial expert present if this was morally right, and was acknowledged with a shrug of the shoulders.

    If this is lawful then it is an absolute disgrace.

    I have been without any Child Maintenance for 13 months and until my husband goes on PAYE I won’t be getting any in the future.


    #7637 Report


    He doesnt have contact with them no.

    He has 5 clients???? And said that he doesn’t require anymore so doesn’t advertise anywhere.

    Am slightly disgruntled that the tribunal didn’t push for more info.

    He is more than happy for his partner to “apparently”pay the bills and whilst she does has no yearning to increase his income.

    He said that if he was a woman that it wouldn’t be getting questioned why he worked very minimal hours i.e. he doesn’t work between October and March as he is a gardener??? And that seemed to shut the tribunal up!!!!

    I feel let down by the the tribunal that they didn’t question further how he is surviving. Apparently he only made £50 for the month of December?!?

    Fingers crossed he gets a PAYE job eventually.

    #7638 Report


    To ClaireB1808

    Self Employed and Child Maintenance seems to have been an issue for many years.  Under the previous CSA system it was possible to apply for a Variation on the grounds that lifestyle was inconsistent with declared income, but burden of proof was with the parent seeking maintenance.  A difficult task if Self Employed Ex has new partner whom they claim to be living off.

    Under the new CMS 2012 Scheme the lifestyle Variation has been removed.  Possibly due to the low success rate?

    Assets have been removed from the calculation of Child Maintenance too unless they produce an income.  So possible for a Non-Resident Parent to be asset rich and income poor.  Good example last year in the Courts.  Ex partner had over 5 Million in Property, but paid 7 pounds per week maintenance as his income was 111.23 per week.  Even Judge thought it was wrong, but law it what prevails.

    To prove ex is working cash in hand would be very difficult, if not impossible.  Reporting to HMRC might not achieve much as they are more interested in trying to catch the big players who evade Billions in Taxes.

    Make sure you are claiming your full entitlements such as; Child Benefit, Child and Working Tax Credits.  Also make sure you inform Council that you are single parent as you should qualify for a reduction in Council Tax.  If children need care while you are working you may qualify for Child Care help.

    Good luck


    #7639 Report


    Thank you. FYI I was informed yesterday that CMS won’t look into lifestyle or into his partners account. Contrary to what i have previously been told.


    #7646 Report

    Hey Claire

    I feel your pain.  My ex is also self employed and claims to make £21 a week.  Told family court he works 16 hours a week.  So, self employed he makes £1.30 an hour…. how many people would get out of bed for that?

    Somehow he still manages to have a new Apple watch, macbook, car, new wardrobe, plenty of petrol money for contact travel, plans to visit his friends in the USA.  Amazing how far £21 a week can stretch right.  If only us single parents knew the secret behind his success…..

    People who don’t pay full tilt for their children are a truly special breed.


    #7682 Report


    To Khaleesi1774

    £21 a week is the lowest figure I have ever heard of!  Issue is that CMS don’t know how to handle Self Employed.

    I am  Director of Ltd Company and experienced first hand CMS.  They assessed I should pay £7 a week based on HMRC Tax Return.  Obviously a mistake had been made.  I called them myself and received the following reply:

    “Our Calculation is based on your salary only.  If your ex wants us to take into account other income she will have to apply for a Variation”

    All other income was detailed on the Tax Return, but CMS ignored it.  I added all sources of income on and came up with a figure of £90 per week using the online Child Maintenance Calculator.  A big difference over £7 a week.


    #30292 Report


    My ex claimed to be paying himself under £100 per month – his contribution was set at £7.

    Then he was asked to submit bank-produced statements at our divorce hearing – he’s making £58,000 per year.

    I gave these to CMS and they said that this doesn’t relate to current earnings.

    They also then pursued him for arrears – raised a court order for in excess of £4,300 he owed – then because he claimed a change of circumstances, they retrospectively applied this and waived the moneys owed historically. So they won’t be enforcing it – not a huge lot of point in obtaining the court order.

    It really should be renamed the Shirker Fathers’ Maintenance Service.

    #31053 Report


    Hello everyone, thank you for posting about your stories.

    I’m looking for a bit of advice please.  My situation is the same as most of you, with a self employed ex paying himself a stupidly low wage. Yes, he has the properties/investments/rich wife paying all the bills???? but the CMS are not interested.  He has been paying (on and off) the tiny amount for my son, but is challenging the CMS about how they have arrived at their calculations.  They have not found in his favour, so he is taking the matter to a Tribunal.  I have been named as the other party (even though I have no clue about how they arrive at their calculations) and have been told to prepare for the Tribunal.  I have the papers from the CMS detailing how and when they arrived at their calculations, but surely his case is against them – so why do I have to prepare a case?  I have no access to his finances and wouldn’t know the truth of the situation if it bit me.  I am at a loss as to why I am “the other party” cause his problem is with them, their dates and their calculations.  There is a bit in the papers that he is accusing me of being vindictive, but doesn’t say why.  There is so much that I could tell the Courts (and provide evidence about his lifestyle) but to do so would mean he would see the letter.  Is that correct?  I’m assuming if I send in any information he will have to see it?  There will be a backlash from him and I can’t take that risk.  Any idea what to do please?

    #31054 Report



    It would be worth contacting these people:

    ‘Rights of women 020 7251 6577 We are a women’s charity working in a number of ways to help women through the law. Our vital services aim to provide women with the legal advice and information they need to understand and use the law and their legal rights. ‘


    Child law advice service 0300 330 5480

    The gingerbread helpline is also worth a call for further signposting.

    Hope this helps


    #31059 Report


    All, wouldnt he realise that this is morally wrong, end of the day its his kid that is suffering. I dont get parents who do this

    #31073 Report


    Thank you so much for your reply – what a star!  I will ring them x

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