Enforcement of child maintenance

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    Prior to applying to the CMS I had an informal agreement.  The paying parent stopped paying in July 2019.  He ceased contact and so I had no choice but to apply to CMS in February 2020.

    At 1st the calculation said he should pay £95 a month.  He’s self employed and CMS only look at his declared salary, no other income such as dividends, even if they’ve been reported to HMRC.  After a variation request from me (which took from feb 2020 to around July 2020 due to staff being moved for Covid support of UC).  This variation increased payments to around £400 a month.  The paying parent paid from March 2020 to October 2020.  He stopped paying and has been ignoring the CMS.  In November 2020 I asked for collect and pay, he didn’t set up a standing order so I then requested collect and pay.  Since November 2020 I’ve had no information about what is happening, I provided them with details of all his bank accounts (there are over 8!), or whether there is any hope of my children ever getting any money from their father (they’re 3 and 6 now).

    We were made homeless and rehoused by the council, it’s been a very crushing experience where I feel ignored and sidelined.  Whilst awaiting enforcement action I have been aware through court proceedings and my own eyes that he has a new BMW, has been going on holiday, lending money to friends, has a budget of £1200 a month for clothes and £600 for toiletries (this is on his court form E as his outgoing expenses).  How is this fair, how has been able to get away with this for 8 months whilst giving me nothing and in the 7 months before that paying an amount that is over £1000 a month less than he should have been?  My children on the other hand have lived with the charity of school and food banks, my daughter unable to get to school some days because I couldn’t afford it. In the meantime the case was with the financial investigation team, it’s taken them over a year to establish that his annual income is effectively £245,000.  I have been saying this since the beginning but to no avail.

    So great now I have confirmation of his actual salary and will get the money I’m owed and the correct amount paid every month going forward… wrong! I still await enforcement action and am no further forward other than knowing he should be paying me and paying a substantial sum but can just not do it.   There is no other route for me to take other than sit and wait to see if any money is received.  I was most recently told by the CMS that I won’t be told anything and I will only know they have been successful if one day I receive an amount of money.

    I suffer with bipolar effective disorder and was a victim of domestic abuse in this relationship, they don’t seem to have any understanding of how this will be severely this is effecting my health, and the health of my children.

    What I struggle to understand from a government perspective is, I’m receiving universal credit and council housing all at the cost of the the tax payers.  If I received child maintenance payments I wouldn’t need this help as it works out that he should pay around £1500 a month.  The government and tax payers are paying for something that he is legally obligated to do.

    I find the customer service (with the exception of the investigation team) degrading.  They won’t tell me anything, rarely respond to my online messages, talk to me like I’m causing them an inconvenience and keeping me in the dark at all times.

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