Fix the CMS – my story

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    i have been battling the CMS for 5 years.

    I went through an extremely acrimonious divorce following breakdown of 20 year marriage after husband had an affair with work colleague who is now his partner. My situation was complicated and was manipulated by ex husband throughout the divorce process and involved a family home which was forced for sale through the courts by him, a business which he downplayed and lied about in court at final hearing and a long term mental health condition which I had under control but which was triggered to the point where I have been suicidal and suffered a mental breakdown. I was let down by legal representation twice – the first encouraged me to attend the hearing for the house sale alone – the second a direct access barrister left me high and dry 2 days before final hearing. I believe I had an unfair hearing due to my mental health and lack of representation but judge refused appeal and ignored the proof of ex husbands lies about his business.

    i believe  have been subject to ongoing financial and emotional abuse which is currently still being “supported” by the CMS.

    Ex is director of own company income is at minimum of £12000 with dividends. Originally told Cms his income was just £12000 started off paying £26 for two teenage children. Continually failed to fill in paperwork correctly, maintained he had misunderstood what was required of him which is highly unlikely when his business is in financial services. Continually tried to manipulate CMS payments went through variation then was taking it to tribunal. All the time throughout this he managed to get CMS to agree he could pay the minimum when he did pay although missed payments frequently. Evidence for tribunal did not look good for him CMS were aware he was distorting things to his advantage. Week before court hearing he cancelled tribunal. I had been contacting CMS telling them paperwork held by court was out of date and they needed to update court. Sent email to court as CMS were doing nothing saying wanted to get arrears paid in lump sum as i was getting into financial difficulty. Court sent my email to him! And he then cancelled.

    after many calls to CMS where was told being dealt with blah blah finally got to speak to someone who actually listened and confirmed that ex should be paying a lot more – the team leader who had agreed ex could pay low amount should not have done so  and they would now get it sorted. Received couple of payments at new amount then they stopped ex was disputing CMS calculations based on incorrect tax years being used.

    went to MP who contacted CMS – received letter back from CMS which implied CMS were doing everything the  “right way” – missed anything out that basically put them at fault. The letter was just a lie!  This was just as parliament was suspended due to Brexit.

    Meanwhile my children are now 18 get letter from CMS telling me my case is closed and all detail on system disappears. By now there are arrears c£4000. I am in desperate financial situation often feeling suicidal having to leave former family home. Luckily my son unsure about future education and so they reopen my case. By now I am at complaint stage ongoing couple of years.

    ex husband stops paying again due to affordability (untrue).  I speak to woman’s aid – they confirm ongoing coercive control – I have run out of funds to support myself now getting into debt. Want to find a way of enforcing payment of arrears. CMS tell me they are going to set up deduction of earnings in a couple of months. I question this due to ex’s ongoing manipulation. CMS confirm all set up have letter confirming.

    Date passes no payment – call them to find out what happening they tell me could never do deduction of earnings as ex is self employed. Have arrears schedule which told he has to pay. Receive couple of payments then stop. He is again questioning their calculations and has been told he can pay lower amount until CMS have checked their figures. I am told this will take a couple of months. I ask why he cannot pay a higher figure as I am struggling financially – this is just as virus happening and I envisage my children coming to live with me from uni and will need extra to cover the cost of this. I am told they cannot have ex paying too high incase he overpays me – I throw phone across the room at this point.

    By now I am wise to CMS. I have the name of the person I spoke to and the time of the call. I have confirmed the call is being recorded. Last week I contact them to find out what is happening re the calculations. I am still a complaint I message under the system. I get a confirmation saying they will get back to me in 12 weeks. I then receive an email telling me they agreed with ex that he can pay reduced amount until arrears are cleared basically next 19 months. No mention of any new Calculations beIng done. This  was agreed prior to my phone call above.

    I have sent a further complaint message asking for a transcript of the telephone call and asking why I was not told this at the time. I have only just been able to think about dealing with this following what I can only describe as a breakdown. My mental health is still precarious but luckily for me the current Covid situation has given me an opportunity to try and catch my breath.

    I told my legal representation that my ex husband was out to destroy me financially and emotionally. I told them all the things he was doing that were manipulation and abuse but they did not believe me. Instead they too took advantage of me financially and emotionally.

    I was lucky in that I managed to buy a home with my settlement but I had to move 200 miles to be able to do so. I should never have been in the position I am in. I was let down by the justice system and I have been  let down by the CMS . I have lost all ability to trust people, to take people at face value. My mental health has suffered and I had the police called on me twice by two separate organisations I was dealing with as I was frustrated and desperate.

    More than anything my children have suffered too. My son has been suicidal as a result of the changes enforced on him. All the way through this my focus has been to try and protect them from the fallout. My son has said it is not fair on him that he has to live between two houses he feels like he doesn’t have a home anymore. My daughter has been supporting us all from her part time job until I can get myself sorted financially. My ex is aware of the impact all this has had on me and our children yet he continues and he is “allowed” to do this by the CMS.

    Can I use the same principles with payment of my council tax ?  two government departments yet they operate so differently! What acceptable reason is there for this?








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