Why do CMS let them get away with it?

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    My ex couldn’t cope with our eldest child’s autism/ADHD/epilepsy (she’s 17) and threw her out two years ago, a couple of months after insisting on a “shared care” child arrangements order. For the last 9 months he’s tried every trick in the book to try and also get out of paying maintenance for her, including not paying in full for 3 months, claiming to CMS she wasn’t in full time education when she was, claiming he still had shared care when he hadn’t had her for a single night in 2 years (he saw her on average for less than 2 hours per month, his choice.) When she was kicked out of college due to not having any SEN support, his response was to try yet again to claim that she wasn’t in full time education, despite me informing him that I was legally home educating her while applying for an EHCP and SEN support and finding her a new college place – she’s been attending a new college part time since January, and being home educated for the remaining mandatory 7.5 hours per week (although obviously it’s more than that!) I managed to get an EHCP, which was a pretty spectacular achievement, but by then we were in lockdown so her hours at college couldn’t be increased, otherwise she’d be there full time, I’ve also been trying to get her seen by CAMHS for ASD/ADHD support, and because she was initially suicidal as she loved her course.

    With each of my ex’s false claims to CMS, he’s then appealed for a mandatory reconsideration before finally appealing for a tribunal in Jan/Feb this year, so it’s been endless stress and paperwork for me. CMS told me their decision (in my favour) couldn’t be altered without a tribunal, but my ex then sent misleading evidence to Child Benefits claiming that she wasn’t in full time education, to get CB stopped, and then sent this to CMS – who revised their decision without going ahead with the tribunal. I appealed to Child Benefits, who are now in agreement that she remains in education and reinstated CB, then I sent this to CMS to show that my ex was deliberately trying to mislead them. However, CMS are insisting that they can’t revise their decision and I have to appeal to a tribunal – despite the fact that they previously revised their decision in my ex’s favour! I literally have one letter telling me that CMS can’t revise decisions made on appeal, and another telling me that they revised their decision on appeal! They’ve consistently failed to take action against him despite him sending false and misleading evidence on 9 occasions, they wouldn’t even switch to Collect & Pay despite him not paying for 3 months.

    So I’m now in the fantastic position of caring full time for both children on my own with no support during lockdown, including dealing with my eldest’s very challenging behaviour on a daily basis, while my ex does absolutely nothing for either of them – he hasn’t even bothered to contact us to see if they’re okay during Coronavirus- and I’m now only receiving half of the maintenance that I should be getting. I can’t believe that he’s managing to get away with throwing her out despite the child arrangements order and now refusing to pay maintenance as well. Due to her disabilities, I may well be caring for her for the rest of my life which has a huge impact on my ability to work (I’m currently on Benefits, what little career I had previously my ex also sabotaged during the divorce, he’s been so abusive that I’ve been left with a form of PTSD). I’m exhausted after 6 years of abuse and lies, and being a full time carer with no respite or support, and so angry that he’s behaving like this – my mental health has been wrecked. Neither of the kids wants to see him any more, meanwhile him and his girlfriend pretend that they’re the innocent victims in all of this. He has a very good job, and his new partner (who he lied to court about having!) is a home owner and renting out her place for extra money, they’ve also got a 4 bedroom house for just the 2 of them. Meanwhile, last weekend I’m on my hands and knees picking up broken glass and chunks of vomit from the carpet after my eldest had a seizure – she might easily have died from choking if I hadn’t been there to care for her.

    I’ve sent in my appeal for a tribunal, I’m halfway through a formal letter of complaint to CMS (just got to go back and take out all the swear words!) and I’ll likely write to my MP as well, as CMS are being so shit. I don’t know that I’m here asking for advice so much as just wanting to vent – why do so many fathers abandon their children and then refuse to support them financially as well? How can this be legal? Plus don’t get me started on the lack of SEN provision, and why the hell should I be punished when the government is failing to provide a suitable educational setting for my autistic teen? And if I end up caring for my eldest for the rest of my life, shouldn’t my ex have to contribute as well? Is there anyone else dealing with this shit?

    #39901 Report


    Hi there Im sorry no one responded to you sooner. It sounds like you’ve been going through a very difficult time. The only advice I can give is to get yourself to a solicitor to get the most accurate legal advice as to where you stand. Due to you being on benefits you should automatically qualify for legal aid and many offer free initial consultations. I would also suggest looking online to see if there are any autism support groups that may be able to offer you some advice and support when it comes to your daughter. May be worth giving you gp a call and explaining the emotional toll this is all taking on you to see if they may be able to offer you some helo to deal with the ptsd – maybe some form of counselling might help. I would cut all contact with your ex and do everything via a solicitor from now on. I hope all of this is of some help to you and stay safe

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