Non-resident parents who avoid paying for their responsibilities

Last week, two women won their fight to have their ex-husbands’ income and assets re-assessed and their settlement to be re-examined.  Alison Sharland, 48, and Varsha Gohil, 50, argued that their ex-husbands lied to judges about how much they were worth.

While these cases relate to divorce payments, since becoming a single mum, I have been shocked by how many ex-partners make no or little payments to support their children.  Looking at the Government’s own figures show that in just 60% of CSA cases, the non-resident parent is paying 90% or more of the amount of child support.  In other words 40% of CSA cases are paying less than they should be.

csaThese statistics are shocking but possibly what is even more shocking is that 49.6% of cases that the CSA assess are awarded nil-liability.  This means that the non-resident parent has to pay nothing.

To put all of this together, this means that almost half of parents who make a CSA claim receive nothing at all for their children.  Out of those who are told that the non-resident parent must pay something, only 60% receive that payment.  Therefore, 30% of CSA cases result in the non-resident parent paying something which is the full amount due in child support.

So how much do these lucky 30% of single parents receive?  According to the Government’s statistics, the average amount is £34 a week.  That is not per child but per claim.

From this, it is clear that single parents are lucky to receive any payment and are certainly not receiving amounts that will provide more than a few basic essentials.

How do non-resident parents pay so little though? 

Since being a single parent, I have been shocked to find out from personal experience and talking to many other parents, the extremes that some will go to in order to avoid paying for their children.   There appears to be four common methods to avoid paying all or most of child support.

  1. Some parents will lie about their income, although this is becoming harder to do as the CSA can now check with HMRC.  Or they will change jobs too frequently for HMRC to keep up with their employer and earnings.
  2. Other parents will lose their job and move onto benefits rather than pay a percentage of their earnings. Therefore, it is the benefits system (or rather the tax payer) that is paying child support.  If a non-resident parent is on benefits, then they will have to pay £7 a week.  Again, this is per claim not per child.
  3. Becoming self-employed seems to be growing in popularity as the CSA claim is assessed on profit. With a good accountant, a range of expenses (including paying large amounts into a personal pension) is offset making the profits so low that they may not be able to pay anything.  As I saw on one forum to advise on CSA payments “You’re paying more than £5 in child support?!!  Sack you accountant mate and get a decent one!”
  4. Lastly, there is cash-in-hand work. Impossible to prove and enabling the non-resident parent to get away with either claiming benefits and getting plenty of extra cash (which would mean £7 a week in child support) or not claiming benefits and simply living off the cash-in-hand jobs (resulting in a nil-liability CSA case).

The frustrating thing for the single resident parent is that they know their ex is lying and manipulating the system, yet can do nothing about it.

Now, I know that there are some fantastic parents out there who fully support their children and pay to help bring them up without question.  Unfortunately, as we can see, there are a substantial number of non-resident parents who avoid paying for their responsibilities.

If the Government focused more on getting non-resident parents to pay the full amount and to not get away with the four ways that non-resident parents typically use to avoid payment, there would be less child poverty and less stressed single parents struggling to make ends meet.  Unfortunately, it will cost money and time to stop these loopholes and ensure payments are made.  So, instead the Government are making single parents pay £20 to move their claim from the CSA to CMA and are also cutting the tax credits that are paid out so that single parents will struggle even further.

csa letter 2As for me, I am lucky that I do receive a payment from the CSA.  However, my ex has done and is doing three of the four avoidance points posted above.  Therefore, I receive just £7 (minus a 4% admin charge) a week to bring up 5 children.  I have to work to support my children but, like thousands of others, my tax credits are being cut, while my ex’s benefits aren’t.

More needs to be done to ensure that non-resident parents take responsibility for their children.  At the moment, it is too easy to walk away and lie.

This post was also published on the Huffington Post – here

Mums' Days

19 Comments on Non-resident parents who avoid paying for their responsibilities

  1. Grace
    November 1, 2015 at 10:16 am (3 years ago)

    Indeed this is so, and when looking for advice online the first hits were men’s sites focused on avoiding child maintenance. My ex lives in. 6-bed mansion and has a separate property, no mortgage and a 500K art collection. He earns much of his income in cash and swaps, and last year declared £13K in income. The Child Maintenance Service knows this but is on my able to charge on the basis of declared income and he pays only £28 per week, compared to the £500 he was paying when we were together. Surely the law must changed to take account of assets in such cases, as these are an obvious indicator of true income and ability to pay.

  2. Sacha
    October 23, 2015 at 11:56 pm (3 years ago)

    I agree with you, I remember when I separated from my son’s father I was struggling to get to work. So I told my son’s father he had to help more.
    Sacha recently posted…Roar against InjusticeMy Profile

  3. Random Musings
    October 23, 2015 at 1:00 pm (3 years ago)

    I completely agree. When a relationship ends, you walk away from your partner, not your children. The CSA is a weird one though. From this post, some people are barely getting enough to buy one meal for a child, never mind pay half of their costs. I have heard of a lot of cases though where the father gets absolutely stung to the point where he can barely afford to live himself. There needs to be some consistency. #TheList
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  4. Kerry | Ohsoamelia
    October 23, 2015 at 11:29 am (3 years ago)

    I can’t believe so many NRP get away without paying. I lucky that my kids dad pays and we do it ourselves but I trust him and we have a good relationship.

  5. Ickle Pickle
    October 21, 2015 at 2:03 pm (3 years ago)

    my ex has never given me a penny in 18years! Now 19, out daughter can see for herself what a waste of space he is. Kaz x
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  6. hayley
    October 20, 2015 at 3:23 pm (3 years ago)

    It is shocking! I dont know any people in the situation myself but I did see a blog friend mention how little child support she gets from her childs father and I could not believe it! Youd struggle to keep a goldfish alive on that money! x
    hayley recently posted…Interview with a 2 Year Old!My Profile

  7. BloggerMummyLauren
    October 20, 2015 at 12:46 pm (3 years ago)

    It really is an awfully flawed system isn’t it? What I don’t understand is why anyone would want to cheat their way out of paying for their own children, I really can’t get my head around that?
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  8. jo smith
    October 20, 2015 at 12:08 pm (3 years ago)

    Although now reconciled, my husband and I parted for a period of around a year 3 years ago and I was so lucky that he paid half of the household bills so as not having to uproot and find somewhere else as I wouldn’t have been able to afford it on my own. I really dislike men (and of course women were applicable) who shirk their responsibilities.

  9. Aly
    October 20, 2015 at 8:45 am (3 years ago)

    I receive pittance from my ex for my 3 kids.He is repeatedly late with payments or never has enough to give me what we agreed.I know he should be paying me a lot more than he is but there’s such a long and drawn out system to claim.
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  10. Zoe Alicia
    October 20, 2015 at 8:12 am (3 years ago)

    I have the most beautiful neighbour whose father of her baby wanted nothing to do with it. NOTHING. She didn’t receive a single cent but she still worked and put herself through college to provide for her son. Single parents need a lot more credit x
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  11. LadyNicci
    October 19, 2015 at 9:29 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow, I am shocked at these figures, truly shocked. 7 quid a week! or none atall?! it’s disgusting, honestly, because it’s the children who suffer at the end of the day. i can’t imagine having a child and not wanting to pay to raise them, if such a situation arose. shameful. i’m a stepmum and realise the value or a regular, respectable payment.
    LadyNicci recently posted…Review: Ziaja Argan Oil Hand and Face CreamMy Profile

  12. Lisa - Leelee Loves
    October 19, 2015 at 8:56 pm (3 years ago)

    It’s ridiculous that people can get away without paying, if you’re capable of bringing a child into this world then it’s the duty of BOTH parents to contribute towards their wellbeing! Xx
    Lisa – Leelee Loves recently posted…What Taylor Wore: The Disney on Ice EditionMy Profile

  13. Ana De- Jesus
    October 19, 2015 at 8:33 pm (3 years ago)

    I can’t imagine what it is like to be a single mother and not have the father pay for his duties as a parent. I am sick and tired of people not getting the benefits they deserve and then some are handed them on a plate. It is not fair.
    Ana De- Jesus recently posted…The AbuserMy Profile

  14. Jodie
    October 19, 2015 at 1:37 pm (3 years ago)

    i can never understand this either. I have two stepsons and we have always paid over the odds for them, and on top we will always pay at least half for their school trips, school uniforms, and other bits and pieces. We also have them white a lot, in fact when they were little we used to have them almost half and half. But yet, I know so many mums who have never received a penny from the Dads. How is this even possible? I can never understand how more often that not, the man has the option of walking away and leaving his kids behind if he wants to! i was never that great on science but I’m fairly certain it takes two to make a baby… x

  15. Joanna
    October 19, 2015 at 12:29 pm (3 years ago)

    I don’t really know much about child support as am not a single parent. It is such a shame that non resident parents are getting away with paying so little.
    Joanna recently posted…Lush Haul #1My Profile

  16. Angela at Daysinbed
    October 19, 2015 at 10:55 am (3 years ago)

    I was a single mum 5 years and my child is almost 8 and i never once in my life received a penny of child support! Thats life for me. Angela x
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  17. Kim Carberry
    October 19, 2015 at 9:08 am (3 years ago)

    Ugh! I have just had dealings with Child maintenance. My ex didn’t want to pay so his partner claimed for them meaning he was classed has having no income. His big mouth got him in trouble when he forgot his daughters birthday and used a change in his financial situation as an excuse….lol I got straight on the phone to the Child Maintenance Options & he now has to pay £7 a week….
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  18. Sarah
    October 19, 2015 at 8:21 am (3 years ago)

    It’s so wrong how they get a way without paying! I can relate. More DOES need to be done to ensure non resident parents take more responsibility!
    Great post!! xx

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