Old Style CSA Application for Departures and Variations

Either parent could have made an application to the CSA for what is called a “departure”. There are many different grounds for departures although as a non-resident parent the ones you would need to have considered are as follows:-

1. Travel to work costs. Whilst the CSA may allow a minor travel to work cost in the main calculation this is not usually reflective of the true travel costs. You can apply however for your true travel costs to be taken into account and the CSA will then have a look at the car you have, the cost of the petrol (not an associated expenditure such as MOT, depreciated, Road Tax, etc) and any associated out of pocket expenses – for instance we have one client who has to cross the Severn Bridge every day to get to and from work. With his pay at only £200 per week the cost of the tolls is a considerable drain on his finances. Another client commutes from Birmingham to London every day, his daily train fare cost is eye watering. It is not as even he is that well paid!

2. Contact costs. If regular contact is taking place you can apply for a departure to compensate for the costs of travel. This can consist of the cost of bus and train fares, air fares, petrol and taxi fares together with any road or bridge tolls.

3. Illness or disability. If you or your wife/partner or any child living with you suffers with an illness or disability it is possible to apply for a departure in respect of the costs associated with that disability.

4. Debts. If you have been left saddled with debts as a result of the relationship with the parent with care you can apply for a departure on this ground as well.

5. Pre-1993 Court Orders. This is very specialised and in reality hardly used now but if you were subject to a Court Order made before the 5th April 1993 and you were ordered to pay certain regular sums via the Court, for instance discharging the mortgage on the old house, paying the Council Tax or Car Tax and these really are only isolated examples (there are countless connotations of this) then a departure can be obtained in respect of those costs.

6. Costs of supporting “stepchildren”. Again this is another where the arrangements have to have been in place prior to 5th April 1993 but if you have a partner and she has children and they are all linked to with you before 1993 a departure can be applied for in respect of the costs of supporting these children.

7. Pre-1993 capital on property transfers. This is a very specialised area but if you think this affects you please telephone us on 03456 588683.

There were many terms and conditions including minimum thresholds in relation to these grounds but if any of the grounds were granted the CSA would take into account the grounds adding up the total amount of money and then deducting it from your net income. This means in effect that this money is put to one side and ignored for the purposes of the calculation. It does not mean that if say the total of your travel to work costs are £40 per week that £40 per week is taken off your maintenance assessment.

Upon your behalf we can try to reopen your case if there are anomalies and then apply for a departure or variation in accordance with these defunct grounds which then lowers your assessment and hence lowers your arrears.