Success Stories

What follows below is a short example of a few cases where we have acted upon the behalf of parent with care to successfully challenge CSA / CMS decisions. This represents just a small number of the successful cases but each client here has consented to their case details being reproduced in this way.

Ms T R

Consulted by client. Husband had an affair but she wanted to stand by him. His maintenance had been assessed at £90 per week. This assessment included Tax Credit received by client which under normal circumstances would be right however due to a very misunderstood provision this was incorrect, client had applied for Tax Credit whilst she was separated from her husband. It therefore does not fall to be included within his income. After litigation with the Agency they agreed with the submission. Over £2,000 of arrears written off.

Ms V G

Consulted by client. Ex had a £5 per week assessment despite being a local property magnate. We advised her to apply for a departure and following a two day trial and extensive cross-examination of the non-resident parent achieved a maintenance award in excess of £100 per week backdated two years.

Ms T S

CSA / CMS assessed at £15 per week. We took the case to Tribunal and the assessment increased to £177 per week with arrears of over £8,000.

Ms J S

Made an application for child maintenance in 2000 but the Agency was unable to assess the non-resident parent. This company became involved in June 2005 and within four months an assessment was put in place of £35 per week.

Ms L E-G

Application for child support made in 2003 upon which the Agency took no action and did not serve the non-resident parent. This company became involved and we obtained an assessment in the amount of £71 per week with arrears of more than £4,000.

Ms T V

Client had outstanding arrears of some £18,000 but the Agency were unable to enforce on the case. We became involved and there is now a Charging Order on the non-resident parent’s property in the amount of £18,000 with a further Liability Order for another £5,500. The case is now being enforced appropriately and payments have been made.

Ms A J

CSA / CMSheld onto money collected from the non-resident parent and were unable to pay client due to their computer system. We took action that resulted in the CSA / CMS making manual payments within a few weeks and there have been no further problems regarding payments to the client.

Mrs A A

Instructed by client who applied for a variation in relation to dividends received by her Solicitor ex-husband.  The CMS initially made a decision in her favour but then her ex-husband appealed and the CMS decided to remove the dividends.  This then left client in receipt of maintenance of £10 a week from a man in receipt of income in excess of £1,000 a week from his business.

We applied for a mandatory reconsideration in relation to that decision and after lengthy discussions with the Child Maintenance Service they reinstated the variation decision thereby ensuring the non-resident parent paid maintenance on the entirety of his £1,000 per week income.

Mrs S C 

This case was forwarded on to me from a firm of solicitors who had made some crucial errors in their disclosure.  As a result client had been met with a variation application in respect of an inheritance receipt in excess of £1 million.

The inheritance was extremely complicated with monies being used to pay certain debts, money set aside against taxation, the purchase of a business and a property.  The application hinted exactly at the point had received most of the inheritance and therefore for Child Support Agency purposes had cash available at the £1 million mark leaving her vulnerable to an assessment totalling £2,000 per month in respect of the three children.

The proceedings were bitter contested but at tribunal we were able to limit the effect to £80 per week which client felt was a good outcome.  The father (who was the parent with care) appealed and permission was given by the Upper Tribunal.  We attended with client before the Upper Tribunal when we repeated the legal and technical points made before the Tribunal and we were able convince the Tribunal that of the entire capital received less than £65,000 actually represented assets within the meaning of the child support legislation thereby reducing her assessment to nil and wiping out all her arrears.

This case represents an object lesson in two things, we were successful in persuading tribunal on some of the arguments we put forward but by no means all of them.  Client was content to accept the outcome but the father was not and he learned a valuable lesson, appeals to the tribunals are not a one way bet and arguments which may not be accepted by the lower tribunals could be accepted by the upper tribunal, as they were in this case.  In my view my client was wise not to proceed to the upper tribunal the costs and stresses of the case were such that bringing the matter to end enabling her to concentrate on her new business was more important than continuing an entrenched battle.  The result is especially gratifying as it set out in a very lengthy judgement a particular procedure for looking at cash assets that we being dissipated and where effective dates could apply.

Mrs A H

The Agency made an assessment of £22 per week which was never paid by the non-resident parent.  This company became involved and took the case to Tribunal.  The non-resident parent took no part in the proceedings and we convinced the Tribunal to increase his income 25 times over producing a maximum assessment and arrears of £12,000.

Mrs M McN

Consulted by client concerning very small maintenance assessment received following her husband starting up self-employment in 2009.  Investigations revealed that he had started up a partnership with other persons and this kind of information causes great problems in my mind, entering into an established partnership is frequently a very risky business for the new entry.  Therefore whilst I pursued the case that the NRP was inadequately remunerated I also sent individual requests into the Child Support Agency to reassess the case periodically as his name became involved with other companies which seemed to be his own creation.

Sure enough when we appeared at Court concerning the 2009 situation he explained that the partnership with the other people had turned sour and he had been lucky to escape with his original investment could not certainly expect to receive any bonus, profit share or dividend.  The Judge therefore dismissed our application.  This was not entirely surprising but we were then able to rescue the situation by putting forward the changes that we have advised the Child Support Agency about during 2010, 11 and 12.  As a result of the Agency carrying out these assessments and investigations on his dividends it was found that his income justified assessments in the region of £110 to £160 per week for the entirety of the following five year period and therefore although client was initially unsuccessful in the first year of his self employment by continuing on and not giving up we were able to secure her good maintenance for the other four following years.  The total amount owed as a result of continued pursuit of this case was in excess of £20,000.

Mrs J R

Client made two applications for child support, as there were two fathers involved and neither application was processed by the CSA.

We escalated her case within the Agency and both applications have now been processed and payments are being collected from the non-resident parents.  There has also been two referrals for loss of maintenance.

Ms C S

Client came to see me as her husband had obtained assessment at nil. We discovered that he was working as an author and the types of books he had previously written were no longer being written. Further investigations however revealed that his girlfriend who had previously been a typist had suddenly started writing books, exactly the same genre as the books previously written by the father. We took the case to the CSA / CMS and proved it. Maintenance increased by over £50 per week.

Ms S T

Came to us with a zero assessment, which we increased to £56 per week.

Ms K O

CSA / CMS set a start date for maintenance to be collected five years after mother applied for child support with the assessment amount being £45 per week. After success at Tribunal the start date for maintenance was taken back five years and the assessment increased to over £100 per week resulting in arrears of more than £26,000.

Ms J S

The CSA / CMS refused to accept that she was the parent with care despite her having one child living with her. The Agency issued a Deduction from Earnings Order against her salary. This company became involved and we managed to remove the Deduction from Earnings Order as well as ensuring that the CSA / CMS accepted her role as a parent with care ard maintenance in the amount of £75 per week is being collected from her former partner.

Ms V O

The non-resident parent in this case was self-employed as well as owning a number of business’s where he was a director of the companies and he had for many years managed to baffle the CSA / CMS regarding his fiscal position as a result of which the Agency put in place an assessment of £36. However, his true income would have brought forward a much higher assessment and we therefore proceeded to Tribunal resulting in an assessment of £100 per week.

Ms A H

The Agency made an assessment of £22 per week which was never paid by the non-resident parent. This company became involved and took the case to the Tribunal. The non­resident parent took no part in the proceedings and we convinced the Tribunal to increase his income 25 times over producing a maximum assessment and arrears of £12,000.

Ms J R

Client made two applications for child support, as there were two fathers involved and neither application was processed by the CSA / CMS. We escalated her case within the Agency and both applications have now been processed and payments are being collected from non-resident parents. There have also been two referrals for loss of maintenance.

Ms J B

Client consulted us as the CSA were not pursuing enforcement against her former husband.  We immediately pursued the matter with the CSA and suggested the most appropriate route of enforcement.  Client received £7,000.00 and for the first time in her life is receiving regular maintenance of over £50.00 per week.

Mr P C

Attended upon client parent with care who consulted me with a nil assessment.  Client had applied for variation but this had been refused out of hand by the Child Support Agency.  I advised that the refusal was incorrect and advised client to appeal.  Client preferred to deal with the CSA and the Tribunal himself and I therefore simply advised and assisted.  I advised client throughout the whole process and once the CSA bundle was produced I was able to ascertain how the CSA had reached their decision and where they were wrong in law.  I then drafted a legal letter to the Tribunal upon client’s behalf pointing out the legally incorrect nature of the decision made.  Client then attended the hearing themselves and the Tribunal set aside the Child Support Agency’s decision imposing a maintenance assessment of £130 per week backdated two years.

This illustrates the issue with the CSA frequently not understanding the complex area of law and definitions that apply.  Because the CSA gives minimal information on the reasons behind a refusal it is often necessary to issue an appeal just to find out how the Agency have reached the decision they did.  Once that was reached it was then possible to fully explain where the Agency had gone wrong leading to client’s easy success at the Tribunal.

Ms R F 

The CSA made an assessment in the sum of £69 per week but the father applied for a change of circumstances reducing it down to £24 per week.  We appealed against this and were able to prove that he was diverting money within his company disguising income as a result of which the Tribunal increased maintenance to £92 per week backdated to the beginning of the case.

Ms V G 

Consulted by client.  Ex had a £5.00 per week assessment despite being a local property magnate.  We advised her to apply for a departure and following a two day trial and extensive cross-examination of the non-resident parent achieved a maintenance award in excess of £100.00 per week backdated two years.

Ms C H  

Application made to the CSA more than three years before consulting this company with no maintenance collected by the Agency.  We then put pressure on the Agency to obtain a Liability Order and the Bailiffs collected £5,000.

Mr D H   

Client came to see me with an assessment of £80.00 per week plus arrears of over £10,000.00.  We secured a reduction of the maintenance assessment down to £36.00 per week and investigations into clients case reveal that the CSA have not counted money he has paid to his ex and delayed in making the assessment.  Both of these were initially contested by the Agency and the parent with care but finally accepted and all arrears were cancelled.

Ms S H    

Came to us with an assessment of £36 per week, we went to Tribunal where we won and her assessment increased to £86 per week.  Also arrears contribution increased by 300%.

Ms M L   

CSA decided to utilise part of the legislation, which meant that the client lost ten months payments.  After a successful Tribunal hearing the Agency were forced to collect the missing payments which were then paid out to the client.

Ms K O 

CSA set a start date for maintenance to be collected five years after mother applied for child support with the assessment amount being £45 per week.

After success at Tribunal the start date for maintenance was taken back five years and the assessment increased to over £100 per week resulting in arrears of more than £26,000.

Ms V O

Consulted by client.  Ex had a £5.00 per week assessment despite being a local property magnate.  We advised her to apply for a departure and following a two day trial and extensive cross-examination of the non-resident parent achieved a maintenance award in excess of £100.00 per week backdated two years.

Ms S T 

Came to us with a zero assessment, which we increased to £56 per week.

Ms F C

Client consulted us as the CSA / CMSwere not pursuing enforcement against her former husband. We immediately pursued the matter with the CSA / CMS and suggested the most appropriate route of enforcement. Client received £7,000 and for the first time in her life is receiving regular maintenance of over £50 per week.

Ms S H

Came to us with an assessment of £36 per week, we went to Tribunal and won and her assessment increased to £86 per week. Also arrears contribution increased by 300%.

Ms C G

Maximum assessment obtained.

Ms C H

Application made to the CSA / CMS more than three years before consulting this company with no maintenance collected by the Agency. We then put pressure on the Agency to obtain a
Liability Order and the Bailiff’s collected £5,000.

Ms M C

Client came to us with-an assessment of£7 per week and this was increased to £35 per week.

Ms E C

Client came to see us with an assessment of £36 per week which we increased to more than £100 per week and despite the non-resident parent’s repetitive litigation we managed to keep the assessment in place at more than £100 per week.

Ms L H

Client receiving very low contribution towards her arrears. We put pressure on the Agency to impose a Deduction from Earnings Order, which included large contributions towards the arrears.

Ms C J

Client came to see this company with an assessment of £5 per week. We calculated the non-resident parent’s lifestyle and proceeded to Tribunal where an award for lifestyle inconsistent with income was made and an assessment in the. amount of £55 per week resulting in arrears of more than £5,000.

Ms M L

CSA / CMS decide to utilize part of the legislation, which meant that the client lost ten months payments. After a successful Tribunal hearing the Agency were forced to collect the missing
payments, which were then paid out to the client.

Ms E C

Client came to see us with an assessment of £36 per week which we increased to more than £100 per week and despite the non-resident parent’s own repetitive litigation we managed to keep the assessment in place at more than £100 per week.

Ms F C

Client consulted us as the CSA were not pursuing enforcement against her former husband.  We immediately pursued the matter with the CSA and suggested the most appropriate route of enforcement.  Client received £7,000.00 and for the first time in her life is receiving regular maintenance of over £50.00 per week.

Ms M E 

The Child Support Agency made an assessment at nil which client did not appeal.  We were consulted several years later and identified that the Agency had made an error in that assessment which fatally affected it’s decision making process and left the Agency open to make five superseding subsequent assessments.  After two years of continuous correspondence with the Agency and only with the threat of legal proceedings did the Agency finally agree to carry out the assessments which initially increased the maintenance to £10 per week.  After further considerable correspondence with the Agency they finally made assessments that reflected the non-resident parent’s real financial position and as a result this imposed arrears amounting to £70,000 which were collected by the Agency by the means of a charging order and forced sale.

This case demonstrates the need to continue on even where the Agency is refusing to deal with matters.  The Agency have an in-house appeal process which has to be followed but can be very convoluted and complicated.  Only by individually appealing decisions that are made by the Agency and pointing out they were wrong and then continuing to progress were we eventually able to obtain a successful result upon the behalf of our client.

Ms L H 

Consulted by parent with care, the Child Support Agency decided to write off debt of some £7,000.  This was very old debt going back to the 1990’s.  Obtaining the Data Protection File showed that decisions had been made to collect the debt at the time but that in effect the decision was changed in 2015 not to bother.  Furthermore, there turned out to be a gap created by the Child Support Agency where maintenance was unenforceable due to their failures.  Finally, there were irregularities in their calculation of arrears.  Overall we calculated approximately £12,000 at stake.

When we went through the matter with the Child Support Agency they proved very difficult initially denying everything, as they had been to client over the previous two years.  Finally, a full Clerical Account Breakdown was prepared where the Agency identified and agreed the payment necessary and identified the shortfall in their own calculation of the arrears, paying £3,600 instantly to client.

This still left client with £7,000 left outstanding but the cost of pursuing that to the High Court would have been prohibitively high with no guarantee of success.  The reality here is that client decided to cut her losses, took the £5,000 improvement (£3,600 payment and £1,400 increase in arrears payable to her) and to leave matters as they were.

The point here is that sometimes being right is not enough, the cost of obtaining the £5,000 rebate was around about £1,000 and was clearly worthwhile.  The risks associated with a judicial review and the costs associated with it were such that it was difficult for client to see the risks as worthwhile.

Sometimes it is not possible to get the result you want even if you are right.  In this case client was completely delighted by the result, we had explained to her earlier on that we took the view that there were elements of this that were going to be difficult without a judicial review and therefore client was able to decide who far  she intended to push this.

Ms A MW

Client consulted me when the CSA reduced the assessment payable by ex from £257 per week to £25 per week.  We appealed against this decision and it was uprated to £225 per week.  The non-resident parent then appealed against this decision, appointed a Solicitor and Barrister and the case went through two hearings when it was discovered that he was utilising a tax avoidance scheme.

Although this made it look like our client’s case was particularly strong there were in fact some weaknesses due to change in legislative provisions and previous case law but the father did not appoint a specialist Solicitor or Barrister and therefore these issues were not argued by him and hence his appeals in respect of the new assessments all failed.  Client eventually received over £40,000 of maintenance in a lump sum.

Ms C S

Client came to see me as her ex had obtained assessment at nil.  We discovered that he was working as an author and the types of books he had previously written were no longer being written.  Further investigations however revealed that his girlfriend who had previously been a typist had suddenly started writing books, exactly the same genre as the books previously written by the father.  We took the case to the CSA and proved it.  Maintenance increased by over £50.00 per week.