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Child maintenance - blast from the past

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Child maintenance - blast from the past

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Child Support
13 replies 1.3K views
CuriousGirlCuriousGirl Forumite
22 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Child Support
Sorry, is going to be a long post.

Two days ago, out of the blue my husband received a scary worded letter from Child Maintenance department ordering urgently to pay them £6k with £1300 being in arrears and threatening to take him to court in case he doesn’t, sending bailiffs, repossessing our property, suspending his passport and driving licence and so on.
Which was a total shock for both of us as at the moment my husband is self-employed, closing his business and about to start a new job in three weeks’ time. For the last year and a half we are living totally on my income as his business has become not profitable and that was the reason why he is about to start a new job. I am a highly qualified professional with a good job and a good pay but at the moment all my money going toward our debts ( mortgage and house improvement). We were hoping that things become much better once he starts the job as he will be employed by a government body with all the security attached.

We have been married since September and have known each other for over three years, we love each other and we have no secrets from each other. It is not the first marriage for both of us, both of us had been married before and have 6 grown up children between us ( 4 are of his and 2 are of mine). Needless to mention that all the kids are over 19, have their own lives, some have children of their own and not in any way depend on us. My husband’s kids from his first marriage are 32 (not his biological child, never been adopted formally but my husband had raised him as his own), 30 and 27. Plus he has a daughter with one of his partners, she is 21, engaged and has a child of her own.

So you can imagine a state of a shock my husband found himself in after reading the letter. The letter did not state what child has been involved so he had to phone them to find out what was going on. After a lot of uncomfortable questions he discovered that it was to do with his first wife and the child who now is 27. Apparently , according to my husband, many years ago , she moved out and left him with three kids ( including the one who was not even his biological child!) and decided to go on with her life. Unable to work and pay his bills due to looking after three kids he defaulted on their mortgage, become bankrupt, screwing up his credit history and was lucky to get a council house where he moved to with the kids. Sometime after that his wife decided that the eldest child would be better off living with her parents and requested a full custody for the youngest, who moved in with her.

After the child moved in with her the only thing she was interested in was her personal life with numerous boyfriends, going out and having fun. The child was neglected and there were so many situations when my husband had to drop everything to drive hundreds of miles from the other part of the county because the welfare of the child was under a threat . An example would be leaving a 6 years old on her own in a house with an open fire and going on a date and etc. I know that I only know the one side of the story but I know that my husband is the best ever father I have even known and for many years he had no personal life at all, always putting his children first. Unfortunately life with the mother did not help the kid and his daughter had grown up as unloved, neglected child who’s own life is now totally screwed up – three kids from different fathers, abusive partners, no profession and life on benefits.

Moreover, at some stage his wife decided to claim child maintenance off my husband so one day he’d received a letter ordering to pay it. Bearing in mind it all was happening nearly 20 years ago, so he vaguely remembers the exact details of the events. He picked up a phone and rang the department and explained the situation – by that time he had already looked after two children , his daughter from his then partner decided to leave her own mother after they split up and move in with the father. So my husband was working like crazy, raising two children on his own, struggling financially and grabbing any job to survive.

The authority advised him that they would leave him alone if his wife ( by that time ex) withdraws the claim , which she apparently did according to the information she presented to him . He never requested any paperwork and never made sure that the case is closed. The authority has never approached them with regards to the money. I know it sounds awful, he used to always pick up a wrong person ( until he met me :)). He is the most decent, kind and thoughtful person who cares about his family and friends and trusts other people.

After some period of time his ex-wife eventually found a new partner and got married again a few years ago. She seemed to have a nice life, a good job, they own a house, going on holidays and etc. Her and my husband talk to each other if it is something to do with their children but generally they are not in close contact.

A few times within the years we have been together she had attempted to approach him asking for money – as to help their daughter to pay for the carpets, asking to buy a car for his step son and etc. My husband could not help as he never had any money, I am the breadwinner and his business wasn’t not going well for years.

But for some reason she apparently decided that he is very well off ( We did have a few holidays abroad , all paid by me, nothing luxurious , all on budget. We bought a house selling my late mother property and using the proceeds as a deposit. We started home improvement using my savings and I took out a loan and borrowed on credit card. We had a wedding , all ob budget with nearly everything made by my own hands. Since day one I was working hard to improve his credit history and together was have achieved a lot! Including his new job he is about to start, we are good for each other ).

According to my information at the moment she is not doing well and about to lose her job. So I assume she wants to improve her financial position by getting some money off my husband ? I guess one little bird told her about his new job, his potential good new salary so it would be very convenient for her to get him right now making him pay ? Is it actually possible? To claim the money for child maintenance after 20 year ? When the child is not a child anymore?

What can we do ? He clearly cannot pay the £6k, not even the £1.3. My first movement is for him to contact her, speak to her nicely and find what is going on. But ( surprise, surprise) she is avoiding him and even told their daughter not to give him her phone number which is only confirms my suspicions that she is the one who is steering the s'''t !!!!.

Any opinions and advices are welcome, we are very stressed at the moment and I am very worried about my husband’s health.
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Replies

  • jjj1980jjj1980 Forumite
    567 posts
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    It is CMS who your husband needs to speak to, not his ex. Due to the age of the child in relation to this case, some or maybe even all of the money will be due to the state. CMS are reviewing old cases to try for recovery on as much of the outstanding money as possible.

    Your husband needs to call CMS back and ask for a breakdown of which years the arrears were accrued in. As the child is now an adult, the whole balance of £6k will be arrears, it may be that it’s the £1.3l which is owed to the state. Once he has the details of when the arrears accrued, he need to explain his current financial situation and come to an agreement with them for payment.
  • DUTRDUTR Forumite
    12.9K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
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    Sorry, is going to be a long post.

    Two days ago, out of the blue my husband received a scary worded letter from Child Maintenance department ordering urgently to pay them £6k with £1300 being in arrears and threatening to take him to court in case he doesn’t, sending bailiffs, repossessing our property, suspending his passport and driving licence and so on.

    [sob story snipped]

    Any opinions and advices are welcome, we are very stressed at the moment and I am very worried about my husband’s health.

    Was there a case open from the past?
    If not then the letter sounds like a scam.
    The 1st letter has the childs name and a booklet and a form to fill in.
  • Many thanks for your response, I will pass the message onto him.
  • TBH that was exactly his thoughts once he opened the letter. He phoned them immediately and they started asking him all sort of quite awkward questions which he did not feel comfortable to anwer. For example who was his partner , his National Insurance Number and etc,

    The problem he's got no idea about the case being open or closed. I have read that even if she closed the case back then she could re-opent it,
  • jjj1980jjj1980 Forumite
    567 posts
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Posts Combo Breaker
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    I have an active case with CMS and they regularly ask for my NI number, date of birth, my daughters full name and date of birth/age and my ex’s full name. Sounds like pretty standard security questions he was being asked.

    The number I use to call CMS is 0800 171 2345. Same number as on their website. https://childmaintenanceservice.direct.gov.uk/onlinerevive/public/contact-us-client

    It could very easily be that the letter is a scam but could just as easily be real with a very big risk of bailiffs turning up so worth being proactive in contacting CMS.
  • asdf1982asdf1982 Forumite
    165 posts
    The problem he's got no idea about the case being open or closed. I have read that even if she closed the case back then she could re-opent it,

    If she re-opened it, it was when the 27 year old was a child. I.e you cannot open a case for the past. This is money that's owed from a long time ago, the ex wife has not suddenly done this because he has a new job.

    That's if it's legit.
  • edited 31 January at 9:54AM
    CuriousGirlCuriousGirl Forumite
    22 posts
    edited 31 January at 9:54AM
    Thanks everyone , the letter is genuine and unfortunately I am right with my suspicions. Yesterday afternoon my husband got hold of someone and they explained what was going on. As someone mentioned, our government was sorting out old cases and they found my husband's. Never closed , I guess deliberately. So they contacted his ex and asked her whether she wanted to close it. She's said no once she found that if she does not she gets the money. I am speechless,

    My husband is fuming saying that he'd rather drop dead thant give her a penny taking into account the way she was treating their child.. How unfair it is - especially back then each of them had a child to look after and he would never think about claiming any money from her.

    So last night he requested a breakdown of which years the arrears were accrued in. We are also thinking of requesting some archived documents related to the period of time when both of them were looking after one child each - there were social services involved with his ex's child neglect, missed school attendance and etc. He is also going to talk to CAB this afternoon. Any other ideas re what else we can do ?
  • HoneyNutLoopHoneyNutLoop Forumite
    567 posts
    Eighth Anniversary Combo Breaker
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    Your husband can make a right of access request.
    https://secure.dwp.gov.uk/personal-information-request/name

    However, your husband now has very limited options. He is vastly out of time to raise a mandatory reconsideration or appeal against any of the calculations made when the case was open. He won’t be able to ask them to recalculate now to take account of any information he didn’t give them at the time.

    Short of proving he has already paid the maintenance owed for the period the case was open or that the child in question wasn’t living with the mother for the time frame maintenance is being claimed, or the mother asking to write off this debt, he’s stuck with paying it.
    I often use a tablet to post, so sometimes my posts will have random letters inserted, or entirely the wrong word if autocorrect is trying to wind me up. Hopefully you'll still know what I mean.
  • Lady_SLady_S Forumite
    1.2K posts
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    We had virtually the same letter from the CSA requesting a similar sum.

    When we got the breakdown it turns out it was from when they were living together and she hadn't closed the claim.

    Luckily we had documents which supported this, so, it all got cancelled.
  • CuriousGirlCuriousGirl Forumite
    22 posts
    Thank you! My husband requested information last week but they want the money immediately, they have already searched his bank accounts ( good luck to them to find anything but a deep overdraft) . He is feeling like a criminal and terribly violated by those people.

    Have you had the process temporary suspended for you to find the documents ? CAB actually were very helpful and told him to contact them on Tuesday to find if they were able to help pause it for a while.

    My husband also received a text form his ex stating that she's done that because he would have done exactly the same ! After a few very stressful days we have come to a conclusion that following her trend and exchanging some nasty texts would help the situation. So in response he sent her a long text explaining our financial situation and what happens if we are forced to sell our house ( which is 50:50 TIC due to my courtesy and his share is going to his kinds according to our wills). Hope she has any common sense to understand the bigger picture and the wider consequences of her actions and if she really cares for their children and their future she will stop the claim.
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