Abusive ex / Maintenance

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Hi, 

Bit of an odd one.

I took my ex (never married, 1 child) through CMS to claim maintenance from him. CMS advised that from 1st Dec I should receive a set amount. 

Every single week  my ex raises a new dispute with the CMS to have maintenance reduced. We've mainly had: 

Child stays over night every week (she doesn't) - I upload proof that she doesn't stay over as often and there is no court order in place for contact (Along with social services letters stating access should be limited) - CMS closes dispute, he then reopens. 

Figures are incorrect - CMS have continually asked for proof of wage slips as they got the figure from HMRC, ex refuses to hand them in, CMS closes dispute. He reopens 

He hasn't received letters - CMS have asked for correct address, ex refuses to give them. I've since sent in texts from ex with his address on. CMS closes dispute, he then says he didn't get letters again..... 

Since Dec, ex has not paid maintenance on time - I raised this with CMS. They advised ex it would go to collect and pay. Ex paid arrears from Dec - Feb so CMS closed dispute. March.... partial payment again, dispute re-opened 

The latest one is that he now wants CMS to take into account "Special Expense" - He is saying maintenance should be reduced due to travel costs.... He lives 10 miles away. On occasion, we have actually met him closer to his house (1.5 miles) so he can see our child. 

Ex is effectively using the CMS to cause me hassle. I've spoken to the CMS about this and they have said that there isn't anything they can do about it, they have to investigate each time. Which is fair enough in a "normal" situation - but its every week for 4 months and I am constantly proving he is either lying / being awkward. 

There have been multiple things happen over the course of the years with ex, I've had both physical and mental abuse from him. The CMS is the only contact I actually have with him now. 

I have a solicitors meeting next week - but realistically, is there anything that can be done?!
Debts
Tesco Loan 2.9595% £8,077.80 £1,546.69
Bank of Ireland Loan 5.9% - £7,091.64 £6,697.66
Santander Balance Transfer 0% - £9,400 £8,569.57
Total Debt: £24,569.44 Total Repaid: £7,755.52 Left to pay: £16,813.92
Debt Free prediction: November 2025 February 2025
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Replies

  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    Obviously ask the solicitor, but I have to ask, is the amount of maintenance worth the ongoing hassle?

    I realise there's a point of principle involved, but if you and your DD never saw or heard from him again, would it be worth it?
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  • tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
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    I would complain to your MP about the ease with which your ex can use the safeguards in the system to avoid paying. The CMS needs to be able to take sanctions against people who do this. I would like to see a "Three-strikes and you're out" policy - if someone raises three baseless disputes in a row, they should loose the ability to raise any further disputes for 12 months. They would have to pay reliably for 12 months before they could raise another dispute. The right to a fair hearing has to be (re-)earned if you have abused the system previously.

    The other thing is to just to keep going. I think I would also complaint to CMS, but mainly so that you can let the CMS know that you will never give up trying to get your ex to pay a fair amount of maintenance - if they know that you will never give up and never let them off the hook, they may knuckle down and do what more they can.
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • Mimi_Arc_en_cielMimi_Arc_en_ciel Forumite
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    Savvy_Sue said:
    Obviously ask the solicitor, but I have to ask, is the amount of maintenance worth the ongoing hassle?

    I realise there's a point of principle involved, but if you and your DD never saw or heard from him again, would it be worth it?
    tacpot12 said:
    I would complain to your MP about the ease with which your ex can use the safeguards in the system to avoid paying. The CMS needs to be able to take sanctions against people who do this. I would like to see a "Three-strikes and you're out" policy - if someone raises three baseless disputes in a row, they should loose the ability to raise any further disputes for 12 months. They would have to pay reliably for 12 months before they could raise another dispute. The right to a fair hearing has to be (re-)earned if you have abused the system previously.

    The other thing is to just to keep going. I think I would also complaint to CMS, but mainly so that you can let the CMS know that you will never give up trying to get your ex to pay a fair amount of maintenance - if they know that you will never give up and never let them off the hook, they may knuckle down and do what more they can.
    Contact and maintenance are completely separate. 

    DD at the moment wants to see her dad - that said, her school and me have raised concerns about the amount of access he has due to him saying things to her to cause upset (For example, he has told her that I love my new partners child more than my own. That her sister - different father - isn't her sister, that he cant afford to heat his house because I am stealing his money) 

    We was referred to Social Services, who unfortunately deemed that what I currently do (limit but not stop contact) is ok so they aren't taking any further action. This was back in January - Due to the issues since then (Yesterday I had to call the police due to verbal abuse - he was talking to DD on the phone loud speaker, and started shouting abuse to me instead) I have today self referred back to the team. I imagine school will also contact them - DD came home yesterday with a letter she had written to me saying how she doesn't like her dad is abusive towards me. She's written her dad a letter, school are sending it to him (Which I seriously don't think is a good idea!) 

    I would have thought the CMS would have a system in place but they don't - Its so frustrating having to do this every week. 

    I'm hoping a solicitors letter will put a line onto things but I wont hold my breath. 
    Debts
    Tesco Loan 2.9595% £8,077.80 £1,546.69
    Bank of Ireland Loan 5.9% - £7,091.64 £6,697.66
    Santander Balance Transfer 0% - £9,400 £8,569.57
    Total Debt: £24,569.44 Total Repaid: £7,755.52 Left to pay: £16,813.92
    Debt Free prediction: November 2025 February 2025
  • tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
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    The CMS can't put a system in place because the law doesn't allow them to do so. The law requires that they treat every dispute on its merits, hence my suggestion about a three-strikes system. The system is abused by many, and only your MP can do anything to stop it. 
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    Oh, I absolutely agree that contact and maintenance are different issues. And in an ideal world contact would continue even if maintenance stopped - as it seems it has, at regular intervals.

    But this is very far from an ideal world, and he sounds very far from an ideal father.

    So I was really just wondering: if you stopped fighting for maintenance, and didn't initiate contact, would he bother with contact? And would the loss of the maintenance be made up for by the peace of mind that would bring?

    Also noting that your DD doesn't want the contact, does your ex link maintenance with contact? Given that he's already not paying, would he reduce the unpleasantness and the contact if he didn't feel he was being forced to pay? 

    These are just wonderings. I appreciate that you may be seriously affected by his refusal to pay, but as you clearly can't rely on his payments, I would be asking myself if this was a fight worth continuing.
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  • edited 9 March at 8:58PM
    Mimi_Arc_en_cielMimi_Arc_en_ciel Forumite
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    edited 9 March at 8:58PM
    Savvy_Sue said:
    Oh, I absolutely agree that contact and maintenance are different issues. And in an ideal world contact would continue even if maintenance stopped - as it seems it has, at regular intervals.

    But this is very far from an ideal world, and he sounds very far from an ideal father.

    So I was really just wondering: if you stopped fighting for maintenance, and didn't initiate contact, would he bother with contact? And would the loss of the maintenance be made up for by the peace of mind that would bring?

    Also noting that your DD doesn't want the contact, does your ex link maintenance with contact? Given that he's already not paying, would he reduce the unpleasantness and the contact if he didn't feel he was being forced to pay? 

    These are just wonderings. I appreciate that you may be seriously affected by his refusal to pay, but as you clearly can't rely on his payments, I would be asking myself if this was a fight worth continuing.
    I think he would still want continue access - I think part of this would be to be controlling towards me (He was quizzing DD - in a very round about way - last year to find out my movements then would turn up)

    He does associate contact & Maintenance as the same thing - He said to DD that if she stays under 52 nights a year, she cant stay any extra if she wants to because he will then be over paying 

    Its more the principal of the matter and me being a little bit stubborn.

    In all honesty, if it wasn't this it would be something else. He's extremely angry with me for "getting away" and is absolutely convinced I want him back (He has voiced this regularly). 
    Debts
    Tesco Loan 2.9595% £8,077.80 £1,546.69
    Bank of Ireland Loan 5.9% - £7,091.64 £6,697.66
    Santander Balance Transfer 0% - £9,400 £8,569.57
    Total Debt: £24,569.44 Total Repaid: £7,755.52 Left to pay: £16,813.92
    Debt Free prediction: November 2025 February 2025
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    Yup, I absolutely get the principle of the thing ... And if giving up wouldn't help, then definitely keep going. 

    I think I'd be covering with the solicitor what steps are open to you to stop his abuse of you and of DD - the shouting, the unarranged turning up etc - as well as his shenanigans with CMS. 
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  • Mimi_Arc_en_cielMimi_Arc_en_ciel Forumite
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    Savvy_Sue said:
    Yup, I absolutely get the principle of the thing ... And if giving up wouldn't help, then definitely keep going. 

    I think I'd be covering with the solicitor what steps are open to you to stop his abuse of you and of DD - the shouting, the unarranged turning up etc - as well as his shenanigans with CMS. 
    I already have - its a non molestation order 
    Debts
    Tesco Loan 2.9595% £8,077.80 £1,546.69
    Bank of Ireland Loan 5.9% - £7,091.64 £6,697.66
    Santander Balance Transfer 0% - £9,400 £8,569.57
    Total Debt: £24,569.44 Total Repaid: £7,755.52 Left to pay: £16,813.92
    Debt Free prediction: November 2025 February 2025
  • diego_94diego_94 Forumite
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    All the time he is disputing things, the clock on the maintenance will still be ticking..... He will owe what he is assessed to owe that will not change, so all he is doing is putting himself into arrears.

    Was the physical and mental abuse in the past reported to the police? Its pretty irrelevant and separate from maintenance
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    diego_94 said:
    All the time he is disputing things, the clock on the maintenance will still be ticking..... He will owe what he is assessed to owe that will not change, so all he is doing is putting himself into arrears.
    Is it possible that if your solicitor wrote to point that out to him that he'd see sense? I somehow doubt it from what you've said, but ... 
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