I have an ex self employed partner who in 2000 decided being a father wasn't his cup of tea, and disappeared, called in the CSA from 2000- 2004 not a word or penny from the ex, then he sold his house and we got some off the arrears through a charging order, then suddenly he contacts them, I'm no longer working as a builder and Im not claiming any benefits so could you kindly reasses me , certaintly the CSA said, here have a nil assessment, (note the sarcasm) hold says I , this is a self employed builder who for 15 years fiddled his tax returns and is known for working cash in hand, sorry says the csa, nil assessment stands , enter tribunal, no response for information from NRP and i win, NRP asks for it to be set aside and it is, 1 yr later tribunal heard how he bought a £340,000.00 house for he and his partner and how he gave up work to work for himself on his "6 bedroom dream house" for 2 people why ? "because I can" ! he wins second appeal because on grounds of deprivation of income a self employed NRP cannot deprived themselves of an income, so he lives in a 6 bedroom house, claims not to have done any cash jobs in 4 years,even though tribunal agreed his tax returns were false and he had worked cash in hand, has a mercedes van, an alfa romeo car, and a boat in the drive.. and a nil assessment !!... yep I hold the CSA and the tribunal service in high regard !!
I haven't verified the facts, but if we have a system that can allow an able father who lives in a £340,000 house to pay nothing for his children, then we have a system that is broken. What's more, I can't see that the proposed reforms to the system (C-MEC), will help people like Debbi. The only chance that she would have for justice is a return to the old court-based system, perhaps only for those cases considered inappropriate for the child support system, or its successor. Only a court can properly examine the facts and, where it is clear that the absent parent has the means to pay, even if he/she claims to have no income, the court can infer that he/she has an income, put a figure to that income, and make a maintenance order. For example, the court can look at any income figure given in a mortgage application, or look at lifestyle compared to disclosed income, such as in a tax return - if it is clear that that lifestyle is of a far higher standard than the disclosed income would allow, then the court can adjudge that the true income is higher.