A Detested Rule

I received a letter this morning from Resolution, requesting examples of cases in which the child support '12 month rule' has caused difficulties, either in respect of settling cases, or where there have been problems because of a subsequent approach to the Child Support Agency.

For those who are not au fait with the arcane mysteries of the child support system, the 12 month rule is part of the peculiar interface between the old court-based system of child maintenance and the child support system. Contrary to popular belief, the child support system did not do away with the court-based system, just took jurisdiction away from it, in most cases. One instance in which the court can still make a child maintenance order is where the maintenance is agreed as part of a divorce settlement. However, after 12 months have elapsed from the date of the order, either party may then apply to the CSA for a child support assessment, which may obviously be for a different amount to the order, and the assessment will replace the order. As Resolution state, this 12 month rule has caused considerable difficulties, either in settling cases, or "where after a carefully negotiated agreement, one year later, one parent then takes matters to the CSA and 'all hell breaks loose'".

The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill, reforming the child support system, has just entered into the House of Lords, who have requested anecdotal evidence from Resolution as to why they state that the 12 month rule does not work, hence the letter that Resolution has sent to members. I certainly don't like the rule, and have often feared for its consequences in my own cases, but I am presently struggling to think of an instance where it has actually caused a problem. Perhaps I have been lucky.


  1. I have been caught out by the system. Our Divorce consent order (2006) clearly stated Child Maintenance at an agreed rate and over and above that we agreed to share the costs of our boys residential trips. Now in 2007 my ex has (via the CSA) reduced the Child Maintenance by over half and is refusing to pay his share for the trips - he says the CSA ruling overrules our whole consent order - is this true - I don't think so?!

  2. No - the child support assessment only replaces the child maintenance provision in the order.

  3. thank you very much. the only problem with the system is then getting him to adhere to it! to take him to court over residential trips costing £360 (his half share this year) is a bit drastic if I have to pay court fees - I'm basically powerless!

  4. can someone please tell me why the PWC gets to see all finances in NRP household ? through the csa, PWC do not need this info it is for the csa to work out, so again i ask why does the PWC get this info

  5. The PWC is given all the figures so that they can check that the calculation is correct.


    and how would pwc no how to do this. is it not for the csa to do that job?

    and if pwc makes an error, oh the csa will put it right ? so therefore why should pwc see such details.

    would you like others to see your financial details ?

    is this not against data protection ? human rights.

  7. The PWC is entitled to know how the calculation is arrived at. In any event, the parties should try to agree a figure - how can the PWC do this if the NRP doesn't disclose his/her details?

  8. ... I've since seen your post on 'A Fairer CSA For All'. You seem to be under the impression that, before the CSA, the 'NRP' did not have to disclose their financial details to the 'PWC'. With respect, they did - the 'PWC' would make a maintenance application to the court, and the Respondent would have to make full disclosure, both to the court and to the Applicant.

  9. its nice that you have been looking for me but i think you are missing the point,you didnt answer about data protection, or human rights. please see, aswell:-


    when csa are giving financial details of nrp to pwc without informing nrp, is that not going against data protection and human rights ?
    the csa still continually lie to nrp, the csa is going onto number three, so they obviously have it wrong, like i still state pwc does not NEED to see nrp financial details at all, then again pwc are known for their compassion and truths, (HHHMMM).

    oh and just to take a scenario, say youve been divorced 14 years, does your ex-wife know your financial details? and are you happy for these details to be handed over to her without your consent ? and are you happy for her to work out from them how much shes going to take?

    i repeat again, wheres nrp human rights and data protection come into it,

  10. There are no data protection or human rights issues, as the PWC is entitled to the information, for the reasons I've already stated.

  11. there are data protection issues as csa are giving pwc financial dteails of nrp without consent from nrp.

    ah, so nrp has no data protection or human rights regarding this issue, i would say that goes against human rights then does it not ?

  12. There are no data protection issues so long as the CSA only give the PWC the information that he/she is entitled to.

    If you would like further information about the CSA's use of data, I suggest you write to the CSA Data Protection Unit at Alnwick House, Room BP6002, Benton Park View, Benton Park Road, Longbenton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE98 1YX.

  13. why didnt the british gv take note of the Australian method of csa, its proven and it works, please see


    it also states that
    'The Child Support Agency and Family Assistance Office cannot provide the other parent's details to you'.

    guess british gov didnt like this bit .

    Australian method works, payments are attached with contact, resulting in many happy family's, kids see nrp, unlike many contact blockers here, my guess is welfare of the child is way down the list of priority's where kids concerned , csa and gov show that time and time again its all about the money.

    im suprised john i thought you would of known about data protection, never mind contacting them regarding data protection and their rules, their rules regarding D.P. Should be the same as the law should it not

  14. With respect, the Australian CSA does disclose certain details to the parent with care, including the other parent's income, in the assessment notice - see here. The link that you provided was to their service for estimating child support - the CSA cannot provide the other parent's details for the purpose of that service.

    I am aware of the data protection rules, thank you. The fact of the matter is that the disclosure by the CSA will not be in breach of the Data Protection Act where it is required by Child Support Legislation, even where the client objects to the disclosure. See, for example, Regulation 9A of the Child Support (Information, Evidence and Disclosure) Regulations 1992.

  15. thankyou for your reply John, i haven't been on for a while but please tell me why are they going onto csa3 ? did the csa1 and csa2 not work, what makes them think this one will. can you tell me of my human rights please in an NRPP. recent letters from bailiffs sent in by csa say they will get a locksmith to gain entry to my home remove goods if im not in,. (is this not illegal regarding csa claims). i have contacted bailiffs through CAB to make offer of payment, to inform them hubby on incapacity benefit, theyve ignored all this, bailiffs say weve ignored them yet this is utter rubbish at least we went through CAB so there is a record of us contacting them. so please tell me where are my human rights 1998 whereby it states, 'the right to enjoy one's possessions; ?. My possessions are under threat, please dont come back with they will take hubbys goods, as that is baloney, my hubby left his ex with the clothes on his back, everything we have accumulated in the meanwhile is joint, so what happens next ?

  16. John can you look into this please, here is an exact copy of the letter from bailiffs, i wrote it out on my p.c. and copied and pasted.

    MARSTON P.O. Box 5058
    & CERTIFICATED BAILIFFS Fax. 01273 421 666




    For the attention of ………………….. Reference Number ……………………….


    Outstanding sum - £1506. 77 (arrears, fees and charges)

    Despite previous letters, notices and attendance you have failed to pay the above sum outstanding. We have therefore attended your premises today to remove goods. To prevent re-attendance and removal of goods you must make immediate payment to our office in cleared funds.

    If you fail to make immediate payment we may re-attend your premises with a locksmith, remove goods in your absence (as instructed by the CSA and in accordance with the law) and sell these goods at public auction.

    Your goods may be removed without further warning and at any time.
    Removal of goods is costly and
    YOU will be liable for all fees, charges and costs incurred.

    Bailiff Name ……………… Tel. No …………………….
    Signed …………………….. Date

    Formerly Drakes Group Limited and incorporating John Marston & Co Registered Office: 50 Broardway, Westminster, London SW1H 0BL CSA2 04/08

    oh p.s. we have contacted them through CAB, and offered payment, its them who have ignored us. so we have proof. i was in when this A4 sized piece of paper was shoved through my letter box. they didnt knock.

  17. I'm sorry, but I can't give advice on specific matters on this blog. Your husband should consult a solicitor - it appears that he may be eligible for legal aid.

  18. thankyou john, bit please note the paragraph where it states, 'If you fail to make immediate payment we may re-attend your premises with a locksmith, remove goods in your absence (as instructed by the CSA and in accordance with the law) and sell these goods at public auction'.

    this is infact illegal to use a locksmith re: CSA issues,

    just to let you know


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