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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 35051
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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CMS Have miscalculated the child maintenance calculation

Customer Question

CMS Have miscalculated the child maintenance calculation that I pay to my ex-wife and are resistant to changing the schedule. I have been paying child maintenance religiously to my ex-wife since our divorce over 6 years ago. I pay using a direct pay method and the CMS calculate the Monthly payments for us. Up until July this year, I have not had any problems with the figures used. 20th June '16, I received a letter from CMS with the new payment plan following the annual review. Because my salary etc. hadn't changed the payment plan remained unchanged so there was no reason to contest it and continued to make regular payments as per the plan. I was then surprised to receive a another letter from CMS on the 8th July including a revised payment plan and figures that are not correct and higher than my current salary. I have since called CMS at least 4 times and sent them letters explaining the situation and also sent them wage slips from my employer the University of Sheffield for the past 4 Months to prove my salary details. Still the CMS are resistant to change the calculation and say they have received my salary details directly from HMRC £74,352 which is fine but that includes £1,488 mileage expenses claimed for business travel - my actual gross salary before tax, NI and pension is £72,864.00 and I have a recent HMRC tax calculation to prove that. The next mistake CMS have made is that they haven't deducted my pension which is £5,817.60 per year. The CMS calculation they are currently using is £1,425.95 per week and I have worked it out at £1,289 per week. I don't seem to be getting anywhere with CMS on this and its starting to affect me personally and suffering anxiety over this. I would really welcome your advice on my legal rights here. I want to pay for my daughter who is now 17 and in her final year of A Levels so don't want to upset anything. My ex wife has stopped my daughter seeing me an can only assume its to do with the on-going battles with CMS. I have always paid maintenance payments and currently paying my ex-wife £606 per Month religiously. I would hate it if CMS start any legal proceedings or enforce a collect and pay scheme as that's a complete waste of money and time. Your help would be much appreciated as I'm now reaching desperation!! Kind regards, Peter
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 1 year ago.
I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

Have you actually used the appeal procedure in a formal way?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Clare,
Thanks for getting in touch.
No I haven't used the appeal procedure formally. I have just written letters to CMS asking them to review my case based on official salary details from my employer. CMS told me over the phone that they only review the figures once per year and unless there is a 25% change in salary, they wouldn't change the payment plan anyway. My grievance here is that they increased the payment plan based on incorrect salary details (salary plus business mile expenses) and not taking into account my pension contribution, and the incorrect details CMS used were within the 25% rule anyway!. I asked to speak to a manager and they said that there wasn't anyone I could talk to about this. I've still not spoken to my actual case handler "Paul" and spoken to a different advisor every time none of whom had knowledge of my case or its history. I have just 12 Months to continue paying child maintenance as my daughter is planning to start University next September. My ex-wife will only operate and communicate via CMS so I think I'm stuck with them!!. Do you suggest I start a formal appeal process with CMS? and if so how do I go about that?. As I am currently paying my ex-wife the legal obligation using correct salary details and using the CMS calculation (gross salary before tax and NI but after pension). Do I not have any rights to stop CMS using the wrong details? I have a very recent HMRC statement that shows gross salary minus allowable expenses. I also have past wage slips showing pension contribution. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

As you have already found out dealing with the CMS by phone is a pointless exercise.

It appears that they have treated your contacts as a request for a re-assessment rather than as an appeal

This means that you are technically out of time for an appeal BUT I believe that you can call this exceptional circumstances!

You can find the process here

However always deal with them in writing - and keep copies.

If they phone you - follow it up with a letter setting out what they said.!

As well as appealing ALSO make a formal complaint about the way your have been dealt with since the erroneous assessment was made.

I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have written to CMS again and made a complaint relating to them not calculating my maintenance payments properly and not allowing for a formal appeal. Ive asked them to review my case on exceptional circumstances. a week has passed and I have not had a response to that complaint letter either in writing or phone. Instead I have received a letter today threatening that they will enforce a collect and pay process unless I back-pay the amount they have miss calculated and provide evidence of the payment within 14 days. I assume that I will have to pay this and hopefully CMS take this into account when or if the review my case and re-calculate properly??
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Have you not also appealed?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have appealed under special circumstances and provided up to date HMRC details and company wage slips (again!). I've called CMS again today and spoke to yet another new face who has no background of my case and explained the situation. He agreed with me and said that I should hear something back soon - fingers crossed!. I also said that begrudgingly I will pay the additional amount they are asking for but would expect any over payments to be factored into the new calculation. If I don't have any look soon I guess that I should contact the independent case examiner.