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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 15654
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My ex-husband has not paid any child maintenance for the

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My ex-husband has not paid any child maintenance for the past 6 years as he claims to be unemployed. His lifestyle indicates the opposite (fancy BMW X5 car, holidays to Cape Verde, designer clothing etc). He works freelance and i beleive he is putting his earnings through his brothers company given they work in the same industry and then his brother gives him cash. How do i go about trying to get a financial payment from him. He claims to be supported by friends and family so if this is the case should they not be liable to also help with his children as opposed to a lavish lifestyle?
JA: What steps have been taken? Have any papers been filed in family court?
Customer: we completed our financial settlement back in 2014 as part of our divorce proceedings and he was awarded 30% of house sale when children reach 18 (currently 14 & 10)
JA: Has he talked to a lawyer about this yet?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no

Good afternoon. I will assist with your question - be aware this is an email not chat service therefore i maybe delayed in replying.

have you informed the CSM what you suspect he is doing?

does he see the children?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
they said they checked his bank account and no money there to take and no record of working anywhere via inland revenue
yes he has them every other week just on the friday and saturday night
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
48 nights a year and occasionally and extra night in the school holidays
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
if i ask him to pay towards school trips he will do that, so he is currently helping to pay towards my sons ski trip which is £1200 and we are paying half each. He says he doesnt mind paying that as he can pay school directly and no money comes to me

Thank you. You need to remember that child maintenance is based upon income not capital and the CMS will not get involved with capital but if example he had won the lottery (exaggerating to prove the point) it would be a court application. Not CMS.

CMS will investigate if they believe that a person’s lifestyle is not consistent with their declared income although to be honest in my experience they do not investigate enough or deep enough.

HMRC on the other hand is a different thing altogether. They will go to the nth degree if they believe that someone is not paying the tax because whilst CMS is money paid to you, they really have no incentive (other than their own statistics) to go to the end of the earth whereas HMRC want the money for themselves!

With regard to CMS, there is no liability to pay school trips or anything else such as uniforms et cetera, child maintenance is money paid by the non-resident parent to the resident parent in accordance with the CMS rates. Anything else is gratuitous.

If he will pay anything else directly, take what you can. I would certainly consider reporting the matter to the Revenue.

You can make a court application and as part of the court application you can ask for him to attend court for questioning whereby you would have to produce details of everything in far more depth than CMS would ask for including for example proof of where the money for the car payment and the holidays came from, bank accounts of his business and his partner if needed.

It’s not do it yourself job although there is no legal reason why you cannot do it yourself. You would be better getting a solicitor on the case but there is no legal aid.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

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Thank you.

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Best wishes.


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