You might finish reading this post and consider the writer bitter and twisted. Its your choice and your opinion. I have only attempted to present my personal experience and judgement.
Unfortunately I'm male. I know. I know. The world has changed and it is so advanced that I can do something my gender if i feel unhappy with the birth one. For now however, I will stick with what I have got. A bollock in hand is worth more than the other one in the doctor's surgery is my mantra for now.
I genuinely hope you don't finish reading this article and think of me as a deadbeat dad. If you do. Sorry again. Your choice. I don't consider myself one. Thankfully, my kids don't consider me one as well.
I look after them in a material way and based on what they tell me and what I see, I think they prefer daddy to their birth giver.
Before I continue, let me give you valuable advice - CHOOSE WHO YOU HAVE KIDS WITH. These are the famous wise words of Mr Noshit Sherlock's.
Now to the CSA. I have had on and off contact with them over the issue of maintenance payments for the past few years. Did I say they are absolutely useless? To be fair, they have their area of specialisation. They are quite good on a few things. One of them is 'Hounding fathers'.
As I prepared to write this article, I tried to google the story of the dad who recently killed himself because of the outrageous demands of the CSA. I typed in the following phrase 'dad committs suicide because of csa' I'm still trying to pick up my jaws from the floor.
Although they may be good at hounding people, watch out for their ham fisted way of communicating their demands. For example, If I owe you money, I will expect you to at least know how much I owe you and on what basis the money is owed. If there are any issues to clarify or dispute like interests etc I will expect the basis of those issues to be outlined in any demand for payments. Sensible you will think. Nope that doesn't apply to the CSA.
Early this year after 36 months or thereabouts of the last shambolic contact with them, I wrote asking them to review my monthly payments on the basis that the circumstances of my contact arrangements had changed. In my deluded belief that they were something of a competent organisation, I gave dates, time, circumstances etc. I met with a brick wall. According to them, the other party had told them that I was wrong. They then tried to turn the screw on me and threatened me with the Courts. I was hounded with phone calls and letters and felt harassed.
I got into 'fight back' mode, wrote them a 4 page letter of compliant, basically letting them know how incompetent they were. I backed my claims with evidence and got a sorry plus an ex - gratia payment for their mindlessness. Another avenue to fritter away tax payer money. I thought the government was looking for cost efficiencies.
On that one issue, I have received 4 different letters from the CSA, all different and with contradictory figures and amount to be paid. I am considering my next step on this matter.
I have a big bee in my bonnet about one aspect of the issue of maintenance payment. I believe this issue is a perfectly reasonable one. I will explain. The non resident parent / typically the father, pays maintenance money. From the definition of the payment, I assume it covers maintenance (clothes and possibly other accessories). You will think so won't you. If the resident parent / typically the mum refuses to hand over any of these items to the father during his contact period. He is sunk. He has to maintain a wardrobe of clothes and other accessories for his kids when they visit. The CSA are sorry, they cannot intervene when it is clear the dad is paying twice.
Also, when the resident parent denies the non resident parent contact just before a case is lodged at the CSA, the CSA don't care what the agreed or proposed contact arrangements are. They base the payments on the here and now. Even when that here and now is artificially influenced to favour the resident parent.
God save you if you had marital debts and it was only in your name. You are on your own. All the resident parent needs to say is that its nothing to do with them and you will have to repay thew debt alone. I wonder what the CSA expects the resident parent to say? Does the CSA care if you have any proof that the debt was jointly incurred? Do they hell? No. Finito. You decided to marry a lying birth giver. Go suffer the consequences alone.
You can't rely on anything the CSA tell you over the phone or write in a letter. I understand that in any serious place of work, if any authorised signatory mistakenly signs a letter to a customer on an issue, the organisation will honour the obligation in that letter to their detriment. Not the CSA. They not only wrote something to me, they contradicted that on the phone. During my last conversation with them, they mentioned something that I knew was untrue, when I challenged them, they quickly back tracked.
Clearly and in my opinion, the CSA is not fit for purpose. I do not have a lot of dealings with other government agencies apart from say the Local Council. My experiences of the Council is OK, they tell me how much I owe them and I pay and they pick up my bins every week. Simple. I do hope that most government organisations are like the local Council . If most government agencies are like the CSA, it will be a confirmation that the world as we know it has ended.