It is virtually impossible to locate a solicitor prepared to help you with a CSA case. I do a few pro bono cases but it is so frustrating because matters are simply not dealt with. Plus, each step of the procedure has to be followed, even if they know it is a complete waste of time.
For example, if you require a reassessment they will request 2 months payslips. What if the non-resident parent earns most of his money in twice annual bonus payments? Well, you will have to appeal the assessment. Can’t you request sight of his P60? No, the Government has laid out strict procedures which the CSA must follow. How long will this take? Do not expect to hear from us for at least 12 weeks. Then you need to appeal. How long will that take? Add on 12 weeks for each step, multiply by 7 and start again.
I don’t know who is in a worse position, the parents who feel like they are banging their head against a brick wall or the CSA staff, who have all initiative removed from them and must be bored and stressed.
What they don’t tell you
Your assessment for child support will never be increased or reduced unless you ask them to do a reassessment. Even then, if the non-resident parent’s income has increased by 6% or less they will not increase the assessment. You will receive a schedule each 12 months, but it will be identical to the one you received last year unless you request a reassessment, which sounds very official and off putting. At least Court Orders used to increase in line with inflation.
Their rationale is that they have millions of clients and it would be too costly to implement an assessment for each individual. Why don’t they automatically increase the reassessment in line with P60 and tax returns filed via the Inland Revenue? They could deduct the money at source, via the PAYE system and hand it over to the parent with care via the tax credit system or even an increase in their own tax code if they were working. After all, if your salary were to increase by 6% or less you would pay additional tax and national insurance on the difference.
For those caught on the other side of the fence, an assessment for which they do not have the means to pay, the experience can take on nightmare proportions but that is the subject of another post…