Big Assets, Low Income Is A Recipe For Injustice In Child Support

The recent case of Green –v-Adamsinitially highlights the difficulties a parent with care may face when trying to obtain child support.  The inadequacies of the Child Support Agency which have been carried over to the Child Maintenance Services are revealed in the above case.  An appeal from a CSA assessment by the father led to his contribution being lowered to £7 per week despite his having revealed to them assets of £830,000.  However, from an earlier maintenance assessment he had only paid £4,000 leaving £40,000 owing.  The father was intending to again appeal.  The mother now applied under Schedule 1 of the Children Act for a capital sum to cover the costs of a new car, holidays, a laptop etc for her son.  She also sought periodical payments on the basis that a maximum assessment had been made by the CSA.  

That aspect of the case was of course dismissed because they had not.  They had used their formula and that was all it revealed.  However she was successful in obtaining a lump sum and the Court took the unusual step of making a Charging Order over one of the husband’s properties as he was found during the proceedings to actually have property worth £5.2 million!  The mother’s claim was therefore described as manifestly proportionate and reasonable which properly reflected the considerations revealed in the intent of the Schedule 1 of the Children Act.  The father’s parsimonious approach to the support of his son was declared scandalous.  Statutory interest at 8% would arise on any aspect of that lump sum not paid. 

Most revealing is the judicial view on the removal under the current child support legislation (introduced in 2008 but which came into full force in 2013) of assets ground from the Variation regime.  Previously assets over £65,000 (excluding the home) would be viewed as attracting notional gross income of 8%.  Therefore if a paying parent had assets, investments or property such as an additional property worth £150,000 this could result in additional child support of £200 per month for two children.  This had to be applied by the parent with care as a “Variation” to the standard formula.  However it being removed has led to substantial injustices.  This has been commented on by various specialist family practitioners for a number of years and the Judge in this case used his Judgement to call on the government to consider urgently reinstating the assets ground for a Variation. 

For further information on any family matters contact Lee Marston or Marie Whittaker for a free, no obligation interview on 0161 764 5266