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Where do I stand legally on receiving overpayments

Greetings all, I really hope you can help me.

I little while ago I checked my bank statements and realised my ex is paying more than the CSA requires him to pay in child support.  I felt very uncomfortable about this and asked him to adjust it back to the actual amount the CSA requires.  He refused saying it was so much hassle to ask his boss to change the amount transferred to me and then smirked saying "Don't worry, I'll never ask for it back - it won't come back on you".  This is EXACTLY what I am afraid of as my ex is extremely deceptive and will do absolutely nothing for our situation unless he has an ulterior motive which ultimately benefits himself….knowing him as long as I have, I know for a fact that this will definately come back on me!

I contacted CSA and asked if they could contact his employer to get the amount I owe credited and adjust the payments afterwards to the correct amount - the girl I spoke to said that if he was paying regularly they see no reason to pursue the matter and overpayments are his choice.  She said she was unaware of where I would stand legally though.  I checked out the current child support laws and from what I understand of the legal jargon (and please correct me if I have misunderstood it), my ex is fully entitled to take me to court anytime he wishes to get back any overpayments.  Which means I could end up owing thousands eventually (and can he then include interest too?).  If I keep the money aside (apart from the fact that I feel like his own personal banker) rather than spending it on my child, I will have to pay extra tax on the interest I earn too which of course I don't want to do.

I know many people would say that it's so lovely he's actually paying regularly and paying more than he should but this too, I feel, is part of his scheme.  Should we have any court issues over visitation in future this will be one of the first examples of what a wonderful dedicated father he is and why he is deserved of more time with our child.  (Aside, he already gets 2 afternoons per week, every 2nd weekend and equal share of holidays etc - he's proably not entitled to much more but he's currently trying to bully his way into week about which I will not agree to considering our current arrangement is working well for our child, I have always advocated his involvment and they very definately have a "meaningful relationship")  Slightly off-topic but I want respondants to get a really good idea of the sort of person I am dealing with.  I would normally agree that it would be lovely too if that's the type of guy he was but he's just not.

So I guess what I am asking is - is there anyway to protect myself from future litigation and also to remedy the immediate situation?

Thanks in advance to any who take the time to read and offer advice - I appreciate hearing any ideas.
urbanfarmer said
So I guess what I am asking is - is there anyway to protect myself from future litigation and also to remedy the immediate situation?

I believe that you should contact the CSA again and insist that they ensure that all future payments are correct and that they credit the overpayments (i.e. adjust the future payments to pay off the overpayment). My understanding, and I'm assuming that CS is collected from the liable parents pay as that appears to be the case, is that an employer is bound to pay what the CSA determine. I would suggest that you do this in writing, so that you have a record. Perhaps also mention that if they fail to administer the case, then you believe that either party has the write to both complain and seek compensation. Perhaps also mention that by not making such corrections, that they are not abiding by the object of the legislation as set out in section 4 of the child support assessment act. If you have to phone a number of times until the action is taken, then do so.

I'd suggest that for each time that they refuse to take the corrective administrative action, as required by the legislation, that you use the complaints process (obviously recording whatever you can, you can request the screen notes (notes they take when and after the call), if they say that can't because of Freedom of Information, then insist that they contact the FOI officer, who will tell the otherwise (if they do this, then perhaps raise yet another complaint)). This information, if the matter went to court would likely be to your benefit.

For the future, you could try to opt out of CSA collection and go for private collect, then if there were overpayments you could than make the refunds yourself, perhaps you could do that now for the backlog.
With regard to the  CSA situation, it sounds as if you are doing a private collect rather than have CSA collect on your behalf. If you want to have "just" the correct amount paid to you, then I would suggest that you contact CSA and ask them to collect. It is a bit of stuffing around, the money will only be paid into your account monthly and if it comes via his employer you may have to wait awhile for it to come through initially but it may be a solution to the overpayment.

If the ex took it further, CSA may ask you if you want to accept it as a credit or as a gift, and that is where you would actually hold the cards. So the decision is essentially yours, if you don't want him to pay extra, then organise for CSA to collect on your behalf.

I do however, also want to address your comment "he's probably not entitled to much more". I actually find that an offensive remark to make when talking about the time one parent has as opposed to the length of time another has. I do not want to start an arguement, but you have made a very negative statement. You say he and the child have a meaningful relationship, and without knowing the ins and outs of your situation for you to make such an inflammatory remark as that will not do your "case" any good. How would you like to be the one in his shoes and only have two afternoons a week, every second weekend, and half of the school holidays?

Considering the situations that a lot of the members on this site are in, I find that a very insensitive statement to make. In my opinion, and it is only my opinion, the person who is best able to make the judgement as to how much time a child spends with each parent, is the child themselves, and it is quite often a long way off before children can make that decision, and by then all sorts of "damage" could have happened.

I speak from both ends of the spectrum. I have a son whose father doesn't want to spend time with him, and I have a husband whose ex would not allow anything near 50/50 and has since moved away to make contact even more difficult and far less regular and optimal.
Thanks to both of you for such detailed and informative responses and being so quick off the mark.

I forgot to include that I am doing private collect.  The CSA simply forwards a letter of any changes made and we go from there - his employer direct deposits into my account on a weekly basis.  I can't refund the difference myself as I don't have his bank details.  I could write a cheque but he could simply choose not to cash it - again I would get nowhere.  I will ring the CSA and check whether they will change from private collect though I think they may only do that if I am not receiving payments.  If this is their response then do either of you think that I should then go through the complaints process?

Andykay - my apologies to you and anyone else who might find that part of my comment negative or inflammatory.  Perhaps I should have been more clear in stating that I have been told that exact statement by solicitors on several occasions when my ex has been displaying threatening, bullying, verbally and emotionally abusive behaviour towards myself in regards to visitation, rather than that actually being my own words or opinion.  I am certainly not saying I am a saint or a victim either (I'm sure you know from your own personal experience that we all sometimes get upset and lose our tempers at such volatile times) but I've always tried to do my best and be accomodating as much as I can because my child does come first for me and I really try to be thoughtful in regards to what is best for my child's situation.  I realise you are making your comment in regards to what you know and your sensitivities about your own situation and that of others who might read the post and feel bad because they would like more time with their children.  I personally  feel that marriage and children are not things to be taken lightly (and am not implying you or others in their own child support situations do either - everyone has their own reasons and situations behind relationship breakdown) but certainly, would never ever choose to put myself "in the shoes" and situation of my ex who made his own choices to fuel a sex addiction through secretive affairs and one night stands  during the entire eight years of our relationship, agreed to have a child only because that also meant extra sex and left with his co worker before that child turned one because I had been so torn and injured during childbirth that I was of  no use to him anymore in the sex department.  I have also had to handle the cumulative effects of his prolonged alcohol and marijuana addictions on his mental state which is now showing clear signs of decline, unfortunately I have also been told by solicitors that this is of  absolutely no consequence and can't be proved unless he does something to harm our child first.  There have been times where I have come away from dropping my child off with him for the weekend praying that another Darcy Freeman incident will not occur at some stage during the visit.

I, too, have male friends who do not have the amount of time with their children that they would like - on the whole they are honest, upstanding citizens who just want to do the right thing by their kids.  Unfortunately, my own situation is a little different, so I hope via my explanation that you understand a little more why I included the statement that I did and also understand that I certainly did not mean it in the offensive manner that it was taken.  The same as you, I am not here to argue either - I really just wanted some help in finding a possible solution to something that is causing a lot of stress in my life - and I'm sure you will agree that every single one of us in these situations could do with a little less stress and judgement and a lot more help!! :)

So, again, thanks so very much for the information offered - it's definately given me a path to look into. If anyone has any suggestions or responses to my initial paragraph in this post I would really appreciate hearing them. :thumbs:
Close your bank account.  Give him your new account number when you believe he should start paying again.
You should be able to get in touch with CSA and organise for them to collect on your behalf no matter what the current situation is, i.e. him paying or not paying, it is irrelevant. It would certainly take away the stress of having to deal with him on at least one issue.

Please be advised though, it does take a while to set up, and the payments are monthly only.
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