Goodbye CSA, Hello CMEA

  WhiteTruckMan 09:53 25 Jan 09
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Am I alone in seeing that this has the makings of some truly awful injustices? The CSA weren't exactly paragons of justice, but at least they had to go through the courts. But giving the power to confiscate passports and driving licenses in an arbitrary manner to anonymous beaurocrats is surely a headline grabbing step in the wrong direction as well as a serious erosion of our rights.

I agree that absent fathers should pay for their children, but does anyone think the new agency will be any better than the old one in terms of accuracy, fairness, and justice? Or will they just be a rehash of the same old mistakes of the old one, without the buffer of a court to justify themselves to?

WTM

  Forum Editor 10:06 25 Jan 09

the idea is a good one. If a father steadfastly refuses to help support his own children I don't see why he should continue to be able to take foreign holidays, or drive his car; surely the children's welfare should come first?

The problem lies in the Department of Work and pensions statement that their new powers would only be a "last resort" after other means of securing cash for kids have failed."

There will need to be some careful consideration to individual circumstances, such as when a father has to travel abroad to work, or when he drives for a living. If they remove his ability to generate income they remove his ability to support his children. On balance I'm in favour of the new powers, but I have misgivings about how some of the decisions will be taken, and by whom.

  WhiteTruckMan 10:20 25 Jan 09

but its the removal of the need to justify themselves to an impartial court that rings alarm bells for me.

And confiscating a license for non motoring/vehicle related reasons (other than medical) seems to me to be completely unfair. I suspect that this technicality wouldn't bother the ne'erdowells that this is aimed at, but would needlessly punish the easier soft targets that the CSA was so famous for pursuing.

WTM

  carver 10:22 25 Jan 09

Agree with you, the old system didn't work and I can't see the new system being any better.

How is it going to help if a driving licence is taken away from someone or their passport confiscated. Most of the fathers who don't pay or will not pay, couldn't give a dam about any kids they had any way.

My wife's brother got clobbered under the old system with a bill for £600 a month for 2 children, his take home pay for the month was £1000. His ex had run up various bill totalling nearly £20.000.00 with out his knowing about it but he was expected to help pay these even though his supervisor had been sleeping with her for the previous 2 years.

He just couldn't pay the amount and he got threatened with all sorts of things.

He often wondered why he got the long haul jobs which involved over night stops.

  octal 10:50 25 Jan 09

Last resort or not, it appears to be diluting our legal system, what are the courts there for? We might not like or agree with their decisions, but that is our legal system and that is the correct route.

Incidentally, I think the title of the article is misleading, it should be parents and not just dads because there are plenty of single parent dads trying to do their best for their children which still needs the support of the mother to contribute towards the upkeep of the offspring.

  WhiteTruckMan 10:54 25 Jan 09

Fair point.

WTM

  Forum Editor 11:13 25 Jan 09

that parents have a moral and legal obligation to support their children - provided they have the means to do so, both in a financial and a physical sense; if someone can work to generate income for child support he/she should do so, and not be hindered from doing so by the state.

With regard to the comment that ". its the removal of the need to justify themselves to an impartial court that rings alarm bells for me." I'm not sure that a failure to provide any financial support for your children can ever be justified if you're off to Thailand for a holiday, can it? If you don't need a passport for your work I see no reason why a court has to order its suspension pending your provision of money for your child - it can be done by an authorised civil servant, in the same way that a Police officer can confiscate your car keys if you are suspected of intending to drive whilst drunk. If you don't like your passport being confiscated you can appeal to a court, and justify its restoration to a magistrate.

The thing is, something needs to be done about the failure of absentee parents to acknowledge their obligations to their children, otherwise the State must do it at our collective expense. We're not talking about little old ladies being slapped in prison for not paying a parking fine here - we're talking about an increasingly heavy burden on the public purse, and we need to find solutions. This legislation may be a bit of a shock to the system, and will almost certainly result in the occasional wrong decision, but those can be easily rectified, and in my opinion this is a classic case of the end justifying the means.

  Monoux 12:25 25 Jan 09

I think there are many who refuse access to the children despite a court order to do so, why should the abesentee partner pay for offspring they are being refused access to ?

  Forum Editor 12:30 25 Jan 09

Unless there's a good reason, nobody should be refused access to their child, and if there's a court order regarding access a parent can take steps to ensure it's enforced. In the meantime I doubt that anyone is going to remove a passport if payments are maintained.

Surely you're not suggesting that children should suffer because one of the parents is being difficult about access?

  Monoux 12:53 25 Jan 09

The problem is, as I see it that, one party refuses access and refuses to obey a court ruling to allow access it. At the same time expect a court to enforce payments. Double standards or what.
Sometimes the absent parent must feel the only way to apply pressure to see their chidren is to withold payment.

And no I don't think it right that the child suffers by being 'piggy in the middle' of all this but unfortunately in the real world it does happen

  spuds 13:11 25 Jan 09

I think that you have hit the nail on the head. It's not going to effect the ne'erdowells, whatever is brought in or suggested. They will carry on regardless, and this will leave the easy targets open to more intimidation and perhaps wrongful practises.

When you give people (usually civilians or private enterprise) extra powers, there are usually cases of abuse.

Perhaps going in another direction, I notice that some court fees are having a substantial increase shortly.

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