The Times

Friday July 2 1999

Caring father says system is unfair

MIKE FARR says the Child Support Agency has unfairly hounded him for the past six years even though he has equal shared care of his daughter Laura, 6. He has refused to make any payments.

Mr Farr, 35, split up from his wife Melanie five years ago when she left the marital home for another man. They decided at the time that he would not pay maintenance because they would equally share the care of Laura. He paid his wife £30,000 for her share of the family home. "Then Melanie changed her mind and I found I was chased by the CSA for payments," Mr Farr said. "I explained that I was caring for Laura four days out of seven but they still said I had to pay."

Under CSA rules, fathers pay maintenance for shared care but this is half the amount they have to pay if they are not looking after them at all. The CSA demanded £101 a week when Mr Farr was earning £18,000 a year. After several tribunal cases, the CSA agreed that he was the parent carer and agreed not to pursue him.

His wife has now demanded to see more of Laura which will allow her to put in a renewed claim to the CSA and he will be liable for paying up to 15 per cent of his salary. Mr Farr is still adamant that he will not pay, although under the new regulations he could be committing a criminal offence.

Copyright 1999, Times Newspapers Ltd.