A mum has claimed that her Porsche-driving ex has “manipulated” his income to avoid paying enough child support – and she’s beaten him in court.
The judge rules in favour of Kirstie Broom, from Beeford in East Yorkshire, in a dispute over how much her ex, Kevin Walker, paid.
The couple split five years ago, but Kirstie went to a tribunal this year after he switched the status of his business from sole trader to a limited company.
This meant his salary was reduced from £45,000 to just over £15,000 even though his profits grew by £13,000.
The move meant the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) required him to pay just £44 a week towards his two children who live with their mum.
That slashed 80% off what he was initially told to pay, reports HullLive.
Kirstie said: “My ex partner owns a £400,000 house, has motorbikes, a Porsche Boxster, quad bikes, a rowing boat for his lake, and drives a 4×4 Mercedes Benz with private plates on.
“He changed his company from sole trader to hide his income, he’d always threatened to do it.
“He doesn’t see it as paying for the children, he sees it as paying me, and he wants to see me struggle.”
A judge concluded that Mr Walker had “manipulated” his income, while CMS calculated his arrears to be more than £20,000.
Kevin, who owns the Stay Smart landscaping business, changed the status of his business in 2019, which reduced his payments to his three children, now aged 12, 10 and seven.
This meant that where he was paying £286 a week before he then only needed to pay £44.
Kirstie appealed this amount in a hearing in January.
Tribunal Judge Phillip Barber, in summarising his findings, stated: “Mr Walker gave evidence at the hearing.
“It is relevant to record that during the course of giving evidence Mr Walker was prone to angry and irrelevant outbursts when questioned touched upon the sensitive issue of his income and expenditure.
“He was also prone to peppering his evidence with bluster and at times it was difficult to get any sense from him.”
The judge’s findings continued: “At the hearing Mr Walker told us that he formed the limited company as his business under the sole proprietorship ‘was going downhill’ and that he was advised a limited company would help.
“However, the accounts indicate that Mr Walker’s business had improved between 2018 and 2019 and had made £13,000 more profit from one year to the next.”
He continued: “When asked about this, he told that ‘he does not know’ and is a ‘simple person’ who does not understand these things.
“We do not accept that there were any problems with his business and in our view, we do not accept that he incorporated due to a reduction in work or any other financial difficulties.
“We were satisfied that Mr Walker had the power to control his income from the company.
“It is clearly the case that Mr Walker is living on more than the £15,600 he claims and that one plausible reason for establishing the limited company was to manipulate his income to avoid the payment of child maintenance.”
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Despite the hearing, Kirstie sad that he still is only ordered to pay £44 a week for his children.
Kirstie, a part-time accounts administrator, claims her ex now has sole custody of their eldest child, who is 12, and he is now seeking child maintenance from her for their son, despite her only working 16 hours a week.
She claims: “The rules only protect those mothers and fathers whose ex-partners are employed on PAYE whereby maintenance payments can be deducted straight from their wages.
“Those who are self employed can get away with it by lowering their wages to the absolute minimum and taking their profit out of their business in other ways.
“Self-employed ex-partners can earn vast amounts of money and not pay a penny, or the minimum amount in maintenance because they manipulate their earnings.”
She added: “It is crazy that after going through the courts and getting the best possible outcome that still CMS just take the manipulated figures for his earnings from Inland Revenue.
“He pays his taxes so Inland Revenue aren’t interested in how he manipulates his figures but more should be done by CMS.
“More emphasis should be placed on a self employed person’s declared profits rather than payslips which they can just make up to be whatever they choose and totally manipulate their earnings so they get out of paying the minimum maintenance.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions, said: “Nearly £1bn was secured by the Child Maintenance Service for children in 2020, supporting over 730,000 children.
“The CMS does its utmost to make sure that single parents get what is owed to them to support their children, with a specialist unit to track down hidden funds.”
Mr Walker and his solicitor were contacted by HullLive for comment but declined to provide one.