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Can I Get Back Pay for Child Maintenance?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 7 Aug 2020 |
 
Maintenance Child Support Arrears

Q.

I was divorced in 2007 after a 5 year marriage (including 2 years separated). We have a 5 year old child and I'm the resident parent.

My ex has been very lax in paying maintenance, for a long time we got nothing and then £9 a week which has now stopped. My main question is would we be entitled to back payments for maintenance not received in the past?

(S.F, 18 February 2009)

A.

This will depend on whether or not you have already contacted the Child Support Agency or Child Maintenance Service. Although you have mentioned 'maintenance' in your question, this can be by agreement or by court order so I will answer as though firstly you have put in a claim with the CSA/CMS and secondly as though you haven’t already put in a claim.

If You Have Made a Claim Through The CSA/CMS

You mention that for a long time you received nothing, but this then changed to £9 a week. If this payment of £9 per week was facilitated through the Child Support Agency, i.e. you have already put in a claim for maintenance, you will be entitled to claim arrears back to the date on which the CSA/CMS first contacted your ex-husband.

The CSA/CMS can take a long time to process claims and to calculate how much money a non-resident parent should pay, and this could mean that your ex-husband suddenly receives a large bill. If he thought that it was unfair he would be able to challenge it. However, once the CSA/CMS are involved in a child support case, they almost never write off the arrears. Your husband could go bankrupt and would still owe his child support arrears.

If You Have Not Made a Claim

If your husband has been very lax about paying voluntary child support, my advice to you would be to contact the CMS (which has now taken over from the CSA) as soon as possible. Unfortunately, CMS cannot recoup payments that your ex husband promised to pay you in the past under a voluntary or informal arrangement.

However, you may be able to take civil legal action against your ex husband to try to recover the missed payments through the courts.

If your ex husband was ordered to pay maintenance as part of your divorce settlement and he has now stopped paying under this agreement, this can have very serious consequences for him (as he’s flouting a court order.) If this is the case you should consult your family law solicitor as you may need to go back to court.

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I brought up my kids alone with no support from their father i never got child support as they said they couldnt find an address for him now both kids are adults my ex husband has a permanent address but still never mentioned anything about not paying child support for over 27 yrs now
Mum 73 - 7-Aug-20 @ 10:45 AM
I didnt receive child support for my two children for 6 years even though I applied in 2010. My ex left his job at the RAC and went self employed so he could hide his finances. I got a letter saying the csa had closed the case. Both the children, my son 19 and daughter nearly 17 now live with their father and he is claiming child maintenance from me. Is there anything I can do to claim that money back? He paid cs for my daughter for 3 years until she moved down to live with him and then put in a claim for both of them.
Ali - 1-Aug-20 @ 8:18 AM
My ex partner owes £3k to my girls that he never sees despite living less than half a mile away. He has just had a baby with ANOTHER woman, making 5 by 4 people. He leaves his job just as the maintenance award arrives, lives off his latest gf and then goes back when that breaks down. The CMS do so little is pathetic. They admit they haven't chased up any claims (even old ones that haven't been paid) since March! (He is working currently, and has been since february) If I owed the HMRC £3K they would find a way for me to pay it quick enough!
Stookie67 - 31-Jul-20 @ 7:30 AM
Hi my son is 19 & my daughter is 16 , I have never claimed maintenance from their father can I claim it all back dated they are both still in full time education . Thank you
Mum - 19-Jul-20 @ 1:10 AM
Hello I have two sons age 13 and 10 there dad hasn’t had any thing to do with them for 9 years, can I claim child support off him now... he’s never payed me a penny but the older there getting the dearer they get and the more I struggle? I don’t have any details for the dad apart from here he works? Thanks
Liz - 15-Jul-20 @ 1:22 AM
I havechild maintenanceservice assessment in place which ex hasnt paind since march 2020 can only get in touchwith cms by messages and they not doing anything when are they going to start chasingmissed payments up
Kaz - 10-Jul-20 @ 6:49 AM
I am not sure what to do?My ex makes regular child maintenance payments, which we agreed to in our divorce settlement.It was also agreed at the time that these payments would be increased, dependent on his salary/rate of inflation.I have previously independently, requested an increase but he has rejected my request.There is not a court order in place regarding the children’s care, we agreed that he would have the children 3 nights each week.Over the past 12 months, this has reduced to 1 night each week, children’s choice.Now, this has reduced to 0.He has chosen to life with his parents after purchasing a property, but deciding to rent it out instead.He cannot currently, provide a home for the kids to stay with him, this is not due to a lack of finance to do so. Our relationship has completely broken down and we no longer have any contact for me to reasonably raise this with him directly. Can I seek additional child maintenance payments? Can I do this via Child Support?
Enquirer - 31-May-20 @ 11:30 AM
Goes on here about fathers that dont pay I've paid voluntary for 21 years for 2 children never missed a payment when my daughter was 18 I even paid 1 extra year into my daughters account to help her out I have a son with another women hes 14 i have been paying on time every month i trusted my sons mother and she i wont go through csa ile just have what you pay me i would never do that to you so ok i carried on we have had a very messy break up so i thought ok ile look at self calculation on the the csa website and ho what does it come back with that I should have been paying £222 not £325 so what about refunds for fathers that have been led to believe it was the right thing to do dont get me wrong I would give my kids anything but she as a massive 5 bed house I lived with her for 5 years and still paid the maintenance I'm not on a high wage but I get by can any1 advise I've got bank proof and messages , I have told her that I'm dropping it to what it should be and she as turned very nasty our son is special needs and is under social services for neglect and she is telling them all sorts of lies and trying to stop me seeing him what can I do carry on paying the £325 because I want to see my son or lower the payment and risk losing contact altogether shes using a child as a pawn not right
Steve - 9-May-20 @ 5:45 PM
Hi I had a court order that was made in 1989 for child maintenance of which I received a few payments but then they stopped completely....can I go that far back to get money owed by him
Vee - 15-Apr-20 @ 11:24 PM
My child dad came back into her life after 11 years after not seeing her since she was 5 months old. I'm on benefits and disabled, he wants to give me 20 pound a month but never gave anything before that , until he met her and since given her about 200 pound. I don't know how much I'm entitled too and he doesn't pay regular. He thinks he can see her when and where he wants to, but she constantly wants me to be with her. That and some horrible messages and he doesn't do anything when he sees her I really don't know what to do
Tigger - 3-Feb-20 @ 9:56 PM
To reiterate what rob said, very unfair to assume that the children are always stay with the mother. I am a single parent to 5 kids and seeing this sort of sloppiness in article is annoying.
J03 - 6-Jan-20 @ 7:53 PM
Hi any advice would be greatly appreciated I have 4 children boy age 19 boy age 17 and twinsboy and girl 15 I seperated from my ex over ten years ago he was chased by CSA for the two eldest children and never everpaid a thing he has stayed jobless used a mental health issue and avoided all responsibilities completely I received a letter last year from CSA saying case was closed and I now find out his father has died probate is where for the last 6 months it’s been dealt with he also had no contact with his father whatsoever and an advert had to be placed in the local paper for relatives of the deceased to come forward I believe he is sole beneficiary being his only son could I claim anything for my children now from this or can I at least go back to CSA would they reopen my case after learning he has inherited??? Kind regards
Josie - 6-Jan-20 @ 10:02 AM
Hi my partner had 2 children with his ex over 26 yrs ago he was never chased for child support and has now received a letter saying he owes over 2000 pound. He is on benefits and we have 5 children of our own. His 2 children are all grown up. Does he need to pay this as he hasn't been chased for it before and quite frankly we have no spare money with 5 children of our own
fjhugh1 - 1-Jan-20 @ 10:41 AM
Hello, my son's dad got a nil award through CSA in 2013 as he damaged his hand at work. He started working a few months later, then moved to New Zealand for 14 month's later that year for work. When CSA changed to CMS I received a letter saying I was owed £200 in arrears. I went to CMS in 2017 as I had not received a penny from him since his nil assessment and assumed CSA would have been keeping track as to whether he was working or not. It took a year of CMS trying to get the money from my claim with them in 2017 and finally there is an order but what about the payments from 2013-2017? Is there nothing I can do to reclaim that, as there was a case open but they failed to keep tabs on him working after his nil assessment. Is there anything I can do? I am about to remortgage the house to buy him out and he is entitled to 50% of the equity even though he hasn't paid a penny since 2011. How is that fair yet he can get away with paying for our son for 4 years? Surely there must be something I can do? Thank you.
Jlea - 18-Dec-19 @ 1:52 PM
My son's father did a runner 26 years ago, I have only just found out where he is, can I claim back maintenance?
Frankie - 6-Dec-19 @ 2:56 PM
When csa disbanded in may 2017 me and my ex were on quite friendly terms so we planned to decide between us how much maintenance he would continue to pay. We both had quite a lot going on at the time (my mum had quiet recently died) so it was hard for us to decide on an amount. This dithering went on for months and i told him "lets not worry for now, we will sort it out later". Eventually we agreed on £30 per week and he satrted paying it in oct 2017. (After a gap of 5 months with no payments at all) so - periodically i have asked him for the missing amount and he has fobbed me off with excuses, being an easy going person, i have given him the benefit of the doubt and trusted him that he would pay when he could afford it. So today - our heating has broken down (our son lives with me, he is now 21 years old and due to be losing his job soon). Now would be a good time for the ex to pay what he owes - but he refuses to. He now says that he thought that delaying our plans to restart the maintenance back in the spring to summer of 2017 meant that i was letting him off with it! This is lies because everytime we spoke about it, he was telling me he would pay - when he could. Is there anything i can do???
Angrytoday - 5-Dec-19 @ 9:13 PM
Hi can i clame back pay as my ex stoped paying for my 3 children over 8years ago through the csa they are now 19 20 21
Megan - 2-Dec-19 @ 4:11 PM
I am.planning on applying for a variation order has the cms did not take into account my exes rental income and want to know if this can be back dated since my child was born. She is 18 and in full time education now.
Navi - 2-Dec-19 @ 12:23 AM
Hi my ex was paying child support but decided he wasn’t giving me full amount coz he was going to buy clothes for our 2 children every month instead which was not needed every month as they both had plenty, so I contacted csm and he was told the amount he had to pay each month. Last month he left his job getting 12 weeks pay in full and paid me 1 months maintenance. He didn’t tell me he lost his job or anything about not paying for maintenance, (as his new girlfriend will not allow him to have any contact with me so he goes through our 14 yr old daughter instead) which I think is wrong! But he hasn’t paid his maintenance this month or said anything about it! Should he have paid more than 1 month with the 12 week pay out he got totally over £4000? Will I get the payment back dated? It’s coming up to Christmas and worried sick please can you help!
Leanne - 29-Nov-19 @ 10:58 PM
Hi i am currently paying £400 a month for my son. I have no issues paying for him what so ever. The problem i face is the CSA take my top line. I work in the oil industry and i cannot guarantee that i will make the same every month, this is leaving me in financial difficulty. Can they do this. I thought it would just be based on my salary.
shando96 - 28-Nov-19 @ 3:22 PM
Can you please change the text to remove the assumption that the child remains with their mother after divorce? Really unfair to lone dads battling their deadbeat exes.
Rob - 18-Nov-19 @ 7:45 PM
Hi. My daughters dad had been messing around with maintenance I didn’t have nothing off him for about 9months so I went to Csa told him I was going to and he quit his job so then a few months passed and still had not a Penney from him so went csa they told me the amount hehat to pay me and then he quithis job again so he didn’t have to pay...my question is is there any way of either fighting against this as he only done it so he don’t have to pay and would the money be back dated when he starts work again
Jemma:) - 12-Nov-19 @ 12:53 AM
Leevus...no you don’t have to pay legally but would you feel like you’re doing the right thing if you stop? I wonder if your ex will suddenly stop feeding your daughter and washing her clothes and providing somewhere to sleep? There’s a big difference between legal obligations and moral obligations. I’m not the best dad in the world but I struggle to understand this kind of mentality. Why is your daughter suddenly not your responsibility now she’s trying to better herself and study??
SupportiveD - 11-Oct-19 @ 8:48 PM
I have been paying child maintenance to my daughter for the last 4 years. My daughter has started a apprenticeship she works 4 days a week and 1 day a week doing the apprenticeship. Where she is working she is getting paid. Those four years i never missed a payment. My ex child benefit has stopped, legaly do i still have to pay child maintenance?
leevus - 10-Oct-19 @ 2:40 PM
My mother and father divorced in the 1970s .My father was supposed to pay child support to my mother for me and my brother. I now understand that my father failed to make any payments which led to mymother suffering a serious nervous break down . This lefther too I'll to pursue my father legally and she was thereafter forced to rely on the goodwill of her late father to assist her in bringing me and my brother up . I am insensed by my father actions especially as he subsequently went on to raise other women's children whilst we remained impoverished. Is there anything that can be done about this given the amount of time that has elapsed?
mappers - 30-Sep-19 @ 9:54 PM
My son is 5 years old on the 5th November , his dad has never paid any money . & denied being his dad . But now we’re faced with getting sibling dna . Would this make a case for maintaince money ??
Nicola Appleby - 27-Sep-19 @ 11:29 PM
My ex is trying to claim £5000 worth of maintenance off me even though my children (now In their late 20s)lived with me for half of the time me and their mum was split the time they wasn’t with me I paid a majority of my maintenance to her but was out of work for a while with a leg injury and was unable to pay? How is this possible? That they are now chasing me for such a large payment 12 years on?
Leelee - 11-Sep-19 @ 5:55 PM
I have a 29 year old daughter I don't no if she mine as her mother was sleeping with 3 different men at the same timeas she got pregnant bit she only told me 2 days ago that she could be mine
Slime ball - 25-Aug-19 @ 8:45 PM
I have a 29 old daughter who is now trying to calm cas which I'm not on the Bc what can I do I don't no if she is mine as her mother was sleeping with 3 different men at the same time
Terry - 25-Aug-19 @ 8:42 PM
I was wondering if I could back date child support, my ex husband paid £2.50 a week for a whole month. The csa said that was all he could afford at the time. I struggled to raise my three children until they were adults and left home. He now has his own business and is living the high life, while my children struggle to make ends meet. Why should he get away with this?
Kezzra - 18-Aug-19 @ 6:45 PM
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