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Can I Get Back Pay for Child Maintenance?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 11 Jul 2018 |
 
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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to get to know her before making a big move, and his mom replied 'lydon is too busy taking care of his other kids, he cannot come'. so i gave up trying to persuade them to want or love a child which is theirs and i decided to move onand continue life the way i did all those years without them. i applied to knidergartens(kita) here in germany and my daughter got accepted, her fees is 1200 euros and i was ready to pay today july 12. 2018, but they needed a signed consent form from her 'father' which is very neccessary since he is on her birth certificate, so i sent a message to him through his mother, called her so many times even through whatsapp, sent her screenshot of the email from the kindergartens, she read the messages, declined my calls and i have not gotten any reply. i think i am finally done. this means without him my kid will never be enrolled in any school until she is 18 years old. i have cared for her all on my own, still caring but i am done living under his shadow, if she needs to poo, we need his permission, if she needs t pee, we need his permission , her life depends on his permission and this is not working. i need a way i can get sole custody, so we can move on wth our lives. getting a space for a child in kindergarten is very very difficult. and after over a year of being on the wait list, only to be told we need his permission, no matter where i go, we will always need his permission. i cant run from it, i want a way out. please i am desperate and i need help. i will pay every legal fees privately, i do not need benefits, we may never visit UK for the rest of our lives thats ok, all i ask is just sole custody. please reply me.
joanne - 11-Jul-18 @ 11:47 PM
I have a daughter who is 5 years old in october 2018, british citizen, but we have never been in the UK, she does not know her father and he does not know her only through pictures i send him regularly which he never asked for. she was born in Ghana and he visited only once 5 days after she was born with a teddy bear , no money, no nothing at all. i never complained or asked him for her upkeep because i am financially stable and can care for my daughter on my own. since i and my daughter has never been in the UK we have not had or received or asked for any child benefits, and her father does not support, he does not want to be in her life for his own reasons i do not know. the only legal document we have of him, is her birth certificate with his name on it as a co parent, a copy of his passport which is an old one, and a permission letter fthat allows meto travel anywhere with my daughter indefinitely. we never saw him again after he left, he never called or asked about her welfare, i cannot even contact him except through his mother. after the birth certificate was done, i asked for a british passport for her which he sent through DHL. i have been ill with breast mastitis since i was pregnant and my situation became severe in may 2017, so i moved to germany with my daughter for treatment, i had no one to care for her so i contacted his mother again to persuade him to come help me out with my kid while i was at the clinic for months. they said they will only do it if i paid their flights or hotels, i agreed to it and i booked the hotels and flights, but they never showed up. so my daughter had to stay with me in the clinic with a babysitter i employed to look after her. my illness became more severe and my dcotor advised that my kid cannot be arond the mess, she needs to be with family instead of babysitters, we called him again and he promised to come if i met him in spain. i moved from the hospital bed, took a flight to spain and he never showed up. i flew back to germany with tubes inside my body and bak to hospital bed, i sent him pictures of my situation, he did not care. i applied for visitors visa to UK for the first time so i could take my kid to visit her father since he is too busy to come over but my visa got declined. the reason the embassy gave me was that, i am in germany and her father coud visit anytime, so theres no need for me to come there. thi was their reason verbatim. last month his mom contacted me again and aid she will be coming to spain with her boyfriend and she can help me take the kid back to england if only i pay her flight, hotel and feeding upfront. i disagreed because my daughter does not know her, its impossible to leave a child with someone she does not know and lets not forget she doesnt and cannot recognize her father if he is a group of 2 people. if he sees her on the streets or somewhere, he wont even know that is his daughter.i declined and told his mom no, he has to come in person and stay a few days to
joanne - 11-Jul-18 @ 11:44 PM
Hi, an unusual question my husband contacted CMS whrn Csa ceased to exist and paid £20 to get bank details for his ex to continue paying child maintainance to her. She ignored all CMS letters and calls for two years. All of a sudden she has contacted them with her bank details! Will my husband be liable for the two years she has refused to give CMS her details?
Cb - 4-Jul-18 @ 3:00 PM
I used to have access to my daughter for a year, through most of which paid £95 per week, plus car seat of £400, contributed towards christening, food, clothes. This was an agreement we made between ourselves. My ex partner then wouldn’t allow me to see my daughter and filled to the courts to have my surname replaced with hers, it was filled with lies about me also stating I hadn’t paid any money and have never had access to my daughter and that I was a bully plus many other lies. Not seeing my daughter broke me and I got sectioned at the time of the court date and the name got changed. I’ve pulled myself together and got a job which I’ll begin in a few days. My question is do I need to contact anyone to arrange payment? Will there be back payment if I don’t? Ps I want to do the correct thing by my daughter
MissMyRose - 3-Jul-18 @ 7:03 PM
my daughters are grown up.but i had been through CSA for my ex to pay child support. he still owed a large amount. the csa said they were chasing it. but with little luck. my claim would be from 1996 to 2002 ish. where do i stand
fimcg - 3-Jul-18 @ 2:48 PM
Shaz 53 - Your Question:
My daughter is an adult now an father has never paid a penny towards her up bringing or welfare I brought her up on my own Where do I stand with this ?

Our Response:
There is little you can do if you never previously registered, or if you registered with CSA/CMS and your child's father was not eligible to pay because he was out of work etc.
ChildSupportLaws - 29-Jun-18 @ 11:31 AM
My daughter is an adult now an get father has never paid a penny towards her up bringing or welfare I brought her up on my own Where do I stand with this ?
Shaz 53 - 28-Jun-18 @ 3:08 PM
Kelly - Your Question:
Hello. When my son was born 12 years ago I had to fill a child maintenance form and agreed to £9 a week. I never received a penny and completely forgot about this. We've moved and never changed address on the child maintenance. If I rang up to sort child maintenance now would I be entitled to back pay or do I need to start a fresh claim?

Our Response:
You don't say why your ex never paid. However, it would be worth following this up if you registered a claim and were never paid.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Jun-18 @ 3:21 PM
Hello. When my son was born 12 years ago I had to fill a child maintenance form and agreed to £9 a week. I never received a penny and completely forgot about this. We've moved and never changed address on the child maintenance. If I rang up to sort child maintenance now would I be entitled to back pay or do I need to start a fresh claim?
Kelly - 23-Jun-18 @ 10:43 AM
Cha - Your Question:
Hi my dad has never paid a penny towards me all my life am I as an adult now able to claim any money from him?

Our Response:
You are not able to claim directly from your parent. Only your mother would have had the option to claim, at the time.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Jun-18 @ 9:47 AM
Hi my dad has never paid a penny towards me all my life am I as an adult now able to claim any money from him?
Cha - 20-Jun-18 @ 4:19 PM
Susan - Your Question:
Hi. My husband and I separated in Oct 2014. Payment for child maintenance was agrees between us, not involving csa. He left his job in June 2017 and I have since discovered that his wages were far greater than I thought, which means I would have been entitled to more than he was paying. Can I still get back payments for what I would have been due in the difference?

Our Response:
If you had a family-based child maintenance arrangement, you cannot claim back pay as the arrangement was agreed between yourselves.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Jun-18 @ 10:25 AM
Hi.My husband and I separated in Oct 2014.Payment for child maintenance was agrees between us, not involving csa.He left his job in June 2017 and I have since discovered that his wages were far greater than I thought, which means I would have been entitled to more than he was paying.Can I still get back payments for what I would have been due in the difference?
Susan - 16-Jun-18 @ 9:40 PM
@RiJ - only if the income is taxable can you claim it as child maintenance and I don't think redundancy payments are, unless the redundancy is over 30K.
INB - 11-Jun-18 @ 2:30 PM
Hi.After separation 2008, the ex lied to all services including Tax Credit/Child Benefit/CSA. I was left with the children living with me. Divorce and a finalised court order stating the children lived full time with me helped resolve the Child Benefit, I was awarded tax credits *ex lied about this too*. CSA hounded me and then went to tribunal. I won. As the paperwork was wrong, they basically took the word of the mother over mine, due to the child benefit (child benefit told me on the phone they automatically believe the mother, which sounds technically like sexism). Some paperwork put in to tribunal was my ex's letters stating income figures.The other parent finally had to pay for the children, rightly so. However, the amount paid (*sporadically) has been less than 1/4 of what was offered for them. And since the New service, we have received NO money at all.I wrote to the CSA and new services, they stated they would get the money. This is over a year now. So I have asked my MP to do something to speed things along. Apparently it is now being 'looked into'. I did a rough calculation that child support owed for the time period back to 2010 is nearly 18k. She has also just taken voluntary redundancy, can any of the payoff be used to settle this backpay?Are there any powers to get back paid any of the money for the child support.It has been a struggle for me as a single parent. The kids deserve to be out of poverty as they are teens now they need a few things especially for study (laptops etc). I have worked part time and been obtaining my degree whilst giving a home life in the absence of a mother for them. Money has been very tight, but isn't that the whole point of child support? Part time studenting isn't easy with no access to student loans.
RiJ - 9-Jun-18 @ 10:05 AM
Hello. When my son was born 12 years ago I had to fill a child maintenance form and agreed to £9 a week. I never received a penny and completely forgot about this. We've moved and never changed address on the child maintenance. If I rang up to sort child maintenance now would I be entitled to back pay or do I need to start a fresh claim?
Kelly - 6-Jun-18 @ 12:03 AM
Emmajune23- Your Question:
My child was born 23-08-2018 I didn't contact cms till 14-12-2017 I got a reference number will my babies father have to pay back pay from the day he was born or from the date I first contacted cms ?

Our Response:
Your ex would only be eligible to pay child maintenance from the date you contacted CMS.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Jun-18 @ 12:05 PM
My child was born 23-08-2018 I didn't contact cms till 14-12-2017 I got a reference number will my babies father have to pay back pay from the day he was born or from the date I first contacted cms ?
Emmajune23 - 4-Jun-18 @ 7:40 PM
conny - Your Question:
Hello guys I wonder if you can give me some advice, I have a friend with a 15 year old child, she a single parent working part time, her ex was supposed to pay £5 a week child support and has never paid this. can she try and claim this money back or is to late. she s not too great on what benefits she is entitled to either so nay help would be greatly welcome. thanks in advance

Our Response:
If your friend has claimed via CSA/CMS or through a court order, then she can try to claim this money back if she is owed it. She would have to contact CMS Options for more advice, please see link here. With regards to benefits entitlement, I can only point your friend into the direction of the Turn2Us link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 31-May-18 @ 12:05 PM
hello guysI wonder if you can give me some advice, I have a friend with a 15 year old child, she a single parent working part time, her ex was supposed to pay £5 a week child support and has never paid this. can she try and claim this money back or is to late.. she s not too great on what benefits she is entitled to either so nay help would be greatly welcome. thanks in advance
conny - 30-May-18 @ 10:21 AM
Hello. When my son was born 12 years ago I had to fill a child maintenance form and agreed to £9 a week. I never received a penny and completely forgot about this. We've moved and never changed address on the child maintenance. If I rang up to sort child maintenance now would I be entitled to back pay or do I need to start a fresh claim?
Kelly 85 - 27-May-18 @ 4:54 PM
Nic - Your Question:
My daughter is 17 and my ex husband has always paid maintenance for her even though he has never wanted to see her in the 17 years, the CSA set the amount he had to pay and he's stuck to it and it was based on ONE income that he declared at the time, however I now have evidence that he had more the one job over the years (possibly not now though) Can I get him to disclose his past income somehow and get some back payments?

Our Response:
The CSA/CMS should give an annual review in which the rate you are paid is assessed yearly. Plus, there are circumstances that your child's father would have to tell child maintenance about, please see link here. If the rate hasn't changed in years, you may wish to give CSA/CMS a call directly.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-May-18 @ 2:36 PM
My daughter is 17 and my ex husband has always paid maintenance for her even though he has never wanted to see her in the 17 years, the CSA set the amount he had to pay and he's stuck to it and it was based on ONE income that he declared at the time, however I now have evidence that he had more the one job over the years (possibly not now though) Can I get him to disclose his past income somehow and get some back payments?
Nic - 22-May-18 @ 10:51 AM
B - Your Question:
Hi I had a csa claim open for my.daughter over 4 yrs ago and her dad didn't pay and refused to give me any money and racked up nearly 3k in arrears owed to me. My daughter is now living with him and I pay for her but my question is can I still claim back what he owes me as child maintenance agency haven't got the details of the arrears yet but said they should be sent over to them from gas in due course. Who do I speak to to find out.

Our Response:
You would have to contact CMS directly, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 18-May-18 @ 11:34 AM
Hi I had a csa claim open for my.daughter over 4 yrs ago and her dad didn't pay and refused to give me any money and racked up nearly 3k in arrears owed to me. My daughter is now living with him and I pay for her but my question is can I still claim back what he owes me as child maintenance agency haven't got the details of the arrears yet but said they should be sent over to them from gas in due course. Who do I speak to to find out.
B - 17-May-18 @ 5:30 PM
Hey. My partner has to pay child maintenance for his daughter to a previous relationship. He pays £64 a month and owes arrears. I’m wondering can he add an extra £10 to £64 and pay off £10 each month of his arrears? As when he last spoke to cms he got told to do the arrears to them but I don’t understand why when it’s owed to his ex partner? Please help thank you
Vee - 9-May-18 @ 7:44 PM
My case recently moved from csa to cms. The amount I received increased from £230 to £440 per month. So he must have had significant pay rises since case opened 10 years ago and not informed csa. Is there anyway I can get back pay for the true amount he should have been paying?
Scruff - 6-May-18 @ 5:43 AM
Rachel - Your Question:
The biological father of my son, who is now 25, never paid any maintenance for his upbringing. He vanished after I contacted the CSA in 1993. He did receive papers from them stating as he had failed to correspond with them they had worked out how much he should pay. He ripped the papers up in front of my face and told me he 'refuses to pay.' Can I take him to court for back payments as I now know where he lives.

Our Response:
You should have followed up this at the time. If the biological father of your child was ordered to pay, then CSA could have enforced this. CSA has now closed down and it has been replaced by Child Maintenance Service. You may be able to obtain some advice via the link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-May-18 @ 2:19 PM
Cin - Your Question:
I split with my ex almost 3 years now. Since then he never support the children and I aslo didnot apply the child maintenance. But it is hard to raise them up without money so I contacted the CMS last week. They said I cant apply for the back payment. What I want is : I want to apply for the last 3 years as well. can you give me any advice please.

Our Response:
CMS can not deal with retrospective claims where no previous claim has been made.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-May-18 @ 11:44 AM
I split with my ex almost 3 years now. Since then he never support the children and I aslo didnot apply the child maintenance. But it is hard to raise them up without money so I contacted the CMS last week. They said I cant apply for the back payment. What I want is : I want to apply for the last 3 years as well. can you give me any advice please.
Cin - 3-May-18 @ 8:42 PM
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