Home > Ask Our Experts > Can I Get Back Pay for Child Maintenance?

Can I Get Back Pay for Child Maintenance?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 14 Mar 2019 |
 
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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Hello My question is regarding maintenance money for mortgage application.Having separated from wife, we agreed she take 55% of the house sale profit and i now pay £700 a month for my two kids. She has bought another property and used the separation agreement which shows ill pay £700 a month to get a mortgage (as some banks will allow this). As part of my payment is being used to pay her mortgage have i any claim on that property? Thanks
Moss - 14-Mar-19 @ 11:31 AM
My ex never paid csa money and now the company has disbanded so I cannot contact anyone about the debt he ran up. He is paying £13 per fortnight through child maintenance options but misses many payments.I have discovered he has been left a large inheritance and is also working cash in hand - I do not know his address so I cannot contact fraud. Child maintenance service obviously cant disclose his addres to me. What can I do?
sharnasmum - 8-Mar-19 @ 4:25 PM
I put in a claim for csa nearly a year ago now he hasn’t payed me a thing and has told csa that he doesn’t work but I know he does I recently recieved a letter saying because he doesn’t earn over £7.00 a week he doesn’t have to pay me ! (load of crap) he is working I see him getting out his work van all the time he said to me a while ago he will tell csa that he is working properly again ! But he hasn’t yet !! Will I get it back dated when he finally does say he is working ?
Hello11 - 22-Feb-19 @ 6:05 PM
Hi my ex partner has not payed any money towards my daughter at all in the last 4 years from where we spilt up I need some advice if I can get any money back dated from that as it's child support he should of payed me also I would like to claim child maintenance as well from him I would like advice on how to claim thank you
Jade - 11-Feb-19 @ 2:38 PM
My husband left home when my son was 15 I have and still support my son now he is st university (he is now 21). Is it too late to claim maintenance for the past years. I haven’t applied for any in the past and have struggled This wasn’t brought up in the divorce (why I don’t know). In the settlement I have to pay him s lump sum and I feel that I should keep some of this for past maintenance
Clarence - 3-Feb-19 @ 10:11 AM
Does anyone give professional advice on this site?
sij - 1-Feb-19 @ 12:08 AM
My ex partner stopped paying me maintenance approx 3yrs ago, he lost his job, I’m due to pay him £20k equity from the house, can I claim back my maintenance back pay?
Flemo - 22-Jan-19 @ 9:59 AM
My real dad has never been in my life since I was a baby, I am now 25 years old. My mam tried to claim child maintenance, but never got anything. He kept saying he was Dole and does now have a job, which know is a lie because he run pubs for a living. My mam the other day reserved a phone call saying that they had some child maintenance from him! The full amount for all these years that we got from him was 20p! I wish there was some kind of way I could claim it off him
Ash - 16-Jan-19 @ 11:23 PM
my biological father and mother split 28ish years ago due to a very aggressive relastionship but that only started after an affair started. he was sent to prison for harrassing our family and constantly breaking injunctions to break into the house to intimidate my mother and my older sister on a number of ocassions. my mother is under the impression that she received around a months worth of csa but this suddenly ended due to him claiming he was self employed and was not earning a penny and because of the aggresive natare of this man he simply thought he would get away with not supporting my mother and my siblings. obviously this was the way to get around the csa around that time by claiming you earned alot less but why im getting in contact is. my disabled sister who is now nearly 40 years old who has a mental age of around 6 has never been supported by this man and for the last 27 years our family have not heard from this man apart from the insults heis used for example taking great pride in accusing my mother of being the reason why my sister was a UGLY SPASTIC (his words not mine) and telling me the day shes dead is the day he will be happy. to be fair i believe this is due to the hate he has for my mother for what ever reason he uses now days but can i ask. after 27 years of no contact from this man he has now suddenly come out from his stone as my sister has now moved closer to where he lives and he has constantly tried to upset my sister by using her to upset my sister so he gets to the family. can i get back dated csa for my disabled sister me and my other sister who are all at the age of adults now.
hi people - 6-Jan-19 @ 5:37 AM
Recently received the letter From CMS saying the case previously closed and reopened ,are they allowed to reopen case in what circumstances they reopen case??
Mct - 17-Dec-18 @ 5:21 AM
Currently I have a claim against my ex husband, where he pays £7 a week for our two boys. I have just received the annual review letter & from January he is to pay £70 per week - this is because information they have shows a weekly income of £450 up to 5th April 2018. My question is, as he's been earning significantly more than the previous review figure & didn't advise CSA can the review backdate the additional maintenance payment (even if only from April 18 to Dec 18) an extra £63 a week makes a big difference.
Dobo - 16-Dec-18 @ 9:47 AM
Hi I need some advice please. I have one child who is 8 and he’s dad has not paid child support for 8 years. What will happen since he has not paid
Steph - 9-Dec-18 @ 6:47 PM
hi im looking for some advice i have to children one who lives with me and one who lives with her mother.i share a box room with my son in my sisters home while my daughter sndand my ex live in a house i pay the mortgage and an iva and some of the bills so why should i have to pay child maintenance when my ex wife isnt paying anything towards my sons up keep
PHELPSEY - 13-Nov-18 @ 7:41 PM
My daughter is 31yrs hasn’t seen her father since she was 17years he never paid a penny except for 6 weeks @. £6 a week he told CSA he was working part time and couldn’t afford it when really he was driving around in a Mercedes working for his very wealthy best friend who has several businesses so he always covered (lied) for him, several attempts with CSA over the years gotme nowhere and even £6 a week stopped after 6 weeks, I provided best I could for my daughter I never remarried never had a penny in divorce and NOW on companies house I have proof he’s been a director on 3 businesses since 2005 when my daughter was 17yrs,if nothing else I’m hoping to recover the monies from then till when she was 20yrs when she was at college , he went on to remarry and have another daughter he remarried when my daughter was 15yrs and he bought his own home shortly after (on part time wages) I felt such an injustice for many years when all I knew he wanted to break me because I left his abusive self, he told me himself he wanted to break me, he also in 2017 opened a new restaurant which I have all details and all pictures with the help of lovely trip advisor, he’s in the OPEN with everything now as he feels SAFE , hopefully this is where I may finally get some justice ........... fingers crossed .
Maria - 31-Oct-18 @ 6:34 PM
My daughter is 31yrs hasn’t seen her father since she was 17years he never paid a penny except for 6 weeks @. £6 a week he told CSA he was working part time and couldn’t afford it when really he was driving around in a Mercedes working for his very wealthy best friend who has several businesses so he always covered (lied) for him, several attempts with CSA over the years gotme nowhere and even £6 a week stopped after 6 weeks, I provided best I could for my daughter I never remarried never had a penny in divorce and NOW on companies house I have proof he’s been a director on 3 businesses since 2005 when my daughter was 17yrs,if nothing else I’m hoping to recover the monies from then till when she was 20yrs when she was at college , he went on to remarry and have another daughter he remarried when my daughter was 15yrs and he bought his own home shortly after (on part time wages) I felt such an injustice for many years when all I knew he wanted to break me because I left his abusive self, he told me himself he wanted to break me, he also in 2017 opened a new restaurant which I have all details and all pictures with the help of lovely trip advisor, he’s in the OPEN with everything now as he feels SAFE , hopefully this is where I may finally get some justice ........... fingers crossed .
Maria - 31-Oct-18 @ 6:29 PM
I have been trying to appeal a decision since last October with CSA, the amount and the back dated periods they are claiming for are rediculous. I don't get to see my daughter's through their mother's maliciousness, not a court order or social work, just simply because she can, and has stalled in court multiple times now, with me trying to regain access! Multiple times i have sent evidence proving she has given false information l to be told they "never recieved it" or "it could be lost in post" (convenient ) and now i have been told I'm out of time to appeal any further and it has been handed to CMS and dispite only just going onto UC through ill health CMS are now hounding me for amounts i physically cannot afford without placing myself in major debt to do so. I never stopped paying for my daughters through a private agreement until my ex cut my access and changed her bank details so i couldn't make the payment. 7 months later i get hit with a 2,300 bill without CSA even being in contact, declaring i owe this amount. The stress, mental pressures and their non complience tactics don't help the situation and make it worse. I had to give up work because the pressure this put me under became too much as i never got anywhere forward with my appeal after filling out the form, the whole system is completely unjust and should be addressed on a national scale. I'm now at the point where i want them to take me to court and jail if need be to bring this to the media's attention and MP's.
Aj83 - 25-Oct-18 @ 1:16 PM
I HAVE 2 CHILDREN, AGE 24 AND 21, THEIR FATHER HAS NEVER PAID A PENNY TOWARDS THEM, IVE NEVER CLAIMED CSA FROM HIM FOR THE KIDS, WOULD I BE ABLE TO ARRANGE IT ALL WITH THE CSA TO GET THE MONEY, AS THEIR FATHER HAS REMARRIED AND HAS HIS OWN BUSSINESS.
Jacki - 24-Oct-18 @ 4:59 PM
Ever since the children were born I have been a hands on father. I have equal shared care of children through Court Order, but former Russian wife keeps all benefits and refuses to share. I pay out over £4,000 per year for children, including school trips, uniforms etc, as mother refuses to pay for these (despite receiving benefits.) Am struggling to make ends meet. Mother expects me to pay her CM, as well as what I already pay, plus, she keep children's benefits. In summer, was out of work, and had to use Foodbanks to feed boys. Forced to use overdraft as UC is useless. Money for the children, doesn't get to the children. CM also miscalculate amount, and refuse to alter. I refuse to pay CM when I always contribute to the boys. Ex just using CM as a weapon against me. Backed into a corner. Would like to be sent to prison, in order to bring this whole issue to attention of media and politicians. At the end of my tether after years of constant harassment from ex. This is the tip of the iceberg. What she has done to me (and children) over past 7 years you wouldn't believe. Gives a new definition of cruelty!
Ginger - 18-Oct-18 @ 11:22 PM
My babys dad hasnt paid a penny of cms for nearly 2 years hes been dodging them and making it hard to track him down, ive found out where he works and informed cms, my question is i first applied for cms january last year and hes not paid a penny will i get the back pay what he owes from then till now?
Shell - 16-Oct-18 @ 10:50 PM
Hi all, I read all the response and its all to do with fathers having to pay CMS. Iam a father with10 year old son and his mother decided to hand him over to me 2.5 years back. Although he has spent almost all his time with me since the divorce 5 yeara back. My question is...can a father put in a claim for CMS or is it just for mothers ??
Anon12345 - 14-Oct-18 @ 10:11 PM
CMS issued the interim deduction order & frozen my money in bank that I cannot take out. CMS calculation is totally wrong & they said they will NOT go back to recalculate the liability as time has passed. I have no right now to appeal or they will recalculate. I sent enforcement dept all Tax returns & calculation ( actual liability as per CMS rule is just £7000 & they billed me £23,000 ). What will happen next ? what shpuld I can do now ? Is it true that CMS cannot & will not go back to recalculate & correct it ? Will I loose all my money ?
Khan - 29-Sep-18 @ 8:26 PM
Hi all.My son is 10. Father left me when pregnant and has never ever wanted anything to do with him.After 10 years can I claim csa?? Don’t know why I’ve never done it tbh but the more I think about it the more I think why should he get away with it.
Debbie89 - 28-Sep-18 @ 9:51 PM
I am self employed & CMS calculated the maintenance on historical year income. Now 2 years passed. The actual amount I paid for last 2 year is 24K on historical tax year calculation BUT if we calculate now on actual income on that 2 years work out just £7 K. It does means that CMS charged app £17K extra by using historical tax years return. Now CMS refusing to return extra payment. Is there any law by which I can get the extra amount of £17 K back from CMS ? I need hgelp
J S - 19-Sep-18 @ 2:24 PM
Hi, I left my daughters father (who lives abroad) when she was 8 months old. He paid me £30 a week up until 2 years ago and it has now been upped to £50 a week. He boasts a £60,000 a year salary (which would have been more when I left him). According to Maintenence calculators he is not Paul g anywhere near the amount that would be the expectation of someone in recipes of that salary. I feel I’ve been mugged off for the last 13 years. A) can I do anything about it? B) He is not open about his tax affairs (he lives and works in France) which I fear would muddy the waters somewhat when it came to the true amount my daughter should be awarded weekly - can I do anything about that?
Mug - 4-Sep-18 @ 6:16 PM
Andy - Your Question:
Hi,Bit of a different question.hope someone can advise! My girlfriend’s (she is 23) father left the family home when she was 1.5 years old and has been estranged ever since. Her mother was not married to him and has since passed away sadly. She never received any child support maintenance from him. In this case would my girlfriend have any claim to any child support arrears that were never paid?Thanks!

Our Response:
Unfortunately not. Only the other parent can claim from the non-resident parent for the child.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Sep-18 @ 12:27 PM
@Loo - Only a parent can claim for child maintenance arrears.
Rob - 3-Sep-18 @ 10:57 AM
My mum said that there is a large amount of csa owed from my farther and has said for us girls to go in for it as apparently it would now be ours as were all over the age of 16 can I have some more info on weather this is true or not
Loo - 1-Sep-18 @ 8:08 PM
Hi, Bit of a different question...hope someone can advise! My girlfriend’s (she is 23) father left the family home when she was 1.5 years old and has been estranged ever since. Her mother was not married to him and has since passed away sadly. She never received any child support maintenance from him. In this case would my girlfriend have any claim to any child support arrears that were never paid? Thanks!
Andy - 29-Aug-18 @ 9:22 PM
I have paid my daughter's mother can money every month without fail. She has been re married for 4 years. Do i have to pay her and if not am I entitled to the last 4 years payment back due to her being re married
Looooo - 27-Aug-18 @ 9:15 PM
Janey12 - Your Question:
Hi - having read the comments above I can see that you say that the CMA calculates the amount of maintenance based on the paying parents previous years salary. I am having real concerns with the way that the CMA are handling our case as my ex has put in a mandatory reconsideration. It’s difficult to explain but last years payments were based on salary earnt two years prior to that tax year 15-16 £79k. This years figures were initially reviewed on the same basis two years prior which was £106k which my ex has appealed and the outcome is to base the figures on last years income which was £73k therefore completely missing out the previous year. What rights do I have in appealing this? Thank you

Our Response:
The link here will help answer your question.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Aug-18 @ 12:09 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Meet
    Re: The Law and Single Fathers
    My ex-girlfriend and I split up about 4 years ago when she met someone new. She married the guy and now she tells my daughter that…
    18 March 2019
  • Rosecottage
    Re: Enforcement of CSA/CMS Payments
    My husbands ex says he owes 7000 god knows they got to that I’ve asked for a break down but they don’t give it I’m going to…
    17 March 2019
  • Mark
    Re: The Use of Child Support Payments
    If I pay child maintenance to my ex do I still to buy them clothing for when they come to me or should she supply them
    17 March 2019
  • kalbo3553
    Re: Child Support vs Contact With the Child
    I allegedly have 2 children by artificial incemination in Cyprus but my partner was seeing someone now I'm stuck…
    16 March 2019
  • LOLLY
    Re: Your Legal Rights as a Parent
    Please can you provide advice. My son has a residence order and the mother has a contact order. Recently we have had concerns…
    15 March 2019
  • Baz
    Re: Income: Protected, Assessable and Exempt
    Hi, if I'm not allowed to see my kids and courts taken my legal rights away do I still have to pay my ex for kids…
    15 March 2019
  • kenroy
    Re: CMS Complaints, Appeals and Tribunals
    I have been paying child support into both of my kids Bank accounts in the sum of £160 per month the combine figure…
    15 March 2019
  • Sub
    Re: Child Custody Rights
    Hi. I need some advice. I have been married for 3 years and had been having marital problems. My spouse is in the UK on a spouse visa as I am…
    15 March 2019
  • Help Needed
    Re: The Law and Single Mothers
    Hi, I have been divorced since 2015. My daughter has been living with me in Sweden for over five years (her father has very limit…
    15 March 2019
  • Buck
    Re: Enforcement of CSA/CMS Payments
    The csa hit me with £46.000 arrears because my ex said IDE never paid. I did pay but missed payments when out of work. The…
    14 March 2019