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Can I Get Back Pay for Child Maintenance?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 19 Sep 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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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
taiboy12 - Your Question:
I have had my son from 7 months old he is now 3 yrs, me and his mum were not married,i am on the birth certificate ,she has never paid a penny for him at all and was claiming benefit s for him whilst he was living with me , what would be the likelyhood of me getting what money she owes me if I take her to small claims court,

Our Response:
You would not be able to take the matter to the small claims court. If you have not registered with CMS previously, then you would not be able to claim for retrospective back pay. I suggest you give CMS a call, if you haven't previously, please see the link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Aug-18 @ 11:23 AM
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
Janey12 - 15-Aug-18 @ 5:45 PM
i have had my son from 7 months old he is now 3 yrs, me and his mum were not married,i am on the birth certificate ,she has never paid a penny for him at all and was claiming benefit s for him whilst he was living with me , what would be the likelyhood of me getting what money she owes me if I take her to small claims court,
taiboy12 - 14-Aug-18 @ 4:18 PM
Jude - Your Question:
My daughter agreed a consent order and childcare terms and maintenance via a divorce court. The father was granted a share if the matriminial home having lived there for 2 years. My daughter never sought an increase in maintenance over the years when fathers professional wages increased. Now he has asked for his share of house as time us up via consent order. His share if the property niw exceeds the maintenance he has paid overall. Can the consent order be overturned or what can my daughter do to change this claim?

Our Response:
You don't say why your daughter didn't ask for an increase in child maintenance payments. Your daughter would really have to seek legal advice regarding this, as the matter would have to be referred back to court for consideration.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Aug-18 @ 9:44 AM
My daughter agreed a consent order and childcare terms and maintenance via a divorce court.The father was granted a share if the matriminial home having lived there for 2 years.My daughter never sought an increase in maintenance over the years when fathers professional wages increased.Now he has asked for his share of house as time us up via consent order.His share if the property niw exceeds the maintenance he has paid overall.Can the consent order be overturned or what can my daughter do to change this claim?
Jude - 13-Aug-18 @ 6:12 AM
Becki - Your Question:
My daughter is 2years old 3 in December me and her father split up last this time last year he's never paid a penny for her IV only just found out about CMS Nd just made an application would he have to pay back alot and how are payments made

Our Response:
Your daughter's father would not have to pay back pay, as payments only begin on registration. You can see all you need to know about how payments are made via the link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Aug-18 @ 2:35 PM
My daughter is 2years old 3 in December me and her father split up last this time last year he's never paid a penny for her IV only just found out about CMS Nd just made an application would he have to pay back alot and how are payments made
Becki - 10-Aug-18 @ 1:31 PM
@Sjc - It is unlikely this will happen if the case has been closed.
Jaccv - 10-Aug-18 @ 12:55 PM
Ang - Your Question:
Hi my son will be 17yr in Sept and my ex has never paid a penny for him, I did try to claim CSA when my son was a baby but they said his circumstances had changed. Could I get backdated payments as I believe he is working and has 3 younger children now.

Our Response:
You may wish to give CMS a call via the link here for some direct advice, as CSA has now changed to CMS.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Aug-18 @ 11:37 AM
Hi my son will be 17yr in Sept and my ex has never paid a penny for him, I did try to claim CSA when my son was a baby but they said his circumstances had changed. Could I get backdated payments as I believe he is working and has 3 younger children now.
Ang - 7-Aug-18 @ 5:12 PM
My fiancé’s ex is always complaining about money and the CSA case was closed dec 2016 and a mutual agreement was in place instead at her request. Now she is claiming that she hasn’t been paid enough all these years (which she hasn’t) and saying she is going to get CSA to back date it. Obviously if we have to fight the case we will, but what we want to know is can she re-open a closed case and ask to backdate payments?
Sjc - 6-Aug-18 @ 6:49 PM
matt1152 - Your Question:
Can any person help, I have been contact via the CSM over my earnings Given CSM was brought in as of the end of January 2108 , how do they do the earning calculations , I question this as they are going back to my previous employer of 2016 , Cleary my circumstances have changed , and am employed as of 2017. Surly they can only use the current information from the up today payslips. Any advice would be very welcome

Our Response:
The link here , should help answer your question. As child maintenance is calculated via HMRC, the previous year's salary is used (similar to the calculation of child tax credits).
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Aug-18 @ 12:28 PM
Can any person help, I have been contact via the CSM over my earnings Given CSM was brought in as of the end of January 2108 , how do they do the earning calculations , I question this as they are going back to my previous employer of 2016 , Cleary my circumstanceshave changed , and am employed as of 2017. Surly they can only use the current information from theup today payslips. Any advice would be very welcome
matt1152 - 4-Aug-18 @ 6:52 PM
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
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