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Can I Get Back Pay for Child Maintenance?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 19 May 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.

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Looking for advice?!? -I have 2 children, ages 20 and 24. There dad is named on both Birth certificates. We were married for many years. Eventually, following mental and physical abuse along with several affairs on his part, I was brave enough to stand strong and asked for a divorce following an evening of violence and him being arrested then being told he was not allowed back to the property. This result ended up in him moving back up to Cumbria from Lancashire... Now, due to myself being very very nervous and conscious of the reactions my husband/the children's fathers could be, i was very anxious regards any kind of requests to him... In conversations previously with him he had always said that if for any reason we had fallen out and i went to claim at Child Support Agency, he would leave any job he was doing just so he wouldn't have to pay a penny... At the time of our divorce I told my solicitor this.. George had allowed his sister to buy the odd school uniform for my daughter, the eldest. This was reported as him making a contribution. I was simply to scared to deny and argue that was the case as he was an aggressiveman. This had even been noted on his police file.. So as the years have gone by, my children have grown amazingly and im so so proud. My son is still in full time education. I am on sickness benefits for PTSD.. His dad has came all the years, cheated himself into a very high paying job £45k a year. Just bought a house and is still not helping. His son had asked for £15 for train fare to come home for a weekend and he said he couldn't afford it!!! After all these years of not paying a penny for his son or daughter I'm desperateto know if it is possible in anyway i can get these 2 children any justice buy seeking some kind of child support for the past few years? Please??
Tatti-pot - 10-May-19 @ 3:16 PM
Looking for advice?!? -I have 2 children, ages 20 and 24. There dad is named on both Birth certificates. We were married for many years. Eventually, following mental and physical abuse along with several affairs on his part, I was brave enough to stand strong and asked for a divorce following an evening of violence and him being arrested then being told he was not allowed back to the property. This result ended up in him moving back up to Cumbria from Lancashire... Now, due to myself being very very nervous and conscious of the reactions my husband/the children's fathers could be, i was very anxious regards any kind of requests to him... In conversations previously with him he had always said that if for any reason we had fallen out and i went to claim at Child Support Agency, he would leave any job he was doing just so he wouldn't have to pay a penny... At the time of our divorce I told my solicitor this.. George had allowed his sister to buy the odd school uniform for my daughter, the eldest. This was reported as him making a contribution. I was simply to scared to deny and argue that was the case as he was an aggressiveman. This had even been noted on his police file.. So as the years have gone by, my children have grown amazingly and im so so proud. My son is still in full time education. I am on sickness benefits for PTSD.. His dad has came all the years, cheated himself into a very high paying job £45k a year. Just bought a house and is still not helping. His son had asked for £15 for train fare to come home for a weekend and he said he couldn't afford it!!! After all these years of not paying a penny for his son or daughter I'm desperateto know if it is possible in anyway i can get these 2 children any justice buy seeking some kind of child support for the past few years? Please??
Tatti-pot - 10-May-19 @ 3:15 PM
Looking for advice?!? -I have 2 children, ages 20 and 24. There dad is named on both Birth certificates. We were married for many years. Eventually, following mental and physical abuse along with several affairs on his part, I was brave enough to stand strong and asked for a divorce following an evening of violence and him being arrested then being told he was not allowed back to the property. This result ended up in him moving back up to Cumbria from Lancashire... Now, due to myself being very very nervous and conscious of the reactions my husband/the children's fathers could be, i was very anxious regards any kind of requests to him... In conversations previously with him he had always said that if for any reason we had fallen out and i went to claim at Child Support Agency, he would leave any job he was doing just so he wouldn't have to pay a penny... At the time of our divorce I told my solicitor this.. George had allowed his sister to buy the odd school uniform for my daughter, the eldest. This was reported as him making a contribution. I was simply to scared to deny and argue that was the case as he was an aggressiveman. This had even been noted on his police file.. So as the years have gone by, my children have grown amazingly and im so so proud. My son is still in full time education. I am on sickness benefits for PTSD.. His dad has came all the years, cheated himself into a very high paying job £45k a year. Just bought a house and is still not helping. His son had asked for £15 for train fare to come home for a weekend and he said he couldn't afford it!!! After all these years of not paying a penny for his son or daughter I'm desperateto know if it is possible in anyway i can get these 2 children any justice buy seeking some kind of child support for the past few years? Please??
Tatti-pot - 10-May-19 @ 3:14 PM
Looking for advice?!? -I have 2 children, ages 20 and 24. There dad is named on both Birth certificates. We were married for many years. Eventually, following mental and physical abuse along with several affairs on his part, I was brave enough to stand strong and asked for a divorce following an evening of violence and him being arrested then being told he was not allowed back to the property. This result ended up in him moving back up to Cumbria from Lancashire... Now, due to myself being very very nervous and conscious of the reactions my husband/the children's fathers could be, i was very anxious regards any kind of requests to him... In conversations previously with him he had always said that if for any reason we had fallen out and i went to claim at Child Support Agency, he would leave any job he was doing just so he wouldn't have to pay a penny... At the time of our divorce I told my solicitor this.. George had allowed his sister to buy the odd school uniform for my daughter, the eldest. This was reported as him making a contribution. I was simply to scared to deny and argue that was the case as he was an aggressiveman. This had even been noted on his police file.. So as the years have gone by, my children have grown amazingly and im so so proud. My son is still in full time education. I am on sickness benefits for PTSD.. His dad has came all the years, cheated himself into a very high paying job £45k a year. Just bought a house and is still not helping. His son had asked for £15 for train fare to come home for a weekend and he said he couldn't afford it!!! After all these years of not paying a penny for his son or daughter I'm desperateto know if it is possible in anyway i can get these 2 children any justice buy seeking some kind of child support for the past few years? Please??
Tatti-pot - 10-May-19 @ 3:13 PM
Hi I received a letter regarding unpaid child maintenance for my daughter who is now 28 years old. Her father never laid a penny to me and CSA never chased it up. I was told about the debt to me and asked if I wanted to write it off, I said no and sent them all the information on her father I could fine, address, phone number, business address etc only to be told some 3 days later they had written if off. How can that be, they have not even tried to get it for me. Can I demand they send me correspondence between them and her father and take it to court myself and perhaps even the CSA as they have failed me. Feeling so annoyed right now, as he has recently come into her life, only because she tracked him down and told her siblings about herself. Jackiel - 9-May-19 @ 5:44 AM
JackieL - 9-May-19 @ 5:49 AM
I need a help to find my ex husband who is very rich but refuse to pay for child maintenance
Nancee - 3-May-19 @ 11:37 PM
My children are both grown up with children of their own and I have just received a letter out of the blue from the child support agency to say I owe arrears.I have had no contact with the CSA for at least 5 years as the case was closed but I got rid of the paperwork due to my children now been adults.They are wanting a few grand to be paid into a bank account.Surely this must be a scam I didn't think the CSA still existed.Any help on whether they can just claim out of the blue after many years would be appreciated.or is this a scam letter?it has my name and national insurance no but interesting it has ex wifes name down incorrect as she has remarried.
Leeman - 1-May-19 @ 4:03 PM
my friends children are all grown up now (38) and when she split from her husband they were about 7/8 and it was when CSA had just come about. He was a bankrupt and couldn't pay anything.Can she get the money back dated? would there still be records at the CSA
Jo - 30-Apr-19 @ 6:08 PM
Need some advice, my child maintenance payments have dramatically dropped due to my ex taking retirement at age 64. His pension/income has been reduced to £183 per week but his clever and has taken a lump sum out of his pension which drops the pension payments so he only has to pay £22 a week for my son until state pesnsion kicks in two years time when he is 66.I have contacted child maintenance service a they are sending me a unearned variation form as I do believe apart from the lump sum payment to reduce what he has to pay me he has other finances. I have explained this to child maintenance and the fact that he will know the loop holes after working for the same department as child maintenance for over 40yrs
red - 30-Apr-19 @ 9:28 AM
Myself and my sons father separated over 14 years ago. He’s never been in touch nor payed a single penny towards his son. I don’t know where he lives or works as he’s never made me aware of anything. Can I put a application in for the 14 years he’s been in hiding or not?
Nat - 23-Apr-19 @ 1:30 PM
I really could do with some advise, me and my ex boyfriend was together for 5yrs in that 5yrs we had a daughter together after been together for the 1st 3yrs we broke up when our daughter was 2 he had a good job but never paid anything towards his daughter, our daughter was 7yrs old last year so i got csa involved and he was made to pay me £37 per week but I didn't get any back pay for the past 5yrs he hasn't been paying for his daughter, I am still entitled to the back pay? He also had a separate bank account which he had £20,000 saved up i told csa about this but i never heard about any back pay what he owes his daughter, what can I do about this. My friends say he should of paid for all the yrs his missed out is this true.
Luna - 20-Apr-19 @ 7:54 PM
Hi, I was divorced in 2007 but seperated from my ex husband in 2005, even though i contacted the CSA I have never received any maintenance for my two daughters. He would change jobs and addresses. After years of chasing csa and working extremely hard to support my two daughters completely on my own, I gave up. I now want to know if I can still claim for maintenance for the past years. I do not have his address or know anything about him, but surely he can be found. I really struggled trying to bring them up and he has never seen or wanted to see my two daughters and never paid anything towards them. Can anyone help me please.
Tootsi - 14-Apr-19 @ 4:02 PM
My ex wife and I had a voluntary agreement where I paid maintenance payments weekly this was for a period of 15 to 25 years ago. Our daughter which payments relate has since died 13 years ago. The CMS have recently contacted me demanding arrears of £20,000 and advise me I need to prove I paid my ex wife at that time. I am unable to produce bank statements due to the amount of time passed and the bank do not hold the records that far back. I did pay by standing order or cheque at the time. I believe having been contacted by the CMS my ex wife has denied I paid however this is completely untrue. What can I do
Crofty - 9-Apr-19 @ 8:36 PM
My father said he is not my father and he is down on my birth certificate and he said that he want dna test if i am his can i get child maintenace
Eddiesoundz - 31-Mar-19 @ 7:32 AM
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
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