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: 17 Aug 2016 |
 
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]
### - Your Question:
I am 27 years old my mother split from my 'father' when I was around 6 months old he paid around 4-6 months of csa then my mother received nothing else off this man for my welfare would there be any entitlement after all this time

Our Response:
It is unlikely, as the CSA would have followed the case up and if your father was eligible to pay child maintenance (i.e if he was earning a wage), then the CSA would have ensured the order was enforced. Therefore, because your father has not paid, I can only conclude he was not eligible.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Aug-16 @ 1:52 PM
I am 27 years old my mother split from my 'father' when I was around 6 months old he paid around 4-6 months of csa then my mother received nothing else off this man for my welfare would there be any entitlement after all this time
### - 17-Aug-16 @ 4:09 AM
Kiwidad - Your Question:
Hi, I recently separated from my Wife to whom we have a 2-year-old daughter. She has returned to live in the UK and I have remained in New Zealand for the time being. I have applied and been registered here in New Zealand as a Liable Parent under our Child Support Act. I had to do this as both a legal obligation but also in the beginning my wife refused to receive any payments from me for child maintenance so to ensure that my daughter did not miss out I voluntarily submitted myself in order that my Wife would receive payments from the New Zealand Inland Revenue.She is now making noises about wanting to take me to the UK courts to get me to pay twice as she is wanting more money (double dip if you like). As I am already complying with the New Zealand Law and I am a New Zealand Resident, would the courts in the UK even entertain such a request for a court order and if successful could it even be enforced given that I am already making good on payments? How can I nip this in the bud before it goes too far?

Our Response:
You would not have to pay twice as many countries have reciprocal enforcement maintenance orders (REMOs), please see gov.uk link here. You may wish to get a NZ solicitor to outline the bi-country child maintenance regulations to your ex in a letter.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Aug-16 @ 2:39 PM
Hi, I recently separated from my Wife to whom we have a 2-year-old daughter. She has returned to live in the UK and I have remained in New Zealand for the time being. I have applied and been registered here in New Zealand as a Liable Parent under our Child Support Act. I had to do this as both a legal obligation but also in the beginning my wife refused to receive any payments from me for child maintenance so to ensure that my daughter did not miss out I voluntarily submitted myself in order that my Wife would receive payments from the New Zealand Inland Revenue. She is now making noises about wanting to take me to the UK courts to get me to pay twice as she is wanting more money (double dip if you like). As I am already complying with the New Zealand Law and I am a New Zealand Resident, would the courts in the UK even entertain such a request for a court order and if successful could it even be enforced given that I am already making good on payments? How can I nip this in the bud before it goes too far?
Kiwidad - 16-Aug-16 @ 5:12 AM
I split with my ex 7 years ago in the isle of man i moved to birmingham with my 2 youngest 2 half years ago my 12 yr old remained with her dad as she was all him and i put her happiness first the fact she was startin secondary school when i moved.When i lived in the isle of man my ex never bothered with the 2 youngest and in the 7 years we have been separted he hasnt paid any maintence for the 2 yougest when he has his own bizzness.i moved back to england to be closer to my family start a fresh cause i had no family over in the isle of man and i was unhappy and my 2 youngest couldnt understand why their dad never had them at weekends but he had their big sister i want to know can i calim for back pay of child maintence in the 7 years we have been separted why should he not pay for the 2 youngest
Emzy - 12-Aug-16 @ 7:49 PM
Emz - Your Question:
I have never claimed csa since my daughter was born.my ex-partner is taking me to court to get access to see my daughter. As he's not aloud to be near us both.so am wanting to no if I put in for csa do I get ever penny paid back to me from when she was born she is nearly 3 now???

Our Response:
No, as specified in the article, unless you have made a claim previously, you cannot apply for back pay. You can only claim from the time you first make the claim.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Aug-16 @ 10:58 AM
I have never claimed csa since my daughter was born.my ex-partner is taking me to court to get access to see my daughter. As he's not aloud to be near us both.so am wanting to no if I put in for csa do I get ever penny paid back to me from when she was born she is nearly 3 now???
Emz - 9-Aug-16 @ 11:22 AM
shelley1989 - Your Question:
Hello im just wanting some advise my mother made a claim for csa when I was born and through a court order my biological father was ordered to pay £12.00 a week which he never paid. im just wondering because this was ordered to pay through a court order would I be able to do something about this I know that im no longer a child and that amount would have stopped when I reached 18 years but that doesnt mean he doesnt owe the money still is there a way I can now reclaim the maintance that was supposed to be payed as a adult.

Our Response:
Only your mother can try to recoup the money owed to her via a court order and if father refused to pay. However, regardless if there was a court order, if you father was out of work and/or his circumstances meant he couldn't pay as he was not earning the required amount then your mother would not be able to claim back pay. Likewise, if your father had deliberately stopped paying, your mother would have had the option to take the matter back to court to have the order enforced at the time.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Aug-16 @ 2:49 PM
My daughter is now 19, her father a dental surgeon, claimed he was earning £532 a week (!), the CSA said he had to pay £89 maintenance.This was an estimate for his earnings by his accountant.He now of course no longer has to pay, even though she is at university.Can I ask the CSA to look at his actual figures from HMRC, and make a retrospective claim on what he was really earning, or is it too late?
apple - 7-Aug-16 @ 4:20 PM
hello im just wanting some advise my mother made a claim for csa when i was born and through a court order my biological father was ordered to pay £12.00 a week which he never paid. im just wondering because this was ordered to pay through a court order would i be able to do something about this i know that im no longer a child and that amount would have stopped when i reached 18 years but that doesnt mean he doesnt owe the money still is there a way i can now reclaim the maintance that was supposed to be payed as a adult.
shelley1989 - 5-Aug-16 @ 2:19 PM
My ex paid nothing for 4 years then last 8 years 320 a month for 2 children....he has paid 160 for last 2 years as our son is now 18...i asked for a bit more...he refused and i went to csa..he now has to give me 440 a month for one child...!!!!
Debbie - 5-Aug-16 @ 7:49 AM
Char - Your Question:
I am writing on behalf of my father. I have a half sister who he pays for. Child maintenance got his earnings wrong and was paying double adding up to £8000. He kept complaining that they had got his earnings wrong but refused to change it until recently a year later. Now they won't answer his letters about trying to get a refund on the money he's lost. What can we do about this?

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which should answer your question.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Aug-16 @ 1:49 PM
I am writing on behalf of my father.I have a half sister who he pays for.Child maintenance got his earnings wrong and was paying doubleadding up to £8000.He kept complaining that they had got his earnings wrong but refused to change it until recently a year later. Now they won't answer his letters about trying to get arefund on the money he's lost . What can we do about this?
Char - 2-Aug-16 @ 11:48 PM
Hey, I am the child(I am 17 now) and my dad left me and my mum when I was very young and has not paid a penny since. He then moved to Jersey - has he knows the law cannot touch him there. We have been in contact with CSA however they cannot do anything. I was just wondering if I or my mum will ever be able to get any money back from him which he very much owes? Thank you
mini - 22-Jul-16 @ 11:19 PM
KDS - Your Question:
I have just been notified by the CSA that my child maintenance ended Sept 2015 and I have paid up until today (July 2016) my monthly amount!! so I have overpaid by 10/11 months!! now ths csa are trying to say I wont get my money back!! 2 years ago I fell out of work for 6 months and was homeless. I got myself back on my feet and started a new job, funny how quick the csa was to tack my money off me, straight away and make me pay for the 6 months I was out of work too!! I am really not happy about this and would like some advice on both matters please.

Our Response:
You haven't said why you were overcharged. If you feel you have been treated unfairly and the CSA is at fault from taking the money or not alerting you to this fact, then you can complain, please see gov.uk link here. See also, What Happens When the CSA Get it Wrong? here. If you were out of work and the CSA was taking money from you, then you should also complain about this issue as you are only eligible to pay child maintenance on 'earnings'. If the overpayment was due to the mother of your child being deceptive, then you may be able to take legal action against her directly, in which case I suggest you take legal advice.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Jul-16 @ 3:06 PM
I have just been notified by the CSA that my child maintenance ended Sept 2015 and I have paid up until today (July 2016) my monthly amount!! so I have overpaid by 10/11 months!! now ths csa are trying to say I wont get my money back!! 2 years ago I fell out of work for 6 months and was homeless. I got myself back on my feet and started a new job, funny how quick the csa was to tack my money off me, straight away and make me pay for the 6 months I was out of work too!! I am really not happy about this and would like some advice on both matters please.
KDS - 18-Jul-16 @ 9:12 AM
My husband forged my signature on an Affit David about five years ago claiming we had no children or mutual assets and denied the existence of my child. That being in the past he did me a massive favour since then he has been caught by CSA and has had to pay up. Initially he got his employers to give false information main which was rectified increasing my daughters csa payments from 620 to 1000month. I have recently had contact and know that he has failed to contact csa about bonuses on every occasion.He as also been promoted and failed to tell them about that. Some of these issueshave been rectified but not all at the moment. In adition to this he has recently sold one of our houses which wasn't in my name as I was a student when we bought it but I contributed towards it. He has taken the money from that and put it into another house. As it was a financial earning since the house was paid off before our seperate on then woukd my daughter be able to claim 25% of the 100,000 he made in profit? I'd like to add that I work hard and every penny paid to me is spent on my daughter. I am not money grabbing at all bit if she is entitled to it then it could be a deposit for a house for her so she never has to go through what I have been through with my ex.
ZB's mum - 11-Jul-16 @ 9:36 PM
My husband forged my signature on an Affit David about five years ago claiming we had no children or mutual assets and denied the existence of my child. That being in the past he did me a massive favour since then he has been caught by CSA and has had to pay up. Initially he got his employers to give false information main which was rectified increasing my daughters csa payments from 620 to 1000month. I have recently had contact and know that he has failed to contact csa about bonuses on every occasion.He as also been promoted and failed to tell them about that. Some of these issueshave been rectified but not all at the moment. In adition to this he has recently sold one of our houses which wasn't in my name as I was a student when we bought it but I contributed towards it. He has taken the money from that and put it into another house. As it was a financial earning since the house was paid off before our seperate on then woukd my daughter be able to claim 25% of the 100,000 he made in profit? I'd like to add that I work hard and every penny paid to me is spent on my daughter. I am not money grabbing at all bit if she is entitled to it then it could be a deposit for a house for her so she never has to go through what I have been through with my ex.
ZB's mum - 11-Jul-16 @ 9:35 PM
My case has currently been taken over by the Child Maintenance Service who are using my P60 from 2015 tax year. Since my earnings are now lower how do I get them to use my current P60 for 2016 I have spoken to them today and their staff are both unhelpful andvery 'matter of fact' in their response to me Any help would be greatly appreciated
efcnick - 11-Jul-16 @ 4:52 PM
Hi my x partner was paying 150 a month for two children an now he is moaning aboutpaying that so went to csa will they back date the money as he earns over 2000 pound a month
Kelz - 1-Jul-16 @ 8:57 PM
I made a claim through the CSA in January 2008 for my daughter. At the time her father was working until May that year when he then commenced claiming benefits from May to September 2008. After this there was no income information for him for a while as he was working cash in hand. He did eventually get a legitimate job paying taxes, but the CSA are saying I am not entitled to any child support from this up until June 2016 because no one informed them that he recommenced work. Surely this can't be correct and they should be able to go back through his records with the HMRC and calculate what he should have been paying me? Because of this I have lost 7 years of child support and I just can't see how that can be right?
B2 - 1-Jul-16 @ 2:42 PM
JT - Your Question:
I have paid CSA for my two children for over eight years. In 2014 I had a third child that lives with me and my new Partner. On informing CSA earlier this year of this child the payments for the children on the CSA scheme duly reduced. However, CSA will only take a reduction from the date I informed them and not when the third child was born. What can I do about claiming payments that I have made since the third child was born?

Our Response:
Your only option would be to complain or appeal, please see gov.uk link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Jul-16 @ 11:08 AM
I have paid CSA for my two children for over eight years.In 2014 I had a third child that lives with me and my new Partner.On informing CSA earlier this year of this child the payments for the children on the CSA scheme duly reduced.However, CSA will only take a reduction from the date I informed them and not when the third child was born.What can I do about claiming payments that I have made since the third child was born?
JT - 30-Jun-16 @ 1:25 PM
I havent recieved child maintenance for over 2 years which i only ever recieved about 1 payment off about £16.50 now all a sudden at a brand new address which i dont have a clue how they knew i lived here ive recieved a letter saying all last year and up to this month ive being paid £880 which im confused as ive never seen any of it or aware of how its being paid to me my minds blank..
Kirstied - 25-Jun-16 @ 10:26 PM
I paid my husband CSA. When our son was at 6th Form I paid it then stopped when he left after two months. This was in January 2008. In August2008, I got a call from the CSA about the money I was owed. Never heard anything since, and I never received any money off the ex at all. My claim started in 2001, I got nothing. Water has gone under the bridge.The ex and I are amicable enough, and I don't particularly want his money. Could we come to an agreementtoclose it once and for all.?
DJ - 25-Jun-16 @ 5:08 PM
Ok - Your Question:
Hi I'll try and make this as quick as possible, I separated from my child's father 6 yrs ago after years of trying to make arrangements between ourself and never receiving a penny I contacted csa they said he only had to pay £7 a week due to claiming benefits (I never received 1p from him still!) over a year later he told me he was working! I contacted csa we are 6months down the line after they wrote and contacted him, he ignored them, they finally went to the employers to gain info of his wages. I have been told that this week I will finally be given a figure yayyy! But no my ex partner has now said if they want more than he wants to pay he will quit his job and I won't get a penny.so the question is if he quits his job deliberately to get out of supporting his child is there anything I can do legally? My expartner is living the high life! He has a brand new car, 3 brand new TVs, designer clothes the lot, yet he won't even give £1 to buy his child a packet of sweets! And just to put it out there I work full time as a single parent to give our child a good life!

Our Response:
Unfortunately, there are some fathers who support their children willingly and others who will do all they can to avoid paying child maintenance. As child maintenance is based on earnings and not assets, there is little you can do to claim the money if he decides to give up his job. I can only suggest you seek legal advice, as you may have a case if you have proof of him threatening this (text/emails etc). However, even so, getting any money from him will still be tricky if he has no income.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Jun-16 @ 1:56 PM
Hi I'll try and make this as quick as possible, I separated from my child's father 6 yrs ago after years of trying to make arrangements between ourself and never receiving a penny I contacted csa they said he only had to pay £7 a week due to claiming benefits (I never received 1p from him still!) over a year later he told me he was working! I contacted csa we are 6months down the line after they wrote and contacted him, he ignored them, they finally went to the employers to gain info of his wages. I have been told that this week I will finally be given a figure yayyy! But no my ex partner has now said if they want more than he wants to pay he will quit his job and I won't get a penny...so the question is if he quits his job deliberately to get out of supporting his child is there anything I can do legally? My expartner is living the high life! He has a brand new car, 3 brand new TVs, designer clothes the lot, yet he won't even give £1 to buy his child a packet of sweets! And just to put it out there I work full time as a single parent to give our child a good life!
Ok - 20-Jun-16 @ 10:08 PM
JT - Your Question:
Hi, My ex-husband has re married and has children with his new wife. He has always paid for our son but I suspect he has received a pay rise in the last few years. If I asked the CSA to review the payments (as they currently collect the money from his wage), can I get a back pay to when he got a pay rise or does it just go from the time of the notification?Thanks

Our Response:
If your ex husband has not notified the CSA of his change in circumstances and if those change in circumstances apply i.e if there is an increase or decrease of 25% or more in the paying parent’s weekly income, then yes. Please see link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Jun-16 @ 11:00 AM
Simon - Your Question:
I had custody of two children in 1993 I first got a few giro cheques and then told it was nil assessment My children have recently been in contact with their mother who told me she pay Csa through deduction of wages but I never revived this monies my children are now 32 &22 but can I claim back all paid monies as a claim was set up in 1993 and is interest to be able to claim back also

Our Response:
You would need to speak to the CSA directly regarding this.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Jun-16 @ 10:16 AM
Hi, My ex-husband has re married and has children with his new wife. He has always paid for our son but I suspect he has received a pay rise in the last few years. If I asked the CSA to review the payments (as they currently collect the money from his wage), can I get a back pay to when he got a pay rise or does it just go from the time of the notification? Thanks
JT - 15-Jun-16 @ 9:36 AM
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
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ChildSupportLaws website. Please read our Disclaimer.