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Can I Get Back Pay for Child Maintenance?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 22 Jul 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. 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, and secondly as though you haven’t already put in a claim.

If You Have Made a Claim Through The CSA

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 first contacted your ex-husband.

The CSA 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 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 Through The CSA

If your husband has been very lax about paying voluntary child support, my advice to you would be to contact the CSA as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the CSA 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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[Add a Comment]
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
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
Simon - 14-Jun-16 @ 8:30 AM
Audacious59 - Your Question:
I am 27 years old and out of the blue my dad said csa are making him pay for me.But my dad doesnt want the money go to my mum and has given me the details to claim for myself. The whole thing is conflicting because granted she didnt get csa to help with buying nappies, cloths, baby food etc, and on that hand its money owed.But on the other hand my dad wants it to go to me after all these years. My questions are, should it actually go to me?, should it go to my mum? And who is it entitled to mostly?

Our Response:
A child cannot claim for child maintenance for themselves, child maintenance is only awarded to a parent.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Jun-16 @ 2:26 PM
I am 27 years old and out of the blue my dad said csa are making him pay for me. But my dad doesnt want the money go to my mum and has given me the details to claim for myself.The whole thing is conflicting because granted she didnt get csa to help with buying nappies, cloths, baby food etc, and on that hand its money owed. But on the other hand my dad wants it to go to me after all these years. My questions are, should it actually go to me?, should it go to my mum?And who is it entitled to mostly?
Audacious59 - 10-Jun-16 @ 10:19 AM
Ed - Your Question:
If my partner started a claim through CMS would I have been notified about this I was told that she informed them 4 months ago?

Our Response:
You would have to contact the CMS directly regarding this as we are unsure of their admin logistics.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Jun-16 @ 3:00 PM
If my partner started a claim through CMS would I have been notified about this I was told that she informed them 4 months ago?
Ed - 8-Jun-16 @ 10:13 PM
Kate- Your Question:
Hi I'm 24 and my dad has had nothing to do with me he has never paid for my upbringing never even offered to help my mum she has never claimed anything as she didn't want the hassle I wanted to know where I stand? Iv tried to speak to my dad a few times through my life but has never been interested. I have had to see my mum struggle all my life

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this, but unfortunately children are unable to claim child maintenance from their fathers. Neither can your mother, now you are 24.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Jun-16 @ 1:03 PM
Hi I'm 24 and my dad has had nothing to do with me he has never paid for my upbringing never even offered to help my mum she has never claimed anything as she didn't want the hassle I wanted to know where I stand? Iv tried to speak to my dad a few times through my life but has never been interested. I have had to see my mum struggle all my life
Kate - 6-Jun-16 @ 5:53 PM
hi after I got divorced in january 2012 the court ordered my ex to be paying 300 pounds a month in child maintenance until our daughter is 18yrs of age. he only paid for one year then came to tell me he is not paying anymore. he works full timehas an income from a lodger and receives rent from the another home. i work 30 hours a week and earn a low wage i have been left frustrated because i support my daughter financially and struggling so i have taken an additional part time job. he therefore went to CSA to claim money off me claiming he is the primary carer despite he is not. he says the government made him the primary carer because he claims child benefit. I have my daughter 4 days a week but the CSAwould not hear me as they say well the rule is the parent who claims child benefit is the one to be paid maintenance they don't care about days i have my daughter. wrote to child benefit to claim it but they say that because he is already receiving it there is nothing they can do. the main reason the court ordered him to pay maintenance is because he did not want to part with 50/50 divorce when it came to property division.please advise me.
wema - 4-Jun-16 @ 1:45 PM
Can I get childmaintence back payment
Tc - 3-Jun-16 @ 11:36 PM
I did get child main thence for about a year then it stopped that was about 5 years ago the children have no contact with there father I work part ine can I get childmaintence again
Tc - 3-Jun-16 @ 11:33 PM
hi,few months ago the court decided that my ex has to pay to my son maintenance,but he didnt do it,so i went to court again for an application,i send the letter with the court date to him ,but it came back today,so means i have to cancel the court and what to do at all,he doesnt show up to see his son and now i dont know does he lives in that address,i think he does it in purpose.i now his pps no ,is any way if i go to garda or what i should do ?thanks
mother - 27-May-16 @ 8:37 PM
Adey - Your Question:
My ex moved to Spain owing thousands of pounds can I get this money back. I had a claim against her through the CSA and she never paid. If I take her to court can she be forced to pay the money owed?

Our Response:
I suggest in this case you seek legal advice. Much depends on whether she has worked and is currently earning and has the money to pay. Please also see how you can recover debt from elsewhere in the EU via the gov.uk link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-May-16 @ 2:39 PM
My ex moved to Spain owing thousands of pounds can I get this money back. I had a claim against her through the CSA and she never paid. If I take her to court can she be forced to pay the money owed?
Adey - 26-May-16 @ 7:23 PM
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