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: 25 Jun 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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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
Lj - Your Question:
Hi, I got in touch with my ex in 2011 as my 13 yr old daughter wanted to get to know her dad after losing her grandparents, after a year of regular contact he just cut her off. He never tried to contact me before this time and has never paid maintenance, I'm wondering where I stand regarding maintenance as she is now 17yrs old. He has made no contribution and when I've gauged the subject he gets nasty. Many thanks

Our Response:
If your ex is earning he will still be liable to pay child maintenance until your child finishes full-time education (not beyond A'Levels). If you have never previously made a claim with the CSA/CMS, then you cannot claim back pay. You can only claim from the time you first make the claim (if that makes sense).
ChildSupportLaws - 26-May-16 @ 12:39 PM
Hi, I got in touch with my ex in 2011 as my 13 yr old daughter wanted to get to know her dad after losing her grandparents, after a year of regular contact he just cut her off. He never tried to contact me before this time and has never paid maintenance, I'm wondering where I stand regarding maintenance as she is now 17yrs old. He has made no contribution and when I've gauged the subject he gets nasty. Many thanks
Lj - 25-May-16 @ 8:39 PM
Dawnb - Your Question:
Hi my mother received a letter from csa asking if a certain amount had been paid to her, upon calling csa office and informing that no money was EVER paid towards me the office said they would look into it. That was 3 years ago and I am now 28. Who do we contact? Thanks

Our Response:
You would have to go back to the CSA. Only if your mother made a claim would she be eligible for back pay.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-May-16 @ 2:01 PM
Hi my mother received a letter from csa asking if a certain amount had been paid to her, upon calling csa office and informing that no money was EVER paid towards me the office said they would look into it. That was 3 years ago and i am now 28. Who do we contact? Thanks
Dawnb - 25-May-16 @ 12:21 AM
Cm - Your Question:
Hi, my son is almost 4 and I havent ever had any form of child support from the father. Can I request the child support from the four years if I begin to claim now?

Our Response:
I'm afraid you are not entitled to claim retrospective payments for your child. As specified in the article you are only allowed to claim from the date you first make/made the claim.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-May-16 @ 2:36 PM
Hi, my son is almost 4 and I havent ever had any form of child support from the father. Can I request the child support from the four years if I begin to claim now?
Cm - 23-May-16 @ 10:21 PM
Simon - Your Question:
Hi just wondering if you can awnser a question please when I got devorced 15 years ago the devorce papers set my child maintanance payment. for my daughter at 150 per week as my ex stopped my contact with my daughter I stopped payment. 14 years later csa contacted me I now pay 50 pound every week.my ex wife is thretoning me with taking me to court to recover the maintinance ie 150 a week I haven't paid for 14 years.can she do this ?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, she can, as contact and child maintenance payments are not related to each other i.e every father is responsible for paying towards the upkeep of their child regardless of whether they see them or not. If a claim is made and the CSA/CMS have been unable to trace the father or take the money for any reason, then the account accumulates arrears - please see CAB link here for more information.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-May-16 @ 2:46 PM
Nicky - Your Question:
Hi I have two children aged 22and 24 from my previous marriage. When I divorced in 2001 I was told I'm not Intitled to anything as my ex was setting up a trust fund for the children. How do I stand as there is no trust fund for them. Are they Intitled to back payment.

Our Response:
When you say you were not entitled to 'anything', do you mean you were not entitled to child maintenance back payments that were owed to you? If so and this was agreed through the courts, then you would have to seek legal advice to see if your ex has breached the order in which case you could apply to have it enforced.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-May-16 @ 11:31 AM
Hi just wondering if you can awnser a question please when I got devorced15 years agothe devorce papers set my child maintanancepayment. for my daughterat 150 per week as my ex stoppedmy contact with my daughterI stoppedpayment. 14 years later csa contacted me I now pay 50 poundevery week .my ex wife is thretoning me with takingme to court to recover the maintinanceie 150 a week I haven'tpaid for 14 years .can she do this ?
Simon - 22-May-16 @ 11:49 PM
Hi I have two children aged 22and 24from my previous marriage. When I divorced in 2001I was told I'm not Intitledto anything as my ex was setting up a trust fund for the children. How do I stand as there is no trust fund for them. Are they Intitled to back payment.
Nicky - 22-May-16 @ 1:25 PM
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