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Can I Get Back Pay for Child Maintenance?

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 17 October 2014 |
 
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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@Andrew - with something like this I'd advise you call the CSA directly and explain your problem directly.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Oct-14 @ 2:40 PM
I have had a Liability Order made against me due to missed CSA payments. During the time period for which my former partner has claimed my daughter lived with me. Can I make a retrospective claim/ counter claim against my wife for the time my daughter stayed with me? If so are there any time restrains on when this claim has to made by?
Andrew - 17-Oct-14 @ 3:28 PM
Bunch of gold diggers the lot of you. Just look at all the comments. Not one bit of compassion. For the farther
gold diggers - 8-Oct-14 @ 4:37 PM
If you want the problem sorting out then you really need to approach the Child Support Agency and ask them to follow it up. If he is working he should be obliged to pay maintencance. You can't rely upon vague promises to put the money in a trust fund.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Oct-14 @ 12:49 PM
My son was born in uk in 1998 and due to circumstances both my son and I returned home to Ireland in 2000. My ex paid maintenance voluntarily for one year and then didn't maintain a relationship or maintenance payements there after. Didn't hear from him for about two years when he said he was going to backdate payments and sort out this... Much to my dismay it still isn't sorted out! He then got in touch two years ago to say he has been putting it in a trust find for our son! How am I to know if this is the case! What can I do!
Pickle - 8-Oct-14 @ 11:47 AM
My son is 3yrs old and going to start his schooling by next year , we are just having homeschooling for now.His dad and I were not married but he is on his birth certificate as well as baptismal.He was been generous supporting him until he went back to Uk for his sick mum.From Aug. last year and upto the present he failed to send support.The last email i got from him was last March telling he was just waiting for.his mum probate who was died last Dec. from then and upto now nno more news from him.Is there anyway to contact him? Also is it possible to ask support for his child..thanks so much for any advice you can give.God bless.
nigella - 30-Sep-14 @ 7:48 AM
My Legal Aid Case Worker filed for Child Support when I separated from my ex-husband when the children were just 3 and 6 years old.Legal Aid Case Worker fought hard to get maintenance off him, but then he decided to give up his job so that he did not have to pay.I left Australia with the two children to reside in the UK.I recently returned to live in Australia 15 years later and received a pathetic cheque for just over $2000 towards child support. After I cashed it in I then receive a letter to say that I now owe my ex husband just over $17,000 because my son chose to leave the UK and return to live with his father at the age of 14.It is ok for him to claim $17,000 from me but what happened to my claim through CSA when the kids were 3 and 6 years of age and living with me?My Legal Aid team alongwith Child Support just gave us so easily, why?I am now giving the cheque of $2000 for the children to share!If I am given the chance to counterclaim and if I am successful in receiving any maintenance money from their father then it will also be shared by both my children who are now in their early 20's.
Steph - 28-Sep-14 @ 5:23 AM
I was With my ex husband for 20 years! We had three children! He had an affair and walked out when the children were 11, 9 and almost 4 ... He proceeded to make us homeless and make no contribution financially to the family. Five years down the line myself and the children are living with my parent and he still makes NO contribution what so ever? The children don't even receive bday or Christmas cards from his family?!?! I have spent five years in court! And had a financial order in place which he never paid! And have had the CSA and CMS on his case? The debt is running into many many thousands! Which he is apparently receiving constant notifications about? He has a home! A car! A company van! His own business! Eddies Boilers based in Sawbridgeworth Herts. Many holidays! A new wife! A big wedding! A honeymoon! And now another child! And yet seems to bare NO responsibility at all for his other three children ... What is going on with the system? How can the responsibility of his children fall so easily on me and my family? He wonders why his children won't even speak to him? What ever kind of example is he setting to them? And what is the system worth when I am doing ALL the donkey work informing them of his changes of address? New telephone numbers? New jobs? And yet still? My children are receiving nothing?
Polly - 27-Sep-14 @ 12:01 AM
My x partner has been paying me child maintenance direct to me arranged by the csa but he is not declaring his real wages and has sent me an email saying that if i persue the csa i will get less as he earns much less on paper. I have had no luck in finding out what he is doing with his money and the csa say i can't back claim. Is this true if so i feel it unfair!
weza - 2-Sep-14 @ 5:17 PM
I've been paying child support for 2 kids for my ex. wife . and i have three more kids with my new fiance. my questions is can they reduce my child support bc i have three more kids?
hank - 29-Aug-14 @ 3:07 PM
Can my ex husband be forced to sell his home if he is in arrears and now csa say as hes not claiming any benefits I get no money whatsoever. How do I get whats owed even if its just the arrears? Someone must know out there please . He has a wife whos working.
ladybird - 15-Aug-14 @ 3:17 PM
Hi,wonder if anyone can assist Me (dad) and my ex split up 8 years ago and at the time agreed I would keep still claim the child benefit but give her half, plus half of his school dinner. This is sent by bacs every month, on pay day. He is at mine 3 nights week minimum, plus any extra's as needed. Problem started when me and my new wife's baby was born. I found out we may be entitled to some child tax credit, an extra £40 per week if we claim for both children. Wife was made redundant too just before we found she was pregnant to make things very tight indeed!! Well, I approached my ex to let her her know what we wanted to do and it turns out she has claimed Tax Credits for him for all these years, without so much as a hint of splitting it 50/50. She now says she's going to approach the HMRC to change the child benefit claim to her, and "reminded" me that for all these years she could have claimed CSA. Pretty peeved that she can do this even though I'm a great dad who does loads for my son, and always contributes half to everything he needs. So as you can see pretty stuck right now: 1) can she "Switch" the child benefit claim to her as easy as that? 2) Done the CSA calculater which say's I should be expected to pay £15PW. would his "school dinner money" above (£10PW) count towards a CSA payment. 3) Can a CSA claim be backdated (£6240 ouch!!) 3) Should I even split the Child Benefit if she doesn't split her Tax Credits IN an effort to keep the peace I offered to keep the £80 child benefit and not claim for my son, much less than the extra I would get in the form of a Tax Credits claim. To rub salt in the wounds then there's also the fact she gets full child benefit for her 2nd child, and part benefit for her 3rd, whereas we can only claim part child benefit for my new baby cause I already claim for my son!!
orlfcchris - 17-Jun-14 @ 4:03 PM
Hi I have 5 children 3 from my 1st partner n 2 from my ex,the dad to my 3,as ever only really had contact with the eldest boy,we split when the babys were 6 mths old n he never asked to have or see them,he always came for my son on a weekend sometimes he would let him down,my son would take it out on me so when I met my ex he took on my two youngest from my 1st relationship n then we went on to have 2 children he worked and supported us all, I never stopped my son going to his dads he has never payed me a penny towards him my son is ten and my daughters are 7,i am now a single mom of five,my eldest son told my daughters that his dad was their dad so they went to see him slept a few times but dont like it there thier dads on the dole and lives with his new gf who as two children he has never supported my three children he walks round like hes got no responsibilities,he never gave my daughters bday presents or xmas presents he sends it my boy its just really spiteful,ther nan and grandad send my boy clothes and trainers n they used to help with his uniform,and theyve sent my daughters clothes and toys but they think because they do that now and again their son aint got to pay any money for his three children,i have stopped all contact with them now and stopped the grandparents buying for them because they always make excuses up for their son,ive old them im going to csa because he dont pay for his kids who iv brought up,he supports his new family and why im struggling and tryin to get a part time job to support my kids better,i was only sixteen when I had my boy and all his family told me to tell job centre/csa I didn't know who the dad was and same when I had my daughters,and now I see why they said that so he wasnt seen as a dad so he wouldn't have to pay,i want to know what will happen and would he have to back date me for my three children.even though iv stopped contact with all his family please get back to me asap.
sky - 3-Jun-14 @ 10:18 AM
Hi my ex has repeatadly failed to stick to private arrangements and has now also failed to stick to the csa schedual,he says he cant afford to pay but can afford driving lessons and driving tests and other luxories for himself. He earns over 1000 a month but as he is self employed the csa say they cant proove his earnings,he told them he only earns 125 a week and so they came bk after 3 hours with 9.10 a week he has to pay. That doesnt even cover my sons luch money for school!. How can i get the csa to act on my ex and enforce his payments and more so how can i get them to investigate what he really earns?
annoyed - 28-May-14 @ 11:10 PM
hi there, I am a single mum expecting my baby in September. I need to approach the father of the baby for child maintanance. He doesnt know about the baby yet and I am not expecting a great response becasue he already has got 2 kids. I also worry that he won't wllingly accept the baby as his, so how do I go about proving he is a father? And who will have to pay for the test? If the father doesnt want to pay the child maintanance what do I need to do to ensure he does? Finally, I am aligable for any legal aid? Any tips and contact details will be very useful! Many thanks, Joanna
JoR0103 - 7-May-14 @ 5:18 PM
My dad has never played his role as a father. He came to my resident country which is Jamaica last summer, this is the first I have seen him in about 12 years. He told me he was sorry about not taking care of me, he said e didn't want his wife to find out about me. He told me things would be different now he said he would send me to college but after he left Jamaica and arrived back in England I have not heard from him since. He had given me a number to contact but when I call that number the phone rings unanswered. Growing up without financial or emotional support from a father figure made life hard but what made it harder for me was that at the age of 12 I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I try not to feel sorry for myself but sometimes when I think about all I have to go through including taking insulin on a daily basis the pain becomes overwhelming. My mom has always been my sole provider and I want to know if I am liable for compensation from my biological father
Broken kid - 22-Apr-14 @ 9:09 PM
My daughter father is being investigated for fraudenly claiming jobseekers whilst receiving a large amount of inheritence for four years. He also paid £5 weekly for a number of years to his son. Will he and his working partner be liable to pay backdated full childmaintenance ? Will he go to prison? Will I now recieve full child maintenance? Will this effect my son monthly £80 child benifit?
Mum - 17-Apr-14 @ 3:50 PM
I am 37, my so called dad left my mum when she was expecting me. He never gave my mum any financial or emotional help throughout my life. He refused to sign my birth-certificate, and had denied me to most people, then in the other hand bragged he has seen me and my family ok( he is a joke).Is there any way i can claim back payments. Mum and I had nothing while he was driving a porche and running his own business why should he get off with not supporting us. My mum has been emotionally scared and i don't want to drag her through all this can i do this on my own.
Mcgoo - 16-Apr-14 @ 7:56 AM
Q- I am in a difficult situation here and it'd be great if anyone could advise me. My son is 19. when I became pregnant his father upped and left and moved out of the country. I made two attempts through the CSA to claim child support but both attempts failed as they were unable to trace him. I have since maried and moved to finland and my son lives here too. His biological father has never made any attempt to contact him his whole life until a couple of weeks ago when he unexpectedly sent him a message on facebook. My son agreed to meet him in the uk while he was there for christmas and it seems his father now wishes to be part of his life. My question is... as I had previously made a claim for child support when my son was a baby, is he liable to pay backdated child support? This may seem petty after all these years but without going into too much detail, his leaving basically changed tthe whole course of my life and I feel it's unfair he was able to just walk away scot free and get on with his life whereas I was left struggling alone with a child. I would be very grateful if anyone has any advice on this matter.
karingal - 30-Dec-13 @ 9:12 AM
My husband supported his ex wife when she wanted to emigrate to new zealand with them when the youngest was 6, the eldest then 10. He has been paying extortionate mtnce payments, initially £2k then £1300 after 4 years as he lost his job and he lost thousands when he took another job. We are now in financial hardship with 3 kids of our own, twins of 2 and a 5 year old. Can he now ask for child benefit after all these years? He stupidly never claimed and having sold our family home last year to move to rented and clear debt, hmrc are now after £27k from tax after redundancy which we dispute. Help!!
shirls - 14-Sep-13 @ 9:48 AM
Hi, My daughter is 2 years old. Her father has been paying £80 a month for her since she was around 1. I am happy that he is able to help a little but now that I have been back and forth from work, her childcare costs are alot. He owns his own business, a property maintenance company. I've had to stop working because I cant afford it but my sister has offered to help although I would prefer her father to but i don't want me applying to cause any drama. Am I entitled to more than £80 a month?
Kiza - 11-Sep-13 @ 12:31 PM
Hi I've been divorced for 11 years and after an initial claim for csa I was receiving payments of £24 a month for my two daughters aged then 3 and 5. These then stopped after a year due to the change in my ex circumstances. He now owns 2 houses and is a partner in a business but never pays child support. My question is can I claim back payments from 11 years ago and can I claim for my daughters now aged. 14 and 16.
Zarina - 14-Aug-13 @ 10:57 PM
Q - my ex husband has not paid a penny of periodical payments since our divorce 7 years ago. He has flouted court orders, & broken undertakings. He is claiming disability benefits for stress, but at the same time has managed to start up his own company as a director. His assets have been transferred to his family & also transferred assets overseas.During this time he has also managed to relieve himself from a considerable amount of debt through being a discharged bankrupt. The CSA are not involved because his earnings are achieved on a consultancy basis. What can I ask the courts to do in relation to disclosing his parents assets & details of bank accounts? He continues to pay for items of his choosing but only directly to his daughter.
Mum - 11-Aug-13 @ 8:40 AM
When do csa payments stop ? Will there be a notification letter to either / both parents??My husband has an almost 19 year old who is now working (after finishing a levels)and not planning on to go to uni for another year?
seahorse - 5-Aug-13 @ 7:38 PM
I have been paying maintenance for my children for 3 years under a court order, but have recently applied to the csa for a calculation based on my earnings as I can no longer afford the amount I've been paying. They told me the calculation they make will become effective two months and two days after my date of application, which means I still have to make two further payments on the first of the month, august and september, at the higher and unaffordable rate. ok I can accept that, and the new calculation will be in place before the first of the following month, so for october I will be paying the new lower amount. However, my ex wife was called by the csa and invited to make her own application , which she has, and now that claim apparently superceeds my claim. So now I am told that the calculation will be made just the same, but now takes effect from two months two days from the date of HER application. which means it will now come into effect on the 4th october. So does this mean I have to pay the original amount aug sept and now Oct too ?? As csa payments are made in arrears and that first payment will be collected on Nov 4th, is there a fair and reasonable pro-rata calculation for what I pay in October, or is this just bad luck? I genuinely do not have the money to continue for 3 months.
gooddad - 2-Aug-13 @ 8:06 PM
I adopted my wifes child after we got married. That was seven years ago. For all the time she claims child maintenace from her first husband and father of a child, Now we are during divorce proceedings and she already claimed child maintenace from me as well. So during last 4 month she gets that maintenance from two fathers of a child. When i received first call from CSA i told them she gets that money from childs father all the time , but they said is ok as i adopted that child, doCSA have a right to claim money from me if the other man still pays money and is through court order . not volountary ? when i spoke with police and benefit fraud line they both said is a fraud, what is a crime , but when i called CSA they still tell mr they do not care about other man paying for that child. Do the people have a right to charge me , even if they knew im second man paying ??
kolart - 16-Jul-13 @ 5:55 PM
I'm a single mother of 2 sons and my ex partner has not paid a penny since day 1 my kids are 2 & 4 and ive tryed 2 reason with him and he promises to pay money for his sons but is a let down I'm the one buyin there food clothes everythin on my own while running my home by myself so times R hard but he hasn't even bothered 2 try and help me all I get is name calling and abuse that im not getting nothing of him which I find a big joke as he made R kids with me so he has responsibility for kids aswell im at the end of my last nerve with him so can sumbody please help me in telling how I go about reporting him and getting wat my kids R owed by this pathetic so called father would make my life alot easier if csa will help me thanks.
JoJo - 30-Apr-13 @ 8:33 PM
My ex left me when I was 7 months pregnant. After him wanting this child so much even offering to pay for private gynocologist to investigate why I wasn't pregnant! Anyhow all was fine and I became pregnant. We were already engaged but decided to wait until baby was born. He left us. He had a few visits and paid maintenance. Now we get no money from him, no contact. He pops up with solicitor letters which really stresses me out. He took me to court for access which I have never ever stopped and court agreed with me but his visits stopped again. I had to represent myself as could not afford solicitor. He has more recently cancelled mediation. I am so heartbroken for my baby girl that dad doesn't want to see her but also really struggling financially as child care costs are £168 per week for her while I do a part time job. He used to pay £500 month but then reduced it to £350 and for last few months we've had nothing. He has 3 children from his previous marriage which I know he pays for . How can he decide not to pay for our daughter or even want to see her. He owns a business , 1 of 4 directors and I know he can hide the excess money he declares by bonus and putting to the company. He was earning approx £120,000 yr but I don't if be still does. I have not chased him for maintenance as I don't want him to think our daughter is a bargaining tool but I am really struggling financially and emotionally. I have had some help recently from family support worker as I also have a disabled son ( not his). I really can't afford a solicitor as struggling to keep my mortgage up. I was told CSA would not take into account anything he doesn't declare? Is there anything I can do to get maintenance without it looking like I'm pushing him to have access as I don't want our baby daughter pushed to someone who doesn't want her???
Single mum - 23-Jan-13 @ 8:00 AM
A court oder is not worth the paper it is written on. Partner can vary his circumstances and chose not to pay. The court has no power over somebody who believes he is above the law, Its easy to overpower the court . The payer simply proves he cant pay by hiding bank accounts, decreasing his salary, taking on debt, (even to his own company or relative), hides his money in a relatives name.Never trust a court order as security,
Ellie - 23-Nov-12 @ 2:15 PM
my child's father lives inEngland while I am from the caribbean. He never supported his child and brags about it . is there some way I can make him pay for maintenance as well as get back pay for those years which he blatantly refused to step up to his responsibilities?
peaches - 27-Sep-12 @ 2:05 PM
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