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: 2 Dec 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.

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[Add a Comment]
Julie - Your Question:
I have been getting payments for my son since 2014 through the CSA, but can I take out a civil suit to have child maintenance back dated from birth

Our Response:
No, unless you applied through the CSA originally and your ex has avoided paying, then you cannot claim for retrospective payments.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Dec-16 @ 2:16 PM
I have been getting payments for my son since 2014 through the CSA, but can I take out a civil suit to have child maintenance back dated from birth
Julie - 2-Dec-16 @ 8:50 AM
SAM - Your Question:
My question is this me my ex how were unmarried at the time had a daughter back in 2000 she disappeared with the kid and I dont have pr never have but my name was on the birth cert. when she disappeared I found out 3 months later she got married to someone she removed my name from birth cert and he adopted the child as far as I know cause my dauther has his name so question is do I have to pay child support

Our Response:
If your child has been formally adopted by another man, then you would not have to pay child maintenance. Your ex should have got your consent if you were contactable, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Dec-16 @ 11:30 AM
my question is this me my ex how were unmarried at the time had a daughter back in 2000 she disappeared with the kid and i dont have pr never have but my name was on the birth cert . when she disappeared i found out 3 months later she got married to someone she removed my name from birth cert and he adopted the child as far as i know cause my dauther has his name so question is do i have to pay child support
SAM - 30-Nov-16 @ 9:03 PM
Seekinghelp - Your Question:
I have a Scottish court decree for £50 per week per child (2 kids) awarded 11 years ago but received no payment. They advised as he is now not in Scotland I have sole responsibility to find a home address for him. This has been challenging as you can see with the length of time. He is now in Canada one child is now 17 I need help to bring justice, please.

Our Response:
Please see REMO link here who may be able to help.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Nov-16 @ 11:38 AM
I have a Scottish court decree for £50 per week per child (2 kids) awarded 11 years ago but received no payment. They advised as he is now not in Scotland I have sole responsibility to find a home address for him. This has been challenging as you can see with the length of time. He is now in Canada one child is now 17 I need help to bring justice, please.
Seekinghelp - 27-Nov-16 @ 11:02 AM
iv applied for child maintenance from last year and from march this yearmy boyfriend started paying money directly to cort but August they only start giving me the money but they only give me a monthly income what about the rest.??
noxy - 26-Nov-16 @ 10:19 AM
hi, @ mel..who is assuming anything? i think people here are addressing their problem with the significant other, not dissing fathers.. in my case, i lost out on £1,220 per month that was decided at round table meeting...yeh, we had a good "before divorce" live...i had the decided amount for 2 months, before he made himself unemployed from his own company...CSA didnt want to know, didnt help me at all...he is now a millionaire...go figure
atta - 25-Nov-16 @ 7:56 PM
I had short term relationship in 1980 which ended with me becoming pregnant. The man left me and I had no contact from him. However, I contacted his parents and for a while my young son had a brief relationship with his paternal grandparents and aunt (and her daughter). He didn't pay any child support but accepted that he is my son's father. My son wrote some letters to him over the years but he didn't respond. The CSA wrote to him in about 1990 and he wrote back saying he couldn't pay anything as he is unemployed. When his parents passed away, he took over their house, became a landlord and finished a university degree (at age 50). My son wrote to him again a couple of years ago, attaching some paperwork from the register office, to include him on my son's birth certificate. Again, he didn't respond. We would now like to claim backdated child support from when the CSA first wrote to him (c 1990). Could you tell me if this is possible please? Thank you.
Jackie_O - 23-Nov-16 @ 7:37 PM
Good afternoon, I would like to find out if I can serve my estranged father with an order or an attachment to his assets when he dies? I know who my father is and I know his address. He runs a successful business and owns his own property. He remarried when I was a baby and he has never maintained contact with me since then. I am now 37. My father instead raised two children who were not his own. His wife did not want him to have contact with me or his two sons. I wondered where I stood in trying claim some sort of compensation or back pay for not supporting me financially or physically. I hope to hear from you soon.
Jen - 21-Nov-16 @ 1:44 PM
Cj1974 - Your Question:
Hi my dad has never bothered with me I had to track him down and make contact. My mum and he split up when I was 5years old if I ask for money its a big issue! Could I seek historic CSA payments?

Our Response:
Children cannot claim child maintenance from non-resident fathers. Only your mother can claim and she can only claim back pay if she had made a claim previously and your father chose to ignore or avoid the original claim.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Nov-16 @ 11:09 AM
Jc - Your Question:
Hi my daughters father had denyied our child since birth she has recently turned five and iv been adviced to claim maintanence, would this be back dated and as iv been informed that hes stopped working and has sold his house with out leaving a forwarding address how would the the claim be finalised? In the last five years he has met her once then informed me that he wants no more contact with her as he has a partner and a second child what options do I have?

Our Response:
You have the option to claim maintenance via the CMS who can attempt to trace your ex via HMRC. If you have never previously claimed, you cannot claim back pay. Your claim will begin from when you first register it. However, regardless of whether your ex sees your child, he is still responsible for supporting her financially.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Nov-16 @ 2:58 PM
Hi my dad has never bothered with me I had to track him down and make contact. My mum and he split up when I was 5years old if I ask for money its a big issue! Could I seek historic CSA payments?
Cj1974 - 16-Nov-16 @ 10:36 AM
teen - Your Question:
Hi im just wonderin where my partner stands. He has 3 children, 1 wiv myself who lives wiv us n another 2 wiv 2 diff mums. Hes always paid support to 1 of the mums n csa no about this. The other mum is now demanding 30 per wk or she is goin to csa, we have only been c in this child for bout a year an half after an dna test was done, the mother denied the child was his wen she was first born as she was in a relationship. We have offered to start payin towards the child wen we first started c in her but her mum sed she just wants the child to c her dad n dint want money. We c both kids n av them stay over all wkend every other wkend n av the for tea 1 night in the wk. We've offered to giv her £20 a wk but she turned it down. On the csa calulator it worked out £41 for the 2 children.wud this get split between the 2 mums?n is he just better off payin £30 n not get csa involed?

Our Response:
It is generallymore cost-effective to have a family-based arrangement if you can, as CMS charge a fee (paying parents pay a 20% fee on top of their regular child maintenance).
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Nov-16 @ 10:27 AM
Hi my daughters father had denyied our child since birth she has recently turned five and iv been adviced to claim maintanence, would this be back dated and as iv been informed that hes stopped working and has sold his house with out leaving a forwarding address how would the the claim be finalised? In the last five years he has met her once then informed me that he wants no more contact with her as he has a partner and a second child what options do i have?
Jc - 15-Nov-16 @ 9:22 PM
Lisa1968 - Your Question:
My ex has for the last 2 years been paying only £18 a week for my two sons through the CSA as he told them he wasn't working.Two weeks ago the new child maintenence service took over my case and I paid the £20 for him to be assessed and it turns out he has been earning around £30,000 a year for the last two years.Can I go to court to get the money he hasn't paid in child maintenance or had he just got away with it just like that ? As it seems to me because this new service has taken over now, no one is liable for not finding this out before and the only ones who lost out massively were my son's and the winner was my ex husband who fir the last two years had a lot more money in his pocket.

Our Response:
You can complain/appeal if your ex has been avoiding paying and you feel as though you have been unfairly treated by the CSA, please see link here. However, much depends upon whether your ex is self-employed and what he has been declaring to the HMRC regarding his earnings. If he has been working PAYE and avoiding letters, then you will stand a good chance of being able to claim arrears either via CSA/CMS or through court. Court can be used if you need to prove that the income your ex specifies he is earning (little), is not relective of the affluent lifestyle he has been living. The court would look more in depth at his accounts and his finances. For this, you would need to seek legal advice.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Nov-16 @ 2:25 PM
Hi im just wonderin where my partner stands. He has 3 children, 1 wiv myself who lives wiv us n another 2 wiv 2 diff mums. Hes always paid support to 1 of the mums n csa no about this. The other mum is now demanding 30 per wk or she is goin to csa, we have only been c in this child for bout a year an half after an dna test was done, the mother denied the child was his wen she was first born as she was in a relationship. We have offered to start payin towards the child wen we first started c in her but her mum sed she just wants the child to c her dad n dint want money. We c both kids n av them stay over all wkend every other wkend n av the for tea 1 night in the wk. We've offered to giv her £20 a wk but she turned it down. On the csa calulator it worked out £41 for the 2 children..wud this get split between the 2 mums?..n is he just better off payin £30 n not get csa involed?
teen - 15-Nov-16 @ 10:45 AM
My ex has for the last 2 years been paying only £18 a week for my two sons through the CSA as he told them he wasn't working. Two weeks ago the new child maintenenceservice took over my case and I paid the £20 for him to be assessedand it turns out he has been earning around £30,000 a year for the last two years . Can I go to court to get the money he hasn't paid in child maintenance or had he just got away with it just like that ? As it seems to me because this new service has taken over now, no one is liable for not finding thisout before and the only ones who lost out massively were my son's and the winner was my ex husband who fir the last two years had a lot more money in his pocket .
Lisa1968 - 15-Nov-16 @ 12:07 AM
I am from the Philippines, the father of my daughter is in UK right now, he was sending me Php 5000 for awhile until I got here in USA he stopped sending me money for my daughter. How can I ask money from him now that I am here in USA and he is in UK. Is there a law regarding that? Can I get a lawyer here. My daughter is 13 years old, he stopped sending money 2 years ago. Thank you.
Jen - 14-Nov-16 @ 7:35 PM
LBL - Your Question:
My ex partner eventually paid £55 per week for our child when the csa finally caught up with him. This payment has been made regularly for three years. As I no longer receive child benefit for our child, I have been advised this payment will now cease. I have had the CSA write to him since our child was 1 year old requesting payment that he always ignored. Can I now try to claim the backdated money he owes? Csa advised me three years ago the money would not be backdated as he had never responded to the letters. ( I have copies of these) TIA

Our Response:
If the CSA specified that it would not be able to reclaim the arrears, then you may have to look towards taking the matter to court. Much will depend upon whether he was working during the time. However, if this is a route you may wish to consider, I suggest you seek legal advice in order to explore your options.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Nov-16 @ 12:28 PM
My ex partner eventually paid £55 per week for our child when the csa finally caught up with him.This payment has been made regularly for three years.AsI no longer receive child benefit for our child, I have been advised this payment will now cease.I have had the CSA write to him since our child was 1 year old requesting payment that he always ignored. Can I now try to claim the backdated money he owes? Csa advised me three years ago the money would not be backdated as he had never responded to the letters.( I have copies of these) TIA
LBL - 9-Nov-16 @ 5:35 PM
Wales - Your Question:
I am hoping to make a claim for none payment of child maintenance against my father, following an agreement made by the court at the time of my parents divorce in 1986.Following the divorce, an agreement was made by the court stating that child maintenance was to paid to my mother, by my father, for my brother and myself. My father was also to put the family home up for sale, and once sold, was to give 50% to my mother who was an equal part owner of the property.My father did not stick to this agreement, he didn't pay a single penny towards child maintenance, and my mother never received a penny following sale of the family home.I have recently been making enquiries and have been informed that I 'his daughter' am within my rite to make a claim for the child maintenance that was never payed by my father, and am hoping you could instruct me on 'how to go about doing so?'

Our Response:
I'm not sure who told you can claim back dated child maintenance personally, only your mother can claim for unpaid child maintenance. If your mother has died, you may be able to claim money from your father from the proceeds of the house as part of your mother's estate. However, you would have to seek legal advice regarding this.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Nov-16 @ 12:44 PM
I am hoping to make a claim for none payment of child maintenance against my father, following an agreement made by the court at the time of my parents divorce in 1986. Following the divorce, an agreement was made by the court stating that child maintenance was to paid to my mother, by my father, for my brother and myself. My father was also to put the family home up for sale, and once sold, was to give 50% to my mother who was an equal part owner of the property. My father did not stick to this agreement, he didn't pay a single penny towards child maintenance, and my mother never received a penny following sale of the family home. I have recently been making enquiries and have been informed that I 'his daughter' am within my rite to make a claim for the child maintenance that was never payed by my father, and am hoping you could instruct me on 'how to go about doing so?'
Wales - 8-Nov-16 @ 10:43 PM
overthewaters - Your Question:
My ex-husband of 10 years has recently stopped paying child support for his son. There is a court agreement stipulating payments. We don't live in the UK. Who can I contact for assistance in getting him to pay again?

Our Response:
You would have to contact the court who issued the order to apply for an enforcement. However, if you are living outside the UK and your ex is living inside the UK, the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit which helps to register and enforce child maintenance orders internationally, may be able to advise further, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Nov-16 @ 10:58 AM
My ex-husband of 10 years has recently stopped paying child support for his son. There is a court agreement stipulating payments. We don't live in the UK. Who can I contact for assistance in getting him to pay again?
overthewaters - 7-Nov-16 @ 11:28 AM
Sreds - Your Question:
HI. My partner and I have been together for 5 years and have two sons, and I a son from a previous relationship. He has a daughter with an ex partner who he wasn't allowed to see for 4 years. We have been in receipt of benefit and due to unforeseen circumstances he hadn't been in work in that time. She hasn't made any previous CSA claims. We now have his girl every other weekend for the weekend and we buy bit towards her etc.my partner is worried she is going to backdate a huge bill for the 4 years he wasn't allowed access and he has been on a benefit.can she do this? She is quite vindictive so its something wed expect her to try. Thanks

Our Response:
Your partner's ex cannot make a claim via the CMS for back payments if she has never previously made a claim directly to the CMS.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Nov-16 @ 1:57 PM
HI. My partner and I have been together for 5 years and have two sons, and I a son from a previous relationship. He has a daughter with an ex partner who he wasn't allowed to see for 4 years. We have been in receipt of benefit and due to unforeseen circumstances he hadn't been in work in that time. She hasn't made any previous CSA claims. We now have his girl every other weekend for the weekend and we buy bit towards her etc...my partner is worried she is going to backdate a huge bill for the 4 years he wasn't allowed access and he has been on a benefit...can she do this? She is quite vindictive so its something wed expect her to try. Thanks
Sreds - 1-Nov-16 @ 12:23 PM
My boys dad is going in and out court the last 4years for maintenance and very Xmas he stop paying he's maintenance he's only 7000 in back money now I need some advice on what to do
Lisa - 31-Oct-16 @ 9:46 PM
SJ - Your Question:
My ex husband has breached our court order with regards to child maintenance payments and is now 3 months in arrears. I have been advised by my solicitor to file for an attachment of earnings order against him, however when I have investigated this route, it appears that I am unable to do so as he is a serving member of the British Armed forces. What course of action is open to me? I don't want to go to the CMS as our original maintenance order included payments until our children completed their university education.

Our Response:
If you have an original court order regarding the payment of child maintenance, as your ex is in breach of that order you can take the matter back to court to get it enforced. In the first instance, a solicitor's letter outlining your ex's obligations and warning that you will take the matter back to court if he doesn't pay, may do the trick.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Oct-16 @ 10:47 AM
UberOver - Your Question:
Hi.Wife and I are just separated. She wants me to pay child support for our 22 year old autistic son. He gets full PIP, motability car, paid provision and transport 6 days a week and also funding for three nights a week so he's cared for going scouts, youth club etc.I've been told I shouldn't pay anything until form E's have been swapped and that if I did, it would show a willingness to give money when perhaps there's no need to. Is this right or will the judge take a dim view of me if I give nothing until disclosure and court decisions?

Our Response:
I'd take the advice of your solicitor here.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Oct-16 @ 11:19 AM
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