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Can I Get Back Pay for Child Maintenance?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 13 Nov 2018 |
 
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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hi im looking for some advice i have to children one who lives with me and one who lives with her mother.i share a box room with my son in my sisters home while my daughter sndand my ex live in a house i pay the mortgage and an iva and some of the bills so why should i have to pay child maintenance when my ex wife isnt paying anything towards my sons up keep
PHELPSEY - 13-Nov-18 @ 7:41 PM
My daughter is 31yrs hasn’t seen her father since she was 17years he never paid a penny except for 6 weeks @. £6 a week he told CSA he was working part time and couldn’t afford it when really he was driving around in a Mercedes working for his very wealthy best friend who has several businesses so he always covered (lied) for him, several attempts with CSA over the years gotme nowhere and even £6 a week stopped after 6 weeks, I provided best I could for my daughter I never remarried never had a penny in divorce and NOW on companies house I have proof he’s been a director on 3 businesses since 2005 when my daughter was 17yrs,if nothing else I’m hoping to recover the monies from then till when she was 20yrs when she was at college , he went on to remarry and have another daughter he remarried when my daughter was 15yrs and he bought his own home shortly after (on part time wages) I felt such an injustice for many years when all I knew he wanted to break me because I left his abusive self, he told me himself he wanted to break me, he also in 2017 opened a new restaurant which I have all details and all pictures with the help of lovely trip advisor, he’s in the OPEN with everything now as he feels SAFE , hopefully this is where I may finally get some justice ........... fingers crossed .
Maria - 31-Oct-18 @ 6:34 PM
My daughter is 31yrs hasn’t seen her father since she was 17years he never paid a penny except for 6 weeks @. £6 a week he told CSA he was working part time and couldn’t afford it when really he was driving around in a Mercedes working for his very wealthy best friend who has several businesses so he always covered (lied) for him, several attempts with CSA over the years gotme nowhere and even £6 a week stopped after 6 weeks, I provided best I could for my daughter I never remarried never had a penny in divorce and NOW on companies house I have proof he’s been a director on 3 businesses since 2005 when my daughter was 17yrs,if nothing else I’m hoping to recover the monies from then till when she was 20yrs when she was at college , he went on to remarry and have another daughter he remarried when my daughter was 15yrs and he bought his own home shortly after (on part time wages) I felt such an injustice for many years when all I knew he wanted to break me because I left his abusive self, he told me himself he wanted to break me, he also in 2017 opened a new restaurant which I have all details and all pictures with the help of lovely trip advisor, he’s in the OPEN with everything now as he feels SAFE , hopefully this is where I may finally get some justice ........... fingers crossed .
Maria - 31-Oct-18 @ 6:29 PM
I have been trying to appeal a decision since last October with CSA, the amount and the back dated periods they are claiming for are rediculous. I don't get to see my daughter's through their mother's maliciousness, not a court order or social work, just simply because she can, and has stalled in court multiple times now, with me trying to regain access! Multiple times i have sent evidence proving she has given false information l to be told they "never recieved it" or "it could be lost in post" (convenient ) and now i have been told I'm out of time to appeal any further and it has been handed to CMS and dispite only just going onto UC through ill health CMS are now hounding me for amounts i physically cannot afford without placing myself in major debt to do so. I never stopped paying for my daughters through a private agreement until my ex cut my access and changed her bank details so i couldn't make the payment. 7 months later i get hit with a 2,300 bill without CSA even being in contact, declaring i owe this amount. The stress, mental pressures and their non complience tactics don't help the situation and make it worse. I had to give up work because the pressure this put me under became too much as i never got anywhere forward with my appeal after filling out the form, the whole system is completely unjust and should be addressed on a national scale. I'm now at the point where i want them to take me to court and jail if need be to bring this to the media's attention and MP's.
Aj83 - 25-Oct-18 @ 1:16 PM
I HAVE 2 CHILDREN, AGE 24 AND 21, THEIR FATHER HAS NEVER PAID A PENNY TOWARDS THEM, IVE NEVER CLAIMED CSA FROM HIM FOR THE KIDS, WOULD I BE ABLE TO ARRANGE IT ALL WITH THE CSA TO GET THE MONEY, AS THEIR FATHER HAS REMARRIED AND HAS HIS OWN BUSSINESS.
Jacki - 24-Oct-18 @ 4:59 PM
Ever since the children were born I have been a hands on father. I have equal shared care of children through Court Order, but former Russian wife keeps all benefits and refuses to share. I pay out over £4,000 per year for children, including school trips, uniforms etc, as mother refuses to pay for these (despite receiving benefits.) Am struggling to make ends meet. Mother expects me to pay her CM, as well as what I already pay, plus, she keep children's benefits. In summer, was out of work, and had to use Foodbanks to feed boys. Forced to use overdraft as UC is useless. Money for the children, doesn't get to the children. CM also miscalculate amount, and refuse to alter. I refuse to pay CM when I always contribute to the boys. Ex just using CM as a weapon against me. Backed into a corner. Would like to be sent to prison, in order to bring this whole issue to attention of media and politicians. At the end of my tether after years of constant harassment from ex. This is the tip of the iceberg. What she has done to me (and children) over past 7 years you wouldn't believe. Gives a new definition of cruelty!
Ginger - 18-Oct-18 @ 11:22 PM
My babys dad hasnt paid a penny of cms for nearly 2 years hes been dodging them and making it hard to track him down, ive found out where he works and informed cms, my question is i first applied for cms january last year and hes not paid a penny will i get the back pay what he owes from then till now?
Shell - 16-Oct-18 @ 10:50 PM
Hi all, I read all the response and its all to do with fathers having to pay CMS. Iam a father with10 year old son and his mother decided to hand him over to me 2.5 years back. Although he has spent almost all his time with me since the divorce 5 yeara back. My question is...can a father put in a claim for CMS or is it just for mothers ??
Anon12345 - 14-Oct-18 @ 10:11 PM
my daughter who i last saw when she was 1 moved to america about 3 years ago. she wants nothing to do with me. ive always paid money to her mum every month but i just wondered when that has to stop? im guessing she will be in school until 18 in the states so do i pay until 18??? any advice would be most welcome.
kev - 4-Oct-18 @ 11:48 AM
CMS issued the interim deduction order & frozen my money in bank that I cannot take out. CMS calculation is totally wrong & they said they will NOT go back to recalculate the liability as time has passed. I have no right now to appeal or they will recalculate. I sent enforcement dept all Tax returns & calculation ( actual liability as per CMS rule is just £7000 & they billed me £23,000 ). What will happen next ? what shpuld I can do now ? Is it true that CMS cannot & will not go back to recalculate & correct it ? Will I loose all my money ?
Khan - 29-Sep-18 @ 8:26 PM
Hi all.My son is 10. Father left me when pregnant and has never ever wanted anything to do with him.After 10 years can I claim csa?? Don’t know why I’ve never done it tbh but the more I think about it the more I think why should he get away with it.
Debbie89 - 28-Sep-18 @ 9:51 PM
I am self employed & CMS calculated the maintenance on historical year income. Now 2 years passed. The actual amount I paid for last 2 year is 24K on historical tax year calculation BUT if we calculate now on actual income on that 2 years work out just £7 K. It does means that CMS charged app £17K extra by using historical tax years return. Now CMS refusing to return extra payment. Is there any law by which I can get the extra amount of £17 K back from CMS ? I need hgelp
J S - 19-Sep-18 @ 2:24 PM
Hi, I left my daughters father (who lives abroad) when she was 8 months old. He paid me £30 a week up until 2 years ago and it has now been upped to £50 a week. He boasts a £60,000 a year salary (which would have been more when I left him). According to Maintenence calculators he is not Paul g anywhere near the amount that would be the expectation of someone in recipes of that salary. I feel I’ve been mugged off for the last 13 years. A) can I do anything about it? B) He is not open about his tax affairs (he lives and works in France) which I fear would muddy the waters somewhat when it came to the true amount my daughter should be awarded weekly - can I do anything about that?
Mug - 4-Sep-18 @ 6:16 PM
Andy - Your Question:
Hi,Bit of a different question.hope someone can advise! My girlfriend’s (she is 23) father left the family home when she was 1.5 years old and has been estranged ever since. Her mother was not married to him and has since passed away sadly. She never received any child support maintenance from him. In this case would my girlfriend have any claim to any child support arrears that were never paid?Thanks!

Our Response:
Unfortunately not. Only the other parent can claim from the non-resident parent for the child.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Sep-18 @ 12:27 PM
@Loo - Only a parent can claim for child maintenance arrears.
Rob - 3-Sep-18 @ 10:57 AM
My mum said that there is a large amount of csa owed from my farther and has said for us girls to go in for it as apparently it would now be ours as were all over the age of 16 can I have some more info on weather this is true or not
Loo - 1-Sep-18 @ 8:08 PM
Hi, Bit of a different question...hope someone can advise! My girlfriend’s (she is 23) father left the family home when she was 1.5 years old and has been estranged ever since. Her mother was not married to him and has since passed away sadly. She never received any child support maintenance from him. In this case would my girlfriend have any claim to any child support arrears that were never paid? Thanks!
Andy - 29-Aug-18 @ 9:22 PM
I have paid my daughter's mother can money every month without fail. She has been re married for 4 years. Do i have to pay her and if not am I entitled to the last 4 years payment back due to her being re married
Looooo - 27-Aug-18 @ 9:15 PM
Janey12 - Your Question:
Hi - having read the comments above I can see that you say that the CMA calculates the amount of maintenance based on the paying parents previous years salary. I am having real concerns with the way that the CMA are handling our case as my ex has put in a mandatory reconsideration. It’s difficult to explain but last years payments were based on salary earnt two years prior to that tax year 15-16 £79k. This years figures were initially reviewed on the same basis two years prior which was £106k which my ex has appealed and the outcome is to base the figures on last years income which was £73k therefore completely missing out the previous year. What rights do I have in appealing this? Thank you

Our Response:
The link here will help answer your question.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Aug-18 @ 12:09 PM
taiboy12 - Your Question:
I have had my son from 7 months old he is now 3 yrs, me and his mum were not married,i am on the birth certificate ,she has never paid a penny for him at all and was claiming benefit s for him whilst he was living with me , what would be the likelyhood of me getting what money she owes me if I take her to small claims court,

Our Response:
You would not be able to take the matter to the small claims court. If you have not registered with CMS previously, then you would not be able to claim for retrospective back pay. I suggest you give CMS a call, if you haven't previously, please see the link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Aug-18 @ 11:23 AM
Hi - having read the comments above I can see that you say that the CMA calculates the amount of maintenance based on the paying parents previous years salary. I am having real concerns with the way that the CMA are handling our case as my ex has put in a mandatory reconsideration. It’s difficult to explain but last years payments were based on salary earnt two years prior to that tax year 15-16 £79k. This years figures were initially reviewed on the same basis two years prior which was £106k which my ex has appealed and the outcome is to base the figures on last years income which was £73k therefore completely missing out the previous year. What rights do I have in appealing this? Thank you
Janey12 - 15-Aug-18 @ 5:45 PM
i have had my son from 7 months old he is now 3 yrs, me and his mum were not married,i am on the birth certificate ,she has never paid a penny for him at all and was claiming benefit s for him whilst he was living with me , what would be the likelyhood of me getting what money she owes me if I take her to small claims court,
taiboy12 - 14-Aug-18 @ 4:18 PM
Jude - Your Question:
My daughter agreed a consent order and childcare terms and maintenance via a divorce court. The father was granted a share if the matriminial home having lived there for 2 years. My daughter never sought an increase in maintenance over the years when fathers professional wages increased. Now he has asked for his share of house as time us up via consent order. His share if the property niw exceeds the maintenance he has paid overall. Can the consent order be overturned or what can my daughter do to change this claim?

Our Response:
You don't say why your daughter didn't ask for an increase in child maintenance payments. Your daughter would really have to seek legal advice regarding this, as the matter would have to be referred back to court for consideration.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Aug-18 @ 9:44 AM
My daughter agreed a consent order and childcare terms and maintenance via a divorce court.The father was granted a share if the matriminial home having lived there for 2 years.My daughter never sought an increase in maintenance over the years when fathers professional wages increased.Now he has asked for his share of house as time us up via consent order.His share if the property niw exceeds the maintenance he has paid overall.Can the consent order be overturned or what can my daughter do to change this claim?
Jude - 13-Aug-18 @ 6:12 AM
Becki - Your Question:
My daughter is 2years old 3 in December me and her father split up last this time last year he's never paid a penny for her IV only just found out about CMS Nd just made an application would he have to pay back alot and how are payments made

Our Response:
Your daughter's father would not have to pay back pay, as payments only begin on registration. You can see all you need to know about how payments are made via the link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Aug-18 @ 2:35 PM
My daughter is 2years old 3 in December me and her father split up last this time last year he's never paid a penny for her IV only just found out about CMS Nd just made an application would he have to pay back alot and how are payments made
Becki - 10-Aug-18 @ 1:31 PM
@Sjc - It is unlikely this will happen if the case has been closed.
Jaccv - 10-Aug-18 @ 12:55 PM
Ang - Your Question:
Hi my son will be 17yr in Sept and my ex has never paid a penny for him, I did try to claim CSA when my son was a baby but they said his circumstances had changed. Could I get backdated payments as I believe he is working and has 3 younger children now.

Our Response:
You may wish to give CMS a call via the link here for some direct advice, as CSA has now changed to CMS.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Aug-18 @ 11:37 AM
Hi my son will be 17yr in Sept and my ex has never paid a penny for him, I did try to claim CSA when my son was a baby but they said his circumstances had changed. Could I get backdated payments as I believe he is working and has 3 younger children now.
Ang - 7-Aug-18 @ 5:12 PM
My fiancé’s ex is always complaining about money and the CSA case was closed dec 2016 and a mutual agreement was in place instead at her request. Now she is claiming that she hasn’t been paid enough all these years (which she hasn’t) and saying she is going to get CSA to back date it. Obviously if we have to fight the case we will, but what we want to know is can she re-open a closed case and ask to backdate payments?
Sjc - 6-Aug-18 @ 6:49 PM
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