Home > Paying Child Support > Enforcement of CSA/CMS Payments

Enforcement of CSA/CMS Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 23 Apr 2017 |
 
Csa Maintenance Payments Arrears Child

Once the CSA/CMS has made a calculation for child maintenance, it has discretion to stipulate the method by which payments are made, to whom, when and how much should be paid towards any arrears. Notifications of any CSA/CMS decisions relating to payments must be made in writing, and should allow the non-resident parent as well as the person with care to make representations about them.

Payments to the CSA/CMS

In the majority of cases, the CSA/CMS prefer payments to be made directly from the non-resident parent to the person with care – save for when the person with care is on either Income Support or Job Seeker’s Allowance. In this situation, payments are made using ‘the collection service.’ In other cases (i.e. where the person with care is not on benefits) the collection service can be used if one or both of the parties request it. If there are problems with payments, it is possible to request the intervention of the collection service later on.

Under the new rules for child maintenance calculations, if a non-resident parent is on benefits Jobcentre Plus may make deductions at source of flat rate payments, at the request of the CSA/CMS.

When Payments Fall into Arrears

The CSA/CMS only intervenes in cases where payments have fallen into arrears if the collections service is being used. However, it is important to note that by the time the first calculation is made there are always arrears to be paid (because the calculation isn’t made until after the date when payments are due).

When a calculation is first made, the CSA/CMS will telephone the non-resident parent and tell them how the payments should be made, including the arrears. It is during this conversation that the non-resident parent should negotiate if they feel that they are not satisfied with the proposed schedule: this may be particularly pertinent given that the CSA/CMS always request that the initial arrears are cleared by way of a lump sum. (Any voluntary payments that have been made after the effective date can be deducted from the initial arrears.) The arrears are also notified in writing. If they are not paid within seven days of the written notification, the non-resident parent could face fines and enforcement action.

Enforcement Action

If a payment that is due directly to the person with care is missed, they must inform the CSA/CMS so that they can make enquiries as to why the payment has been missed. If a payment that is due to be paid via the agency is missed, the CSA/CMS will follow this up of its own volition. In other cases, a person with care who is on certain benefits may request an increase based on the fact that child maintenance has not been paid.

In these circumstances the CSA/CMS will telephone the non-resident parent to find out whether there is a problem (e.g. a change in circumstances.) If the non-resident parent anticipates that they may find themselves in difficulty over payments, such as an impending redundancy, they should contact the agency in good time to negotiate a reduction. There may be a suspension of arrears temporarily if the non-resident parent is ill, unemployed or incarcerated.

Deductions From Earnings

A Deduction from Earnings Order (DEO) is where payments are deducted from the non-resident parent’s earnings and paid to the CSA/CMS. Voluntary DEOs are available if the non-resident parent requests it: however if they persistently default, fail to keep to arrears arrangements and do not respond to enquiries, a DEO may be imposed. However it is possible to appeal a DEO to a magistrates’ court within 28 days of its imposition, either on the basis that it is defective or that the payments being made to the non-resident parent do not qualify as ‘earnings.’

If a DEO is inappropriate for whatever reason the CSA/CMS can apply to the magistrates court for a liability order. The CSA/CMS has to provide the non-resident parent with 7 days written notice of their intention to apply for this order. Once granted, the CSA can arrange for a county court to enter the order into its register like a judgment debt. This means that the CSA/CMS can pursue a charging order against land, property or other assets, a third party debt order against bank accounts or debts owed to the non-resident parent by a third party.

Disqualification From Driving and Imprisonment

In extreme circumstances, the CSA/CMS may take action to disqualify a non-resident parent from driving and can fix a term of imprisonment (up to six weeks) that is usually postponed to enable regular payments to be made.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Come on stop pointing us back to the CMS they are an unregulated monster, They make a mockery of justice and a so called democratic free society. How can I provide proof of income to be ignored stating HMRC they added arrears of which I had none to date. Now they have sent an arrears collection with £600 pounds even though given that the increase is correct of an additional £60 a month for 3 months equates to £180. My wages did not increase by 25% so how can i Show that my earnings have dropped by 25% plus the £60 a month include a month in arrears that I've proved she has received on time every Month. I'm at the point of packing my bags and taking my skills abroad rather the be bullied by by a corrupt illegal down right infringement of my human rights. Considering my Ex has also now stopped me seeing my beloved daughter. No wonder paying father take to self employment fight an unfair injust system the same way. Its just a shame that it's always the children that lose out.
cashpoint to the ex - 23-Apr-17 @ 11:39 AM
My ex has only paid 3 months out of 12 years of CSA payments and I get nowhere when I ring them up! He now owes me nearly 7k in arrears, can I take him to court for this myself seeing as the CSA don't do anything? I said I wanted my arrears transferring to the new service but I'm still getting nowhere! Why can he be allowed to get away with this?!
Kezzer76 - 21-Apr-17 @ 6:04 PM
2017 - Your Question:
Hi can anyone help me I have 3 children to my ex of 10 years we split nearly 2years ago and he works cash in hand everyday and claims universal credit stating hes depressed. my children dont see him (his choice) and he dosent pay a penny for them am just wanting to no where I start thanks

Our Response:
Unless your ex is paying tax via HMRC, then you child maintenance will be classed as flat or nil level contributions, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Apr-17 @ 12:11 PM
Hi can anyone help me i have 3 children to my ex of 10 years we split nearly 2years ago and he works cash in hand everyday and claims universal credit stating hes depressed. my children dont see him (his choice) and he dosent pay a penny for them am just wanting to no where i start thanks
2017 - 20-Apr-17 @ 6:41 PM
BigGuy87 - Your Question:
I've been paying cms from direct earnings for my 2 children I may be getting made redundant but my partner may be getting a job can cms take payments from her We live together and have 3 children together

Our Response:
Only you as the biological father of your child can be made to pay child maintenance. Your partner cannot be made to pay child maintenance for your kids who live with another parent.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Apr-17 @ 12:37 PM
Jec - Your Question:
My children were home schooled. My youngest is now 19 in Aug. My ex is still claiming for maintenance yet my son is not doing any training, or going to college and no exams have been taken throughout his Home schooling. I paid maintenance up to Aug 2016 when I stopped working for health reasons. My parents kept me and I have not claimed any benefits. I am working voluntary and still not able to do paid employment yet. I have phoned the maintenance people, I have wrote to them yet they are still hounding me for 118 a week!!!! what can I do next. I'm in despair. they are claiming I owe around 750 in arrears. But they cannot tell me from when? I have checked bank statements and I cannot see from where either. Can someone please help me sort this situation I don't know where to go next no one is listening to me.

Our Response:
Have you appealed/complained? Please see gov.uk link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Apr-17 @ 11:18 AM
I've been paying cms from direct earnings for my 2 children I may be getting made redundant but my partner may be getting a job can cms take payments from her We live together and have 3 children together
BigGuy87 - 12-Apr-17 @ 7:24 PM
My children were home schooled. My youngest is now 19 in Aug. My ex is still claiming for maintenance yet my son is not doing any training, or going to college and no exams have been taken throughout his Home schooling. I paid maintenance up to Aug 2016 when I stopped working for health reasons. My parents kept me and I have not claimed any benefits. I am working voluntary and still not able to do paid employment yet. I have phoned the maintenance people, I have wrote to them yet they are still hounding me for 118 a week!!!! what can I do next. I'm in despair. they are claiming I owe around 750 in arrears. But they cannot tell me from when? I have checked bank statements and I cannot see from where either. Can someone please help me sort this situation I don't know where to go next no one is listening to me.
Jec - 12-Apr-17 @ 1:52 PM
Junior - Your Question:
Well CSA - what a joke of a company these are, I have been informed that I am 1700 in arrears, and they backdating it. Now the problem is, I have is.I were paying well above what I should, she started trying to dictate to me what my son is doing during my weekends etc, so I started to reduce the money to just above what I should be paying. I receive a benefit of some sort and the government website informs me that I do not need to pay, CSA even confirmed I don't, great news,as I will spend all the money on my son instead of it going to her and she spending it on cigarettes/drugs and vodka!! anyways she applies for a variation on my salary, which they knew about from the start, so when the letter came in, I told them I wont pay and that I will have a variation applied too on the amount it costs me to see him and stay away etc. I was informed by 3 of the useless CSA incompetent, pathetic excuse of a human being that I do not need to pay until the case has finalized. New figures now come in which I start to pay, then the arrears letter!!!!! I have to pay regardless of what I have been told.

Our Response:
If you are earning an income and paying tax on that income via HMRC, then you are eligible to pay child maintenance. If you are unemployed and receiving no income and in receipt of benefits, then you will either have to pay the nil or flat amount. If your case is being investigated and you are told you do not have to pay until the case is finalised, then it is always wise to put the money aside until the final verdict specifies whether you have to pay or not, especially if the investigation is because there is obviously some confusion and/or where the lines are blurred. As a rule, CMS/CSA have very clear guidlines about what happens when your case is being looked into. Again a variation has clear guidelines on what you can and cannot apply for, please see link here . As the non-resident parent, by law you are resonsible for paying child maitenance to help support your child. Your ex does not have to justify what she spends the money on, in theory it goes into a pot which goes towards helping keep a roof over your son's head and his day-to-day care.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Apr-17 @ 10:16 AM
Well CSA - what a joke of a company these are, i have been informed that I am 1700 in arrears, and they backdating it. Now the problem is, I have is ..I were paying well above what i should, she started trying to dictate to me what my son is doing during my weekends etc, so I started to reduce the money to just above what i should be paying. I receive a benefit of some sort and the government website informs me that I do not need to pay, CSA even confirmed I don't,great news,as I will spend all the money on my son instead of it going to her and she spending it on cigarettes/drugs and vodka!! anyways she applies for a variation on my salary, which they knew about from the start, so when the letter came in, I told them I wont pay and that i will have a variation applied too on the amount it costs me to see him and stay away etc. I was informed by 3 of the useless CSA incompetent, pathetic excuse of a human being that I do not need to pay until the case has finalized. New figures now come in which I start to pay, then the arrears letter!!!!! I have to pay regardless of what i have been told....
Junior - 5-Apr-17 @ 3:55 PM
Daz - Your Question:
I made an arrangement with my ex partner to pay 50 a week which I have proof through my bank and her acceptance of this arrangement is clear as it goes into her bank weekly cma are now saying I owe arrears for maintenance and also fees for collect and pay! I have read through the clauses and cma are basically contracting the fact that the government only implemented the fees to encourage parents to arrange it between them selves, we'll we did a family based arranged payment so why am I in arrears for maintenance and collection fees when she's had the money????????

Our Response:
You would have to sort this out via CMS directly, or via the link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Apr-17 @ 2:37 PM
My partner was paying csa for his 2 children they live with a member of the family (not the mother) both my partner and his ex pay over £500 per month in csa, my partners job changed however when he tried to explain this he was fobbed off and told he had to maintain payments and as it was more than his wage he ended up defaulting and they now are taking 3/4s of his wage to make up the short fall surely this is not right?
Kbobz - 1-Apr-17 @ 11:58 PM
I need help please... I have a case set up with CMS but feel I'm been lead on a wild goose chase. I originally had a case with CSA but my payments stopped in 2014. I received a letter from the CSA in April 2015 to inform me there was arrears of over £500 and that the CMS would be dealing with this. I have been ringing CMS for updates and have been told a lot of different reasons why I haven't received any payments I have had one person trying to argue with me saying I have had payments but when I said I would send my bank statements to prove I haven't had anything he put me on hold to look into it when he came back he told me they hadn't sent it to me yet, another told me they couldn't find my ex and now they are saying his employers have refused a deduction from earnings order. Today I have spoke to someone and they are saying they are still looking into the employer as to why they wont send the money he then asked about my direct pay case for maintenance payments if I had received these (which I haven't) and said this would be moved over to a collect and pay (which it should have been already since the last call I had with them). I really do feel I am been lead on a goose chase and they don't care it has been such a hard time and he is getting away with not paying for his children.
Claire - 1-Apr-17 @ 5:53 PM
My ex was made redundant last Oct and since then hasn't payed me any maintenance for our 3 children (I am the resident parent) I am currently trying to buy him out of the joint mortgage I have with him with my new husband, would I be entitled to reduce his equity share to make up for the loss in maintenance for the last 6 months?
Nelly - 1-Apr-17 @ 4:23 PM
I made an arrangement with my ex partner to pay 50 a week which I have proof through my bank and her acceptance of this arrangement is clear as it goes into her bank weekly cma are now saying I owe arrears for maintenance and also fees for collect and pay! I have read through the clauses and cma are basically contracting the fact that the government only implemented the fees to encourage parents to arrange it between them selves, we'll we did a family based arranged payment so why am I in arrears for maintenance and collection fees when she's had the money????????
Daz - 1-Apr-17 @ 12:59 PM
Lily- Your Question:
The CSA ceased to collect monies on my behalf in October 2016. From January 2017 the CMA took over this duty, however in the period between no monies were received from the children's father. I spoke with the CSA in advance of these changes coming into force to explore my position further. I had wanted them to collect the monies on my behalf. They were due to respond to me, but failed to do so. I have sought to reclaim these monies through the County Court as a debt owed, however the absent father is claiming the County Court does not have jurisdiction to hear this claim. Can I continue to pursue this matter, which has caused a considerable amount of distress, through the County Court? Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Our Response:
You can, but it is sensible to obtain legal advice to make sure that the type of order you apply for is the most likely to result in recovery of money owed.
ChildSupportLaws - 31-Mar-17 @ 12:13 PM
The CSA ceased to collect monies on my behalf in October 2016. From January 2017 the CMA took over this duty, however in the period between no monies were received from the children's father. I spoke with the CSA in advance of these changes coming into force to explore my position further. I had wanted them to collect the monies on my behalf. They were due to respond to me, but failed to do so. I have sought to reclaim these monies through the County Court as a debt owed, however the absent father is claiming the County Court does not have jurisdiction to hear this claim. Can I continue to pursue this matter, which has caused a considerable amount of distress, through the County Court? Your assistance is greatly appreciated.
Lily - 30-Mar-17 @ 11:55 AM
Rock the bells - Your Question:
Hi, I was wondering if it's possible to claim child support for myself for when I was a minor? I'm a grown man with a family of my own now. However, when I was a child, my parents got divorced when I was two years old. Mum remarried and I had a financially acceptable upbringing. However, until this day in sure my father never paid any child support. I think mum was to proud to ask for it. However, is it possible to claim arrears from my dad who never paid anything?

Our Response:
I'm afraid not. Unless your mother made a child maintenance claim at the time, then you cannot claim retrospectively. Besides, only a parent of a child is eligible to claim child maintenance, not the child.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Mar-17 @ 11:13 AM
Hi, i was wondering if it's possible to claim child support for myself for when i was a minor?. I'm a grown man with a family of my own now. However, when i was a child, my parents got divorced when i was two years old. Mum remarried and i had a financially acceptable upbringing. However, until this day in sure my father never paid any child support. I think mum was to proud to ask for it. However, is it possible to claim arrears from my dad who never paid anything?
Rock the bells - 26-Mar-17 @ 1:46 PM
Dean - Your Question:
Hi me and my ex partner agreed on an amount to be paid to her which I have upheld ( it wasn't what the cms advised to pay as I would never be able to afford that ) my ex has now rand cms stating that I haven't been paying the whole amount agreed which I have proof that I have been and now I'm getting letters off the cms stating that I have to pay all this money back to my ex which now amounts to over £1000 my ex has lied to the cms about how much she's getting off me is there anything I can do?

Our Response:
As a rule if you are in a family-based child maintenance arrangement and your ex has never previously approached CMS, then you would not have to pay this money back. However, if your ex approached the CMS who assessed your earnings and specified the amount your should pay and you have paid less, then you would be eligible to pay arrears. If you feel you have been treated unfairly regarding this matter, then your only option would be to appeal/complain, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Mar-17 @ 1:47 PM
Hi me and my ex partner agreed on an amount to be paid to her which I have upheld ( it wasn't what the cms advised to pay as I would never be able to afford that ) my ex has now rand cms stating that I haven't been paying the whole amount agreed which I have proof that I have been and now I'm getting letters off the cms stating that I have to pay all this money back to my ex which now amounts to over £1000 my ex has lied to the cms about how much she's getting off me is there anything I can do?
Dean - 18-Mar-17 @ 12:16 PM
I have been paying child maintenance every month on time every time. I have recently been contacted by the child maintenance service. I have no problem with that. My problem is CMS are disclosing my personal information to my ex partners. Like total wage income and what other children I have and who the parents are. Isn't that data protection.? What rights do I have to keep my personal information away from my ex's. they don't need to know this information and it could be used to gain credit from banks and credit cards. One of my ex's has already gained credit from my information in the past and I had to prove this. They basically know a lot of personal information about me anyway. I've had relationships with them. But my concern is the relationship is over and they only need to know what they are getting paid from me. Nothing more and nothing less.
Mr A - 18-Mar-17 @ 11:57 AM
Debs6122 - Your Question:
Hi thereI contacted the Child Maintenance Service in September 2014 when my daughter was 4 as her father had started working and hadn't given me a penny for her. I received many letters stating dates when my ex had to start paying, these dates came and went and I didn't receive anything. Anyway, I received a text on Sunday 26th of February 2017 stating my first payment had been received and I did indeed receive this 3 days later on Wednesday 1st of March 2017. That was three weeks ago and I haven't had anything since?! My ex said he has paying it for months (which I'm guessing is just another lie), I contacted the CMS and was told that my payments had gone from weekly to monthly.but if he can't/won't pay weekly then am I realistically going to get anything monthly?

Our Response:
If your ex is earning and is eligible to pay child maintenance, then the CMS can enforce this, please see CAB link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Mar-17 @ 10:46 AM
Hi there I contacted the Child Maintenance Service in September 2014 when my daughter was 4 as her father had started working and hadn't given me a penny for her.I received many letters stating dates when my ex had to start paying, these dates came and went and I didn't receive anything.Anyway, I received a text on Sunday 26th of February 2017 stating my first payment had been received and I did indeed receive this 3 days later on Wednesday 1st of March 2017.That was three weeks ago and I haven't had anything since?!My ex said he has paying it for months (which I'm guessing is just another lie), I contacted the CMS and was told that my payments had gone from weekly to monthly...but if he can't/won't pay weekly then am I realistically going to get anything monthly?
Debs6122 - 14-Mar-17 @ 11:28 AM
Wendy - Your Question:
I left my ex due to domestic abuse in 2015. Ironically, he is a social worker, who's gone agency/'self employed' to avoid payment and for 2 years, he has paid nothing. I understand that the matter has now been taken to the bailiffs but why does it take so long for your office to enforce payments?Btw, he does not have any excuse not to pay, he has contact with the kids (which he cancels very often just to hurt me.won't sign the divorce either because he is a control freak). I'm a working parent, with childcare bills running into £10,000 annually. Surely, he can spare the calculated £40/wk (for 2 kids under 5) from his insurance policy on the Range Rover.

Our Response:
We are not part of the CMS and are an independent webiste offering advice, so we cannot answer your question regarding timing and enforcement of payments. However, in the CMS's defence, it becomes difficult to enforce child maintenance orders where non-resident parents use self-employed loopholes in order to avoid making payments (i.e keeping their wages below the annual personal tax allowance and attributing income to expenses etc). The CMS is often blamed for situations that are out of their control and when it is the NRP who is at fault, not the system.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Mar-17 @ 12:35 PM
I left my ex due to domestic abuse in 2015. Ironically, he is a social worker, who's gone agency/'self employed' to avoid payment and for 2 years, he has paid nothing. I understand that the matter has now been taken to the bailiffs but why does it take so long for your office to enforce payments? Btw, he does not have any excuse not to pay, he has contact with the kids (which he cancels very often just to hurt me...won't sign the divorce either because he is a control freak). I'm a working parent, with childcare bills running into £10,000 annually. Surely, he can spare the calculated £40/wk (for 2 kids under 5) from his insurance policy on the Range Rover.
Wendy - 12-Mar-17 @ 2:04 PM
My daughter's ex took her to court for access, she was the victim of DA. He now has access but is refusing to pay support calculated by CMS. He is self employed and his brother is an account. CMS have told her they have to wait for him to declare his earning as he claims they are variable. What actions can she take against a controlling bully who wants the right to see his child but without the responsibilities?
Nannies T - 10-Mar-17 @ 8:11 PM
@Mandi - good on you - that's one in th bag for International Women's Day!
Liz - 10-Mar-17 @ 2:27 PM
Ian - Your Question:
I need help , I'm currently paying for 2 children £650.00 a month their ages are 18( near 19 ) and 17 and (again nearly 18). I have always payed since they was small but unfortunately I have no contact with these children as the mother moved them away and stopped contact. I have tried many ways off finding them but she has vanished.The problem I have is that cms won't help me find out if they are at uni or collage there answer is to report it to child benefit office , which I have and with no help.The mother will obviously take my money till these children are 20 years of age.So please can someone tell me what to do cause I'm struggling to pay this amount.

Our Response:
Personally, I would complain to the CMS, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Mar-17 @ 12:14 PM
My oldest son is 24yrs old and my youngest is 15yrs old. My youngest could walk past his dad and would not know him. About 6 yrs ago he went to see his dad. Who came to the window and saw him and then went back in. Before that day. I used to take them both to see their dad. And I couldn't sustain it. He's told benefits. He is too ill to work. He is 51yrs old and has worked for 6 yrs of his life. He owes me £10,000 in child support. Has a mortgage free house. A new car. Due to his dodgy deals. In all the years he has given the boys a handful of gifts. They wanted his time and not his money. But he didn't give them that. I've worked all my life. Sometimes having 3 jobs. My 24 yr old is doing his masters degree in psychology and my youngest is going to study law. And is an A star student. So not all women are blood sucking women. I have pride in myself and my children
Mandi - 9-Mar-17 @ 8:36 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ChildSupportLaws website. Please read our Disclaimer.