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Enforcement of CSA Payments

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 29 June 2015 |
Csa Maintenance Payments Arrears Child

Once the CSA 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 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

In the majority of cases, the CSA 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.

When Payments Fall into Arrears

The CSA 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 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 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 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 CSA is missed, the CSA 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 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 CSA 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. 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 can apply to the magistrates court for a liability order. The CSA 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 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 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.

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Leave a Comment, Ask for Advice or Share Your Story...
[Add a Comment]
@Trishspider - if you feel you have been treated unfairly, you can complain via the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Jul-15 @ 11:10 AM
My new case opened in January under the new system, I'm still awaiting payment. According to the csa my case got stuck, they have now advised me that my daughters father is going into full time education in sept and will not be working, so they can not pursue any arrears he owes after this time. Any advise on claiming compensation from the csa for their error or claiming the arrears through small claims court, bear in mind he is based in Scotland.
Trishspider - 29-Jun-15 @ 3:02 PM
@Atwitsend - if you are unhappy with the service you have received from the CSA, you can complain or appeal, see link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 29-Jun-15 @ 12:07 PM
Hi. My ex husband owes me just over £10k. That's the csa's calculation. He refuses to pay anything at all, won't disclose his earnings to CSA and won't respond to their letters or phone calls. They say there's not much they can do. What can I do to get the money my children are owed?
Atwitsend - 26-Jun-15 @ 11:24 AM
Hiya, I wondered if anyone could help me? My boyfriend has a 5 year old year old son with his ex who he pays for. He pays her direct debit as gives her more than CSA require her to have as she gets every other benefit under the sun!!!! My boyfriend and I are having a baby together but don't live together just yet. Does he need to inform CSA that he has another child? Or not until he is living with me and the baby? Or does he even need to notify them at all? Help would be much appreciated!!
Kbrennan - 23-Jun-15 @ 3:48 PM
@This is ridiculous - I can only suggest that if she is unhappy with this decision, then she can complain/appeal via the link here. She can also check how much she should be paying via the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Jun-15 @ 10:39 AM
@kasb67 - if you are not happy with the system, you can complain, via the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Jun-15 @ 2:50 PM
I have a friend. 4 kids from 1st husband. She left him and did not receive any child support. She remarried had 2 more kids. She is now separated from 2nd husband.1 child left to go back to live with father (1st hub) and now he is claiming for child support and he is not working. My friend works part time and still has 4 kids at home (the eldest is now 18 and has left her home). She has a bill slapped on her for now of over £2000 to pay ...with her other kids still at home to look after....and he only has one of them. How is it that she has to pay and he gets away with paying nothing??? When he should've been paying for the 3 that lived with her???
This is ridiculous - 17-Jun-15 @ 9:23 AM
Ok to collect payments from PAYE employees but it doesn't tell you that if absent parent is self employed total different story...and if it gets as far as enforcement and Force of sale team, don't get too excited. My ex could afford the whole £21000 arrears but I have to settle for £400 for however many years, he has properties, car lot, vapour smokin cafes, drives around in flash motors, takes 6wk long trips to Thailand and around the world and Force of Sale team decided to not to make him sell one property....now is that fair. To get to the final hurdle after years of chasing him down and court processes they said no they didn't like to make people sell assets if possible....what about the fact that I have struggled through the years and it could give my family a better standard of living if I had £21000 in a lump sum!!!! CSA made promises they couldn't keep and let my drug lord ex carry on his sweet life....all a sham.
kasb67 - 16-Jun-15 @ 4:34 PM
I would love to know how come the payments made by absent parent to CSA by standing order on 1st of mth takes so long to get to parent with care. Had excuses for bank holidays etc, but this month it was paid on the first and yet on 16th no money has appeared In bank...absolutely disgusting how long they take to "clear" payments. I never received a full payment for arrears. It's all a wasted process that gets you down in the end and mine is all arrears too.
kasb67 - 16-Jun-15 @ 4:23 PM
Hi, I have a son who split from his partner sometime ago. Together they had one daughter. He has always made regular maintenance payments, at first privately, then through the CSA after bitterness between them both made it impossible to communicate. He had been unemployed up until November last year when he started a self employed position. Up until this point maintenance was being deducted from his benefit. However his job didn't last long and just before Christmas he found himself out of work due to change in business requirements for the company he was working for. This threw him into a serious state of depression and since then he hasn't claimed benefits or been working and has been helped and supported by myself and a couple of other members of my family. It simply got to the point where he couldn't face returning to the Jobcentre after being so glad to be "out the system" regarding benefits. He has informed the CSA that he isn't working or claiming benefits at present and continues to seek employment. My question is, will arrears have built up since the start of this year even though he hasn't worked or claimed benefits up to now? Since he wrote explaining the situation there hasn't been any further communication via the CSA regarding a new payment plan or how things stand debt wise.
Martha - 11-Jun-15 @ 8:35 PM
@Harriet - you may be able to get the payment enforced through the courts.
Bee - 11-Jun-15 @ 12:34 PM
Hi, I have been involved in my sons life since birth. I have had an agreement with my ex to pay quite a substantial amount each month and I have my some a quarter of the time. I would like him more but I work. My ex is now threatening to go through the CSA for no reason. She has just split with her new boyfriend and she is due him money. I can't help but feel she is doing this to repay Her debt when there was no issue before about our agreement. This has come out of no where and I feel she is using the money to pay off her debts and not to benefit my son when all has been done for 7 years? What can I do?
Iain - 11-Jun-15 @ 9:26 AM
@Gee - you an contact Child Maintenance Options via the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Jun-15 @ 2:57 PM
@Nikki b - Every parent has the basic responsibility to provide for their child up until the age of 16, when they are legally allowed to leave school and get a job. After this age, it depends what your child chooses to do. If they continue in full-time non-advanced education not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week, then your maintenance payments will continue until your child finishes or until they turn 20. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Jun-15 @ 10:11 AM
Hey I'm 21 and my biological father is still paying the arrears but he has stopped paying it via csa, I am aware the debt will always be there but is there any private ways or methods I can force the payment? He has attempted to avoid paying all my life so I know he's not paying it because he doesn't want to and not that he can't. He is not working so it can not be deducted from that, but have read they can have driving licences /passport taken off them Thankyou
Harriet - 9-Jun-15 @ 10:09 PM
i need some advice on what to do, I'm on income support and have a two year old child but the father has not seen him since he was born and does not support him so I want him to start supporting his child BUT his surname is not on the child's birth certificate. Who do I contact? What can I do to make him start supporting the child through child mentainence?
Gee - 9-Jun-15 @ 7:20 AM
If ur son is still in fulltime education you can claim child support upto their 20th birthday.I received this for my daughter until the Monday before her birthday andand she was at college
Nikki b - 8-Jun-15 @ 3:07 PM
@spikey - if you want some independent and confidential advice you could take your problem to the Citizens Advice Bureau and see what one of its legal advisers suggests. It is probably best that you deal with it head on, rather than let the situation grow, as I imagine it may be giving you a few sleepless nights.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Jun-15 @ 10:04 AM
hi i wonder if there is anyone who can help me, i have recently recieved a letter from Child support Agency to tell me that child maintenace payments are stopping that my Ex legal responsibility to pay regular maintenace through CSA (child Maintenace and Enforcement Division Norhern Ireland has ended for this case, now i have a ref number on the letter but apparently when i try to log in apparently im not using the information they have , but what is really bothering me is I have never declared that my Ex is my sons father, nor is his name on the birth certificate and here is the kicker i have NEVER RECEIVED any payments of child maintenace, so i need some advice on what this letter is about and what i do about it, the letter also came to my recent home (we have moved house 4x since i was pregnant with my son and the letter has come to my recent address and it is also in my maiden name (i have been married for 8yrs this October) so any help on these issues would be great) i assume he no longer needs to pay anything as my son is turning 16 in August, but he is also on dla and looking to go into 6th form after his exams are finished, but like i said ANY INFORMATION about this and what i'm ment to do about it would be greatly appreciated thanks in advance
Ribs - 7-Jun-15 @ 4:43 AM
@Childsupportlaws I've worked out that based on earnings over 8 years/payrise etc that I am about 15k in arrears and looked in the CSA site and they say they want arrears cleared off in 2 years or they will take court action to recover the debt. I have about £200 a month left out of my wage after paying off bills and debts assuming I was paying the right amount of CSA, while I could scrape together the monthly payments of regular CSA payments I don't have enough income to pay 15k worth of debt. CSA have never been incontact with me since they started taking it direct from my wages 8 years ago and I just assumed it was all dealt with through my wages department each year and they payed whatever CSA needed as CSA applied to the courts to have it taken from my wage. I have a young child and a wife to support this has put me in a very difficult situation through no fault of my own and I don't understand at £20 a month out of my wage CSA haven't done anything about it as I still have the original letters which stated 8 years ago they were going to be taking £30 a week from my wage so I don't understand what has gone wrong here. even my ex hasn't contacted them about it asking after all this time why it is still £20 a month. I'm reluctant to contact them now as don't have the financial means in order to pay £700+ a month they will probably ask for
spikey - 7-Jun-15 @ 2:05 AM
@spikey - as difficult as it may be for you, you will really need to contact the CSA in order to follow this up. However, you should have an annual review, see link here. The purpose of the review is to ensure that the right amount of child maintenance is paid by the paying parent to the receiving parent. It generally looks at your income, benefits and other circumstances. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Jun-15 @ 11:59 AM
Looking for some advice. I've been paying csa out of my wage for 8 years. I needed to call my wages department regarding a debti was paying off from my wage. I asked them when it was going to end as it was coming off £20 a month and down as court order. They told me that the debt wasnt showing on my wage slip but coming off and the £20 a month was actually CSA under court order i asked them if it was the right amount and they said it was what csa requested. I have letters that state they were supposed to be taking £30 a week 8 years ago so not sure what's happened here i assumed it was coming off my wage but not showing up. I contacted wages when csa first applied to have it taken out they said it would probably be pre tax so might no show up so left it at that. Wages told me that there had been a mix up and should have shown on my wage but didn'tbut csa definitely only req £20 a month. Now I'm worried there will be a huge debt csa haven't been in contact it's only me that's noticed and i can't afford for them to take hundreds of pounds out of my wage. I have a wife and 19 month old child to support. I don't see my other child or my ex but i contacted CSA myself when we split up so always paid. Where do i go from here?
spikey - 4-Jun-15 @ 9:11 PM
@e37- if he is harassing you,you need to contact the police and tell them everything. If there are enough occurrences and they take you seriously enough, they may grant a restraining order for a year, if your case is particularly bad then maybe more. If he really is that bad, you and your child can start afresh. You are so lucky that he doesn't have parental responsibility as you have the chance at a new start without him. My ex unfortunately is on birth certificate so whilst the restraining order was I'm force, he took me to court for access and now the order is overI have even less control and he has forbade me from using my surname for our daughter. Your money is sorted and that won't be affected, he has no pr. get out while you can and enjoy your life with your child! Good luck x
Mama1 - 4-Jun-15 @ 3:50 PM
can anyone advise. My ex partner and i are in custody battle of our youngest son(11), we have four other children who are now over eighteen. My ex isa very wealthy man with assets over ten andhallf million. we never married although were together for twenty years. we broke up over ten years ago. he has controlled and manipulated me and now says i suffer from mental health issues, which my doctor has supplied evidence that i dont. he pays no maintenance as he put all his assets into childrens trust so that a lady he an affair with while we were together which resulted in two other children, could not make a claim on his money. he pays her just under eight hundred a month and a house she can live in till she dies. My youngest son and i live on benefits and had to be housed by housing association when my ex kicked us out of our family home. i have been told to believe in the system, yet find mediation just allows him to lie and be abusive to me. our youngest son does not want to see him as he is abusive and critises at every opportunity. my ex is used to being able to buy his way through life. i dont understand he justice? i have been othing but honest and tried to sort things out. he also stole 220,0000 pounds off of me when i signed a cheque over to him from flats we sold while together in my name. he kept the paperwork from me until a year ago and i have now been told that because it is over nine years ago i can do nothing. where is the law and justice? why is this man allowed to manipulate the system and have us struggle the way we are.
sam - 3-Jun-15 @ 7:18 PM
@st9156 - if you are concerned you do not have to let your ex have him overnight. If your ex is unhappy about it, he would have the option to request mediation or take it to court in order to let the court decide.
Sam - 1-Jun-15 @ 2:54 PM
Child maintenance service what a joke I am a mum who has to pay maintenance to my child who lives with my exhusband exwife they doing another assessment on me but he gets away with it yet again owing me money for my child who lives with Me they are so rude when you speak to them had loads of rows with them even seen my local mp they took loads out of my earnings last year bearing in mind I work part will they ever sought this I think the answer is no
kas - 31-May-15 @ 3:53 PM
Hello, I have split up from my ex - we were together for about 10 months and not married. He has what seems some underlying issues and I don't trust him as he has lied to me and made things up.. I have a 4 months old baby with him which I love very much. I told him I don't want him in my and my baby's life unless he changes his attitude and becomes nice and decent..He keeps sending me aggressive emails and still keeps asking about seeing my baby. I have moved from my previous property and one of the reasons was that I felt uneasy in case he turns up.. He has agreed to CSA payments which I have sorted out now and waiting for my first payment. However I do not want him anywhere near us he stresses me out and makes me angry. My question is is it right that as we're not married and he doesn't have PR can he demand access to my baby? Also what can I do to stop him harassing me? or who should I talk to? Thanks
E37 - 28-May-15 @ 8:43 PM
hiya i am in abit of a pickle i do not know who to talk to or what to do i was living with my ex partner (never married) for one year we had a baby together he is under one now. he moved out three months ago i am claiming income support child tax and child benefit as it is the only way i can get by, my ex has not given me any money towards his son to benefit my son. i have noticed that he has been drinking a lot more three-four times a week and have recently visited where he was staying and found two vodka bottles in his room and he can not hold his temper in the slightest he shouted at his son just because he was crying as he was tired. he wants to have him over night i am not sure weather he is able to even look after his son by himself or not i am worried for my son please help
st9156 - 28-May-15 @ 5:31 PM
If we're all honest, there are plenty of cases that are hopeless!!! My ex works cash in hand, has committed fraud time and time again to get out of paying csa properly, vas can do nothing even though he owes a large sum of money and refuses to pay/contact/do anything, his other half works several jobs, he shows our child large notes of money and is obviously flaunting how well he does while I have uniform etc... To provide, I wonder just how many people the system is unable to help. Whilst nothing can be done about him commiting fraud and tax evasion, I am being chased down by tax credits as I supposed changed sexual orientation overnight and now have a woman livingwith me, frustrating isn't the answer, some men never have and never will pay anything towards their child's upkeep!
fedup - 22-May-15 @ 5:30 PM
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