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Enforcement of CSA/CMS Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 20 May 2019 |
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.

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My partner has been asked to pay child support for a child that his ex doesn't allow him to see, she refuses him access but wants him to pay, can my partner refuse to pay until she allows him access?
Anna - 20-May-19 @ 3:01 PM
Iv had a lettter 48 hours ago saying l owe 6091.83 in child payments.i do not call it non payment or arrearsbut i have agreed to paying this back at 10.00 a week. i will be well into my 60s when i make the final payment. All i would like to say is im sorry for the upset caused to my son in any way who is now 25 years old .Im sorry i did not fightharder to see you Im sorry that out of all the payments i made the cash i did not get a receiptand there for after 20 years i can not prove that i paid this child support.to your mother. Im sorry that your mother did not declare this to csa at the the time 20 years agoIm sorry that coming home from work one evening i caught your mother in bed with another women ofthis i could never forgive & along with the other discretions i eventualy left But One thing i will never be sorry for is you my son love your farther
budda - 18-May-19 @ 10:55 AM
Employer had been instructed to deduct child maintenance from the father's wages. They have complied with this - but will not pass the money on to either the CMS or the mother! They are hanging on to it, and the CMS say it's not cost-effective to take out an Enforcement Order!
Sharkie - 17-May-19 @ 5:19 PM
Having lived through this nightmare with the CMS with my partner it seems the whole system is biased towards the mother. I accept there is fathers who do not support their children and I agree this is unacceptable. However my parents ex wife has used the system to for her own financial gain...... It started with a realisation that she could get more money going to the CSM than through the court order that was in place, she the realised if she manipulated her daughter not to stay with her Dad two nights a week that would also increase the payment. The CSM were not interested in anything he had to say they just took her word for it. He just had to accept it and get over the emotional distress it caused him. Move forward 3 years and his daughter has decided to leave college and take up an apprenticeship working 40hrs per week and getting paid......are they interested that she is no longer entitled to Child Maintenance the answer is no it’s all dependant on her mother telling the child benefit agency that’s circumstances have changed who the CMS will then contact to clarify as and when and she isn’t rushing to do that and risk missing out on hundreds of pounds a month. The only advice the child benefit office offered was report her for fraud! All the dealings he has had with the CMS has been a complete and utter waste of time.He doesn’t want to shirk his responsibility but wants a fair playing ground!
Dave - 14-May-19 @ 8:32 PM
There are guys here who do flout the system and there are honest guys who pay everything that is needed to their kids, so lets not get all feminist or gender extremist here guys! I paid child maintenance for many years, as some girls stated here at their frustration that calculations and amounts owed just keep changing... Yes isnt it frustrating! As a guy trying to make ends meet the Child maintenance system is and always has been a joke. My salary has never changed yet the amounts are persistently changing. One minute I have arrears and they agree £250 per month, 3 weeks later they want £486 per month, then a month later they want £867 a month. Come on... My salary is only a fraction above that a month and now they write to me wanting £1200 a month. Of course this is a joke. Women have no need to complain if they knew what was happening to guys also! This CMS is a complete joke, incompetent, liars, extortionists and fraudsters and BOTH parents are losers. Women who seek CMS do you think they are there to help you? When will you learn? You didnt need CMS to get married or jump in bed to make a child did you? So when it all goes pear shaped why do you call on a third party gov service? Everyone is responsible for their own actions so why run to gov for help when it all goes wrong? British benefits culture strikes again!!!
Ady - 12-May-19 @ 8:25 PM
Hi I received a letter regarding unpaid child maintenance for my daughter who is now 28 years old. Her father never laid a penny to me and CSA never chased it up. I was told about the debt to me and asked if I wanted to write it off, I said no and sent them all the information on her father I could fine, address, phone number, business address etc only to be told some 3 days later they had written if off. How can that be, they have not even tried to get it for me. Can I demand they send me correspondence between them and her father and take it to court myself and perhaps even the CSA as they have failed me. Feeling so annoyed right now, as he has recently come into her life, only because she tracked him down and told her siblings about herself.
Jackiel - 9-May-19 @ 5:44 AM
Hi can anyone help me please - my ex has now gone self employed after being employed and was earning over £70k. After non payment from him and numerous calls with CSA they eventually set up DOE with his employers and I thought Im getting somewhere, but then he leaves his job and becomes a director of his company so he doesn’t have to declare all his income and is earning between £400-£500 a day.The account is in arrears of £2k and my question is can I apply for liability order with the CSA to somehow get the arrears back?
Sue - 8-May-19 @ 7:21 PM
My husband pays 10k a year to his weathy ex through csa. His stepson My son is due at uni and due to husbands wage is going to get nothing. Due to the 10 k she gets plus the 300 per month seing them we've nothing left. Theres no help for my son at all. Im so upset with it all. Wheres the justice in the world. Why are his kids in tge eyes of csa the only ones that matter.I dont see an end to this im seriously considering divorcing my husband . £ 10 K per year for next 9 years . Thats 90k whilst we live a hard life
skint - 8-May-19 @ 4:58 PM
I'm currently in a really frustrating position. My ex has fraudulently declared his income, variations were made for 17/18 and 18/present. He is in arrears of well over £10k. He refuses to cooperate with CMS and continues to ignore their calls and their letters. His first payment (including arrears) should be made this month but I'm not holding my breath. I dont get how so many letters can have different figures on them all the time. When I call CMS I get different advice all the time...how do CMS expect us to understand the letters when they dont themselves?! These so called parents cant get away with it!
MissM - 5-May-19 @ 12:59 PM
I have paid my ex for 3 kids for the last 8 years, never missed a payment through bank transfer. I moved to Philippines with my current wife and daughter and my ex is saying that she has been to solicitor and they are arresting my wages!! She apparently wants more money. I work for an international company with no ties to uk, is there any grounds for the above threat? Thanks
Distraught - 5-May-19 @ 12:45 PM
My ex never once volunteered maintenance for our son. When I did receive any payment through the CSA,it was always arrears that had to be fought for. Even when he had 'no money' he could afford an accountant, just couldn't afford his son. My son is now 26 & a few weeks ago I received a letter from the CSA saying I was still owed over £12,000. This seems a lot & I know people will think he was asked to pay too much, the arrears have been calculated as he has provided information & dropped from £47,000 & as I've stated he has never just paid. It's been passed on to the CMS to collect, already on the third letter saying he hasn't paid. I'm not surprised. I'll give it a few months & see what happens, though after reading comments I'm thinking the CMS have as much power the CSA, which I concluded over the years to be none.
nickyozzy - 2-May-19 @ 2:23 PM
My ex had blagged the system for years, so it came back he had low income so only paid minimal for our 2 children. And that wasnt regular. Anyway,Finally he has been busted for fraud and has been earning over £65,000 per year. Pig! Got alot owed to us but won't hold my breath.
Phoenix - 1-May-19 @ 5:26 PM
Ive had arguments with my ex over amount ive paid in the past, received a letter from cms asking for 7000 in arrears which I asked for a breakdown of as its gone up by 2000 in a year even though I was out of work and claiming jsa. What really makes me laugh about them is they say on there letters that they want the parents to not pay via them yet they take 24% per payment, 20 from the payer and 4 from the receiver. Also maybe if they took 20% from the payer and 20% from the receiver people would stop using them as a god damn weapon/ threat!!
Brookie - 1-May-19 @ 2:30 AM
Unfortunately you cannot claim if your ex receives a large sum such as inheritance, I know because I tried it.It is not taken into consideration. For the lady who mentioned her disabled son.. I also have a disabled son and have arrears of over £9500 owing to me.The deductions of order didn't work as the employer was not cooperative.I was on the phone to them today asking where do we go from here, what happens now.They are now going to take out legal enforcement action and it's going to court. Now, I was told this last year and when he got the letter he made one payment and they dropped the case as he'd shown willingness to cooperate and think that was last payment he made so here we are again nearly a year later and when he gets his letter, he will probably do the same again and cheat the system.If it does go ahead a legal representative will represent me provided by CMS and they will write to me so I'm to expect a letter any day now and get this... I have to write a justification on why I should receive part of the money!£2705.14 of that arrears was when it was CSA, they are now trying to write that off as old debt and I have to justify why I should get it. Well I think I should get it on principal but don't think they'll see that as a justifiable reason. Was wondering if saying that because I am a full time carer to my disabled son, it limits me to what I can work because of my role as carer therefore I have a very low paid part time job. If I put his neglect of duty as affected the welfare of the children I'm worried they'll send Social services round
Bellaz - 30-Apr-19 @ 8:31 PM
I had a £46000 arrears from the csa for 1 daughter. I payed cash to my ex but didnt get any recipes there for theres no proof of payment I've been honest with them. I did miss payments due to being out of work etc but I have 3 other children that I pay for to. Ive payed back nearly £12000 now and they take what they want when they want. My marriage has broken down ive had 2 breakdowns and counciling for wanting to take my life and now there taking what they want again so yeh. I've had enough now mentally theres no way to make the csa listen there corrupt. The end
Buck - 26-Apr-19 @ 3:56 PM
MY ex has refused to pay towards my son since June 2017.From that point on she acumulated arrears of nearly £4500 up until mid 2018 by refusing to pay her monthly agreed amount when she finally informed the CMS of her "change in circumstances" - basically she lost her job and was no longer able to pay (not that she was in anycase).When the CMS finally made contact with her (£4500 in arrears and on the dole) she was forced into paying all of about £6 a week - woopee and the £4500 in arrears was basically put on hold until she started working again (highly unlikely with her mentality and knowing she owes said amount).Anyhow - fast forward to where we are now - she is still jobless, living on benefits but in just about to come into an inheritance of over £100,000.Are the CMS duty bound to launch a case on my behalf to claim back the arrears owed to me when she is soon to come into such a large sum?Advice please?
Ballack1973 - 20-Apr-19 @ 1:11 PM
Hi my ex husband refused to pay maintenance for my disabled son he works for a company that support people like our son a deo order was set up 2 years ago I’ve had 5 payment they never pay in time and now I haven’t had payment for 7 months the company are ignoring cm phone calls and they were sent one letter warning which they ignored now a second letter has been sent last week still no payments has anyone any ideas what will happen next thankyou x
Kms - 14-Apr-19 @ 11:35 AM
I'm disgusted that after 15 years the CSA are wanting over £7k from me. A woman who had shared care with her ex husband!!!Ive taken it to parliamentary ombudsman who say they see we have shared care but I'm out of the time frame. FFS I was made homeless, and had a breakdown due to my exes infidelity...I was threatened by him and he stole all my belongings from the house....I pray for karma
MJB - 13-Apr-19 @ 1:04 PM
Stunned. My case was closed just over 20 years ago. I didn't have any choice but to pay leading up to that - if you didn't pay they took the money through your employer. I paid everything asked of me up until the case was closed. The "child" is now an adult with a child of his own. Last year I made a Subject Access Request for my CSA records after being told on the phone that they don't keep those old records. Even after a reminder I still didn't receive the information I requested. Normally when you receive a request for money from anywhere else they at least present you with a breakdown of the amounts. Is it too much that we ask for proof before handing over our money? I'm not angry at my ex over this. She is what she is and I know there will be a special place in hell for her. No, my anger and amazement is reserved for the Government Agency. I haven't hidden for 20 years. I'm still living in the same house. How does it take that long to realise someone owes money? Or supposedly does.
Dave - 12-Apr-19 @ 5:49 PM
My husband has just received letter from CSA about writing off the debt for money he owes.He has had a nightmare with the CSA for many years but always paid the maintenance for his children through the CSA - his youngest daughter is now twenty. He was distraught on receiving this letter regarding a debt that did not exist and advising that it had been written off.This is really very insulting and just another example of incompetence on the part of the CSA.We are doing a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act for all the information the CSA hold regarding his account with them although I suspect the information will not be made available.
Leah - 10-Apr-19 @ 2:23 PM
CMS is a scam they want to get you hooked into pay and collect so they can get the fee's, its designed to be vague and complicated, I got them chasing me for 10k, one year I earned 8k, this is the year they say I was on 800 per week, they have told all sorts of lies, hooked up to the HMRC in real time they said, complained and got the training issue letter from them, that's 3 ive had now. Now they have a story where they said they work a year behind so this year should be my 8k year, the year I earned 8k was 2017-2018 but im earning 20k this year 2018-2019 and want to pay what im owe, what will happen is the 8k year will be missed in any calculations, ive asked them to just send me to jail, ill do 6 weeks at her majesty's pleasure, child support should be just deducted from your wages like a tax which will change depending on your monthly income, this yearly HMRC thing isn't working out for them, it opens scope for abuse and profit watching.
gambino - 6-Apr-19 @ 2:25 PM
I have been split up from my x partner 15 years.l lost my house/contents/job over her and she even spent my daughters savings l put away. 15 years down the line and l received a letter Christmas Eve morning saying l owe £26000 in arrears...WTF. New Year’s Eve morning l get a phone call asking how l would like to pay.... Who the hell are these people..!!! Even after 15 years the s**t never stops from my daughters mother who l might add is now alcoholic and does nothing but smoke wacky backy all day... They can send me behind bars as lm now at the point were l have switched of....bring what ever on as lm ready for a fight....£26000 your off your head...
Kp - 5-Apr-19 @ 8:02 PM
Ready for this madness.I got a phone call off childmaintenance in Feb 2018 saying csa say I owe 5000 ?? What no I dont I paid d.e .o all the years till I was out of work and if your reading this and you had it taken out of your wage you paid more than you should have . But it was like banging your head against a wall trying to talk to them like overtime commission etc . Always added after loads of overtime ... anyway they said if we dont hear from ex .that's it .1 year on Feb 19 gets call again same thing what the f.....I said tell me how I owe this from 5 years ago .nothing just how are you going to pay I said are you mad ???? Tell me how I owe this no they dont know .after lots of 1 hour waiting each call I found out by luck off 1 of there reps .when I was redundant they still added payments without any response to me even though I told them I was not working . I have had to get tax records to prove my income and while I have to wait for themto get there facts right they have already set up a d.e.o order I'm fuming.I have 4 young kids renting house . She as 2 houses worth 500.0000 plus and minted. By the way she chose csa cause she worked out the calcalations .my daughter is now 21. Sick of these disgusting low lives . And just to make my week my mate who never paid a penny owed 20000 as just had a letter out of the blue saying he now owes nothing they are closing is case .what the f...k is going on??????.??.....
Taylo - 4-Apr-19 @ 9:58 PM
Just read comment by CT and totally agree. I have the maximum share of parenting I can which still ensures my ex gets a large child maintenance payment for 1/2 a day a week off of 50:50 care The system is driven to this conclusion as it is the most lucrative for the recipient. Europe works on a presumption of 50:50 care unless there is a valid reason not to. Seems to be one part of European Law we haven’t adopted!! Family court and maintenance are both archaic and unbalanced. I raised this with my MP and got several woolly responses but nothing that justified the current imbalances
What a life! - 3-Apr-19 @ 7:42 AM
The whole formula that the CMS use is at odds with the family courts.The family courts have a duty to encourage children to be with both parents, however the CMS system encourages many parents to limit access to the NRP, in order that they will get higher payments.I was paying for the mortgage that my ex wife abused me out of, child maintenance, my own living costs and working long hours,and having to self represent myself in court for a child arrangements order.The ex, meanwhile, does not work, drove around in a luxury car, andpaid for a barrister to try to limit the childrens access to me, in order that she could get the full CMS payments. Terrible system and encourages child abuse, by promoting RP's to limit and deny children access to the NRP. Hopefully this will be ammended in line with Sir Michael Mcfarlane review.
CT - 27-Mar-19 @ 10:35 PM
I was hit with a 4500 figure despite my case being closed in 2014. Soon i was hit with it, i sent a letter requesting my data to the csa back on 31st october 2018. Suppose i was lucky because the csa was still there. They didnt send my data. As it was sent recorded delivery i had a legal challenge to the cms because they didnt send my data in the 40 day window. I owe nothing today, as i got the letter. Champagne anyone ??
Leajay - 25-Mar-19 @ 10:46 AM
Received this letter about a CSA debt being written off, never missed a payment, never accrued a debt, even paid when out of work and never had any letters saying I was in debt. What is going on?
Dazzler - 23-Mar-19 @ 11:17 PM
Hello...I've read several posts. I've noticed a lot of people mention about access and maintenance payments. Access to your child and maintenance payments are generally separate issues. If you do not see your child for whatever reason you still have a parenteral responsibility to provide financially for your child/children.
Helen - 23-Mar-19 @ 8:17 PM
£14000 iv paid back and still in arrears,over 9 years and havent dodged it,since I split with her iv never been able to live my own life,its impossible to keep a house and car on your own,tied down like a Victorian pesent,fck you labour,conservative,and rest you've never done anythingto change my life,drop dead.
GAZZ - 23-Mar-19 @ 2:07 AM
After nearly 29 years of being chased for csa....despite my wife having an affair...refusing to let me see my son despite numerous court orders for 25 years I have today recieved a letter from the csa stating that the csa have written off my debt totally and will not be pursuing it further. Is this correct? I'm relieved in one way it's over as I know help my son out in different ways so he will feel financial benefit but I don't trust the csa. Am I "safe" now to move on without this ever coming back to haunt me? If it does it would destroy my relationship with my son. Any advise would be appreciated.P.s I agree with paying towards a child but not with threats and unreasonable requests....that seems to be a huge issue over the years especially when they call you a criminal!
Steve - 22-Mar-19 @ 2:56 PM
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