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Enforcement of CSA/CMS Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 17 Mar 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 husbands ex says he owes 7000 god knows they got to that I’ve asked for a break down but they don’t give it I’m going to get a lawyer to look into it this can’t go on somebody has to stop these women because it is them that tells the csa I’m a woman and I would never do this my husbands ex cheated on him he never saw his son she didn’t want him but she wants his money she said she wanted nothing from my husband then out of the blue years later she wants money well I’m going to fight it good luck everybody
Rosecottage - 17-Mar-19 @ 11:43 AM
The csa hit me with £46.000 arrears because my ex said IDE never paid. I did pay but missed payments when out of work. The thing is there now going to iver send me to prison or take my drivers licence or passport off me unless I pay £1.300 then the rest I don't owe this money help
Buck - 14-Mar-19 @ 5:22 PM
Guys, the whole system is corrupt. You are never ever going to win. The only way us guys can take back control of our lives and finances are bysimply not being PAYE. Simples. We all know child maintenance are legalised fraudsters.Their calculations fluctuate from one month to the next. You got to laugh at these Muppets. One Mon I'm told I owe 5k. Then 2 months later it's 21k lol. One month they want 500 per month then 3 months later they want £1200 per month. Seriously guys, you got to see the funny side of these idiots. Just take back control of your life, remove yourself from PAYE, go self employed, anything you can. Protect yourself and don't suffer with their that's anymore. You cannot beat a system that has the backing of corrupt judges, courts, and MPs.
Ady - 14-Mar-19 @ 1:23 AM
Iv been given a 15k bill as they claim arrears from between 99-08 even though it was a deductions from wages order then less than 24 hrs later told it was wiped of 12k so just need 2 pay but they cant access my files for them yrs how do i knw this is fact secretary of state put it on hold n squashed 12k y not the lot ffs
Jon - 13-Mar-19 @ 8:16 PM
I have just had the CMS contact me saying I owe 3700 from a CSA claim that has been closed for 8 years. They contacted the Ex and asked if she wanted it and of course she said yes. I don't have a issue with paying what I owe (if any) in areas but I asked how they came to this figure as it was so long ago and If I could have a break down. I was told that as the CSA is no longer running so none of the old casewas on file so they couldn't give me a break down, I asked how do I know it the right figure then and that no one should ever pay any money to anyone unless they can prove every penny is accounted for. They told me that it is what it is and I have to pay. Surly they have to give proof of what is owed. If not then I will send a letter to them saying they owe me £3700 as any one can demand money it seems. Any help would be appreciated
Burt - 13-Mar-19 @ 3:37 PM
Hi people need some info .... so not seen my daughter for about 5 years in the early stages of the break up called csa to arrange payment to the x .... she ignored letters and calls ... so am I going to get stung all of a sudden if she wants payment? Even though I have not seen her or not even able to contact her
Butsy - 11-Mar-19 @ 7:07 PM
Just found this page and seeing a lot of fellas in the same boat as me. CMS making up totally incorrect arrears amounts and being impossible to talk to. Mikey your right we all need to come together and end the CMS, they do not help in any way and are liars.
Smithy - 27-Feb-19 @ 3:12 PM
I have just spoken on the phone to them. God knows how many times it is now. I was made redundant in 2016 on now I look after my children. my partner works. I have always payed CSA for my eldest until I was made redundant. CSA are saying that as they did not know I was unemployed (which they did), I owe nearly £1000 in arrears. How is this even legal. I don't have that sort of cash and more to the point I do not owe it. They say they will hold it forever and take it from my pension if needed. Its disgraceful. Simply due to a lack of communication, I am stung with a huge bill that I wouldn't owe if the communication was there. I'm lost as to where I go from here.
robbo - 25-Feb-19 @ 5:32 PM
CMS is the worst company ever. They state they are non profit working for government however when you do your research you will find some interesting stuff. For example share holders. Citizens advise are shareholders so biggest waste of time using those as they profit from CMS so it's in there interest for you to keep paying. Action for children charity also shareholders, a charity making profit from CMS if this is not corrupt I don't know what is. These people should be shut down until they can get the system right. I came to a private agreement with my ex she called them almost a year ago to close the case. Now all of a sudden they have decided to start taking money from my wages again. No idea why as they have not even contacted me. Too many people are losing there life or falling onto depression due to these people. I'm hoping to get together with lots of people affected to try make a stand against these as no-one seems to help. I even went to my MP of the time Peter Bone had a few meetings he managed to delay a few things then started ignoring me. No-one seems prepared to stand up against these crooks. Anyone needing help I urge to look into nacsa and also deadbeatdads association. Let's come.together and try take these down. Anyone interested to talk help, advise others and support please get in touch. Together we can make a difference
Mikey - 21-Feb-19 @ 8:08 AM
My partner has two children with his ex.One is currently staying with us.As the other child is in hospital.His ex says he should still pay for both children.Although his child with us is estimated to stay for around 6 months with us.So of course we're paying for his day to day living.Do you think it's right that he's still paying for his child that's not with her. It's like we're paying twice for him.
Jojo - 12-Feb-19 @ 11:20 PM
I was told last week by CSA lawyer, ive got to pay back 35k unpaid child maintenance. Because my x was claiming benefits in the time my kids were growing up. They are now grown ups them self’s. 35k debt is worrying me to death, as I read fathers have taken there own life’s over it. Please advise me wot I can do Tel: 07899950070
Dave - 23-Jan-19 @ 5:47 PM
I made an arrangement in September after the change over I contacted can and set up a new ddthey failed to set up the ddas far as i know it was being paid now I just had a letter for a deo they have decided to contact my employer without notifying me without any contact and charge me 50 for the deo I was not in arrears with payments till the change over now I'm being peanaliised for there mistake
Native - 19-Jan-19 @ 4:14 PM
I have 3 children on my case with Cms I have disputed parentage with 2 children because mothers put doubt in my mind It took nearly a year to get done having to lose my home and job because of this. Nearly 2 month later I am still waiting for the letter confirming I’m not the biological father. The Csa/Cms have said I have nearly 10k in arrears then I get a letter saying I have 7k then just over 4K all in a space of a year they have repeatedly lied to me saying they have sent bank details of all mothers when they have not and stuck me in collections the one parent which they sent bank details and amount to pay I have been paying without fail but they have kept me in collections for over 10 years what advise would you give me I need serious advise
Why me - 10-Jan-19 @ 5:10 PM
My x and I have a private arrangement for child maintinance, that has worked for both of us for 10 years. i have recently recieved an arrears demand letter from the csa for £4400. i am living in thailand and am trying to contact them to discuss what this is about. i cannot ring them and wish to do via email. My x has now admitted that she has recieved similar letters over the years but has ignored them. Any advise please?
Bry - 8-Jan-19 @ 4:59 AM
I have been paying via DEO for ages. I also pay arrears due to the calculation being wrong. What i don't understand is, I pay arrears to the CMS but these are not passed on to the mother of my daughter. e.g : i pay £455 per month (with fees) but my ex only gets £280 (after fees). Where's the rest going? Can anyone help me understand this. The CMS are no use
Andy - 3-Jan-19 @ 9:15 AM
"CMS have done nothing to help me... Ex was paying until he went on an expensive holiday and since I have received nothing although he brought me to court to ask for time to take my child on holiday" What a horrible person you are. Do you work?
Starboy - 30-Dec-18 @ 11:09 AM
I have just had a payslip and found csa have taken £865. Not only does this mean I can pay any bills but I've have been trying to get them to respond to me for 6 months about miscalculation using old figures and not once have they made the promised 24hour call back. The also haven't contacted me in writing or verbally about any figures or that they were going to take any money from my wages as I previously paid direct to receiving parent. Please halp, where do I stand
Steve4 - 24-Nov-18 @ 10:00 PM
I have seperated from my wife, one child lives with me and two younger once with ex. She works 20 hours a week, im a full time carer with only carers allowance coming in. She now wants me to pay child maintenance from my ca. Can I not ask her for the same for my elder daughter? Please help, Bob
Jerry - 11-Nov-18 @ 11:21 AM
My brother had a child over 26 years ago.The mother denied he was the father and had been playing away whilst he was at work.In the 1990's the CSA forced him to take a DNA test and he was deemed to be the father so he was required to pay.He did so but changed jobs several times, was self-employed for a while and so on and the CSA placed DEOs on his employers.My brother was told by the CSA in a phone call in 2012 that his case was now closed.This co-incided with the child's 18th birthday, so seemed reasonable but they did not tell him at any point that he had arrears still outstanding. Fast forward to September 2017 and he is contacted by the CMS who say he owes £30k in arrears!!They have not explained how that figure is calculated.Is it based on his assumed income or is it a standard amount or what?They never answer any questions he puts to them in writing or by phone and their favourite phrase is' we are not required to tell you'. He works on a farm, gets £13ph gross and just about makes ends meet over a 12 month period.He is 53, rents a flat, has no pension or investments or savings of any kind. He had to get his MP to intervene to get a statement of account from the CMS as they said they were not required to provide it to my brother when he asked them. IN June this year he provided bank statements and proof of basic outgoings and agreed a £20 per week payment as he literally has no more spare and now the CMS have deducted £850 from his bank account because they decided it was 'surplus'.He has told them in writing and by phone that it is not surplus or savings but is money from the hours he worked harvesting potatoes which is needed to pay his winter bills when there is less farm work available, but they do not listen and do not care. He is heading for a breakdown but still they do not care.He worked 505 hours in the last 8 weeks to bring in the money he needs for the next few months.505 hours! Anyone got any advice for me as I am so worried about him. Thankyou. x
Anna Webb - 10-Nov-18 @ 11:28 AM
Ex is in are ears, pays bare half of what he's expected, he is abusive and controlling something I told Cms about when opening the case, he is due me quite a bit of money and just ignores all the letters and phone calls. Though manages to take me to court every month for extra time with his child. 10weeks I've to wait for collect and pay..10 weeks even though his payments had been missed from August we face another 10weeks ??
Stargirl - 6-Nov-18 @ 1:16 PM
In 2006 my daughter turned 16, left her mother and started work so my CSA payments stopped. End of I thought.... However, 2018 - I've been told that I owe nearly £5000 in maintenance payments to her mother as the CMS has calculated arrears. I've been down the local MP route and had numerous follow ups breaking down every payment I made for my daughter in the 13 years I had to. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I'm having to pay £187pcm for this 'debt' calculated as arrears despite my numerous attempts to have this wiped out or at least reduced. The CMS are saying that this money was still owed but in 2006, my argument is well why wasn't it asked for then? I did not expect to haunted by this again after years and years or misery through the CSA which ultimately cost me another marriage where I had more children. I have some paperwork dating back which I have submitted to my MP, to the CSA and to the CMS where it was a debt around £2,900 is still payable. I was never asked for this until recently but now the CMS have taken over, the figure is now £4,900. I don't know where to start to get through this again as I'm going around in circles with the CMS who slapped a DEO on me without knowledge. This is so difficult, after so many years of paying out then being clear of payments as your children grow up and I've since become a grandfather twice over to my daughters children, to be paying maintenance to her mother now, 12 years on I just so unfair and unjust. It's not as though my daughter gets that money!! The ex was contacted and said thanks very much instead of just moving on. Anyone help me please? regards Rob
Robster - 30-Oct-18 @ 12:32 PM
Company are a joke. I have dealt with them since 2009 when the changed from CSA to CMS they informed my husband he had arrears where from they couldn't tell us just pay it or we will take it anyway. We contested this and put an official complaint in sent evidence to prove we had paid since 2009 years nothing. They switch him to attachment of earnings with charges! Again we contested this won the case and was referred back to direct pay. We have been paying the arrears even though we don't owe them (request the arrears to be means tested they must do this) the debt has now doubled this year!!! How? No one knows! All we get is rude ladies favouring mom everytime and not prepared to listen they just tut and say pay it! This mentality of mom.is always right must stop. We paid thousands for a court order they always lose! It seems dad's that paying are bullied into paying more and they are making money from you! The harder you work the more you lost to your ex. I have complained to the ICE as we have had enough. We are paying for Christmas birthdays and holidays twice over!
Caz - 30-Oct-18 @ 11:16 AM
I have 6 children, up until last year CMA were collecting payment by an Attachment of Earnings Order, he then persuaded them that as he had paid for 6 months he should be allowed to switch to direct debit on collect and pay, he made 1 payment and then stopped paying, the order was reapplied and after 7 months he has again persuaded them that as he had paid for 6 months he should be allowed to switch to direct debit on collect and pay, he has now missed this payment, CMA say they will reapply the order but if he pays for 6 months he has a right to switch back to direct debit, is this the case? they also say if he maintains this for 6 months he would be entitled to switch to Direct Pay, this is a DV case, is he really allowed to keep repeating this cycle? The arrears are nearly 4K, how can we get CMA to take action?
ZT - 25-Oct-18 @ 3:58 PM
My partner us due back payment on csa. I work full time. Will i be liable for his back payment. The kids are nothing to do with me
Les - 23-Oct-18 @ 1:47 PM
Hi My husband has his own limited company and have always paid the maintenance the CMS has calculated for the three children he has with his ex. A few days ago, he got a letter from CMS saying they have recalculated his earnings (on the back of a request from his ex) and they are now saying he has to pay a substantial amount more. They are also saying they are back dating this payment to 2016. Can CMS do this, when they have never told him they were reassessing the case. Also the figure they have used for his initial payments were based on figures they took straight from the HRMC. Now they are saying they will include to full company account and not just the salary he was paid. Can they do that? Also, if they have done their own miscalculations, can they now go back years and tell someone to pay? It seems highly unfair that he should be penalised for something he has never done wrong. Further to this, the new weekly payment does not take into consideration his living expenses, food, rent, household bills and he will not be able to pay them. Can CMS do that as it would mean he can’t afford to provide a roof over the head for his children when he has them? Only earlier this year did he manage to stop a claim from his ex where she had told CMS that he had not paid maintenance for a year, even though he had (private arrangement between them). He had to provide bank statements and even so, CMS said that wasn’t enough and they then asked the mother to show statements as well. When she didn’t, they suspended the case saying they can’t close it as the mother has to do it. So it’s clear she is lying to the CMS she is still the one they look out for. She even lies to them with regards to how often he has the children which is roughly half the year and tells CMS he has them one night a year. Again, they will not listen to my husband and just take the word of the mother into consideration. I am absolute chocked and disgusted with how they treat fathers and how they think this is acceptable. Is it anything that can be done about it?
Emma - 23-Oct-18 @ 1:46 PM
One of your answers to a query shows is the August 2018 briefing paper which states that all CSA debt owed by non-resident parents will be written off. My ex's debt was transferred to CMS when our case moved over. Will his arrears from our time with the CSA also be written off or will they be safe because they have transferred to CMS please?
plainbobnat - 18-Oct-18 @ 1:04 AM
Yeah they are taking nearly half my wages had to go bankrupt, don't even know if the kid is mine and if it is I know I was set up for a fact,had my name dragged through the mud and not even allowed to see the child who is now legally an adult still in education, and still paying they don't care what your story is what your situation is or if the child is yours or not from my point of view this csm is a total joke I am furious
Roland rat - 11-Oct-18 @ 6:46 PM
Shocking system If I was 10 weeksbehind at work I'llbe sacked You lot csa are a joke you shouldall sacked ??????
Prem - 10-Oct-18 @ 6:08 PM
CSA are an absolute waste of time! I’ve had a case ongoing with the Father of my son since 2013, each year the case gets a default again my case! He changed address 4 times & hasnt informed them, apparently they can’t find him! On inland Revenue’s data base or DWP’s data base! But yet he’s living the high life! Something totally wrong with this system!
LoulaBell - 8-Oct-18 @ 8:15 PM
I have been paying my ex every month without fail and she has started getting greedy and got csa involved this was back in May i have a change in my financial situation and a drop in salary so csa asked me to send my wage slips which i have done but i havent heard anything from them so whats happening? I am only paying for one child shes 16 in february 2019 so will csa get in touch or will they scrap it due to my daughter reaching 16 in a couple of months
Smithy - 8-Oct-18 @ 9:31 AM
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