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

Enforcement of CSA/CMS Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 26 May 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.

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[Add a Comment]
@ Verity: come to a private agreement with the non resident parent.
Tina - 26-May-17 @ 10:11 PM
Verity- Your Question:
How do you take enforcement action for arrears and missed payments against the paying parent if they have no assets and if they are self employed?Thanks Verity

Our Response:
If the paying parent has no assets, then it is difficult. This is where is becomes almost impossible for CMS to extract payment and arrears.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-May-17 @ 12:48 PM
How do you take enforcement action for arrears and missed payments against the paying parent if they have no assets and if they are self employed? Thanks Verity
Verity - 26-May-17 @ 12:16 AM
Does anybody know how long it takes the new csa group to reasses what you have to pay. I have told them the amount the calculated was from 2 years ago and I only worked 6 months of last year after loosing my job. My new job is considerably less than my problem job as I no longer get bonuses but it had been 3 months since the case was opened and they still have not recalculated the costs. All new payslips have been sent and received by them. I did try to set up an agreement with my ex last year to do it not via csa which she refused.
Sara10 - 21-May-17 @ 3:56 PM
Jason - Your Question:
Hi ya posted this a few weeks ago but have had no answer, can anyone help."Hi ya, my wife is due csa payments from her ex hubbie, the case has been backwards and forwards to court where a suspended sentence was put in place. The ex was left owing around £3700 arears at the court case, he was ordered to pay arears plus his weekly payment. Upon my self and my wife checking back and roughly working out the arears and the current payments we reckon he still owes around £2700, we contacted the csa and they have told us this is not owed to my wife but to the secretary of state, we do not understand why as we have not received the monies, can any one help, cheers "

Our Response:
You can find out if you enquire via the gov.uk link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-May-17 @ 2:24 PM
Hi ya posted this a few weeks ago but have had no answer, can anyone help. "Hi ya, my wife is due csa payments from her ex hubbie, the case has been backwards and forwards to court where a suspended sentence was put in place. The ex was left owing around £3700 arears at the court case, he was ordered to pay arears plus his weekly payment. Upon my self and my wife checking back and roughly working out the arears and the current payments we reckon he still owes around £2700, we contacted the csa and they have told us this is not owed to my wife but to the secretary of state, we do not understand why as we have not received the monies, can any one help, cheers "
Jason - 19-May-17 @ 11:00 AM
Myself and my partner have 7 children we are responsible for, I pay my ex husband £80 every month for two of my children and my ex husband only has one of my children the other one is in private foster arrangement with his ex wife for the past 3 months I contacted cms and they told me I pay the same to my ex for one or two children(he doesn't pass any money onto his ex wife for my other child) also he has a debt of over £5000 through csa owes to myself when the children resided with me. I have rung several times over 3 months no one want to help?? My youngest child's father will only let me see my son if I pay £100 a month My partner pays £180 to his ex for two of his children and another £150 to his other ex for two youngest children through cms which was figures we were told to pay. Initially we were told £180 would be split between two women.it wasn't it was almost doubled. We can't seem to get any straight answers from csa or cms . We rent a two bed property to have our children every other weekend which cost £895 plus bills all in all with car running cost to collect drop off and provide whilst they are with us we are getting into very bad financial situation. Who can we get the correct advise to check all the above pls?
Caz - 14-May-17 @ 4:21 PM
Hi I am just wondering what happens when a father, who is paying child maintenance and was on a reasonable salary goes self employed? How do you then work out the child maintenance or do you expect the father to still pay what he was paying for child maintenance even if he can't now afford it?
Jade - 13-May-17 @ 2:38 PM
Gaz11- Your Question:
I've been paying csa to my children's mother by a standing order for years. The money is taken out of my wages before I get it which I had no problem with.Csa work out how much I should pay, again totally fine with it.But then afew years down the line a recieve a letter from csa saying they made an error with the calculation of payment and that I've under paid and now owe just under 3000 quid and now CMS are now saying they want it paying.Now I'm all for paying for my children as it's my responsibility for them and have been paying my ex through direct debit so we didn't have to go through csa.I just see why I should have to pay for there errors.I'm not on a great wage to start with and everything was fine until CMS got involved.Do I have any rights regarding now being in debt thanks to CSA?

Our Response:
I'm afraid your only recourse is to complain or appeal, please see gov.uk link here. We can't speculate why this has occured. However, you're not the only person this has happended to, we have had a few comments across our different pages today from paying parents experiencing the same.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-May-17 @ 11:51 AM
Treeloe - Your Question:
So hubby back in 2012 after consistently paying via standing order was told by CSA he owed £1000. He proved he had been paying but they wouldn't accept it and took money from his wages. At the time he got reassessed and wrote to him with the new amount to be taken each week by DOE. This has been coming out of his wages since 2012, beginning of April he was told it was swapping to CMS and he was assessed again. New amount was set up to come from his bank by standing order from 16 April. Yesterday we had a letter from CSA saying he has underpaid by £3,800!! and that they wont the money to close his case - HOW?? they sorted out how much and did the DOE, so how can he owe? Also he is paying CMS and CSA are still taking from his wages - so he is paying double to his ex, CSA say CMS have got to advise them to stop and CMS say that they don't need to tell CSA - HELP. hubby is on the verge of a breakdown

Our Response:
I can't say why this may have happened, I can only suggest he appeals and/or complains, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-May-17 @ 10:58 AM
I've been paying csa to my children's mother by a standing order for years. The money is taken out of my wages before I get it which I had no problem with. Csa work out how much I should pay, again totally fine with it. But then afew years down the line a recieve a letter from csa saying they made an error with the calculation of payment and that I've under paid and now owe just under 3000 quid and now CMS are now saying they want it paying. Now I'm all for paying for my children as it's my responsibility for them and have been paying my ex through direct debit so we didn't have to go through csa. I just see why I should have to pay for there errors. I'm not on a great wage to start with and everything was fine until CMS got involved. Do I have any rights regarding now being in debt thanks to CSA?
Gaz11 - 11-May-17 @ 5:51 PM
So hubby back in 2012 after consistently paying via standing order was told by CSA he owed £1000.He proved he had been paying but they wouldn't accept it and took money from his wages.At the time he got reassessed and wrote to him with the new amount to be taken each week by DOE.This has been coming out of his wages since 2012,beginning of April he was told it was swapping to CMS and he was assessed again.New amount was set up to come from his bank by standing order from 16 April.Yesterday we had a letter from CSA saying he has underpaid by £3,800!!and that they wont the money to close his case - HOW?? they sorted out how much and did the DOE, so how can he owe?Also he is paying CMS and CSA are still taking from his wages - so he is paying double to his ex, CSA say CMS have got to advise them to stop and CMS say that they don't need to tell CSA - HELP..... hubby is on the verge of a breakdown
Treeloe - 11-May-17 @ 2:12 PM
Sick of Misinformati - Your Question:
Where did my story go? It offered insightful advice to others in the same position. Glad I screen snapped it. Why did you censor my post? Seriously, because I only told users how to fight against poor decisions.

Our Response:
Your post may have been removed if it contained swear words, references to other people by name, or something which may implicate you personally with regards to defamation.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-May-17 @ 1:44 PM
If somebody can please give me an answer as to how on this earth the CMSfor any paying parent whether that be male or female work out the amount you need to pay before your tax and NI contributions as being a fair and correct way of deciding what financial support you should provide your children please speak up..... absolutely baffled by this . How can a calculation be made on money you don't actually earn in the first place ?On top of this mathematical farce can somebody please tell me where the CMS arrived at the 25% variation in earnings before your payments are lowered in any way shape or form ? For easy maths sake if you earn £40,000 per annum before tax and national insurance you would have to take a pay cut of £10,000 before your payments reduced , if you dropped by £9000 per annum its not 25% but despite being worse off your payments stay the same really ? On the other hand if your salary increases by 5% (not 25 %) you pay more its madness dare i say it almost criminal. In my head a child is a child the rough costs per week for their upbringing must be around the same but not in the CMS eyes the more you earn the more your children cost to look after..... really ?? I want to make my point clear that I will never shy away as a parent from my responsibilities to ensure I financially support my children however the way the CMS calculate their payments currently is nothing but criminal in my eyes. I pay my maintenance then have to pay again to collect , feed , entertain etc my children on the odd hours days i get to see them so I pay twice ? The whole thing needs scrapping and making fair for all so the children benefit and paying parents are all treated exactly the same regardless of salary etc.....
paulo3152 - 10-May-17 @ 1:50 AM
Squish - Your Question:
I opened a case with the CSA a year ago, after I failed to get anywhere privately with my ex. Even though this case was logged a year ago and I have opted for the CSA collection service, I have never once recieved a payment from my ex to help with the upbringing of our child. I have now been informed the arrears maybe written off, due to a change in circumstances. I understand that due to changes his rate should change, but I dont understand why he is being let off for not paying when he was in a better finaicial position. I'm disappointed that no resolution has come of this case, I turned to the CSA for help after I'd failed to get my ex to take some responsibility for his child and feel like nothing has really changed. Its not the CSA's fault it is my ex's for not wanting to support his child, I just feel like theirs no where else to turn now. He will never have his child's best interest at heart, despite my efforts, that something I'm gradualy coming to accept and is pushing me to work harder to try and provide a better future for our child.

Our Response:
If your ex is classed as unemployed, then he will naturally go on to nil/flat rate. There is little the CMS/CSA can do to collect the arrears as child maintenance payments are based purely on the paying parent's earnings and the tax they pay via HMRC. However, there are enforcement actions CMS can take, please see link here. If you feel you have been unfairly treated in this matter, you can complain, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-May-17 @ 11:45 AM
I opened a case with the CSA a year ago, after I failed to get anywhere privately with my ex. Even though this case was logged a year ago and I have opted for the CSA collection service, I have never once recieved a payment from my ex to help with the upbringing of our child. I have now been informed the arrears maybe written off, due to a change in circumstances. I understand that due to changes his rate should change, but I dont understand why he is being let off for not paying when he was in a better finaicial position. I'm disappointed that no resolution has come of this case, I turned to the CSA for help after I'd failed to get my ex to take some responsibility for his child and feel like nothing has really changed. Its not the CSA's fault it is my ex's for not wanting to support his child, I just feel like theirs no where else to turn now. He will never have his child's best interest at heart, despite my efforts, that something I'm gradualy coming to accept and is pushing me to work harder to try and provide a better future for our child.
Squish - 7-May-17 @ 9:09 AM
Where did my story go? It offered insightful advice to others in the same position. Glad I screen snapped it. Why did you censor my post? Seriously, because I only told users how to fight against poor decisions.
Sick of Misinformati - 6-May-17 @ 2:44 AM
Hi ya, my wife is due csa payments from her ex hubbie, the case has been backwards and forwards to court where a suspended sentence was put in place. The ex was left owing around £3700 arears at the court case, he was ordered to pay arears plus his weekly payment. Upon my self and my wife checking back and roughly working out the arears and the current payments we reckon he still owes around £2700, we contacted the csa and they have told us this is not owed to my wife but to the secretary of state, we do not understand why as we have not received the monies, can any one help, cheers
Jason - 5-May-17 @ 12:49 PM
Biba - Your Question:
My ex decided default on payments after he begged me to close CSA case and l agreed to a private arrangement. So now l have opened a new case with CMS and they have informed me that the record they have via HMRC are of financial year 2015 when he was on benefits which is £7 week!Information of this fact has gone out to him and l guess he will just lie and state that his weekly income is £7 week even though he is in employment and earning in excess of £30,000. This l think is so unfair and l was informed that CMS asses cases on HMRC information.

Our Response:
Child maintenance is based upon earnings paid via HMRC. If you ex is earning the amount you say, then this will be automatically be relayed via HMRC to CMS through the tax he has paid. His payments will be reassessed accordingly.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Apr-17 @ 10:32 AM
My ex decided default on payments after he begged me to close CSA case and l agreed to a private arrangement. So now l have opened a new case with CMS and they have informed me that the record they have via HMRC are of financial year 2015 when he was on benefits which is £7 week! Information of this fact has gone out to him and l guess he will just lie and state that his weekly income is £7 week even though he is in employment and earning in excess of £30,000. This l think is so unfair and l was informed that CMS asses cases on HMRC information.
Biba - 27-Apr-17 @ 2:10 PM
Miraculous Conceptio - Your Question:
Just been told my claim for maintenance is Zero! Of course its nothing because the ex doesn't declare his cash in hand wages, how clever is he? He's married with another 2 children,a roof over his head, food in his belly and apparently has 4 cars. I payed £20 to file a claim to the CMS and for what? All they did was contact hmrc to find out what earnings he declared which surprise surprise was zilch nada nothing. I found out more information on his work history googling his name which took 5 mins than CMS did in 6 weeks. They are a joke! I could've spent that £20 on food for my children. What about the default payment that is mentioned when no income is declared by the paying parent?

Our Response:
If the paying parent has little or no income then they would be classed as either having to pay nil or flat rate, please see link here. The CMS/HMRC cannot assess a paying parent on cash-in-hand payments as this kind of work is illegal (unless your ex is registered as self-employed).
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Apr-17 @ 2:03 PM
@Chasing - you can't claim child maintenance from an ex's inheritance. You can only claim from earnings lodged via HMRC.
Jake87 - 26-Apr-17 @ 12:38 PM
Just been told my claim for maintenance is Zero! Of course its nothing because the ex doesn't declare his cash in hand wages, how clever is he? He's married with another 2 children,a roof over his head, food in his belly and apparently has 4 cars. I payed £20 to file a claim to the CMS and for what? All they did was contact hmrc to find out what earnings he declared which surprise surprise was zilch nada nothing. I found out more information on his work history googling his name which took 5 mins than CMS did in 6 weeks. They are a joke! I could've spent that £20 on food for my children. What about the default payment that is mentioned when no income is declared by the paying parent?
Miraculous Conceptio - 25-Apr-17 @ 6:59 PM
Hi There, When enforcement doesn't work? My EX would not pay and when using the CSA a deduction of earnings order was made and collected for 6mths, he then gave up this job and went self employed and would not confirm his earnings,this has since been transferred over to CMS and in the same boat! they have confirmed the arrears have been transferred over but are chasing for the flat rate as he is making no contact - what i would like to know is if the CMS managed to get his driving licence taken away or imprison him will this process then stop as this will not be a deterrent for him? will they keep taking the driving licence away? i am thinking the only way i will ever get any money is in years time when he will inherits property..... will the case lay dorment and can be reopened many years down the line when his circumstances (what can be proved) have changed????? Thankyou :)
Chasing - 25-Apr-17 @ 2:21 PM
cashpoint to the ex - Your Question:
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.

Our Response:
Unless parents can agree a family-based child maintenance arrangement (which CMS prefers families to organise), then as you know, CMS is the only option. Child maintenance and child access is not dependent upon each other. If you feel you have been treated unfairly by CMS, your only recourse is to complain. please see link here. The office managing your case will contact the Complaints Resolution Team who will try to sort out your complaint within 15 working days.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Apr-17 @ 10:58 AM
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
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