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Enforcement of CSA Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 4 Dec 2016 |
 
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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[Add a Comment]
I'm 17 I was living with my mother, and my father is paying csa that goes directly to my mother Monthly he owes thousands of pounds in arrears. I have moved out of my mums so we are now not speaking. Does my mum still keep the csa from my dad or should I be receiving it as I'm not at home and have no contact with my mum
Ben - 4-Dec-16 @ 12:26 PM
jj - Your Question:
I have been paying child Maintenance through deduction of earnings for my daughter of whom I have no contact with at her mother's request for many years. despite a change in my personal circumstances such as increase in earnings and the birth of my 4 additional children who live with me, the csa always ignored my request for reassessment of my payment amounts despite me providing birth certificates of me young family. However when my case ended with vas and was transferred over to the child maintenance services a reassessment of our situation was done and my payment to my non resident daughter was increased. However I have since been contacted by csa to request proof of my earnings dated back to when my initial deduction of earnings was calculated as they have been advised that I may now have arrears based on my income. I Have always cooperated with csa and had no control over my deduction of earnings. How can they reasess now that the case is closed. I am in no financial position to pay out anymore Money

Our Response:
I can only suggest in this instance you complain, please see gov.uk link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 29-Nov-16 @ 2:35 PM
I have been paying child Maintenance through deduction of earnings for my daughter of whom I have no contact with at her mother's request for many years. despite a change in my personal circumstances such as increase in earnings and the birth of my 4 additional children who live with me, the csa always ignored my request for reassessment of my payment amounts despite me providing birth certificates of me young family. However when my case ended with vas and was transferred over to the child maintenance services a reassessment of our situation was done and my payment to my non resident daughter was increased. However I have since been contacted by csa to request proof of my earnings dated back to when my initial deduction of earnings was calculated as they have been advised that I may now have arrears based on my income . I Have always cooperated with csa and had no control over my deduction of earnings. How can they reasess now that the case is closed. I am in no financial position to pay out anymore Money
jj - 29-Nov-16 @ 9:55 AM
I moved over to the new child maintenance options service ages ago. Well I received a letter saying I owe arrears around £900 from old Csa case which is been transfered but I overpaid one of my other kids mum's nearly £600 and the only reason I found out as we get on well and she showed me the letter. The have decided not to transfer her debt and it has been wiped. I'm willing to pay whatever I owe but whatever I'm owed gets wiped. Doesn't make sense.
Dee1984 - 28-Nov-16 @ 8:35 PM
My husband has a 15yr old daughter. He is currently on ESA and has been paying child maintenance of £30 a month out of his benefit. I began a job 6 months ago and my husband's benefit money has stopped. We now live on my income alone which is not a very good one as I only work part time. Until now I have continued paying the child maintenance for him to help with her upbringing but money is tight and I can no longer continue with the payments. Will he fall into arrears if I don't continue with payments? Am I expected to make these payments for him?
Sarab1183 - 26-Nov-16 @ 1:34 AM
Ellie- Your Question:
My dad stopped paying csa for me 3 months before I left school and since hasn't paid a penny for my brother who is still at school. My mum is struggling with money and phoned the csa to chase him, he claimed he had no money to pay, and hasn't declared his 2nd job. Yet on his Facebook and whenever I see him he tells me about all of the mini breaks and nights out and dinners him and his mates have gone on. My mum hasn't been on a mini break or night out in 10 years since he left. How do we get him to pay what he should.

Our Response:
The Child Maintenance Service comminicates with the HMRC which will assess your dad regarding the amount of tax he pays and make the assessment from there based on his earnings. If he hasn't declared his second job (i.e he is not paying tax and is working illegally), there is not much the CMS can do, unless your mum can prove he is earning extra. However, she should be awarded child maintenance from his main job, if he is earning a wage. Your mum can only keep following it up with the CMS, which will do its best where it can to take money from your father to help support your brother.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Nov-16 @ 2:20 PM
My dad stopped paying csa for me 3 months before I left school and since hasn't paid a penny for my brother who is still at school. My mum is struggling with money and phoned the csa to chase him, he claimed he had no money to pay, and hasn't declared his 2nd job . Yet on his Facebook and whenever I see him he tells me about all of the mini breaks and nights out and dinners him and his mates have gone on. My mum hasn't been on a mini break or night out in 10 years since he left. How do we get him to pay what he should.
Ellie - 18-Nov-16 @ 9:37 AM
Hi. I have payed my csa on time since daughters birth she is now 8. I used to have her 50% of the time until my ex accused myself and wife of sexually abusing my dUghter. Police were involved but was dropped. It was hell. I have two step children and it affected all of us. My ex hated my new family so was just nasty x the police advised us to not have contact with daughter as felt mother would continue to accuse even though she did ask police if I would have daughter over Christmas do she could go out?? When the new csa came ini text the mum to say that I was happy to sort without them she accepted the first direct debit. Now just got a call from csa saying doing it through them and they have told her what I earn. Me not seeing my daughter is not my choice yet because I did some overtime I now need to pay double. My wife has been sick and had to go self employed so earns next to nothing. I won't be able to cover my bills. How is this fair
Marclaire - 18-Nov-16 @ 9:23 AM
Beep - Your Question:
I have 14 years old child ,last year I was put aplication for child meintanance.My husband work like a self emplyed from bank statment I was checked his income was 5000 per month all year,so in totall he earn 60,000 no cost at all just car ins,and net fix.To CSA he give info there for prviouse year he earn 13,000 How I can appeal from this. Why nobody is interesting at all ,he give falls information dont pay enough tax and just laugh its sad for me becouse he dont care about own child

Our Response:
You may wish to seek legal advice if you can prove your ex earns more than he is stating to the HMRC. A court would look into/analyse his bank statements to verify this. Therefore, it is worth chatting to a legal professional in order to explore your options.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Nov-16 @ 12:46 PM
deb- Your Question:
Hi there i received a letter to say that my case with csa had been closed when my daughter reached 20 ( my daughter lived with her father from the age of 4). I have received since 2001 and maybe before that zero balance on my yearly statements with no inclination to owing any money , as I said zero balance. Then in may this year,a year after the case had been closed the csa contacted me saying that they have decided to collect a debt that they had previously decided not to collect £649.21. I ignored it and thought they had made a mistake but today another letter lands on the mat saying I owe this money. I called the number and spoke to the advisor who advised me that they had suspended the debt in 2001 and then the statements do not show this debt and show a zero balance. I am pretty angry but the advisor insists that they can collect the money as I owe it to the government. It is so far back with no mention again since 2001 can they do this ? I'm very stubborn and will fight this if I have the correct advice as I don't really know where I stand Any advice would be helpful thank you ,

Our Response:
We can't say whether the CSA can collect this or not, but you can certainly complain if you think you are being treated unfairly, please see gov.uk link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Nov-16 @ 12:05 PM
I have 14 years old child ,last year I was put aplication for child meintanance.My husband work like a self emplyed from bank statment I was checked his income was 5000 per month all year,so in totall he earn 60,000 no cost at all just car ins,and net fix.To CSA he give info there for prviouse year he earn 13,000 How I can appeal from this. Why nobody is interesting at all ,he give falls information dont pay enough tax and just laugh its sad for me becouse he dont care about own child
Beep - 16-Nov-16 @ 11:35 PM
Hi there i received a letter to say that my case with csa had been closed when my daughter reached 20( my daughter lived with her father from the age of 4). I have received since 2001 and maybe before that zero balance on my yearly statements with no inclination to owing any money , as i said zero balance . Then in may this year,a year after the case had been closed the csa contacted me saying that they have decided to collect a debt that they had previously decided not to collect£649.21 . I ignored it and thought they had made a mistake but today another letter lands on the mat saying i owe this money . I called the number and spoke to the advisor who advised me that they had suspended the debt in 2001 and then the statements do not show this debt and show a zero balance . i am pretty angry but the advisor insists that they can collect the money as i owe it to the government . It is so far back with no mention again since 2001 can they do this ? I'm very stubborn and will fight this if i have the correct advice as i don't really know where i stand Any advice would be helpful thank you ,
deb - 16-Nov-16 @ 7:09 PM
Salty - Your Question:
I have been paying £200 per month for 7 yearsThis month the last payment of £20.28pYes 28p. Was supposed to be paid but they took £200.They said they would contact payroll and adjust it but they haven't they are inapproachable with it past about on the phone. no response to emails.My calculation was purely made up with no substance or proof of earnings needed by them. they wanted money from when my ex was on benefit. Iv had 7 years of poverty on the back of it. I had my daughter nearly every day growing up but she refused to tel them all this. My dauter is now 22 I'm 50. She had also a child not by me but the CDA have never once chased him for a penny and she is 27 This country is just insane

Our Response:
If you think you have been treated unfairly, you can complain. You should not be paying child maintenance for a daughter age 22 (unless specified by the courts). Please see link here. Child maintenance should stop when your ex stops receiving child benefit.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Nov-16 @ 3:14 PM
I have been paying £200 per month for 7 years This month the last payment of £20.28p Yes 28p. Was supposed to be paid but they took £200. They said they would contact payroll and adjust it but they haven't they are inapproachable with it past about on the phone . no response to emails . My calculation was purely made up with no substance or proof of earnings needed by them . they wanted money from when my ex was on benefit. Iv had 7 years of poverty on the back of it. I had my daughter nearly every day growing up but she refused to tel them all this. My dauter is now 22 I'm 50 . She had also a child not by me but the CDA have never once chased him for a penny and she is 27 This country is just insane
Salty - 14-Nov-16 @ 2:05 PM
Jay - Your Question:
My ex partner is saying he has split up from his current partner who he has 3 kids with and now I'm getting less than I was when he was claiming they lived as a family. Problem is they are still a loving family and his partner purely set up the claim so he would be able to pay less. I know a certain amount it taken off when he has children living with him but it seems more is taken off by lying and saying he's split from the other mother. How can he get away with this????

Our Response:
You would have to prove your ex hasn't split with the mother and that he not a non-resident parent, i.e he has not moved out of the family home.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Nov-16 @ 10:32 AM
My ex partner is saying he has split up from his current partner who he has 3 kids with and now I'm getting less than I was when he was claiming they lived as a family. Problem is they are still a loving family and his partner purely set up the claim so he would be able to pay less. I know a certain amount it taken off when he has children living with him but it seems more is taken off by lying and saying he's split from the other mother. How can he get away with this????
Jay - 13-Nov-16 @ 1:12 AM
My ex has never paid maintainence on time we have always gone through the csa as domestic abuse was why we split which he went to prison for. The csa have taken over a year to chase him for missed payments and no end in sight. He owes me over £7000 and I keep being fobbed off by the csa. Is there anything I can do to recover some of the arrears or make the csa move faster?
Amy - 11-Nov-16 @ 10:26 AM
Payne101 - Your Question:
Hi I was after some advice if possible, I am 21 years old and my parents split in about 2001 since 2002 my farther failed to make and child matinance towards my self even tho he has always been in a job, I was wondering if it is possible to take him to court for the money that he should of paid?

Our Response:
Your father is not legally obliged to pay you directly. If he was in employment, then he would have been legally obliged to financially help support your mother with your day-to-day care, through payments to her. If your mother made a claim through the CSA at the time, then the CSA would have attempted to retrieve the money on her behalf. If your mother never made a claim through your childhood, then she would not be entitled to claim retrospectively.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Nov-16 @ 12:25 PM
Hi I was after some advice if possible, I am 21 years old and my parents split in about 2001 since 2002 my farther failed to make and child matinance towards my self even tho he has always been in a job, I was wondering if it is possible to take him to court for the money that he should of paid?
Payne101 - 7-Nov-16 @ 9:07 PM
k - Your Question:
I need help. My ex stop paying months ago and said he works on and off and doesn't even visit his child or even want to talk to me can CMA check if he is working through HMRC? I think im going to make a CMA claim so they can collect and pay I don't really care about the percentage that have to be paid anything for my child is better then nothing.

Our Response:
Yes, CSA will work with HMRC to assess the amount of tax he pays.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Nov-16 @ 2:23 PM
I need help. My ex stop payingmonths ago and said he works on and off and doesn't even visit his child or even want to talk to me can CMA check if he is working through HMRC? I think im going to make a CMAclaim so they can collect and pay I don't really care about the percentage that have to be paid anything for my child is better then nothing.
k - 5-Nov-16 @ 1:02 PM
B - Your Question:
My ex has stopped paying again as he seems to be job hopping again , isn't there any enforcement for job hopping, or legal action , he's in arrears and we seem to be permanently hanging about for hmrc

Our Response:
I'm afraid not. As child maintenance is based on 'earnings', if/while your ex is not earning, he is not liable to pay.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Nov-16 @ 11:48 AM
Edward - Your Question:
Hi, I've been paying Csa for the past 4 and a half years, and I've only recently started telling people what I am paying and everyone I have told has said I'm paying to much and mentioned the csa calculator, I've put my weekly hours in etc and I'm paying around £60 more a month than what I should be paying, the money comes straight out of my wages through a court order. Is there a reason for this? Thank you

Our Response:
Much depends upon what the courts specified at the time and/or whether your wages have changed in the interim. If you change the amount without the authority of the courts, your ex may be able to take the matter back to court for a breach of the order. However, if your ex agrees to you changing the amount to keep in line with the CMS calculator, then as long as the decision is not unilateral then you can do this (you may wish to agree it through mediation, so it is recorded). If your ex disagrees to making the changes, then your only recourse would be to take the matter back to court and ask for a variation of the order and/or to apply to have your maintenance assessed through the CMS.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Nov-16 @ 10:47 AM
My ex has stopped paying again as he seems to be job hopping again , isn't there any enforcement for job hopping, or legal action, he's in arrears and we seem to be permanently hanging about for hmrc
B - 3-Nov-16 @ 12:59 PM
Hi, I've been paying Csa for the past 4 and a half years, and I've only recently started telling people what I am paying and everyone I have told has said I'm paying to much and mentioned the csa calculator, I've put my weekly hours in etc and I'm paying around £60 more a month than what I should be paying, the money comes straight out of my wages through a court order. Is there a reason for this? Thank you
Edward - 3-Nov-16 @ 5:39 AM
Russ - Your Question:
Hi,Csa state that I have arrears on my case for a period where the resident parent requested them to collect payments through the agency however I was paying the resident parent direct but they will not take this into account because I unbeknown should have paid through them.I was unaware that I would be liable to pay money to the csa as well as direct payment.Legally can I challenge this?

Our Response:
You would have to complain via the gov.uk link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Nov-16 @ 1:46 PM
Hi, Csa state that I have arrears on my case for a period where the resident parent requested them to collect payments through the agency however I was paying the resident parent direct but they will not take this into account because I unbeknown should have paid through them. I was unaware that I would be liable to pay money to the csa as well as direct payment. Legally can I challenge this?
Russ - 31-Oct-16 @ 10:06 PM
kaykay - Your Question:
My ex went to prison for extreme violence towards me. When he got out he then took me to court to get access to our daughter. However I got hink residency of her and he could only see her in a contact centre. After 6 months of this he got bored and cut all ties altogether. He went on to have kids with 2 other women. Throughout all this I have had an open case with csa/cms however I have not received one penny off of him. They said they are looking into court action but I haven't heard anything from them at all for about 6 weeks.What happens with court and will I definitely get the money owed too me and my daughter. I know know for a fact he's in full time employment but he's paid cash in hand.Thank you

Our Response:
If he is paid 'cash-in-hand' it is highly unlikely you will get this money if he does not pay tax through the HMRC. If his wages are declared through the HMRC, then he will be assessed on his annual income. However, it is impossible to predict whether if it goes to court, the court can force him to pay, as much depends on the amount of annual income he declares.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Oct-16 @ 12:57 PM
My ex went to prison for extreme violence towards me. When he got out he then took me to court to get access to our daughter. However I got hink residency of her and he could only see her in a contact centre. After 6 months of this he got bored and cut all ties altogether. He went on to have kids with 2 other women. Throughout all this I have had an open case with csa/cms however I have not received one penny off of him. They said they are looking into court action but I haven't heard anything from them at all for about 6 weeks. What happens with court and will I definitely get the money owed too me and my daughter. I know know for a fact he's in full time employment but he's paid cash in hand. Thank you
kaykay - 27-Oct-16 @ 7:51 PM
123 - Your Question:
My case with the Csa/Cms has been ongoing for 9 years. Dad has refused to pay for his daughter by working cash in hand. He now has a full time job and I have applied for a deductions of earning order to recover the debt and monthly maintenance. I agreed a figure I thought to be acceptable for him to pay and was told that this would be what he will be paying on the 19th Nov. I called the Cms to get an update and was told that dad had threatened to leave his job (as I told them he would, and to ignore it as I know he won't) they hAve reduced his payments to the minimum amount - less than halving what we had agreed. Since the Cms have been involved they have managed to recover £0 from dad. What happened to his legal requirement to pay ? Why has the fact that he has bought a second car and got a loan for luxury items etc mean that he does not have to pay for his daughter ? Surely these are classes as assets and should not affect his maintenance for his daughter! He has been in full time employment for 7 months now and the Cms have recovered not 1 penny. I have spent more on phone calls to the Cms trying to find out what is going on! how can such a big decision be made on his say so, he is clearly going to lie about his intention as he has for 9 years. the Cms hear this crap every day of the week from these low life people that refuse to pay for their children but yet lean towards helping them maintain their lifestyle that doesn't include paying for their children. Speaks to your case worker you may suggest. I have a different one each week that has no idea about my case or how long it has taken me to get to this point. And 1 person has made a decision on reducing his payments to the minimum without consulting me and I am being told this now can not be changed! Child support laws ? What laws ? 9 years of consistently not paying for your daughter and not 1 law has been enforced. Please explain how this is the case ?

Our Response:
If this is the case, we can only suggest you complain, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Oct-16 @ 2:28 PM
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