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Enforcement of CSA Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 26 Apr 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]
My case goes back to 1996 when I was informed that a child was born and that I was the father the story is that not just me but others he'd sex with the mother of this child I told csa that I was not the father but Es usual csa did not want to no sent me letters that I had to pay weekly for this child at one stage they wanted £106.00 a week out of my wage at that time was £156.00 a week told them could not afford that but again did not listen time and csa have caught up with me and last week they told my employer to take 40% out of my wages I have a 7 year old who I pay for every week and for the first time in years I could not give the right money so this has now effected my x and my child EJO made the decision to enforce wage deduction
del - 26-Apr-16 @ 8:29 PM
My ex has never paid a penny to me i went through csa when my son was 6 months old he is now 17 and all csa say is we cant find him something needs to be done about the absent parent lying were they are in this day and age i am sure there is a way of tracking them down i am owed thousands back dated money but i will never get it.
scorpion - 9-Apr-16 @ 12:15 PM
I have just received a letter from the CSA saying I owe £27000 in arrears. This is despite me always paying my ex by direct debit the amount they have told me to over the last 15 years. They say they have no record of me making any payments between 2004 and 2011. This is despite them assessing me and telling me what to pay!! I have been told to prove payments were made by showing bank statements from that period but statements only go back 6 years. The CSA have lost my records and are going to make me pay again!!!! My ex will happily take the money as she has no morals. Any suggestions as to how I can sort this mess out. Just to reiterate, I am a model father who has always paid the correct amount through the correct channels.
jamie - 27-Mar-16 @ 9:02 PM
Hi, looking for some advice :) My dad has played an active part in my life but now my mums chasing him for unpaid child maintenance, which he did pay just not directly through the csa so he has no proof, I am now 21 years old, is there anything I can do to help or stop this case?many thanks
Char - 12-Mar-16 @ 11:12 PM
My Csa case is not open recieved a letter saying my ex owes me money how long do I wait
Angel40 - 9-Mar-16 @ 10:07 PM
Ann - Your Question:
My ex husband has once again stopped child maintenance for his 9 year old daughter. He lives in Boiling Springs, South Carolina, USA. Is there anything that can be done?

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which gives the helpline number of the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO) unit. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Mar-16 @ 2:52 PM
My ex husband has once again stopped child maintenance for his 9 year old daughter. He lives in Boiling Springs, South Carolina, USA. Is there anything that can be done?
Ann - 3-Mar-16 @ 11:41 PM
DB - Your Question:
I wonder what we make of this. I was informed in 2008 two years after my ex left I owed about £4000 in arrears. Over the period of 2006-2008 this is the movement pattern of my ex:Left: January 2006 Came back December 2006 Left: July 2007 Came back August 2007 Left: September 2007 Came back November/December 2007 Left July 2008 permanently- My landlord maybe able to corroborate this as he installed a new bathroom in January 2008.The arrears covered this period of time and originally was written off by the csa as it was clear I had, was and do make payments. They recently wrote to me informing me I owed the secretary of state this sum bearing in mind that it is now 2016. Can they enforce this as a debt as my ex and I even wrote a letter confirming that I had always provided for my child.

Our Response:
We cannot advise on this as it is outside our remit - if you feel you have been treated unfairly, you can appeal or complain, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Mar-16 @ 12:27 PM
I wonder what we make of this. I was informed in 2008 two years after my ex left I owed about £4000 in arrears. Over the period of 2006-2008 this is the movement pattern of my ex: Left: January 2006 Came back December 2006 Left:July 2007 Came back August 2007 Left:September 2007 Came back November/December 2007 Left July 2008 permanently- My landlord maybe able to corroborate this as he installed a new bathroom in January 2008. The arrears covered this period of time and originally was written off by the csa as it was clear I had, was and do make payments. They recently wrote to me informing me I owed the secretary of state this sum bearing in mind that it is now 2016. Can they enforce this as a debt as my ex and I even wrote a letter confirming that I had always provided for my child.
DB - 2-Mar-16 @ 4:57 PM
Jessi - Your Question:
I had a DEOvinnplace with my sons father and it's not been paid. What can I do? Why would this be?

Our Response:
Their could be various reasons, please see CAB link here . Depending on how it was organised, the CSA/courts should be able to tell you directly why the money cannot be transferred to you.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Feb-16 @ 10:17 AM
I had a DEOvinnplace with my sons father and it's not been paid. What can I do? Why would this be?
Jessi - 21-Feb-16 @ 2:21 AM
I've paid child support I'm in arrears contacted cms asked for a family based arrangement which you can ask after 9 payments I managed to get one sorted out set up a standing order to the mother where she took the money then refused to agree now I have a doe of 378 a month I went to court for access I'm not an absent father just denighed by my children's mother to be with our children I'm discriminated because I'm a fixed income home owner and I want to see our children ?
Dave - 17-Feb-16 @ 8:48 PM
Kel - Your Question:
My ex now owes £40,000 in arrears. I have been in contact with the csa for several years, I have emailed my M.P, and no one will help me. I have struggled through, working full time, but am getting deeper in debt, and have never even received a penny in child maintenance. Dont know where else to turn. The csa send statements severaltimes a year, telling me how much im owed and what they can do to enforce it, but never do.

Our Response:
This is difficult to advise on as it depends on what your ex is telling the CSA or whether he is paying tax through the HMRC. If your ex is not working, or even working, but not declaring his income (regardless of the illegality), or self-employed and paying very little tax, then unfortunately there really is little you can do.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Feb-16 @ 2:50 PM
My ex now owes £40,000 in arrears. I have been in contact with the csa for several years, i have emailed my M.P, and no one will help me. I have struggled through, working full time, but am getting deeper in debt, and have never even received a penny in child maintenance. Dont know where else to turn. The csa send statements severaltimes a year, telling me how much im owed and what they can do to enforce it, but never do.
Kel - 13-Feb-16 @ 11:06 AM
Kat - Your Question:
Hi I am a single mum of a 10year old son his dad has never paid anything for his up bringing and he hardly sees him if he does it's because I take him to his dads mums house, I've been really struggling recently with money and he is doing really well in the music industry and earns quite a lot, CSA haven't been able to help me in the last 10years but how do I get him to contribute to his sons upbringing could I take him to court even if he's not on the birth certificate?

Our Response:
It depends on whether he registers his earnings. Of course it is illegal to earn without paying tax, but there are people that try to avoid the HMRC. If this is the case with your ex, then proving he is earning is the difficult part, and because child maintenance is based on registered earnings then there is little you can do either via the CSA and/or through court, unless you can prove your ex is earning versus your ex doing his best to prove he isn't.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Feb-16 @ 12:05 PM
Hi I am a single mum of a 10year old son his dad has never paid anything for his up bringing and he hardly sees him if he does it's because I take him to his dads mums house, I've been really struggling recently with money and he is doing really well in the music industry and earns quite a lot, CSA haven't been able to help me in the last 10years but how do I get him to contribute to his sons upbringing could I take him to court even if he's not on the birth certificate?
Kat - 11-Feb-16 @ 5:33 PM
Busie - Your Question:
Hi we have finalised the mantainance on november last year. And they told me that I will get the 1st payment on december,but since then I did not receive a cent,at the court they told me to wait, how long does it take?

Our Response:
I'm afraid we do not have this information. You would have to contact the court directly again to see what the hold up is.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Feb-16 @ 11:51 AM
Hi we have finalised the mantainance on november last year. And they told me thati will get the 1st payment on december,but since then i did not receive a cent,at the court they told me to wait, how long does it take?
Busie - 7-Feb-16 @ 4:04 PM
Bronny - Your Question:
Hi, My ex in currently in arrears of £3,000 for child maintenance over 9 years. I've given the details of his new address and phone number. They said they have rang him and hes requested a DNA test. Nobody else is getting back to me from CSA. He is also now going through a custody battle with another woman who he has a child with as well as having a different pregnant girlfriend. What can I do? I constantly ring the csa to be updated but my case worker never gets back to me. They've made contact with him after 9 years how come nothing is being done? How long does it normally take? And how long will they wait before they decide to use there enforcement powers?

Our Response:
Have you complained? See link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Feb-16 @ 12:40 PM
Hi, My ex in currently in arrears of £3,000 for child maintenance over 9 years. I've given the details of his new address and phone number. They said they have rang him and hes requested a DNA test. Nobody else is getting back to me from CSA. He is also now going through a custody battle with another woman who he has a child with as well as having a different pregnant girlfriend. What can I do? I constantly ring the csa to be updated but my case worker never gets back to me. They've made contact with him after 9 years how come nothing is being done? How long does it normally take? And how long will they wait before they decide to use there enforcement powers?
Bronny - 2-Feb-16 @ 10:06 PM
tired - Your Question:
Csa say my ex is under investigation, but can't tell me anymore, what does this mean?

Our Response:
CSA investigations generally relate to the non-payment or establishment of child support where a non-resident parent is suspected as having un-reported income or is earning more than specified.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Feb-16 @ 2:12 PM
csa say my ex is under investigation, but can't tell me anymore, what does this mean? .
tired - 2-Feb-16 @ 9:44 AM
tired - Your Question:
I applied for csa may 2015. but my ex refuses to pay or make contact with csa. The csa , says they can't find where he works although I have told them, also what he drives and bank details. how much longer can this go on before the csa actually step up. The arrears are building up each month. can I take legal action against him /and the csa for dragging their heels.

Our Response:
If you think the CSA is not doing its job properly, then you can complain, please see link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Feb-16 @ 11:33 AM
I applied for csa may 2015. but my ex refuses to pay or make contact with csa. The csa, says they can't find where he works although I have told them,also what he drivesand bankdetails. how much longer can this go on before the csa actually step up . The arrearsare building up each month. can I take legal action against him /and the csa for dragging their heels.
tired - 31-Jan-16 @ 1:26 PM
steve - Your Question:
Well here we go finished paying maintenance last august 2015 both kids have jobs,csa said I oh money of £35 on one account then the other account they say I oh £2500 in rears so I appealed so they done a account break down and said yes you oh £5500 in arrears,ive always paid maintenance on deo and basically pay what they ask for.ive asked where arrears is from but they say it happens then asked where the money is going to they say back to the state why I dont oh the state money does this either sound like my ex has said that ive not payed her at all we did have a private agreement at the beginning on which when we didn't see eye to eye the csa were involved private agreement from 2000 till 2003 yes I new I was in arrears at the beginning on which I was paying off on top of regular maintenance and over the years the csa have made blunders by saying ive overpaid and that because I was in arrears they were taken the over payment off the acount on which was cleared back in 2008 so why do they say I oh this amount of money ? ive had my MP involved but with no sucsees si iam at my witts now,but does this sound like my ex has said that ive not paid any money to her when I was paying her private just dont understand atall looks like iam paying taken the Micky out of me cheers steve

Our Response:
I can only suggest you complain if you feel you have been treated unfairly, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 29-Jan-16 @ 2:33 PM
well here we go finished paying maintenance last august 2015 both kids have jobs,csa said i oh money of £35 on one account then the other account they say i oh £2500 in rears so i appealed so they done a account break down and said yes you oh £5500 in arrears, ive always paid maintenance on deo and basically pay what they ask for.ive asked where arrears is from but they say it happens then asked where the money is going to they say back to the state why i dont oh the state money does this either sound like my ex has said that ive not payed her at all we did have a private agreement at the beginning on which when we didn't see eye to eye the csa were involved private agreement from 2000 till 2003 yes i new i was in arrears at the beginning on which i was paying off on top of regular maintenance and over the years the csa have made blunders by saying ive overpaid and that because i was in arrears they were taken the over payment off the acount on which was cleared back in 2008 so why do they say i oh this amount of money ? ive had my MP involved but with no sucsees si iam at my witts now,but does this sound like my ex has said that ive not paid any money to her when i was paying her private just dont understand atall looks like iam paying taken the Micky out of me cheers steve
steve - 29-Jan-16 @ 10:59 AM
I have arrears with the csa my ex has said she wants to cancel the order and I can pay direct to her. Is this possible
B - 15-Jan-16 @ 1:27 PM
Shelly - Your Question:
You have said that if he has recently gone bankrupt which he did in May last year. He is working for a recruitment agency as far as I'm aware and the home is his girlfriend's. How would CSA look into his earnings when he's declared bankrupt and using his girlfriends account to send the maintenance money? When he hasn't exactly defaulted on any payments.

Our Response:
It is sometimes difficult to answer such questions accurately without having the full quota of information, I was assuming by your original question that due to redundancy your ex was no longer employed. I can only suggest you give the CSA a call directly regarding this matter as they can better advise.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Jan-16 @ 10:50 AM
You have said that if he has recently gone bankrupt which he did in May last year. He is working for a recruitment agency as far as I'm aware and the home is his girlfriend's. How would CSA look into his earnings when he's declared bankrupt and using his girlfriends account to send the maintenance money? When he hasn't exactly defaulted on any payments.
Shelly - 13-Jan-16 @ 3:37 PM
Shelly- Your Question:
I am on my own supporting my two boys I am currently receiving my CSA payments via the girlfriend of my ex husband. The payments I receive are £200 a month for two boys as he's self employed and recently gone bankrupt and will wangle his way out of paying me if any maintenance at all. I am a responsible mother paying for a roof over our heads and concerned that if his relationship with the current girlfriend ends what will happened to my future payments. Worried mum of two.

Our Response:
Your husband's girlfriend has no responsibility to pay for the care of your children. Therefore, I assume as he has registered bankrupt he is using her account to pay you. However, if he is not earning, then he could contact the CSA and it would review his salary and he may not have to pay if there is no income coming into his home. If he splits with his girlfriend then if he is instructed to pay you through the CSA, then he would have to find another way to get the money to you.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Jan-16 @ 10:50 AM
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