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Enforcement of CSA Payments

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 28 May 2015 |
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]
Hello, I have split up from my ex - we were together for about 10 months and not married. He has what seems some underlying issues and I don't trust him as he has lied to me and made things up.. I have a 4 months old baby with him which I love very much. I told him I don't want him in my and my baby's life unless he changes his attitude and becomes nice and decent..He keeps sending me aggressive emails and still keeps asking about seeing my baby. I have moved from my previous property and one of the reasons was that I felt uneasy in case he turns up.. He has agreed to CSA payments which I have sorted out now and waiting for my first payment. However I do not want him anywhere near us he stresses me out and makes me angry. My question is is it right that as we're not married and he doesn't have PR can he demand access to my baby? Also what can I do to stop him harassing me? or who should I talk to? Thanks
E37 - 28-May-15 @ 8:43 PM
hiya i am in abit of a pickle i do not know who to talk to or what to do i was living with my ex partner (never married) for one year we had a baby together he is under one now. he moved out three months ago i am claiming income support child tax and child benefit as it is the only way i can get by, my ex has not given me any money towards his son to benefit my son. i have noticed that he has been drinking a lot more three-four times a week and have recently visited where he was staying and found two vodka bottles in his room and he can not hold his temper in the slightest he shouted at his son just because he was crying as he was tired. he wants to have him over night i am not sure weather he is able to even look after his son by himself or not i am worried for my son please help
st9156 - 28-May-15 @ 5:31 PM
If we're all honest, there are plenty of cases that are hopeless!!! My ex works cash in hand, has committed fraud time and time again to get out of paying csa properly, vas can do nothing even though he owes a large sum of money and refuses to pay/contact/do anything, his other half works several jobs, he shows our child large notes of money and is obviously flaunting how well he does while I have uniform etc... To provide, I wonder just how many people the system is unable to help. Whilst nothing can be done about him commiting fraud and tax evasion, I am being chased down by tax credits as I supposed changed sexual orientation overnight and now have a woman livingwith me, frustrating isn't the answer, some men never have and never will pay anything towards their child's upkeep!
fedup - 22-May-15 @ 5:30 PM
@Mrs H - I have included a link to the leaflet; Child Maintenance - What Happens if I don't Pay, here, which will outline all your options. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-May-15 @ 1:41 PM
@Sarah86 - If the CMS enforces collect and pay then yes, it is out of your hands and there is nothing you can do. If you are liable to pay child support under this scheme, the CMS will take the money directly.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-May-15 @ 2:52 PM
@Zojoey - I'm afraid not, child maintenance is based upon your ex's earnings and not upon inheritance.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-May-15 @ 12:13 PM
C S A have informed me my x owes me over £30.000 in arrears. None of up know where he is yet again. Once found can I take out a C C J on him for these arrears.x To mess with credit rating if nothin else
Mrs H - 18-May-15 @ 10:54 PM
Hiya, so just to clarify, if im in receipt of income support they enforce collect and pay? Would I be able to say no? Its just so I can tell my ex partner that its out of my hands as he is very manipulative :( Thank you Sarah
Sarah86 - 17-May-15 @ 12:37 PM
My ex partner, has never paid for our son, our son is now 20 and my ex's mother died leaving my ex a lot of money, can I go after him for back dated payment or not? He has told my Son that he can have £1000 when he his 21!
Zojoey - 15-May-15 @ 4:06 PM
@Lb26 - as this is a little complex, I have included a link to the Child Maintenance Options websitehere which should help.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-May-15 @ 1:58 PM
Hi so my son lives with his dad but currently goin back to court for contact, I dont have contact at the minute so do I need to pay csa as i just got a new job only 16 hours, but also when I get my contacy back with my son which is friday to sunday (2 nights) alternate weekends will I need to pay, he also pays csa for our daughter who lives with me but she has contact with him but hes asking for more will my csa from him go down if he has her more?
Lb26 - 11-May-15 @ 9:08 PM
@ab9 - If you think you have been treated unfairly, the only course of action is to appeal or complain, which you can do so via the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-May-15 @ 11:51 AM
Hi I have been told that child maintenance arrears MUST be paid of within 24 months even when it is clearly unaffordable can someone confirm this for me and advise me of anything I can do I keep pleading that I have no issue paying my maintenance and a payment of arrears but they keep setting up doe and taking what they like leaving me in financial difficulty every month and unable to continue. I'm at my wits end someone please help.
ab9 - 8-May-15 @ 9:15 PM
Hello, Can anyone please help me with a situation. My son is 2 yr old and i split wid my husband while i was pregnant. He has not seen the son ever but was working in a decent place and was paying csa regularly. Last week he left his job and has moved abroad and i dont know anything about his whereabouts. What should i do now in terms of my finances? Many thanks ann
ann - 3-May-15 @ 5:08 PM
Thanks. The reason is he's living in Southern Ireland and CSA can't track him properly. I don't have an address for him where he is so I gave his mother's in Northern Ireland.
Maz - 1-May-15 @ 10:53 PM
They arrangements I assume would be for his child to his ex partner. But has never been asked or contacted from csa before he received a letter from csa about making a new arrangement. Thanks.
jac - 1-May-15 @ 3:26 PM
The arrangement for csa to be paid. But we have never had contact or been In contact with csa at all so why are they asking to make a new arrangement when there isn't one. Anyway. Any help is appreciate. Thanks
jac - 1-May-15 @ 3:20 PM
@Jac - I'm afraid you haven't given enough information here to answer the question. You don't say who the arrangement is for etc.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-May-15 @ 2:35 PM
My partner has received a letter from csa about a change and to make an arrangement.My question is why are they sending a letter about making a new arrangement when there has never been an arrangement or any contact from CSA at all?
Jac - 30-Apr-15 @ 3:37 PM
@Maz - you don't say why it is yet to be resolved. If it is because your ex was not earning enough to pay child support and still isn't, then the case may be written off or closed. Therefore, the resolution and eligibility for arrears payments remains dependent upon circumstance. However, if you think you have been treated unfairly and your ex should have been paying and the CSA has not done enough to attempt to get a resolution, you can appeal or complain via the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 30-Apr-15 @ 10:48 AM
My daughters father refuses to pay towards her, he does see her but as and when it suits him. I've tried getting him to agree to set days but he refuses. He on many occasions has said he's having her and then not turned up or made contact to let us know leaving my daughter upset. I have had to have the police at my address on a few occasions due to him turning up drunk tying to get in and causing trouble. Overall I think my daughter would be better off without him in her life how do I go bout either keeping him away or making him stick to set days?.
ketx - 29-Apr-15 @ 11:08 AM
@Lena - access and child support are not integral to each other. The fact that a father can see his child, shouldn't be connected to financial payments as you are using your child as a weapon and theoretically blackmailing him. Has he given a reason why he can't pay? There are many fathers out there that can't pay for whatever reason, but that should not mean they should be prevented from having the emotional connection to their child and vice versa. If you can't agree between you what he should pay, then you should continue trying to access the money via the legal route. If you go through Child Maintenance Services, then they will chase the money for you. It will cost, but at least if he is on a good salary, you should get the support you need.
Charlie - 28-Apr-15 @ 10:33 AM
@Sue - it seems there are two sides here. He is providing evidence of his lack of income to the CSA, while you say he has an income. Unless, you can prove that he has income above and beyond what he is declaring, then I'm afraid there is very little you can do. If you are unhappy with the CSA's decision you can appeal via the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Apr-15 @ 10:18 AM
I put in a claim a few years back that has yet to be resolved. My son is about to turn 16 and won't be continuing in education. Does this mean my ex won't have to pay anything retrospectively? Us the case closed when my son turns 16?
Maz - 27-Apr-15 @ 2:27 PM
Hi, My ex partner refuses to give me any money towards our child (2years old). Can I withdraw access till he pays the Child maintenance? (He works full time with a good salary). Thanks
Lena - 25-Apr-15 @ 7:31 AM
I have been in touch with CSA few times following up what is happening with delayed response from CSA. My ex-husband has no parental responsibility, was paying CSA but stopped. CSA informed me he has no money, I informed them he has income and he can afford to pay between £50-100 a week , he has three bank accounts, he can afford to buy Rolex watches, travel 3-5 times every month by plane and car so I'm sure he has money. My child has SEN and he is still not paying, and he has arrears with money he owes for his child via CSA. How will I get my child's money? What is CSA going to so to help??? I'm tired of calling and no result
Sue - 25-Apr-15 @ 12:59 AM
@Cifu - if you are not happy with the service you can complain via the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Apr-15 @ 12:29 PM
I never received 7 days written warning about deduction of earnings infact they lied and still went ahead and did this, i asked for proof from csa case worker 2 times, the second time i got a case worker trying to threaten me but failed, i asked him to send me proof also instead i got the same letter from the previous case worker i spoke to, they both sent me the same letter which just shows how much they think they are going to take and no proof of anything, spoke to them again and this time i threw common law at them sothey let me speak to someone higher ranked so i explained to her, i want proof from my ORIGINAL case worker about this, and to take of DOE i didnt tell them that i had not received the warning incase they come up with a plan,spoke to another case worker for my sons private arrangement he told me and recorder him sayin he called the old csa office and the hmrc admitted to him that i weas being miscalculated the whole time, Are not the csa ment to disclose this information to me? not to someone else that has nothing to do with my case? whats going on here and how can i solve this with the evidence stacking up on them so far?
Cifu - 20-Apr-15 @ 9:23 PM
@jeasea - Every parent has the basic responsibility to provide for their child up until the age of 16, when they are legally allowed to leave school and get a job. After this age, it depends what your child chooses to do. If they continue in full-time non-advanced education (see below for information about the new school/education leaving age rules), not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week, then your maintenance payments will continue until your child finishes or until they turn 20. See; At What Age Do Child Maintenance Payments Stop? Link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Apr-15 @ 10:36 AM
@lee - of course you are entitled to something, especially if he is working, then he should be supporting your son. I would contact the CSA and see what they can do for you. It doesn't mean the father has to be in your life, or even see your son, but the CSA will look into the fact that he should be contributing to his welfare.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Apr-15 @ 10:09 AM
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