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Enforcement of CSA Payments

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 28 January 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've been paying the CSA for more than 11 years but christmas eve I finally got what I've fought to get for most of those years, a DNA and that test proved I am not the child's father! To cut a long story short ive paid more than £8000 in child suport the CSA closed the case and told me the case would be passed to there refund department yesterday 27/1 I got a reply telling me I wasn't in titledto a refund only the cost of the DNA test I was shocked to say the least! Not only have I lost a son but also £8000! I've spoken to many people and they are as shocked as me. If anyone can shed some light on the injustice please let me no because im at a loss
frodan69 - 28-Jan-15 @ 11:53 AM
Hi everyonei have a question my son is 15 and the otheris 14 my x has never paid a penny towards there upbringinghe claims he asn'tgothe mone .he works cash in hand for a taxi company.he has a property under his name can i takehim to court to secure some thing for the kids.it is really difficult raising children financially these days.can anyone help to point me in the right direction pls......
zara - 28-Jan-15 @ 12:56 AM
I use the direct pay method and i was due my sons 1st payment monday only i never received a penny. I dont understand why csa have to wait 5 days before they can take action. Because by time they get intouch with him it will be a weeki would of been waiting. If he was told to pay monday then a payment should of been made instead of leaving it 5 days to take action otherwise hes going to think he can get away with not paying.
vicki24 - 27-Jan-15 @ 8:46 PM
@jay - I think in this case the best thing to do in order to reassure yourself is to call the CSA and ask these questions directly.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Jan-15 @ 9:57 AM
@Blocks - if you are not happy with the way the CSA has treated you, you can complain via the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Jan-15 @ 2:28 PM
I have a csa case at the moment And me and my exhave decided to come to a personal agreement. What happens now once the case has been closed? What happenes to the arreasand what happens if the personal agreement goes wrong and I want to go back to the csa Thank you
jay - 25-Jan-15 @ 8:09 AM
I have had a long term problem with the Csa calculation,I do a summer job with regular pay and a winter job with a agency with irregular pay so judging a payment figure has been difficult,I was told about 6 months ago I was in arrears from the job change over and the same hadn't been quick enough to change their payments so I paid double payments by a doe payment for the next 4 months until I was told to go back to the normal payment,I then called the Csa to let them know but was told I still was in arrears by 2 months? I was told to pay the correct figure I was set and I asked for a call back from someone who could explain things! This never came,I called the Csa and I was told my case was being looked at on a management level and would get a call soon,3 months have passed and I receive a letter dated 19th jan saying please let us know of any changes to make sure my payments are correct,a second letter dated 19th jan arrives saying I'm 7 months in arrears and have 3 days to pay,apparently I'm in the 2 out of 10 parents who choose not to pay the Csa?? It's a very nasty worded letter and all the evidence suggests it is wrong anyway! What can I do? I'm honestly thinking about seeing if there is any legal action I can take against the Csa because they do everything they can to make my ex wife's life perfect but punish me financially and mentally when I'm paying what they say and never tried to get out of it! The phone operators are useless and very rude,ask for a manager straight away or nothing gets sorted,has anyone got any advise on what I can do? Csa said they had system shutdown today and can't tell me anything.
Blocks - 24-Jan-15 @ 1:48 PM
@Karl - it depends how old she is and whether your ex consents to it. If she is over 18, then some parents then pay it direct to the child.
Suze - 21-Jan-15 @ 12:00 PM
Can my daughterreceivemy maintenance payment instead of exwife
Karl Nightingale - 20-Jan-15 @ 4:16 PM
There are some very bitter comments here.. A child regardless needs support food,clothes,heating,hygiene,sociability etc etc Why are some parents bitter at providing this? Or think it's ok to think it's a one sided task and any maintenance payments go on the ex?? New partners who complain about their new partner paying for their children.. You knew what you were taking on.. You know that if you have a child with them the other little people of the ex still need maintaining..so don't complain that you have no money and it's all the exs fault!!! She says she was on the pill,oh right!...here's an idea USE A CONDOM..far cheaper than maintaining an innocent little person. We are all to quick to maintain we are the ones who are fooled into pregnancy or that he was going to stick by me...it's the children that suffer!!! I couldn't care less for csa payments I don't get any,nor have I for years..I'm not going to carry bitterness or hatred around with me.i will do my upmost to make sure my little people are loved and cared for regardless of money.. My ex can stick his money up his ricker...my view is money can't buy love or happiness.. Shirk your responsibility see who's the loser in the long run!!!!
Jack.c - 12-Dec-14 @ 9:51 AM
@bumble&bumble - you should inform the CSA, to tell them of teh arrangements. It does not mean he has to stop paying you support, you can agree between yourselves the level of support he pays, if you are back in a relationship but he is not living with you.
Liz - 10-Dec-14 @ 12:21 PM
I have been receiving csa since last nov, we are thinking about trying our relationship again, he will not be living with me nor having the children over night. Do I have to inform the csa if we get back into a relationship?
bumble&bumble - 9-Dec-14 @ 2:16 PM
@micmac - The CSA has now changed and you would go through the Child Maintenance Service which is set up for when you and the other parent can’t agree to a family-based arrangement. In the first instance you would go through Child Maintenance Options which is a free service that provides impartial information and support to help separated parents make decisions about their child maintenance arrangements. It also has an online calculator to show you what you should be given. However, while will you will be entitled to money from your ex, whereas the CSA was free, there is a charge with the CMA if you can't agree between yourselves. Although, if he has stopped payments you will be able to claim for backdated money owing. Child Optionslink here.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Nov-14 @ 11:52 AM
My ex has recently got married and stopped maintenance payments to me for our 6 year old son, we have had a private arrangement for some time even though he hasn't set eyes on him for 2 years, he's not been bothered about seeing him since he met his new wife who has a boy of the same age, I'm thinking of going csa but have had some horror stories about them, I'm lost on the whole situation as I can't contact my ex and his family have nothing to do with us either, can you help advice wise?
micmac - 20-Nov-14 @ 7:24 PM
@Bird....I'd quickly seek some legal advice. Depending upon your situation and how long you lived together you may be able to claim part of his estate due to the fact you were his common law wife and mother of his children.
PG - 3-Nov-14 @ 2:14 PM
@sidney - In the first instance, I think in this case he needs to contact CSA and inform them he is having the children on the days stipulated and ask them what he should do to prove it. He can also appeal if he thinks the decision is wrong link here . I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Nov-14 @ 10:28 AM
My ex partner has given up his job so he doesn't have to pay maintainance for our 3 children. This leave me financially broken & I am struggling to pay the bills & keep them fed. I have just discovered he has sold his house, our family home & gone to live with his father. He has walked away with almost £50.000. He refuses to the children although I have literally begged him to, so now he has left them with nothing. No father & no security. Is there anything I can do?
Bird - 2-Nov-14 @ 9:41 AM
can anyone help my son has his 4yr old son 3week days and every other weekend and has to pay his wife csa she gets all child tax and family allowence and because she has said now he hasnt been having him on these days every week he has to pay more csa how can he prove he has had his son on a regular basis every week
sidney - 31-Oct-14 @ 6:55 PM
@Unknown - you are still legally their biological father regardless of what names they are registered under. So yes, you still will have to support them financially. I would be careful about not answering any official correspondence, as you may end up getting taken to court as the CSA will take action. Here's a leaflet outlining what may happen if you refuse to pay link here . I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Oct-14 @ 2:41 PM
ive recently had a call from the esa when me and my ex broke up they rang me and with my childrens last names are myn she had changed there last names to her so i refused to accept that they were my children because she changed there last names im not sure this was right but she did it to get to me me so untill they ring me with my childrens names i refuse to answere or do any sort of payment am i right by this ? can she do that ?
unknown - 24-Oct-14 @ 2:27 PM
I have given up now with the csa.we separated in 2003,my ex partner owes over £40,000.enforcement has been involved and still no payments.i have 5 children with my ex,my ex has never once told the csa about moving addresses, working or anything it's always been me that has given them the information.i was told by someone high up in the csa that it was against his human rights to expect him to pay money that he obviously can't afford. Waste of space,all of them
Dragonfly - 24-Aug-14 @ 5:52 PM
I have a 11 year old son. Me and my ex share custody. But my son live with me the father. I buy everything he needs from clothes, shoes, school supply. I never ask nothing from his mom. His mom never buy him clothes or anything at all. I'm the only one supplying for my son. Since we share custody she has came and put him in welfare, Without me knowing. So I received a letter saying I need to paid child support. My question is how I'm gonna pay child support if my son stay with me and I'm the only one that supply for him. What can I do? My son stay with her in the weekend only and the weekdays with me. But my son told her that he does not want to live with her also and just see her only. He like it how it is.
Rey - 6-Aug-14 @ 1:28 PM
My son is18 now and paid every week without fail , he has started collage 3 days a week For 2 years and works 1 day a week .can you tell me when do I stop paying my ex for his upkeep?
KARL Sproat - 19-Sep-13 @ 9:46 AM
My ex has not paid a penny to me for our 12 year old daughter.He has a new partner who has her own daughter, he says he has to pay for them, so cant afford to pay for his own daughter, he is going to court tomorrow as the csa have applied for a liability order, he wants to have his say in court to the judge. He now is now asking to have a DNA test, I cant wait for the results as he will have to,pay for the test and I know my daughter is 100% his. He is trying any tactic to avoid paying me the arrears owed. I just hope the judge can see what he is playing at.RegardsStace.
Stace - 7-Aug-13 @ 1:44 AM
I've been paying csa hell for 8 years now! when I got into arrears because I lost my job every time I had to phone them to explain what is going on and the only time I hear from them is to get money from me, I have payed my ex wife cash in hand in the past but when she stop me seeing them I stop paying. I did say once I can start seeing them I'll start paying then she went to csa hell!! she even told them that I have never payed her a penny but because I for got to get a receipt from her to say I've payed her plus she ask me to help to pay for things for our kids school but when I ask for a receipt she dose not what to give one! when I told csa that I've help with paying things for my kids I got told that is my choose to pay and would not take that into considerasion. I even lots my flat because csa was 55% of my rage and when I tired to get help from my local council to pay rent and taxes, I was told that they do not take csa in to acount! I dont mind paying csa but I just wish that csa would consider that we still have bills to pay and to keep a roof over our heads!
j2o - 24-Apr-13 @ 1:26 PM
My son was 11 months when my partner was unfaithful he is now 9. Iv tried for the last 7 years through court for access,legal aid has stopped now iv always paid but I'm on minimum wage now and the CSA take 45% from my wage leaving me £100 pw iv got to sell my car and still live at home I'm 30 years old. All I want to do is see my son why can't I ?
Adz - 12-Apr-13 @ 4:50 PM
hi have been on csa calculator and for one child the amount due is different from what i am paying rang csa they said that iam paying the old rates not the new ones and it will stay that way until they leave school is that right or are csa just trying to get more cash from me
slyboy - 21-Nov-12 @ 9:05 PM
Iv been split from my 2 boys dad for 3 years nearly recieved one payment of which took months for csa to get after that he quits his job so he says he was actually fiddling! Anythnk to avoid payment of support for his kids! Why?? Cause im married and my husband works he can support us? Yet dad of year takes me to court for access and says to my sons that my husband is not there dad he is yet my sons call my husband dad cause they see his as dad as he does everythnk and more for them.. Why should the man that is there dad not pay towards ther upkeep and expect to be called dad! The law should be if a father dont intend on supporting there children then they shouldnt be alloqed to eveb have contact woth them esepcially when all he does is call them names and myself and husband hes never nice about anythnk to them and plays mind games (he is an abuser) get the law changed!!!! Make them pay or lose all rights!!!
Lovesmysons - 20-Oct-12 @ 11:25 AM
Hi, I pay a CSA payment monthly to ex. I am thinking of moving abroad. Do I still have to make payments? If not, what happens if I re-enter UK at any time? Thank you
Dave - 13-Sep-12 @ 9:00 PM
My ex left me and the 2 kids 2 years ago, just woke up and said he was leaving. when he asked to come back i said no, he moved in with my best friend(ex) and started harrassing me constantly.He left me to sell our house and split assets and sort out the moving.He didnt help the kids with anything, they didnt want to see him, i invited him round all the time to get them to see him. My son then decided (with the help of £50 a month pocket money) to live with him and my ex best friend.Then i started getting texts saying she has my husband, now my son and is going for my daughter until i have nothing and fall on my face. I have struggled to cope with all this even with serious illnesses but now my daughter is 19 the ex refuses to pay for her and on my birthday yesterday i received a letter and phone call from csa telling me what i have to pay my ex for my son. If i pay this money i will have NOTHING to buy food, petrol to get to work or to get my daughter to college.But CSA dont care. my ex earns 3 x what i take home, how on earth can this be right.it is not means tested and is soooo unfair i will lose my house, car everything if i have to pay this money but there is NOWHERE i can go for help to sort this. What do i do.
Female - 6-Sep-12 @ 3:52 PM
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