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Enforcement of CSA/CMS Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 16 Jul 2018 |
 
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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@Cyrus - of course, the same goes for women not paying. It is just that most men live away from the family home while the mum cares for the kids. It remains traditional in that way. Unfortunately.
BeN - 17-Jul-18 @ 9:41 AM
I love how its all women complaints about men not paying. Well boot on the other foot I'm a single dad who has 2 kids living with me. The kids mother did not give me a penny for them for 6 months. She even continued to claim child benefit and child tax credits for them. I had no choice but to use csa up to now I have had 2 payments from her. How ever it's never been on the date she should pay. Sooner they put her on collect and pay the better. So it's not just men who avoid paying but mothers too.
Cyrus - 16-Jul-18 @ 2:39 AM
CMS are hopeless, Go to your local MP and they can help. Im currently trying to gain as much information on my ex to give back to the enforcement team so they can apply for a liability order. Its so frustrating that these so called fathers swan around not a care in the world and us single mums are run ragged. The system is supposed to be there to help our children and yet all it seems to do is enable these men to financially abuse there children. Something needs to change a better system needs to be put in place so these deadbeats finally take some responsibility!!!
maggue - 13-Jul-18 @ 4:33 PM
Cecelia1962 - Your Question:
Hi, my partner has received a large cms bill dating back to 2013. It notes he owes £12k as they are going on the assumption he was working. At that time he split up from his partner and attempted to go self employed despite mental health issues and being illiterate. This obviously did not manterialise. Hmrc have no record of his employment until more recent years when we got together as I helped set up his business. He has paid cms continuously then. The ex had a court order granted in my partner favour which stops her demanding money for him to see the kids hence ringing up regarding back dated payments. Payments where made in that time but where usually cash deposits in his bank (some receipts he has kept). Can CMS really just assume he was working and assume his income even though he was on employed and on and off benifits?

Our Response:
As a rule, a person should notify CMS when their situation changes, please see link here . Cash deposits are trickier to prove. The only recourse is via the link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Jul-18 @ 3:23 PM
@2.1 - you can't have a child taking a parent to court. A parent can take the other parent to court if they think they are hiding money. But it has to be provable. The difficult issue is proving that a non-paying parent has a larger income than they are disclosing. It's not CMS's fault - it's the avoiding parent.
FranKI - 12-Jul-18 @ 3:02 PM
I split from the father of my two oldest children 5 years ago he refused to pay anything despite being given chance after chance ..I finally went to cms just over a year ago... he lied about earnings then refused to respond and pay ... they said they were going legal, he decided to make sporadic random payments into my bank as in the beginning he was given my details by cms so he could make payments, in doing this he knows he has prevented court, however he has stopped all payments again payments made were no where near the amount they should be, as it stands he owes £6k even with random payments made deducted, every time I call cms im told they can’t tell me what’s happening, meanwhile I’m struggling to the point of being in the red, I just need a miracle here, this man earns over 60k a year and refuses to pay for children with whom he shared a life with, I find it disgusting he can do this and by the looks of it get away with it, holidays eating out drinking every night lavish lifestyle but refuses to help meet half way to putting food on the table for his own children, are the CMS doing anything really here? Has it all been a total waste of my time? Imagine if I behaved the same way he is ... these children would be in care! “Yeah I was gonna feed my kids but I went and got drunk instead” “I was going to buy my son clothes but I went to Ibiza for a week” ... DISPICABLE and seemingly enabled by a system that doesn’t work .. meanwhile hard working parents suffer even more to meet needs of their children
Ab35 - 11-Jul-18 @ 9:49 PM
Hi, my partner has received a large cms bill dating back to 2013. It notes he owes £12k as they are going on the assumption he was working. At that time he split up from his partner and attempted to go self employed despite mental health issues and being illiterate. This obviously did not manterialise. Hmrc have no record of his employment until more recent years when we got together as I helped set up his business. He has paid cms continuously then. The ex had a court order granted in my partner favour which stops her demanding money for him to see the kids hence ringing up regarding back dated payments. Payments where made in that time but where usually cash deposits in his bank (some receipts he has kept). Can CMS really just assume he was working and assume his income even though he was on employed and on and off benifits?
Cecelia1962 - 11-Jul-18 @ 5:40 PM
I was recently out of work for 8 weeks however the cms said i was nil payment as i couldnt claim jsa. They now say i should of kept up payments of 70 a week as that was the schedule. Even if i did get jsa that is only 70 a week and would have to give every penny to cms. I know a lot of women complain about non paying fathers but i have paid and seem to be persecuted by them. Im at my wits end and can understand why men commit suicide. My ex stopped me seeing my kids just cos she can and wants more money as her and her new bf want to set up home together. I cant afford to take it to court to see my kids. Isnt child support more than just money. Seems like im just here to pay and not allowed a life of my own. If thats the case why be alive
Ac02 - 10-Jul-18 @ 4:09 PM
Bstoke - Your Question:
Can someone answer my Q please.My ex husband is not working so that he doesn't have to pay maintanance towards my two boys, therefore the cms have sent me confirmation that he has Nil to pay.But he and his wife live in a 4 bedroom house with a pool (owned by his brother in law) and my ex husband owns a property which is currently on the market and has inherited another property which is currently on the market. Can the CMS collect the arrears he owes (£900) from the equity from the sale of these properties? ( although he has not been forthcoming with the ownership of these properties and any amounts of savings/inheritence he has)

Our Response:
Child maintenance is taken from earnings and taxable income. CMS will not take money if the non-resident parent does not have a taxable income.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Jul-18 @ 3:40 PM
Can someone answer my Q please... My ex husband is not working so that he doesn't have to pay maintanance towards my two boys, therefore the cms have sent me confirmation that he has Nil to pay. But he and his wife live in a 4 bedroom house with a pool (owned by his brother in law) and my ex husband owns a property which is currently on the market and has inherited another property which is currently on the market. Can the CMS collect the arrears he owes (£900) from the equity from the sale of these properties? ( although he has not been forthcoming with the ownership of these properties and any amounts of savings/inheritence he has)
Bstoke - 10-Jul-18 @ 10:43 AM
It’s legalised theft! The child has zero human rights here, why is no one challenging this? My children’s voices are not being heard! The CMS does work for children who has a parent that is wealthy but legally pretends to have a small income. The CMS won’t challenge them either, for to do that I guess they would have to challenge affluent government officials too! The law should be changed and it should allow the child to challenge the non paying parent!
2.1 - 10-Jul-18 @ 10:13 AM
Bluebell2003 - Your Question:
I have recently received a letter from CMS awarding me £11.81 per week from the father of my 2 teenage son's. To date he's not paid this and did not pay anything last year. The letter states he earns a gross salary of £119.23 per week. On that salary he has managed two holidays in Thailand, is a member of a hotel leisure club and is travelling to Russia for the England game on Saturday, having already traveled to Russia to see an earlier England game. Not the lifestyle of a man on £119.23 gross per week. I've reported this to CMS and am currently awaiting a response. From reading others accounts there doesn't seem to be much hope here. What are my options and is there anyone else other than the CMS that can help. The difficulty is. he's self employed and does contract work.

Our Response:
CMS assesses child maintenance on taxable earnings. Your only alternative is to take the matter to court. A court will look at your children's father's income and expenditure more in depth. However, if he lives with a spouse who pays there is little you can do here. You have to be able to prove that your ex earns more than he is saying.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Jul-18 @ 3:07 PM
Saz - Your Question:
I have 2 children a(11) my ex husband has been assessed last year by CMS as a 'nil' payment this is after several attempts to escape payments by moving etc. In the past I have taken him to court myself and been successful in getting an AEO. I know that he accepted voluntary redundancy with a large pay out last year and I expect that he will soon inherit a large sum from his parents. I have accepted that it will be very unlikely that we will ever receive regular maintenance payments from him again. However, I would like to know if a court could take arrears from any lump sum he receives from a will? As its unlikely that my children will receive regular payments, I would like to have the 10k that he already owes to be put in a trust account for the children to use at a later date. I do not want money for myself, as I work and have always managed to provide for the children. Ultimately, it is the children who are loosing out.Would the CMS be able to action this if the debt is registered?Is it worth me getting a solicitor my self? Thank you

Our Response:
As a rule child maintenance is based upon earnings/taxable income. However, there are variations, please see link here where taking the matter to court can help. There are certain limited circumstances when a resident parent can seek orders from the court based upon the needs of the child. It may be worth you seeking legal advice to see whether you have a case.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Jul-18 @ 10:24 AM
The CMS were deducting payments from a friend's wages until he lost his job. He was suffering from severe depression at the time and it was six months before he managed to get the CMS to accept that he was no longer earning. In that time he was living off a redundancy payment (less than the threshold for income tax). After another three months he got some one-off consultancy work which gave him a lump sum. He still takes a small monthly wage from that. The CMS would not did not accept his changes in income and emptied his bank account last November to pay arrears. Since he found dealing with them so difficult due to his mental health problems, he nominated his lawyer as his representative. The lawyer has tried to resolve the matter and has both provided them with tax returns and wage slips, and submitted a complaint but the CMS do not communicate with him effectively and send contradictory letters. My friend has just had his account emptied again. How can we get through to the CMS that his income is not what they think so they now owe him money? There is only so much his mental heath team can do if he continues to be persecuted by a state agency. Any help would be very welcome.
desperate - 8-Jul-18 @ 4:09 PM
I have 2 children a(11) my ex husband has been assessed last year by CMS as a 'nil'payment this is after several attempts to escape payments by moving etc.In the past i have taken him to court myself and been successful in getting an AEO.I know that he accepted voluntary redundancy with a large pay out last year and I expect that he will soon inherit a large sum from his parents.I have accepted that it will be very unlikely that we will ever receive regular maintenance payments from him again. However, I would like to know if a court could take arrears from any lump sum he receives from a will? As its unlikely that my children will receive regular payments, I would like to have the 10k that he already owes to be put in a trust account for the children to use at a later date.I do not want money for myself, as I work and have always managed to provide for the children.Ultimately, it is the children who are loosing out. Would the CMS be able to action this if the debt is registered? Is it worth me getting a solicitor my self?Thank you
Saz - 8-Jul-18 @ 11:49 AM
I have recently received a letter from CMS awarding me £11.81 per week from the father of my 2 teenage son's.To date he's not paid this and did not pay anything last year.The letter states he earns a gross salary of £119.23 per week.On that salary he has managed two holidays in Thailand, is a member of a hotel leisure club and is travelling to Russia for the England game on Saturday, having already traveled to Russia to see an earlier England game.Not the lifestyle of a man on £119.23 gross per week.I've reported this to CMS and am currently awaiting a response.From reading others accounts there doesn't seem to be much hope here.What are my options and is there anyone else other than the CMS that can help.The difficulty is ... he's self employed and does contract work.
Bluebell2003 - 6-Jul-18 @ 5:33 PM
Helen - Your Question:
I've been dealing with the CMS for 2 years and lost hope for a positive outcome. My ex refused to pay Child Maintenance and cheat the CMS by any possible way, including extending time provided for him, informing changes of his circumstances, faking his payslips and even changing his employment to self-employed. I haven't received a penny from him for more that a year despite the CMS confirmed (using HMRC report) that his income is over £80 K last year. Unfortunately the CMS said that if the person wants to play a game and cheat - nothing they can do about it, they just follow the procedures. As a result my ex owes me over £15K in arrears.But the CMS can't collected any of this amount (even though they froze it in his account) as he is feeding them with more lies and applied for a appeal. They even suggested to seek a lawyer and apply to the court. But I don't know where to start and how much it will cost. My debt is growing together with my frustration as I know I can't afford a lawyer. What shall I do in order to get any Child maintenance? What court is dealing with Child Maintenance? Is the any successful outcomes out there or they are the same as the CMS?

Our Response:
If you cannot afford a lawyer you can self-litigate, please see link here . The issue is here, you do not have to justify your reasons why your ex should pay child maintenance, but your child's father will. The court can look into his accounts more in depth than CMS can. You can see more via the link here and here. Some initial legal advice will help, if you can to see whether you have a case.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Jul-18 @ 11:33 AM
I've been dealing with the CMS for 2 years and lost hope for a positive outcome. My ex refused to pay Child Maintenance and cheat the CMS by any possible way, including extending time provided for him, informing changes of his circumstances, faking his payslips and even changing his employment to self-employed. I haven't received a penny from him for more that a year despite the CMS confirmed (using HMRC report) that his income is over £80 K last year. Unfortunately the CMS said that if the person wants to play a game and cheat - nothing they can do about it, they just follow the procedures. As a result my ex owes me over £15K in arrears.But the CMS can't collected any of this amount (even though they froze it in his account) as he is feeding them with more lies and applied for a appeal. They even suggested to seek a lawyer and apply to the court. But I don't know where to start and how much it will cost. My debt is growing together with my frustration as I know I can't afford a lawyer. What shall I do in order to get any Child maintenance? What court is dealing with Child Maintenance? Is the any successful outcomes out there or they are the same as the CMS?
Helen - 5-Jul-18 @ 2:07 PM
@Bella - at least they're doing something about it now. Last lap hopefully.
HH - 3-Jul-18 @ 3:15 PM
My kids dad has his own haulage business hundred of thousands ofpounds if access! He owes me 3k if child maintenance! And currently doesn’t pay after Inland revenue awarded me £104 a week which again he fails to pay!The child maintenance have no option now to take him to majesty court! Which I never see happening it’s let down after let down! He told child maintenance he ain’t paying during a phone call! Surely he can’t get off with this any longer than he has, I have no faith left!
Bella - 3-Jul-18 @ 12:38 AM
magzie - Your Question:
Child maintance told my exs boss to deduct maintance frpm his wages pass on to them then they pass to me fpr 5 month I not had a payment he doesnt listen to anything what will happen now

Our Response:
The employer is obliged to send payments as soon as possible, but no later than the 19th day of the month following the month the employer made the deduction. Please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Jul-18 @ 11:24 AM
Child maintance told my exs boss to deduct maintance frpm his wages pass on to them then they pass to me fpr 5 month i not had a payment he doesnt listen to anythingwhat will happen now
magzie - 1-Jul-18 @ 3:48 PM
kayls - Your Question:
Hi, my partner has been paying for his daughter through what he thought was a mutual agreement and not having to go through csa anymore. He was giving his ex cash payments when he'd collect her. He only started doing bank transfer a year ago as he now works in Europe. The CSA have been in contact with him stating he owes £7000 in arrears. They have told him thw only way he can right it off is if his ex says they are dealing with it between them. She is refusing to do this and now only has proof he's been paying for his daughter for the last year. Is there anything he can do. I think she is just seeing pound signs in her eyes as she's been quite haply taking payments and not telling my partner that she hadn't cancelled the csa. Please tell me there is some direction we can take with this.

Our Response:
Unfortunately, unless your partner can prove he paid the money in cash then he has no case to answer.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Jun-18 @ 2:18 PM
Hi, my partner has been paying for his daughter through what he thought was a mutual agreement and not having to go through csa anymore.. He was giving his ex cash payments when he'd collect her.. He only started doing bank transfer a year ago as he now works in Europe. The CSA have been in contact with him stating he owes £7000 in arrears. They have told him thw only way he can right it off is if his ex says they are dealing with it between them. She is refusing to do this and now only has proof he's been paying for his daughter for the last year. Is there anything he can do. I think she is just seeing pound signs in her eyes as she's been quite haply taking payments and not telling my partner that she hadn't cancelled the csa. Please tell me there is some direction we can take with this.
kayls - 23-Jun-18 @ 5:13 PM
Vicksluc - Your Question:
Hi there, my sons father has 3 children all together to 3 different mothers also (such a catch eh? He has nothing to do with his 1st daughter and has everything to do with his middle daughter. And will only see my son (his youngest) if he calls to his mother's (if he can be bothered) where my son goes once a week on a Sunday for a few hours. I've tried my best to make him have contact with my child to no avail. Infuriating!!! Anyways I've had my yearly check for my CMS and he was meant to be paying me more money as he has earned more last year. However he has claimed that he is paying for his 1st daughter through a family based arrangement that he doesn't see and has no contact with the mother. I've been trying trying to trail through the internet and it seems that only a letter from him would be approval enough to justify this. I believe he has a copy of his daughters birth certificate too so he may of sent that. What can I do if I think he is lien to CMS? Just seems all very suspicious when he's had to start and pay me more all of a sudden his circumstances have changed with a daughter I know for a fact he does not see. I hope he is paying for his daughter but I very much doubt he will be.

Our Response:
I'm not quite sure what you are asking, but I will try to answer your question the best I can. Regardless whether your ex is paying via a family-based arrangement or not, it works like this: if he is paying for one child, he'll pay 12% of his gross weekly income, two children, 16%, three or more children, he'll pay 19% of his gross weekly income. Your only concern is the child maintenance you receive (not what he pays to the other parents). If the other parent who he says he is paying for prefers a family-based arrangement, then this is up to her. If he doesn't pay, then the other parent has the option of contacting CMS. Likewise, the other parent may have already contacted CMS and a family-based arrangement has been registered. However, non of this will affect your claim to your child and has no relevance to it. I hope this helps answer your question.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Jun-18 @ 9:28 AM
Hi there, my sons father has 3 children all together to 3 different mothers also (such a catch eh?.He has nothing to do with his 1st daughter and has everything to do with his middle daughter. And will only see my son (his youngest) if he calls to his mother's (if he can be bothered) where my son goes once a week on a Sunday for a few hours. I've tried my best to make him have contact with my child to no avail. Infuriating!!! Anyways I've had my yearly check for my CMS and he was meant to be paying me more money as he has earned more last year. However he has claimed that he is paying for his 1st daughter through a family based arrangement that he doesn't see and has no contact with the mother.I've been trying trying to trail through the internet and it seems that only a letter from him would be approval enough to justify this.I believe he has a copy of his daughters birth certificate too so he may of sent that. What can I do if I think he is lien to CMS? Just seems all very suspicious when he's had to start and pay me more all of a sudden his circumstances have changed with a daughter i know for a fact he does not see. I hope he is paying for his daughter but I very much doubt he will be....
Vicksluc - 20-Jun-18 @ 2:28 PM
sarahsunny - Your Question:
Himy ex husband is self employed, he declared a very small salary initially and was paying around £20 a month for my daughter. he is a successful business man with 2 active companies on companies house, his businesses are also alover social media, he travels the world and lives a luxury lifestyle. 5 months ago he produced a p45 from another business that he wound up, he informed child maintenance he was now unemployed. as a result I asked for a variation, long story short they found an income of almost £60000, he stated this was from his disolved company and has no other income. this is untrue, I have info and evidence to prove his other companies however my question is in april 2017 he transferred 75% of the company to his wife, is he able to hide money in this way?also to child maintenance take into account lifestyle?oh and just so you know child maintenance did not accept his p45 :)thanks so much in advance:)

Our Response:
CMS base child maintenance on the non-resident parent's taxable earnings. We do not have the information on what a business owner can and cannot do, you would have to ask CMS directly.However, a court would look further into his accounts if you feel he has been side-lining money. You would need professional legal advice to see whether you have a case.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Jun-18 @ 3:42 PM
hi my ex husband is self employed, he declared a very small salary initially and was paying around £20 a month for my daughter. he is a successful business man with 2 active companies on companies house, his businesses are also alover social media, he travels the world and lives a luxury lifestyle. 5 months ago he produced a p45 from another business that he wound up, he informed child maintenance he was now unemployed.as a result i asked for a variation, long story short they found an income of almost £60000, he stated this was from his disolved company and has no other income. this is untrue, i have info and evidence to prove his other companies however my question is in april 2017 he transferred 75% of the company to his wife, is he able to hide money in this way? also to child maintenance take into account lifestyle? oh and just so you know child maintenance did not accept his p45 :) thanks so much in advance :)
sarahsunny - 19-Jun-18 @ 3:22 PM
@Fansel - a tracing service should be able to help. It'll cost. But if your ex isn't working and paying tax it remains difficult for CMS or a court to legally claw back this money.
SteveC - 15-Jun-18 @ 3:02 PM
My ex husband has no contact with my 16 year old and hasn’t (by his own choice) for 12 years. CMS caught up with him and set up a DEO.A few payments were made but he has since disappeared off the radar and is not claiming benefits.He has moved house and because the CMS have no confident address, cannot do anything.The arrears are approximately £1600.00. I don’t think it’s right that somebody can get away with non payment.He owns no property and does not drive so cannot be traced. What else can be done in a situation like this?Thank you.
Fansel - 14-Jun-18 @ 10:31 PM
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