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Enforcement of CSA Payments

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 25 April 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]
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
@Need Help - she can't make a retrospective claim, the CSA will only look at the case again if she made a claim some time back and has never been resolved. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Apr-15 @ 2:12 PM
@darrenl82 - I am afraid child support and access arrangements don't go hand-in-hand, which means you cannot stop child support if your ex refuses you access. You don't say whether your access is a family-based arrangement or one issued through the courts. If it has been arranged through the courts, then your ex may be in beach of contact order, in which case you would need to take it back to court. If she is withholding contact with your child you really need to enforce it through the courts, see When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access, link here. You might find our Separated Dads Facebook page useful as there is a lot of dads in the same situation that can offer some great advice - you might want to read back through some of the posts as there are a few pretty similar ones. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Apr-15 @ 11:53 AM
@claire - you don't specify what you mean by a false claim? Firstly, if he thinks he has been treated unfairly, he can complain, via the link here. You would have to see whether the CSA has a statute of limitation on how far it can go back (we don't hold this knowledge, so you would have to ask directly). As specified in the article, if the CSA arrears aren't written off then it can try to recover arrears either by deducting money from his earnings (DEO) or take money direct from his bank or building society account (DO). If he was unaware or thinks that he doesn't or shouldn't owe this money and has always paid, then he should get in touch with his MP who may be able to help.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Apr-15 @ 10:39 AM
at what age does CSA stop my daughter as just turned 18 but is still in full-time education?
jeasea - 10-Apr-15 @ 9:08 AM
Ive recieved a letter from the csa saying that my case is going to change ive never recieved a penny from my sons father hes now 10 i fleed this eelationship due to domestic violence and was unaware of any case im a single mum whom works am i entitled to anything ?? Much on need of advice
lee - 10-Apr-15 @ 12:23 AM
Made arrangement years ago with ex to pay for things when needed rather than weekly payments, then agreed to make monthly payments for some time.I was off sick and ex said ok to stop payments, again agreed when child needed shoes, clothes etc i would buy them. Now child left school, not in education, not working, and ex demanding money fot last ten years. can ex go to csa and will they say i have arrears going back 15 years?
Need Help - 9-Apr-15 @ 9:48 PM
my x partner has so many cancelled my days with my daughter, i have never missed a payment or let my daughter down. most recent was for my other daughters birthday on sunday i was due to have her from 11am to 4pm but she cancelled and said my daughter wasn't not well which i kind of accepted just to find out today that she was at a dance show and her teacher turned out to be my work mates wife is there any way i can stop her money as its not fair on us dads who make the effort
darrenl82 - 9-Apr-15 @ 1:32 PM
My partner has just recd an order for arrears from the csa, his daughter is now 26 and his ex wife has approached the csa. Can the CSA use a DEO and pursue this money, he had an arrangement to pay through the agency which they stopped so he continued to pay, sometimes in cash sometimes by check. Can they come after him 7 years later for a false claim?
claire - 9-Apr-15 @ 10:25 AM
@poppy - I am sorry to hear this. However, your ex wont be getting all of these benefits cumulatively. His student loan could affect the total amounts of the benefits he receives, which could be reduced accordingly. The CSA will have assessed him and have come to the conclusion that he has no disposable income to pay child support. If you are a student and a single parent you should be able to get some help to maintaining your child, see link here. Your ex has every right to attempt to apply for a contact order. I know it may seem frustrating, but financial reasons should not be used to stop your ex having contact with your child. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Apr-15 @ 10:08 AM
My ex doesn't pay maimtenance and never has for our 5 year old son. 2 weeks ago I asked him for money each week and he kicked right off infront of our son. I stopped contact because our son was scared and have found out that he has applied to the courts for contact! He receives disbability benefits, housing benefit, esa, as well as student loans and grants because he is a student....although he is too ill to work! Anyway I phoned the csa and apparently I cannot get maintenance for our son! This annoys me as I am also a student and receive no benefits or help yet have to pay for everything for our son! What can I do?
poppy - 6-Apr-15 @ 5:53 PM
@Latara - you personally are not entitled to child maintenance. Only your mother would have been if she had claimed when you were younger and your father had been earning enough to afford to pay.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Apr-15 @ 12:49 PM
Can you help. My daughter has not received any CSAcalculated maintenance for the past 9 months when her ex lost his job He has declined to requests for a token contribution to assist with extra tuition for the three children of the marriage She knows that he receives a positive rental income ( rent exceeds mortgagepayment) from a previously jointly owned flat which became sole owner as part of settlement and there is equity of circ 250k . Question. Can she apply to court and claim part of the rental or further could she obtain a liability order for the amount currently in arrears - Circa 9k- and force the sale of the property to recover arrears
None - 1-Apr-15 @ 8:41 PM
@Bubbly - you can't make a retrospective claim with the CSA. He would only be able to take this up if he had made a claim previously and it had been enforced and she has never paid that maintenance. He should have really fought this at the time.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Apr-15 @ 10:30 AM
My father left home when I was 15 I'm now 21 and the only money I have had off him was on my 18th birthday in a card, apart from that I haven't had anything, not even any emotional involvement despite my constant efforts after all this time, he only lives 2 hours away and I haven't had as much as a visit, apart from that I've never had a csa payment. Is there anyway I can take it to court and claim anything back? He is also in a lot of debt, we know this as he keeps putting my address to debt collectors and letters keep getting sent to our house. Any help would be grateful.
Latara - 31-Mar-15 @ 5:43 PM
I need some advice on behalf of my partner. His son is 19 now and his daughter is 21 now. My partner seperated from the children's mother when his daughter was aged ten. His daughter lived with him when she was 10 years old and his son lived with the mother. The mother asked for maintenance money and my partner paid her cash and the mother of the children complained to csa to say he had not been paying/contributing to maintenance for the son and csa made my partner pay csa money for the son. My partner never Persued with csa for the mother to pay maineteance for the daughter living with her father. Because both parents had a cared for a child each in two seperate homes then would that not cancel each other out? Because each patent the mother and father would be paying for their absent child? Is there anyway my partner could appeal? Because of this situation that happened in the past my partner is anti women and think women get everything which is why he has never Persued this but i don't know if my partner can appeal against the csa? Any advice would be much appreciated, thank you.
Bubbly - 29-Mar-15 @ 11:50 PM
@Sussex girl - sorry to hear this, as these issues can come as a bit of a shock and understandably so when you thought everything was running smoothly. If you are unhappy with how the CSA has dealt with this matter, you can complain via the link here . I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-Mar-15 @ 10:32 AM
@lindhurst - this may be a case worth pursuing through a court of law if the CSA have not been able to acquire the money and your claim has spanned many years.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Mar-15 @ 10:54 AM
@Mama bear - if you are unhappy with the service of the CSA, then you can complain via the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Mar-15 @ 2:14 PM
My husband has paid CSA for his absent two children every month in full with no arrears for 16 years. The CSA have done their assessments based on his paycheck and told us what to pay. All the paperwork states that there is no arrears month after month, year after year.In July last year the two boys left their mums home to go to uni, we contacted CSA to tell them. CSA case was being closed down from September despite them having left home two months before. The final payment was said to behest over £900 for the last few months. On asking for a total breakdownbefore making final payment, the CSA them say they have found arrears from mis calculations over 12 years ago, we now owe £1400, then two weeks later they said that they have found others monies owed and its £1800, now they say it is £2600. How can they do this. He has always paid in full whatever they have asked and provided full income details. How can they now on closing the account decide that we should have paid more 12 years ago and never told us but we owe it now. Both her children have left home now and don't go back, so she has nothing to pay for, where as in our home I have 2 young children with him and we can't afford to live now as they are asking for amounts we don't have that we never knew we owed and we're always told we had no arrears.... Please help
Sussex girl - 19-Mar-15 @ 11:33 AM
@Bane Bastion - this is a tricky one if your ex refuses to admit that you have shared residence. Have you asked the CSA/CMS what can be done in these circumstances? I can only advise that you may want to take it through court to have your joint residency made official. However, if your ex is adamant that you should pay maintenance then this is something she may try and prevent for financial gain, meaning she may try and restrict your access. So you may want to tread carefully and get some further advice before you make any significant moves. But anything that can prove you share their care will go in your favour. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Mar-15 @ 10:24 AM
I am being very impatient but my experience of the CSA 7 years ago have left me nervous. After chasing my ex for years the CSA eventually caught up with my ex and he had a DEO put on him. It was low at first which was frustrating as I knew he was on more than he admitted. He owed me so much from personal debts I was just glad to get something, but when his payments went up there was trouble. He called me and told methat if I didn't come to an arrangement he would leave the country. He wasn't seeing his son but promised he would start if I did as he said. So I signed an agreement for less than half the amount and he said on the agreement he would pay £10000 after my son got to 18. Well surprise surprise , when my son got to 18 after years of let downs, I get a text saying he would not pay a penny more. I called the csa and they said they could get £14850 which he was down as owing. I have been told he has been sent a letter and his work has been phoned. I know he is on a lot of money and has a house in Cambridge while I live in a leaky flat in Wales sleeping in the living room. So this money means a lot but I know he will ignore letters so what are my chances of getting this money and what can I do to help this along. I had to do a lot of detective work all those years ago to get him to pay and worry that I may not see this money owed.
lindhurst - 17-Mar-15 @ 9:32 PM
I'm struggling with the CSA right now. Ex has been on DOA for years and in and out of jobs, where CSA then spend months tracking him down to a new employer. I've now had no payments since July and I don't feel they are doing enough to locate him. They were quick to tell me he was claiming JSA in November but before they could make deductions he started a new job. Three months later and still no known employer info. I'm seriously considering a private investigator but why should I? The CSA tell me they don't have the resources yet they do nothing to enforce a schedule, no legal action, and if the parent is non compliant and ignores calls and letters then that's it. I'm angry that they are supposed to operate a service and nobody seems to care. Where is the action?? Meanwhile the ex still has the children every weekend but refuses to tell me where he's working and gets away with making no payments. CSA suggested I lobby my MP but really what's the point? I'm very disheartened and don't know what to do.
Mama bear - 17-Mar-15 @ 11:48 AM
@indi2000 - contact with his child does not depend on financial contributions, meaning his ex is effectively blackmailing him by saying he can't see his children unless he pays her £80 per week. If he is unemployed he cannot obviously afford to pay more than the flat rate of £5 per week, therefore I suggest he applies directly through the courts for a contact order. Please see a link from our Separated Dads website, When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access, here. If he can't afford solicitor's fees, he can self-litigate, see Legal Aid Withdrawal: How to Represent Yourself, link here. A lot of fathers are finding that if you do the preparation and research then they are seeing success in gaining contact orders to their children this way. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Mar-15 @ 10:06 AM
I have been having my children more often than the Shared Residence order says yet my ex partner has told the csa this is not true. How can I take this matter to court, asI'm told by the csa that no change can be made otherwise.
Bane Bastion - 16-Mar-15 @ 5:58 PM
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