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Enforcement of CSA Payments

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 12 December 2014 |
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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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
I support my three kids financially myself. I have done so,for all of mykids’ lives -my oldest is now 13. Their dad - my ex has never volunteered to financially support them. I’ve never had a penny from him.In fact if we have any form of discussion about financial help.He tells me that he financially supports them when he has them (contact is 2 days per week made up of 4.5hrs the first day and 8 hrs the otherday). So that tells you the level of responsibility he actually accepts!He's been supposedly. 'Unemployed' for many years - (he has a £6k motorbike and a van and has been to various far away countries for vacations on at least three occasionsover the past three years). 2 years ago, i contacted the CSA when I identified that he hada legitimate job.i had to tell them who and where he worked,(this is a difficult task when you are estranged and your ex doesn’t want to pay - its not like he will volunteer the information to me).However CSA told me that to speed things up if i could supply the info then this would help get me maintenance.I supplied the info.They then contacted him.For three months he refused to tell them his earnings.He apparently was employed ona trial basis.After his three month trial period was up the company did not hire him in fulltime employment and he was again unemployed.it was at this stage he finally volunteeredto tell the CSA his earnings during employment.He did this because by this point he knew he was safe from providing for his kids.I got a letter from them telling me he now owned my £690 in arrears for the three months he worked (shows you how much he was earning!).I would only receive the money if he got another job.Reality is I will never see a penny of that cash.He knows how to play the system well. His employment ended in August 2010.He was then officially unemployed,and as such by law he was then obliged to provide £5 per week for his kids from his social security benefits(not £5 each but £5 in total!).A couple of months later i asked the CSA when i could receive this weekly £5.They told me that i had to advise them of my ex's unemployed status before they could start another claim (crazy i know, since they already knew having chased him while employed).The claim could only start by that date.Howeverby December i still had received £0 from him - and despite the CSA contacting the unemployment benefit office they had failed to take the £5 a week from him.I was told that the £5 payments would start over the next few weeks.He'd managed to skip the £5 weekly payment from August right up to December because apparently you cannot backdate social security payments even when the error is on the part of the social security not taking the cash. By this point I gave up and told the CSAto put my case to sleep.The stress and energy i used chasing them wasn't worth the £5 a week. Two years later my ex lives like a king
scunnered with the C - 31-Aug-12 @ 5:50 PM
@ Willie45... as you say "not all men are to blame".... my partners ex tricked him into having another baby.... this may sound lame to some people but she lied and told him she was on the pill... they had been having problems since their first child was born and he had told her that he wanted to split up (stuck it out for the sake of the first child for 5 years with the help of anti-depressants).... just after he told her that he wanted to split up she announced she was pregnant..... "she didn't want to get a full time job when the first child went to school..." He has never refused or missed a payment for his children but his ex constantly uses them to hurt/punish him and it's absolutely disgusting to watch.... women like her make me sick.She protrays the image of 'the perfect mother' but her actions have distroyed her childrens relationship with their father and her lies have left them insecure and withdrawn..... She, however is happy because she has someone to blame whenever something goes wrong and has a constant supply of money... to go on holiday with her friends while we pay for the kids to come on holiday with us..... My partner has done absolutely nothing wrong but is constantly trying to prove his love for his kids because of the mothers actions and lies.... It's mothers like her that put decent mothers to shame.....
Sally - 30-Aug-12 @ 11:28 AM
My son is 8 months old. I was with his father for years. This was a planned pregnancy and I had three miscarriages before I had my son. I was a partner in a business with my sons father. Whilst I was pregnant he went off with another woman. He fired me from my job and I went through the rest of my pregnancy broke and on my own. When my son was first born he saw him a few times. He decided when my son was 3 months old he didn't want too see him again. He was assessed by the CSA in February and hasn't paid a penny. He is on his fourth forgein holiday this year and has purchased a new range rover. We are both in our forties. I am sick of men who indicate that it is some how that woman's fault that they don't pay child support. A father has a moral as well as legal responsibility too help towards the upkeep of their children.
Caw - 26-Aug-12 @ 7:36 PM
not all men are to blame..i made a mistake in 2008 which resulted in a child..childs mother knew i was married...i have 4 kids to estranged wife and eldest i brought up myself and then with estranged wife when child was born i paid cash in hand and sent 3 x slips signed statements .i was paying more but was in position with a good income then i lost employment in 2010.childs mother didnt want reduced payments ii the got letter from csa demanding 58.10 backdated to when child was born despite me paying cash to mother..she cut off contact in may 2010....moved house i do not know where child is...then in july 2010 csa told me case was closed..then fast forward to july 2012 and a enforcemrnt letter arrives demanding £7880...DESPITE SAYING CASE WAS CLOSED.its not all mens fault i have never had a payment from eldest mother in 13 plus years.... childs mother took good money when i had good income but still wanted same when i couldnt afford it i still see my five children my ex has them all with her.. i am between employment yes i made a mistake during marrige trouble but did my best to fix it
willie45 - 9-Aug-12 @ 12:57 PM
Totally understand your frustrations, fathers should ensure third offspring well provided for, whether they see them or not their kids are living and needing shelter, food, warmth. My story, well, in short he worked, CSA caught up, manged to get one payment, he left work place. Fathered another child, worked cash in hand, claims unemployed, receiving JSA. That relationship dissolved, she claimed CSA, calculations were split between 2 kids, (£5 each fortnightly) and he continues to work, claim JSA, except the other child gets some cash payments from him. Reported his fraudulent claiming and working, provided dates, addresses, telephone contacts, at current place for 3 years. CSA can't pursue cause DWP have to be informed, which I did, then CSA still can't check out his status until DWP prove his working and claiming fraudlenty. So my question is, what's the use? As long as you claim benefits and work, CSA won't pursue you for telling them lies too. Receiving £2.50 a week for the last 4 years an insult and have now cancelled my CSA claim.
Incredilous - 30-Jul-12 @ 4:37 PM
anybody got information on when child support is stopped? example;age of the child?
caca - 16-Jul-12 @ 1:48 PM
In responce to Tracey dated 18th June 2011 how can you blame women for getting themselves pregnant and demanding money?? It takes 2 and if men didn't like the fact that as well as women they need to support their children they should of put something on the end of it!! Whether your a man or woman children should always come first and both should make the effort as there are people out there that would give anything to have a child! As for the csa stricter rules should apply and they should not be taking so long to get results as the ones that suffer will be the children if parents are in need of help for clothes food etc at the start of the case!
mrs c - 4-Jul-12 @ 9:59 AM
do away with csa its a lot of cock and ball they can prove nothing. FATHERS RIGHTS ALL THE WAY. i think i might do a facebook page for Fathers rights stop CSA. Many Thanks
dale - 25-Jun-12 @ 2:43 AM
My ex husband paid £200 mth from May 2011.He took me to court for access in February 2012.Just before the court case he rang csa to say he could only pay half that amount although the firm he is working for is exppanding.He also requested voluntary deductions from his wage.He lost the court case and has been classed as a danger to children(based on the bizarre behaviour he admitted to) - he can not even have supervised access. He said at court that he wasn't going to pay me another penny and that he would do whatever he can to not pay.A lot of people in the court witnessed this and did signed statements for my solicitor.Csa rang his work in March on a Friday and spoke to a man who said he was the manager. He told them that the lady who does the wages isn't in until monday. They phoned back on monday and a lady answered and said that the lady who does the wages isn't in until wednesday.I told them that the lady they spoke to was the lady who did the wages as only 5 people work for this firm and the other 4 are males.They rang on the wednesday and asked for the lady by name and then she said that my ex had left the day after the court case and that the manager didn't know.The manager was best man at wedding and his son was page boy.Whenever we had trouble in marriage he went to live with them.His manager has children that he doesn't pay for as well.Csa asked me to contact these people to see if they would tell me anything.Yeah! Like his boss and best friend are going to help me.I received a letter dated may stating that he doesn't earn a penny nor does he claim any benefits (from 1st March and still doesn't now) yet he is registered partially sighted and also lives in rented house.I said how can he do this with no money and they said well he wouldn't lie to us because that is illegal!He is on Facebook and is seeing someone else and they have put recent pictures of him up wearing a suit.He is a very good salesman and has won national awards for his ability to sell so I can't see him being unable to get a job.He is also a smoker and an alcoholic.It is so fustrating that they can't see that he is lying.His manager came to my house at easter and gave her £100 worth of easter presents off himself and his wife yet they have never seen my daughter.Her dad didn't get her anything.Csa just don't seem to understand and I have sent copies of the statements to them to prove that it isn't a simple error on his part but they still say he is telling the truth.They have said it is up to us to get the proof that he is lying.
vez - 22-May-12 @ 12:10 AM
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