Home > Paying Child Support > Enforcement of CSA/CMS Payments

Enforcement of CSA/CMS Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 14 Apr 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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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
new wife- Your Question:
My husband and I married 2 years ago. I had no idea he owed anything to CSA. My husband has a good job but went bankrupt and has to still pay arreas plus regular payment of 800 per month. Ive had to work more hours to cover this that has effected my child. His ex loves in a 350 k house and we are struggling. How is this fair. it affects my mental health. He travels hrs and depends 200 plus per month to see his kids and we cannot afford legal advice to see them for more than a day. My son suffered seizures yet I couldn't be home to help pay for his kids. His ex has a massive income and tries to push for direct pay. w have another 10 years of going without to pay for her holidays. My son has suffered , I have suffered and shes laughing. How can this possibly be right?

Our Response:
Every non-resident parent by law has to pay towards helping support their child regardless of what the financial circumstances are of the resident-parent. Child maintenance is based on the non-resident parent's earnings. If your husband has to travel far, then he may be able to apply for a variation, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Apr-18 @ 2:51 PM
my husband and i married 2 years ago. I had no idea he owed anything to CSA . My husband has a good job but went bankrupt and has to still pay arreas plus regular payment of 800 per month. Ive had to work more hours to cover this that has effected my child.His ex loves in a 350 k house andwe are struggling.How is this fair.it affects my mental health.He travels hrs and depends 200 plus per month to see his kids and we cannot afford legal advice to see them for more than a day.My son suffered seizures yet i couldn't be home to help pay for his kids. His ex has a massive income and tries to push for direct pay.w have another 10 years of going without to pay for her holidays.My son has suffered , i have suffered and shes laughing. How can this possibly be right?
new wife - 14-Apr-18 @ 1:18 PM
Jemy - Your Question:
My ex boyfriend has lied to csa saying he earns less than 150.00 a week,he drives a car that costs him nearly 400.00pcm,and has just bought a house,but because he is self employed he is getting away with it,any help with this would be appreciated,he pays just 50.00 pcm,I left due to domestic violence,he has been in and out of prison all his life,and one offence death by dangerous driving,under the I finance of drink and drugs,please can some assit me with this issue

Our Response:
Your only option would be to apply to court. You may wish to seek legal advice to see whether you have a case. You would have to be able to prove that through lifestyle he is earning much more than he is claiming. However, assets such as a car and his home are not taken into consideration when assessing child maintenance. Also, you don't say whether he has a partner who may contribute to his lifestyle. What the court will do will be to look at his accounts in more depth to see whether he may be hiding income.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Apr-18 @ 2:13 PM
My ex boyfriend has lied to csa saying he earns less than 150.00 a week,he drives a car that costs him nearly 400.00pcm,and has just bought a house,but because he is self employed he is getting away with it,any help with this would be appreciated,he pays just 50.00 pcm,I left due to domestic violence,he has been in and out of prison all his life,and one offence death by dangerous driving,under the I finance of drink and drugs,please can some assit me with this issue
Jemy - 13-Apr-18 @ 12:09 AM
Lisa - Your Question:
I have received a letter from the csa saying I am owed child maintenance for my son. But have not received any thing else since. It is a large amount and have been in touch but not got bk to, would like to know how I get the money and why it is taking so long.

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether the CSA/CMS can enforce thet payment. You can see more via the link CAB link here , which should tell you all you need to know.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Apr-18 @ 10:46 AM
Anom - Your Question:
Hi, I have a client who has always met every child maintence payment to his ex wife regarding their son, this has been based on taxable income, so previously self employed profits and now salary and dividends from a company he owns. He has never tried to dodge anything and wants to contribute towards his son. His ex wife obviously believes she is entitled to more though as she has now opened a financial investigation on him and he has been told that an additional amount of child maintenance payments will be due based on his company bank balance at his year end! How can this be right?! This is not taxable income, he draws a salary and dividend and then the money left in the company bank account is used for stock and to pay their other sons wages! Any advice would be welcome

Our Response:
In some instances, if the paying parent is self-employed they will deliberately take a low wage as a regular income (which is used for assessment via CMS) as a way to avoid paying child maintenance. However, simultaneously they will draw dividends from their pre-tax profits. CMS can review this in order to ensure the paying parent pays a fair amount of child maintenance.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Apr-18 @ 9:47 AM
Hi, I have a client who has always met every child maintence payment to his ex wife regarding their son, this has been based on taxable income, so previously self employed profits and now salary and dividends from a company he owns. He has never tried to dodge anything and wants to contribute towards his son. His ex wife obviously believes she is entitled to more though as she has now opened a financial investigation on him and he has been told that an additional amount of child maintenance payments will be due based on his company bank balance at his year end! How can this be right?! This is not taxable income, he draws a salary and dividend and then the money left in the company bank account is used for stock and to pay their other sons wages! Any advice would be welcome
Anom - 8-Apr-18 @ 7:43 AM
I have received a letter from the csa saying I am owed child maintenance for my son. But have not received any thing else since. It is a large amount and have been in touch butnot got bk to, would like to know how I get the money and why it is taking so long.
Lisa - 8-Apr-18 @ 12:25 AM
@DeadbeatDad - if child maintenance isn't paid it automatically goes into arrears. There isn't really another word for it; deficit, unpaid, deficiency all mean the same thing.
Thursday - 5-Apr-18 @ 12:10 PM
The use of the word 'arrears' by the CMS is horrendously irresponsible. These situations are often very tense and such a misuse of language can cause real damage to relations between parents.
DeadbeatDad - 3-Apr-18 @ 7:20 PM
@Csaholiday - Your gross annual salary for the year is averaged out. Holidays do not figure in any calculations.
Tomm - 23-Mar-18 @ 3:14 PM
Chrissy - Your Question:
Can you help. My son has never defaults on payments yet he is constantly being sent letters saying he is in arrears or the amount changes without notification! He has letters confirming an amount to be paid and pays it immediately. Two weeks later a new letter arrives saying a new amount is now due. Then he gets another letter demanding arrears! He has no idea how this is calculated and no one will explain. Staff are rude and aggressive and he is treated like a villain! He has never not paid! His ex refuses all contact and will not discuss payments or enter into a private arrangement to avoid the collections fees. There seems to be no accountability system or contact available for addressing issues. Each dad is assumed to be feckless and unwilling to pay. My son is desperate to be able to budget! Can anyone help? It’s driving him to desperation and distressing us all. The system seems corrupt.

Our Response:
Your son's only recourse is to complain, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Mar-18 @ 2:29 PM
Hello my question is I work full time due to long term service I am paid 9 weeks holiday annual leave threw my salary is this taken into account and deducted from what I pay yearly as this is my holiday pay as part of my salary and can I challenge this as this is my holiday pay and should not be taken into account as part of full deductions from my yearly salary thanks
Csaholiday - 21-Mar-18 @ 7:28 PM
Can you help. My son has never defaults on payments yet he is constantly being sent letters saying he is in arrears or the amount changes without notification! He has letters confirming an amount to be paid and pays it immediately. Two weeks later a new letter arrives saying a new amount is now due. Then he gets another letter demanding arrears! He has no idea how this is calculated and no one will explain. Staff are rude and aggressive and he is treated like a villain! He has never not paid! His ex refuses all contact and will not discuss payments or enter into a private arrangement to avoid the collections fees. There seems to be no accountability system or contact available for addressing issues. Each dad is assumed to be feckless and unwilling to pay. My son is desperate to be able to budget! Can anyone help? It’s driving him to desperation and distressing us all. The system seems corrupt.
Chrissy - 21-Mar-18 @ 6:30 PM
Angi- Your Question:
Hi my husband had a on going case with CMS which is been appealed, my husband had a accident 4 years ago and hasn’t worked to date. I would like to know if the CMS can take money from my bank account that is solely in my name ? Any info would be much appreciated thanks.

Our Response:
If the money in your bank account is earned by you and you pay tax on it via HMRC, then CMS cannot take money from your account. Only if your husband is deemed to be earning and having money paid into your personal bank account, could CMS attempt to extract the money. Chile maintenance is based solely on the non-resident parent's earnings. If your husband does not have money that is classed as taxable 'income', then they cannot make him pay. You can see what is classed as income via the link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Mar-18 @ 10:49 AM
Hi my husband had a on going case with CMS which is been appealed, my husband had a accident 4 years ago and hasn’t worked to date. I would like to know if the CMS can take money from my bank account that is solely in my name ? Any info would be much appreciated thanks.
Angi - 8-Mar-18 @ 2:41 PM
My ex has been court ordered to pay child support for 2 kids, he’s only paying for one, though, as the older one doesn’t want contact with him (so that’s the ‚punishment‘). My ex lives in South Africa. Can the arrears be enforced?
SV_nosense - 6-Mar-18 @ 5:47 PM
Littlemiss - Your Question:
Hi can anyone help me I’mOwed over 20k in child maintenance it’s apparently with enforcement but it’s already been down this route and I have a charging order in place my child is only 11 & I’ve not received a penny

Our Response:
It is difficult to advise without knowing why CMS cannot extract the payment from the non-resident parent. If CMS cannot extract it, you would have to ask whether you think a court could, as court would be the only option to consider. In which case, you would have to seek legal advice to see whether you would have a case.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Feb-18 @ 3:17 PM
Hi can anyone help me I’m Owed over 20k in child maintenance it’s apparently with enforcement but it’s already been down this route and I have a charging order in place my child is only 11 & I’ve not received a penny
Littlemiss - 27-Feb-18 @ 1:00 PM
Auntie- Your Question:
Hi, Has anyone got any advice about challenging the CMS decision where a NRP has not declared a substantial wage increase (more than the 25% threshold)? The increase was not declared to the CSA, case moved from CSA to CMS, CMS did their calculation on previous year’s HMRC figures and now 14 months on the NRP has made massive contributions to a pension to bring the amount down even more. It means NRP was on higher wage for 1 year and 8 months before it was ever declared to CMS, and then when he did have to declare it he has changed it by contributing 30%+ to a pension. Thanks for any advice.

Our Response:
You would have to take this up directly with CMS via the link here. If the amount of pension contributions by the paying parent is considered to be excessive, then CMS can make an adjustment in the receiving parent's favour. The CMS considers 12% to be a level that is not excessive.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Feb-18 @ 9:57 AM
Hi, Has anyone got any advice about challenging the CMS decision where a NRP has not declared a substantial wage increase (more than the 25% threshold)? The increase was not declared to the CSA, case moved from CSA to CMS, CMS did their calculation on previous year’s HMRC figures and now 14 months on the NRP has made massive contributions to a pension to bring the amount down even more. It means NRP was on higher wage for 1 year and 8 months before it was ever declared to CMS, and then when he did have to declare it he has changed it by contributing 30%+ to a pension. Thanks for any advice.
Auntie - 18-Feb-18 @ 12:09 PM
Emii - Your Question:
My ex has arrears it was being taken from his wages before they closed the case. Well money has been taken out his account but I haven't revieved a penny !!!!!

Our Response:
You would have to take this up with CMS directly.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Feb-18 @ 2:53 PM
My ex has arrears it was being taken from his wages before they closed the case... Well money has been taken out his account but I haven't revieved a penny !!!!!
Emii - 9-Feb-18 @ 10:08 PM
What is an ACT payment? I've recently received a letter to say that my ex is to pay the arrears for the next year even though my son is older now. They say they will pay me via ACT payments but I have no idea what these are! I have closed my main bank account a few year ago too so not sure the CSA have my building society details.
Mbnandme - 3-Feb-18 @ 4:34 PM
My ex has owed unpaid maintance since I opened a claim with the old csa back in 2006 they switched my claim to the new childmaintance service and he owes maintance through them as well neither have made any effort to recover it they it let him past had and when he feels like it both services have been a total waste of time 11 years on I’m no further forward shocking service
H - 2-Feb-18 @ 8:42 AM
my boyfriend pays money into his ex partners account every month when he gets paid. and now shes saying shes going through CSA for their baby which he already pays for and has her 3 days every week, so he has to buy everything she buys for at his house for when the babys there, it doesnt seem fair that he has to provide for when he has her for 3 days and provide when she has her the other 4 days. hes got his own house and a car to run, where she still lives with her mother so not as if she has to pay for anything, only the baby. (shes 6 months old)anyway, my point is, will she be able to get more money out of him? hes already skint every month as it is by paying bills and rent. im not saying he shouldnt pay anything, just dont see why she cant leave it as it is.will the CSA look at bills etc? ive looked on the online calculator and it goes by how much you earn BEFORE tax? im just looking for some info if she can do this if hes already paying her each month?
the girlfriend - 30-Jan-18 @ 3:24 PM
Husband has to pay a fortune in areas more that the weekly payment was and kid is 20 years old
A - 30-Jan-18 @ 10:41 AM
Nm - Your Question:
My ex partner owes £9000 in child maintenance arrears. The csa were useless. I've now moved to the CMS and am doubtful they will be any better than the csa; even though it's a service I have to pay for. Is there any other service I can use to try and recover the debt such as courts, bailiffs etc?

Our Response:
You can see more via the CAB link here , which will tell you further all you need to know.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Jan-18 @ 12:37 PM
My ex partner owes £9000 in child maintenance arrears. The csa were useless. I've now moved to the CMS and am doubtful they will be any better than the csa; even though it's a service I have to pay for. Is there any other service I can use to try and recover the debt such as courts, bailiffs etc?
Nm - 21-Jan-18 @ 7:19 PM
Gran - Your Question:
I had custody of my grandson and csa collected maintenance and money owed for me. Now my grandson has returned to his mother will csa still collect money owed to me. I know he will not pay a penny as he never did before and he owes me quite an amount of money

Our Response:
You would have to speak to CSA/CMS directly regarding this matter.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Jan-18 @ 2:30 PM
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