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Enforcement of CSA Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 10 Aug 2016 |
 
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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Having my wages decresed cms still want £660 a month of me my wages are £1030 amonth rent 380 can't afford it any advice please
jholden - 10-Aug-16 @ 1:02 PM
Can you tell me why tha csa have to tell my ex husband my gross weekly income?? As far as I am concerned he should be told how much I should pay him not my salary as this is an inflingement of my privacy and he has no right to know this information as we are no longer together. He uses this as a means to blackmail me and carrying on being emotionally and financially abusive to which is why I left him. Also is is my gross income so he does not allow for the taxman and national insurance taken off. He is unemployed and claims extortionate benefits because both the children have Asperger's syndrome and he holds them back in their ability to hold down a normal life so he can keep those benefits. Seems to me if you are a hard working person paying your CSA payments you get penalised.
Stress head blondie - 7-Aug-16 @ 1:03 PM
Emz - Your Question:
Reading this has upset me so much! My ex husband has been a nightmare ever since we split up for paying my maintenance. I had to get the CSA involved and they advise how much he should pay. he stopped paying or would pay me once in a blue moon. So again I went back tot he CSA and asked them to collect it from him as he would become very nasty and threatening when I asked why I hadnt received any money from him. He paid them for a while and then a September last year the payments stopped from them. I called them after a few month and asked why. I was told basically it was down to me to chase him and at the end of the day why had it taken me so long to call them!!! I said because I assumed you would be working with him given that is the arrangement and the money goes into an account that I keep solely for the kids stuffThey told me that they were closing my account anyway in a few months so there was nothing more they could do for me!!My ex hubby is self employeed so the just are not willing to help me. I work and always have done. I get no benefit help. I am completely struggling and feel the system has completely let my son down

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, this is the case with many self-employed non-resident parents. It is not the fault of the CSA per se, but if your ex employs a good accountant, it can look as though he is not earning very much at all and can fall under the child maintenance payment radar. However, as you may know you will have to contact the CMS if you need further help and it will continue your case. If your ex is in arrears, then I suggest you also seek legal advice about perhaps taking him to court, especially if his lifestyle is in direct contrast with the amount you are getting paid. A court will look into his lifestyle more closely to see how he can afford to live a certain way when earning so 'little' money. In addition, if you feel you have been treated unfairly by the CSA, you can complain, see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Aug-16 @ 12:01 PM
Reading this has upset me so much! My ex husband has been a nightmare ever since we split up for paying my maintenance. I had to get the CSA involved and they advise how much he should pay.... he stopped paying or would pay me once in a blue moon. So again I went back tot he CSA and asked them to collect it from him as he would become very nasty and threatening when I asked why I hadnt received any money from him... He paid them for a while and then a September last year the payments stopped from them... I called them after a few month and asked why... I was told basically it was down to me to chase him and at the end of the day why had it taken me so long to call them!!! I said because I assumed you would be working with him given that is the arrangement and the money goes into an account that I keep solely for the kids stuff They told me that they were closing my account anyway in a few months so there was nothing more they could do for me!! My ex hubby is self employeed so the just are not willing to help me... I work and always have done.. I get no benefit help.. I am completely struggling and feel the system has completely let my son down
Emz - 2-Aug-16 @ 3:47 PM
I sympathise with all those parents who are not being supported by CSA, now CMS. The stories are all very similar in that children are being disrespected by their absent parents, usually fathers I'm sorry to say. Not providing for your own child financially sends a message of negativity in more ways than one. My ex partner is so bitter and spiteful, even though he was the one who left his family, that he has done everything he can to not pay any maintenance. He has companies in different names, has a dodger accountant and is also paid cash in hand, so that his income is not detected by CMS. If it wasn't so frustrating, it'd be laughable. Especially as there is more than one child he has done this to. My daughter, now 12, knows that her father avoids paying maintenance and this is just another reason that she does not want to have contact with him anymore. He will never have a loving, respectful relationship with her father again. His very sad loss as she is a very beautiful, intelligent girl, who brings joy to my life that far surpasses the lack of financial support he wrangles out of paying.
Tdg1 - 26-Jul-16 @ 11:23 AM
vic - Your Question:
I'm so dissapointed with the cms. My babies father has avoided paying by going on jsa then getting a job then leaving. Then going cash in hand. He has had a steady job for 3 months earning over £230 a week and what he owes is going up and up. They know what he is earning but can do anything til info comes through hmrc. They are going to apply a deduction from earnings but he will leave job when this is applied. The system does not work as everything is too long winded and I think on the side of the non payer

Our Response:
Unfortunately, in situation such as this the CMS are powerless to retrieve money when the paying parent does all he can in order to dodge the system. The best the CMS can do is a deduction from earnings, but it cannot do anything more if your ex decides to leave his job. Neither can the CMS do anything if he is working cash-in-hand as the system needs to run through official channels.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Jul-16 @ 11:54 AM
Jod - Your Question:
My ex informed Csa he was due to start work beginning of April but has since ignored letters/phone calls regarding his new income. I've told Csa where he is working but the employer has not got a landline and without verbal confirmation they can not send letters to the employer, which is understandable. Does the Csa have the power to obtain information from hmrc regarding employment? Surely if he's paying tax/national insurance this information would be available.

Our Response:
Yes, the CSA will be able to find information on what he is paying in tax etc. From the time you applied through the CSA, is the time his payments would be due to start, which means if he is ignoring correspondence then he will now be in arrears. If you can help find out any helpful information to help your claim along then all the better for you.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Jul-16 @ 11:36 AM
I'm so dissapointed with the cms. My babies father has avoided paying by going on jsa then getting a job then leaving. Then going cash in hand. He has had a steady job for 3 months earning over £230 a week and what he owes is going up and up. They know what he is earning but can do anything til info comes through hmrc. They are going to apply a deduction from earnings but he will leave job when this is applied. The system does not work as everything is too long winded and I think on the side of the non payer
vic - 24-Jul-16 @ 1:37 PM
My ex informed Csa he was due to start work beginning of April but has since ignored letters/phone calls regarding his new income. I've told Csa where he is working but the employer has not got a landline and without verbal confirmation they can not send letters to the employer, which is understandable. Does the Csa have the power to obtain information from hmrc regarding employment? Surely if he's paying tax/national insurance this information would be available.
Jod - 24-Jul-16 @ 11:58 AM
My ex has defaulted on his CSA arrears payments. I've heard he is going abroad on holiday with his other family. Will he be stopped leaving the country?
Georgebungle - 23-Jul-16 @ 12:35 PM
10 years not a penny. The father has always been in work. Has his wages paid into partners account. Debt stands at 57k . The have all his information and do nothing, absolutely nothing.
WB10 - 14-Jul-16 @ 7:05 PM
Hi I've received a letter from CSA that my case is closing. Got a letter from new child maimtence service to set up a new claim but also got another new letter from CSA for new payments until 2017. I am very confused. Is my current CSA ending? If so why have I got a letter for new amounts up until a new date??
Denmark - 10-Jul-16 @ 8:56 PM
My daughters dad owes me over £6000 in arrears of maintenance from when she was 4 to present but he never pays and ignores all attempts by CSA to get him to pay. He goes on holiday abroad and yet says he can't pay maintenance now or pay any of the arrears! How can I recover this money owed to me? X
Carlee - 10-Jul-16 @ 12:35 PM
My ex husband owes almost £18,000. I only found this out a few months ago when making an enquiry about lack of payments. He has apparently been underpaying for a long time. My frustration is the fact that the arrears have been allowed to get so high without any action being taken against him. I have been divorced 15 years and have always had to chase the payments when not received for weeks or sometimes months. My girls have pretty much no chance of ever seeing that money and as 1 is at university and the other just about to start, this money would be so welcome at the moment. Instead I have to work myself to death to give my girls the best start in life while we see him, drinking, gambling and taking himself to Vegas!!! Frustrating doesn't even begin to explain how we feel. I at least have my pride when I see how well my girls have done without any financial help from their Dad.
Jo - 9-Jul-16 @ 11:01 AM
My daughters father disappeared with no attempt to make contact 10 years ago. I have now finally managed to track him down and they have occasional contact via the phone only. He was asked to pay £5 fortnightly in the beginning by CSA but it never materialised. So I have never received a penny. Where do I even start?! How would I know what I am owed? I'm aware the preferred method now is to arrange it yourself. I would need informed details surely before making claims to him of sums I assume to be owed?!
Sandra - 8-Jul-16 @ 9:49 AM
Rob - Your Question:
I am still having yearly csa letters sent.i owe nothing and im paying nothing, my daughter is nearly 21. Why has this not been shut down yet?

Our Response:
If your daughter is still in further education then this may be applicable, as CSA payments can run until your daughter turns 20 if she has remained in further education. You would need to contact the CSA directly.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Jul-16 @ 12:40 PM
I amstill having yearly csa letters sent .i owe nothing and im paying nothing, my daughter is nearly 21. Why has this not been shut down yet?
Rob - 6-Jul-16 @ 2:13 PM
I've not been getting my fortnightly payments for almost a year now. I call up every few months to ask about it and they say they have deducted the amount from my ex but it's not been sent on to me? Each time I call they send a referral that takes weeks to sort and I'll get a one off payments and it all stops again. Its so annoying because unless I call nothing is done and the phone bill ls add up, i have to go through the whole sinario with each person and I then have to explain it all to housing benefit ect any one else had this?
Annoying - 5-Jul-16 @ 9:35 PM
tray - Your Question:
The father of my 3 children has not seen them for 4 years and never really payed anything for them, just payed for them odd tenner here and there. I finally sought help from csa December last year. He now owes nearly 2000 pounds to my children. He is self employed and clearly has no intentions of paying this money to them ( they are older and would have the money themselves as he well knows ) He has so far asked for a couple of reviews, this has been rejected by the csa. Im now told I have to wait 32 days for some kind of response from him to see if he will pay. I personally don't think he will ever pay, I don't want to give in and let him get away with not paying. I am starting to feel despondent as he seems to hold all the cards and has this choice of not paying.

Our Response:
This is always a difficult question to answer as your only other option would be to take the matter to court where the court would challenge his accounts in order to see whether he has the money to pay or not. Of course, this is a risky gamble because court costs too and if you lose then you may be saddled with court costs. The difficulty the CSA has, is trying to obtain money from someone who can make it look through the HMRC as though they are earning very little. In addition to the information in this article, the CSA can't directly enforce the payments and you can prove your ex is earning more than he says, you may have a case, please see link here. However, for this you would have to seek legal advice.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Jun-16 @ 11:01 AM
The father of my 3 children has not seen them for 4 years and never really payed anything for them, just payed for them odd tenner here and there. I finally sought help from csa December last year. He now owes nearly 2000 pounds to my children. He is self employed and clearly has no intentions of paying this money to them ( they are older and would have the money themselves as he well knows ) He has so far asked for a couple of reviews, this has been rejected by the csa. Im now told I have to wait 32 days for some kind of response from him to see if he will pay. I personally don't think he will ever pay, i don't want to give in and let him get away with not paying. I am starting to feel despondent as he seems to hold all the cards and has this choice of not paying.
tray - 27-Jun-16 @ 12:26 PM
Chez - Your Question:
My ex partner owes me over £4K in arrears and skips jobs in order to not pay, he hasn't paid in over a year and refuses to do so and is happy to blag about this to me. I have phone Child maintenance many of times and every time I get told they're trying to do a DOE even though I keep telling them that he works cash in hand and skips jobs. Why has legal action not been enforced?! I'm fed up of waiting. I'm a single mum to 2 children under 3 and it's hard to support my children and have nothing let for myself other than bills. Why can't child maintenance pay me what's owed and recover the debt for themselves and then they'd make actual effort to get the money owed paid back! I'm fed up of being skint and sraping and saving every penny while my ex partner is rolling in money laughing at me!

Our Response:
If your ex is working cash in hand then it is impossible for the CMS/CSA to extract money that is not declared to the HMRC. You may wish to seek legal advice to see if you may have a case to collect the money owed via the courts. However, if you cannot prove your ex is earning and he says he is not, the courts may also find this difficult to prove and you will be no further on. Unfortunately, this is a position many resident parents find themselves in when the non-resident parent refuses to take responsibility for their children.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Jun-16 @ 12:08 PM
Ive seriously had enought also ! My childrens dad is constantly lying about not working or only doing short term work ! Hes been working cash in hand and has the money to take his girlfriend and her child away but fails to pay me towards our children ! He just laughs when caught out . . . He chose to move away to start a new life, he rarely calls and rarely comes to visit . . . If i ask for financial help he says he saves his money so i should too and I should budget !! I can't because there is nothing left of my money once bills get paid and necessities come out ???? this system seems so unfair . . . Csa were happy to take my last £20 to get it started up but have litrally done nothing to help since
FightingALosingBattl - 23-Jun-16 @ 9:09 PM
My ex partner owes me over £4K in arrears and skips jobs in order to not pay, he hasn't paid in over a year and refuses to do so and is happy to blag about this to me. I have phone Child maintenance many of times and every time I get told they're trying to do a DOE even though I keep telling them that he works cash in hand and skips jobs. Why has legal action not been enforced?! I'm fed up of waiting. I'm a single mum to 2 children under 3 and it's hard to support my children and have nothing let for myself other than bills. Why can't child maintenance pay me what's owed and recover the debt for themselves and then they'd make actual effort to get the money owed paid back! I'm fed up of being skint and sraping and saving every penny while my ex partner is rolling in money laughing at me!
Chez - 23-Jun-16 @ 1:15 PM
My ex is a self employed contractor who is owe me £4k in CSA arrears. However, his limited company he works for pays him nothing but pays his new partner (also a company director) a wage. So in effect he has no income on paper so I am being told I can't get a penny. He works all week for a large oil company si how can this be the case ?
Vix - 20-Jun-16 @ 11:45 PM
Angela - Your Question:
Currently owed £13k in maintenence. My ex partner does and has been working and has a good job as in car sales, but job hops. Due to the complete lack of organisation or willing to do their job he has and continues to get away with being non compliant. It is not that he can't pay, he just doesn't want to. I asked whether he would ever get the £1000 fine, they threaten with for each time he ignores, does not tell them when he moves home/job or for the decade of not paying.I was told they don't fine and it's a flawed system. The only thing that is happening here, is that I am owed £13k in arrears ( from money I have had to pay all on my own for the last 11 years) and my child gets no continual support from both her parents. I'm tired of not being kept up to date, tired of excuses, tired of a system that allows this to happen!

Our Response:
If you feel you have been treated unfairly, you can complain, see link here . If your ex is working PAYE, then there is no reason why the CSA/CMS cannot take the money directly from his employer. If your ex is self-employed it can become more difficult to obtain as it depends on what your ex declares in earnings to the HMRC.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Jun-16 @ 12:01 PM
Currently owed £13k in maintenence. My ex partner does and has been working and has a good job as in car sales, but job hops. Due to the complete lack of organisation or willing to do their job he has and continues to get away with being non compliant. It is not that he can't pay, he just doesn't want to. I asked whether he would ever get the £1000 fine, they threaten with for each time he ignores, does not tell them when he moves home/job or for the decade of not paying.....I was told they don't fine and it's a flawed system. The only thing that is happening here, is that I am owed £13k in arrears ( from money I have had to pay all on my own for the last 11 years) and my child gets no continual support from both her parents. I'm tired of not being kept up to date, tired of excuses, tired of a system that allows this to happen!
Angela - 15-Jun-16 @ 2:06 PM
Donna - Your Question:
My ex has his work to deduct the money from his wages to then send to the csa. Csa sent a letter stating that payment would be made on the 7th and yet I have received nothing

Our Response:
An employer must send payments as soon as possible, but no later than the 19th day of the month following the month you made the deduction, please see gov.uk here.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Jun-16 @ 2:40 PM
My ex has his work to deduct the money from his wages to then send to the csa. Csa sent a letter stating that payment would be made on the 7th and yet I have received nothing
Donna - 13-Jun-16 @ 10:53 PM
Carol - Your Question:
My ex husband is on a deduction of earning. Is now 6 month that's every month I have to contact cma about the money not being paid. It comes out my ex wages but the employer fail to pay. Every month cma seem to say tgat they call the employer to get hom to pay but I feel that they r doing nothing at all. What can be done to force the employer to be more responsible and pay on a regular basis?

Our Response:
Your ex husband's employer must 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 gov.uk link here. If this is not the case and you have to contact the CMS every month and the service is not in line with the terms laid out in the gov.uk page, then you can complain, please see link here . I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Jun-16 @ 11:15 AM
JimJim - Your Question:
Hi, my partner's ex has never paid CSA for her nearly 16 year old children. My partner has brought his children up on his own and we wonder how he could claim CSA from their mother? She has been an absent mother for all of these years (not sure of her whereabouts) and she's not paid a single penny towards their upbringing Thanks for your help

Our Response:
In this instance I advise he contacts the CMS via the link here and request some free advice on his situation. Please also be aware that if your partner has never made a previous claim then he cannot request back payments. However, he may be able to claim for his child if a) his ex is working and b) his child in still in full time education. Child maintenance payments usually stop when the child reaches 16 (or 20 if they’re in full-time education not higher than A-level or equivalent), see gov.uk link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Jun-16 @ 11:03 AM
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