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Enforcement of CSA Payments

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 19 March 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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Leave a Comment, Ask for Advice or Share Your Story...
[Add a Comment]
@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
Hi my son as split from his partner and she is refusing him access to her until he as her 80 a week he's unemployed and is not receiving any benefits ..so how can he pay if he has no money
indi2000 - 13-Mar-15 @ 6:16 PM
@Schnookums - it depends when the claim was first lodged. He would be liable for payments or arrears from the date the claim was first made.
Jenny - 13-Mar-15 @ 1:49 PM
The father of my two children has only just started paying maintenance , are the children entitled to the previous 6 years maintenance that was not paid ? Thanks
Schnookums - 12-Mar-15 @ 10:16 AM
Go and see your mp about arrears and absent parents not wanting to pay if they are working it if there are big delays in getting paid anything you are entitled too
Due - 5-Mar-15 @ 5:33 PM
@TT - you can only claim back-dated CSA from the date when you first made a claim.
Nicky - 5-Mar-15 @ 3:08 PM
@Empress I'mel - you would have to take it through the courts in order to make sure an order was adhered to. Usually, if it is not a family based arrangement, the CMS would usually deal with all new applications for child maintenance. The courts can deal with an arrangement if your partner lives or works outside the UK. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Mar-15 @ 3:02 PM
@liz - arrears will go to the ex partner as it is CSA that is owed but hasn't been paid.
Shell - 4-Mar-15 @ 1:54 PM
My childrens father does not listen to their feelings or come to see them, nor call them often att all. He gives money when he chooses to and it is not consistent. We have an agreement each time I get serious with him about the above issues. He says I only want his money like he doesn't relise its not for me but my children. We was married when they were both born. I have contacted the csa a few years ago and still he continues to lie his way out of paying chhild maintenance to myself for our children. I don't care if he is never there for my children in person as I relise he is no good for them but I'm finding it harder and harder financailly as they are growing up. I want to nbow take it to court and get the courts to force him to make payments. He goes to and from Jamaica at will, has involvements in the running of a barbers and he can't pay consistently towards our two children is this a bloody joke or what.
Empress I'mel - 4-Mar-15 @ 12:32 AM
Hi my sons dad has never paid a penny towards help with our son he's now two we split nearly a year ago now when can I claim a back date from ?? Thank you in advance.
TT - 3-Mar-15 @ 10:51 PM
@natrose - I'm afraid you are only eligible to what your nan left you in her will. Whatever your dad has left to him in the will is up to him to do with it what he wants. I'm afraid you can't claim anything in retrospective child support. It is natural that most parents leave their money to their children to inherit and your dad has received his inheritance justly and fairly.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Mar-15 @ 12:00 PM
Hi my partner is thinking of paying his arrears off we are just wondering who the money goes to does it go to the ex partner or does it go back into the state? thankyou
liz - 2-Mar-15 @ 2:09 PM
@Nat - all you can do really is appeal to the CSA against the decision. But they have had to write a lot of cases off, I know that much.
Brian - 2-Mar-15 @ 11:39 AM
hi there my dad since i was 4 im now 28 has not payed maintenance his mum my nan contacted me when i was 16 i got on really great with her but sadly she dyed last july to cancer she left me 10,000 in a will but im having it given me to me in sections my dad had received over 200.000 ive never had any thing off him even when i was talking to his mum my nan, they sold everything in the house that was hers down to her clothes and little things i have nothing absolute nothing off my nan i live so far from her and only saw her about ten times but we spoke on the phone nearly every day , i feel shot out from my dad since he received the money can i claim any of it for unpaid child support ? please any body at one point he said the money was getting spilt down the middle then it turns out i only getting 10.000 i know it sounds alot but i feel like ive been done over by my own dad
natrose - 27-Feb-15 @ 10:49 PM
Hi, I have received a letter from csa saying the case against my ex as been closed, my son is 16 and as left school which I rang csa and told them so. Csa have been trying to get arrears from my ex since last September but can't seem to find out where he works so have closed the case, how can I get my 3000.00 I'm owed
Nat - 26-Feb-15 @ 6:16 PM
@leeoni - I think you would be best contacting the number on the letter and try to sort it out directly in this case - especially if you didn't know you were supposed to receive it, or why it has been stopped.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Feb-15 @ 11:40 AM
I have just received a letter stating that my child maintenance arrangements has stopped my child's father hasn't paid nothing since she was how has it Stopped?Was I supposed too be receiving payments?
leeoni - 24-Feb-15 @ 11:18 AM
@Petrina - I think you may have to let this one go, especially if the court ruled he did not have to pay. He has kept to the agreement of paying £20 per month, then I imagine the law will stand in his favour.
Ed - 18-Feb-15 @ 2:13 PM
@Badger - you may be interested in the CAB advice sheet, link here which in addition to the information in the article gives all the variations on what could happen through the courts. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Feb-15 @ 2:28 PM
My son is now 22, I split with his father when he was 7 and after many years of non payment the csa took him to court and even though he owed me more than £14000 in unpaid maintenance the court ruled that because of his circumstances, he said he wasn't working, when I knew he was cash in hand. He had to pay £20 per month. After receiving payments for over 4 years they have now stopped, what can I do? Am I still intitled to the arrears he still owes?
Petrina - 16-Feb-15 @ 10:28 PM
@merlin10 -if you are unhappy with the service the CSA/CMS is providing, you can complain or appeal via the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Feb-15 @ 1:49 PM
2 weeks ago if received a REMO enforcement against me in regards to my ex wife who is German for my three children who she took back to Germany when I was away on Operations she never let see them or speak to until my eldest contact me all children are now over the age of 19 all left home and all working a total of 14 years anyway I paid 280 a month until 2008 which agreed on and she has backdated. The claim to 2006 she wants 105k of arrears I have debts of 30k due to being unemployed for a year in court on 24th got solicitor what can I expect
Badger - 15-Feb-15 @ 6:25 PM
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