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Enforcement of CSA/CMS Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 11 Jan 2017 |
 
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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[Add a Comment]
May I also add which I didn't in my original comment/question the non resident parent in this case has arrears owing my daughter over £8000 according to CSA calculations on what he should have been paying the last 8 years as that's how long I have been on at CSA.Thanks.
Frustrated! - 11-Jan-17 @ 2:04 PM
I have a 9 yr old daughter with a ex who paid CSA for around a year at the begining. We separated whilst I was pregnant . He own his own business etc. But is refusing to pay for her. He demanded a DNA test last April which I complied it took him 4 months after we took it for him to do it. Within that 4 month he signed his business into his now partners name and his cars but clearly represents himself as the managing director of this company. I have been on the phone countless times with CSA and they keep saying its with theirlegal team. Which has been about 2 years now and still no payments or even action taken against him. I'm wondering will there ever be any action and if so what next?There is never any one from CSA that can contact legal team they say they will put it in my notes for someone to call me but no one ever does. This is been going on years.
Frustrated! - 11-Jan-17 @ 1:50 PM
Mandy1973 - Your Question:
My ex has never paid anything for my son. My son is now 7 years, 5 months. I've always informed CMS of our situation. So, how many years, times, do you have to ask him for money until, any of your consequences take place?

Our Response:
You don't give the reasons why your ex has not paid, making it difficult to advise. If your ex is earning then he will fall into arrears. As specified in the article, there are ways to enforce payment of the money owed (but you would have to negotiate this directly with the CMS, as we do not have information on its administrative timescales). However, if your ex is not earning, he may be on nil rate, or if he is self-employed he will be responsible for his own tax return and it depends upon what he declares through the HMRC. If you are unhappy with the way you have been treated, then you can complain, please see gov.uk link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Jan-17 @ 11:54 AM
My ex has never paid anything for my son. My son is now 7 years, 5 months. I've always informed CMS of our situation. So, how many years, times, do you have to ask him for money until, any of your consequences take place?
Mandy1973 - 9-Jan-17 @ 2:24 PM
Izzy - Your Question:
My childrens dad has not been paying his csa the last few months which means he is in areas with me for just under £1000.i have asked for the collection service to take it from his wages. They said it could taje upto 12 weeks. Will I be paid all areas in one payment?? Thanks

Our Response:
You would need to contact CSA directly for this information.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Jan-17 @ 12:15 PM
My childrens dad has not been paying his csa the last few months which means he is in areas with me for just under £1000.i have asked for the collection service to take it from his wages. They said it could taje upto 12 weeks. Will i be paid all areas in one payment?? Thanks
Izzy - 8-Jan-17 @ 6:54 PM
Elle - Your Question:
My ex partner is due to pay first payment this month direct to me. We agreed an amount And now he is saying he cannot afford it this month or next as he is saving for a flat! What steps should I take

Our Response:
Have you approached the CMS? If you have agreed he pays you via the CMS, then he will be in arrears, therefore you need to contact the CMS again directly. If you have a family-based arrangement (decided mutually) then you may wish to approach the CMS if he is refusing to pay, as he will not be liable for arrears. Please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Jan-17 @ 3:03 PM
My ex partner is due to pay first payment this month direct to me. We agreed an amount And now he is saying he cannot afford it this month or next as he is saving for a flat! What steps should I take
Elle - 6-Jan-17 @ 9:09 AM
Hiya can anyone help me. The CSA has been taking deductions of earnings from me for the past 16 months. I continually call to get this back but they are telling me something about 90 days. I called today which is day 88 and given the same line what does this mean? I find this frustrating as they continue to deduct the money from my wages I only want me money and think this is a joke it's not a small amount and they say I should have let them know regards the child!!! How can I do this when I know nothing of the child apart from I have overpaid
Tosh - 6-Jan-17 @ 12:02 AM
Annoyed - Your Question:
My children's father pays CM to me directly. He has moved to the US recently and this month I have not received a payment and he is not responding to my e-mails. What can I do?

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here. The Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit helps to register and enforce child maintenance orders internationally.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Jan-17 @ 3:05 PM
My ex is paying CM through deductions of earnings as he broke previous agreements and now he's got arrears of £1200 and he's denying he has arrears even though csa have confirmed the arrears. im at end if my tether trying to get these arrears
mrsgee - 4-Jan-17 @ 2:53 PM
MrsYawn - Your Question:
My ex pays CM via collect and pay as he breached any alternative payment arrangement. I have not received a payment since early November. Why would this happen? Either received benefit or weekly wage I have previously received a payment, but nothing for the last 2 months. I don't understand how he would be able to 'get out' of legally contributing to his child's upbringing??!

Our Response:
Only if your ex is no longer employed/earning a wage, would child maintenance payments officially cease. If your ex has stopped paying and is still employed, then he will be liable for back-dated arrears. You would have to speak to the CMS directly regarding this.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Jan-17 @ 11:59 AM
My children's father pays CM to me directly. He has moved to the US recently and this month I have not received a payment and he is not responding to my e-mails. What can I do?
Annoyed - 4-Jan-17 @ 12:59 AM
My ex pays CM via collect and pay as he breached any alternative payment arrangement. I have not received a payment since early November. Why would this happen? Either received benefit or weekly wage I have previously received a payment, but nothing for the last 2 months. I don't understand how he would be able to 'get out' of legally contributing to his child's upbringing??!
MrsYawn - 3-Jan-17 @ 2:52 PM
Jims - Your Question:
Hi,My partner has two children from a previous relationship and has brought them up all on his own, their mother never paid a penny towards them until my partner went through the CSA and she always paid late and then not enough money that the CSA calculated she should be payingThey agreed to go through the pay direct scheme as her payments were unreliable and they gave her lots of chances to pay and get in touch with them to arrange affordable payments and now it seems she is wanting to give up work to avoid paying for her children completely! This is really unfair as she has done absolutely nothing for her children. If she does give up work will CSA still take some sort of payment from her?Thanks for your help

Our Response:
Unfortunately, this is a strategy that some non-resident parents take in order to avoid paying, as if the NRP is not working, then they can only be charged nil or flat rate payments. Child maintenance is based upon earnings and if a NRP is not earning, then they are not eligible to pay. You can see more via the CAB link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Jan-17 @ 12:31 PM
Hi, My partner has two children from a previous relationship and has brought them up all on his own, their mother never paid a penny towards them until my partner went through the CSA and she always paid late and then not enough money that the CSA calculated she should be paying They agreed to go through the pay direct scheme as her payments were unreliable and they gave her lots of chances to pay and get in touch with them to arrange affordable payments and now it seems she is wanting to give up work to avoid paying for her children completely! This is really unfair as she has done absolutely nothing for her children. If she does give up work will CSA still take some sort of payment from her? Thanks for your help
Jims - 2-Jan-17 @ 5:57 PM
Hi my ex partner was paid his wages on the 22nd of Dec and I still haven't received my csa payment it's been nearly 2 weeks now is anyone still waiting on payment or does anyone know when we likely to receive payment thanks
Stillwaiting - 2-Jan-17 @ 2:15 AM
my friends baby mom threathened him to put a restraining order on himto not see his son only if he stops all communication with me which is not fair since she has a new boyfriend. what do i do?
steph - 28-Dec-16 @ 8:39 PM
Hi was wondering if you cancel a csa claim are you able to re-apply? I cancelled my claim last year because I never got any payments anyway even tho my child's father was in arrears of £156 for the 9 years of her life so I just closed the case! Am I able to start a claim for her again?
Shaw18 - 25-Dec-16 @ 2:15 AM
lilmizz - Your Question:
Hi there. My ex partner has been paying me directly but the CSA decided on the amount around about 2 years ago and he was notified of this and changed his payments accordingly. I recently called them to ask them to review the amount before my claim ends in March (due to the new service being introduced) During the call the CSA notified me that he should have paying a certain amount per week but upon ending the call and working out amounts (he pays me monthly not weekly) I realised he has been paying nearly £30 per month less than he should have been for the last 2 years. I have asked him to change the payment to the correct amount but he is refusing to do so. Can the CSA enforce this given that he pays me directly and not through them and what are my choices when it comes to the arrears?

Our Response:
You really would have to speak to the CSA/CMS regarding this issue. However, if accurate, this can be enforced and with arrears if he continues to refuse to pay.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Dec-16 @ 2:19 PM
Hi there. My ex partner has been paying me directly but the CSA decided on the amount around about 2 years ago and he was notified of this and changed his payments accordingly. I recently called them to ask them to review the amount before my claim ends in March (due to the new service being introduced) During the call the CSA notified me that he should have paying a certain amount per week but upon ending the call and working out amounts (he pays me monthly not weekly) I realised he has been paying nearly £30 per month less than he should have been for the last 2 years. I have asked him to change the payment to the correct amount but he is refusing to do so. Can the CSA enforce this given that he pays me directly and not through them and what are my choices when it comes to the arrears?
lilmizz - 7-Dec-16 @ 10:09 AM
Ben - Your Question:
I'm 17 I was living with my mother, and my father is paying csa that goes directly to my mother Monthly he owes thousands of pounds in arrears. I have moved out of my mums so we are now not speaking. Does my mum still keep the csa from my dad or should I be receiving it as I'm not at home and have no contact with my mum

Our Response:
If you are not living at home with your mother, then your mother should not be claiming CSA and your father should not be paying it to her. Much depends upon who are living with and whether you are in full-time government approved education or training. If you are not, then child maintenance payments would stop, if you are, the payments would possibly go to the person who is caring for you currently. You should not be receiving it directly, unless this is an informal arrangement your father wishes to undertake.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Dec-16 @ 11:32 AM
I'm 17 I was living with my mother, and my father is paying csa that goes directly to my mother Monthly he owes thousands of pounds in arrears. I have moved out of my mums so we are now not speaking. Does my mum still keep the csa from my dad or should I be receiving it as I'm not at home and have no contact with my mum
Ben - 4-Dec-16 @ 12:26 PM
jj - Your Question:
I have been paying child Maintenance through deduction of earnings for my daughter of whom I have no contact with at her mother's request for many years. despite a change in my personal circumstances such as increase in earnings and the birth of my 4 additional children who live with me, the csa always ignored my request for reassessment of my payment amounts despite me providing birth certificates of me young family. However when my case ended with vas and was transferred over to the child maintenance services a reassessment of our situation was done and my payment to my non resident daughter was increased. However I have since been contacted by csa to request proof of my earnings dated back to when my initial deduction of earnings was calculated as they have been advised that I may now have arrears based on my income. I Have always cooperated with csa and had no control over my deduction of earnings. How can they reasess now that the case is closed. I am in no financial position to pay out anymore Money

Our Response:
I can only suggest in this instance you complain, please see gov.uk link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 29-Nov-16 @ 2:35 PM
I have been paying child Maintenance through deduction of earnings for my daughter of whom I have no contact with at her mother's request for many years. despite a change in my personal circumstances such as increase in earnings and the birth of my 4 additional children who live with me, the csa always ignored my request for reassessment of my payment amounts despite me providing birth certificates of me young family. However when my case ended with vas and was transferred over to the child maintenance services a reassessment of our situation was done and my payment to my non resident daughter was increased. However I have since been contacted by csa to request proof of my earnings dated back to when my initial deduction of earnings was calculated as they have been advised that I may now have arrears based on my income . I Have always cooperated with csa and had no control over my deduction of earnings. How can they reasess now that the case is closed. I am in no financial position to pay out anymore Money
jj - 29-Nov-16 @ 9:55 AM
I moved over to the new child maintenance options service ages ago. Well I received a letter saying I owe arrears around £900 from old Csa case which is been transfered but I overpaid one of my other kids mum's nearly £600 and the only reason I found out as we get on well and she showed me the letter. The have decided not to transfer her debt and it has been wiped. I'm willing to pay whatever I owe but whatever I'm owed gets wiped. Doesn't make sense.
Dee1984 - 28-Nov-16 @ 8:35 PM
My husband has a 15yr old daughter. He is currently on ESA and has been paying child maintenance of £30 a month out of his benefit. I began a job 6 months ago and my husband's benefit money has stopped. We now live on my income alone which is not a very good one as I only work part time. Until now I have continued paying the child maintenance for him to help with her upbringing but money is tight and I can no longer continue with the payments. Will he fall into arrears if I don't continue with payments? Am I expected to make these payments for him?
Sarab1183 - 26-Nov-16 @ 1:34 AM
Ellie- Your Question:
My dad stopped paying csa for me 3 months before I left school and since hasn't paid a penny for my brother who is still at school. My mum is struggling with money and phoned the csa to chase him, he claimed he had no money to pay, and hasn't declared his 2nd job. Yet on his Facebook and whenever I see him he tells me about all of the mini breaks and nights out and dinners him and his mates have gone on. My mum hasn't been on a mini break or night out in 10 years since he left. How do we get him to pay what he should.

Our Response:
The Child Maintenance Service comminicates with the HMRC which will assess your dad regarding the amount of tax he pays and make the assessment from there based on his earnings. If he hasn't declared his second job (i.e he is not paying tax and is working illegally), there is not much the CMS can do, unless your mum can prove he is earning extra. However, she should be awarded child maintenance from his main job, if he is earning a wage. Your mum can only keep following it up with the CMS, which will do its best where it can to take money from your father to help support your brother.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Nov-16 @ 2:20 PM
My dad stopped paying csa for me 3 months before I left school and since hasn't paid a penny for my brother who is still at school. My mum is struggling with money and phoned the csa to chase him, he claimed he had no money to pay, and hasn't declared his 2nd job . Yet on his Facebook and whenever I see him he tells me about all of the mini breaks and nights out and dinners him and his mates have gone on. My mum hasn't been on a mini break or night out in 10 years since he left. How do we get him to pay what he should.
Ellie - 18-Nov-16 @ 9:37 AM
Hi. I have payed my csa on time since daughters birth she is now 8. I used to have her 50% of the time until my ex accused myself and wife of sexually abusing my dUghter. Police were involved but was dropped. It was hell. I have two step children and it affected all of us. My ex hated my new family so was just nasty x the police advised us to not have contact with daughter as felt mother would continue to accuse even though she did ask police if I would have daughter over Christmas do she could go out?? When the new csa came ini text the mum to say that I was happy to sort without them she accepted the first direct debit. Now just got a call from csa saying doing it through them and they have told her what I earn. Me not seeing my daughter is not my choice yet because I did some overtime I now need to pay double. My wife has been sick and had to go self employed so earns next to nothing. I won't be able to cover my bills. How is this fair
Marclaire - 18-Nov-16 @ 9:23 AM
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