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Enforcement of CSA Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 27 Sep 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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I have had a case open since 2014 and not many payments have been made by my child's father as he changes his number to avoid calls and he ignores letters from child maintenance. The only payments made to me were a few which came out of his benefits, but then he got his benefits sanctioned to avoid payments. He's been working a few month now and every time I ring child maintenance they just say they've sent a letter and he has 14 days to reply? He isn't going to reply and they should know that by now but he just thinks it's funny that he isn't paying it, he hasn't seen our child since 2014 either and thinks he doesn't need to support her. He owes £525 in arrears and I feel like child maintenance are doing nothing about it, they said when they know his employers details they will make him pay more child maintaince than usual untill payments are up to date with what he owes. But they said they can't have his employers details until he contacts them back. Can anything else be done about it? The only details I have is his address.
Kayleigh - 27-Sep-16 @ 4:40 PM
Amber - Your Question:
Hi, I have been chasing my ex partner for the last 4 and a half years for payment for my children. In December last year I called yet again to make a new application. I rang up again just last week only to be told he is not working when I know for a fact he is working for a company on a building site. I have given CSA the details but I haven't heard anything. On top of that he has been to court regarding the children and even told the judge both times he is working. I just want to know what I can do.

Our Response:
The difficulty is whether he is working illegally or not. If he is working legally, then the HMRC will be able to track him. However, if he is working cash-in-hand it is very difficult to prove this. Likewise, if he is registered as self-employed there is a lot a person can do to offset their earnings against expenses. If this is the case, I can onoly suggest you seek legal advice to see whether you may have a case, especially if his his supposed earnings don't equate to the personal extravagance of his lifestyle. A court would look into his accounts further.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Sep-16 @ 3:00 PM
Hi, I have been chasing my ex partner for the last 4 and a half years for payment for my children. In December last year I called yet again to make a new application. I rang up again just last week only to be told he is not working when I know for a fact he is working for a company on a building site. I have given CSA the details but I haven't heard anything. On top of that he has been to court regarding the children and even told the judge both times he is working. I just want to know what I can do.
Amber - 24-Sep-16 @ 1:57 AM
Can you please help with the order of enforcement that can be applied in my case? There’s over £10K in arrears for last couple years from my ex-h. he works full time however renting furnished flat, has no car, doesn’t need driving licence for work or leisure even, doesn’t have any valuable belongings in his flat, is director of his own ltd and he closed his old bank account from which payments were taken before. So CSA, as far as I can see, has only one option – apply for liability order and then send him to prison. Can this be done without having to waste time trying all other avenues? Thank you.
Jane - 22-Sep-16 @ 11:21 AM
Hello. My ex does not sign on or claim any jobs seekers.he works cash in hand but pays no maintenance. Where do I stand with claiming maintaine from him as he seems to think if he gets a call he can say he has no income and can prove it.
Kreid - 21-Sep-16 @ 8:36 PM
My ex currently works full time and earns 400 a week before tax. However he only has 300 going through so gets paid 282 after tax and NI into his bank and gets 100 cash in hand every week that he is not taxed on. He has told me he is going to pay me child maintenence of £6 per child per week (I have 3 children eldest one is 5) all the calculators I've looked at have said he should be providing £54 - £65 per week based on how often he has them. That is also based on his real wage of 400 per week. How can I go about getting the money my children are entitled to off their father? First thing I need to do is prove somehow he gets the extra cash in hand I just have no idea what to do to go about this? If I contact csa they will speak to him and he'll say he gets 300 per week so that's not the first step I wish to take. What would happen if I reported him for tax evasion? Thanks for any help
Kclam - 17-Sep-16 @ 11:21 AM
Amanda - Your Question:
Hi,Having chased the CSA for the billionth time today, they have confirmed that my ex husband owes £1,700 in arrears which they advised that they would recover via a bailiff back in April but to date they haven't. I rang them to advise them that my daughter has a job now which places me into the "arrears" and not "current" scheme which is due to close anyway. They also advised me that although my case will be passed on to the new scheme for collection, due to the number of cases, it could take years to recover.Does anyone know if I can take sue him personally in order to recover this outstanding debt?Many thanks,Amanda

Our Response:
Your only option would be to seek legal advice to see whether you have a case to take the matter to court. However, you would have to weigh up the potential gains or losses involved, particularly as there is no guarantee you would attain the redress you are seeking.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Sep-16 @ 12:37 PM
@Sal - The court can do anything it likes and it can force your ex to provide statements and look at his earnings in more detail - but a tribunal may have limitations. Your next step would have to be the family law court. If you can prove he is living a life that doesn't equate on paper, go for it!
Mitch78 - 16-Sep-16 @ 12:22 PM
Hi, Having chased the CSA for the billionth time today, they have confirmed that my ex husband owes £1,700 in arrears which they advised that they would recover via a bailiff back in April but to date they haven't. I rang them to advise them that my daughter has a job now which places me into the "arrears" and not "current" scheme which is due to close anyway. They also advised me that although my case will be passed on to the new scheme for collection, due to the number of cases, it could take years to recover. Does anyone know if I can take sue him personally in order to recover this outstanding debt? Many thanks, Amanda
Amanda - 15-Sep-16 @ 4:13 PM
At a first tier CMS tribunal today my ex husband didn't show up - despite being notified of the date.The Court telephoned him but his mobile was switched off.I have provided the Court with evidence that he is not declaring all his earnings and he has provided the court with nothing other than a copy of his Self Assessment earnings in which he states that if the CMS need further information they can verify it with HMRC.The judge today was unsure whether she could demand copy bank statements and is making enquiries.Do you know whether my ex can be forced to provide them?
Sal - 15-Sep-16 @ 4:00 PM
Ryan - Your Question:
I have contacted the CMS to inform them I have changed jobs (a couple of months ago) and have now got extra visitation rights to my son (two nights a week as of a couple of months ago).I'm aware there will be arrears from the raise in pay, which they backdate but they say they won't backdate discounts for the nights I now have him even though I have court documents.I'd still owe arrears on aggregate but it seems that they just want to take every penny possible.Do I have any rights to contest this?Thanks

Our Response:
You would have to take the matter further in order to get an independent resolution, please see gov.uk link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Sep-16 @ 2:45 PM
I have contacted the CMS to inform them I have changed jobs (a couple of months ago) and have now got extra visitation rights to my son (two nights a week as of a couple of months ago). I'm aware there will be arrears from the raise in pay, which they backdate but they say they won't backdate discounts for the nights I now have him even though I have court documents. I'd still owe arrears on aggregate but it seems that they just want to take every penny possible. Do I have any rights to contest this? Thanks
Ryan - 14-Sep-16 @ 11:30 AM
win1980 - Your Question:
I have received a letter from csa saying my ex owes £1050 in arrears do I need to contact csa to get this arrears or will they automatically take it off him?

Our Response:
The CSA/CMS will try to extract this money if you don't have a family-based payment arrangement. It might be worth giving the CSA a call to see how it intends to retrieve the money.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Sep-16 @ 11:02 AM
I have received a letter from csa saying my ex owes £1050 in arrears do i need to contact csa to get this arrears or will they automatically take it off him?
win1980 - 13-Sep-16 @ 2:30 PM
Anniehardy - Your Question:
Hey there I am made a claim for child benefits in September 2015 I received a letter today saying that I will be paid from 2th November 2015 amount of £48.10 p per week for three children and I will receive £240.50p arrears they will not give me a reason why I don't understand yhsaid they could be doing with me being new to the country from Ireland but it's been a year now and I think I should be entitled to more than £240 I don't know what to do is there anyone out there that can advise or help me I got doctors letters and womens aid I don't know what to do is there anyone out there that can advise or help me I feel so letdown as me and my children have struggled so much from leaving our home in earnings through domestic violence and I have just received an offer for a house and was relying on this money to help build a home for my children.

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot comment on your assessment, you would have to question or appeal the result directly if you think it was wrong.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Sep-16 @ 10:44 AM
Hey there I am made a claim for child benefits in September 2015 I received a letter today sayingthat I will be paid from 2th November 2015 amount of £48.10 p per week for three children and I willreceive £240.50p arrearsthey will not give me a reason why I don't understand yhsaid they could be doing with me being new to the country from Ireland but it's been a year nowand I think I should be entitled to more than £240 I don't know what to do is there anyone out there that can advise or help me I got doctors letters and womens aid I don't know what to do is there anyone out there that can advise or help me I feel so letdown as me and my children havestruggled so much from leaving our home in earnings through domestic violence and I have just received an offer for a houseand was relying on this money to helpbuild a homefor my children.
Anniehardy - 11-Sep-16 @ 5:55 AM
My son is now 28 and I have 28k in arrears. About 12 years ago arrears for my now 30 year old were written off. Why? When I was first assessed oi had a good well paid job so payments were high. The company went bust so I lost my job. I was then on a lower wage but due to a breakdown it never go reassessed so the debt has built up over the years. How can I get this reassessed or even written off like my 30year old amount. Ok so I should of paid but the Ex was a drunk and was never at home. I recently found out she use to beat my eldest son. I had them ever other week and every holiday. Bought clothes and drove 200plus miles every other weekend to get them
Drainman - 8-Sep-16 @ 4:44 PM
Claire - Your Question:
Hi, Please can someone advise if I have a right to stop my ex husband seeing our child. We were married when we had our daughter and now we are officially divorced and he moved on and living with his new gf. I don't have anything against them, as it was my decision to split up few years ago. It's been 3 years now and for the sake of my daughter I accepted his terms on the days he was deciding to see her, but I think it's his way at getting back to me. He hasn't had our 7 year old daughter overnight once. He sees her 2 a months on Sundays from 12-7 and it leaves me with no time for myself and unfortunately I do take my frustration of not having a social life our on our little girl sometimes. Its almost like he dictates me when he's going to turn up. I want him to fight for her and give me a break too. I know I can just get awkward and not be at home on the day he chooses to pick her up, but I am not a nasty person and don't want to go that root. Please advise how can I stop him dictating me what to do?

Our Response:
This sounds like a complicated issue of game playing here which is counter-intuitive to what you really want. If you wish your ex to see your daughter more frequently, then you should put it to him directly. If he refuses, I'm afraid there is not an awful lot you can do, as the court will not force a parent to see their child if it is against that parent's will. The only other alternative is mediation so that you can both come to a fixed arrangement. However, game playing and not being there when your ex turns up is not going to get the result you want. Neither is blaming this or taking your frustrations out upon your daughter. If you are feeling frustrated by your situation, perhaps speaking to someone at Family Lives may help, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Sep-16 @ 10:53 AM
Hi, Please can someone advise if I have a right to stop my ex husband seeing our child. We were married when we had our daughter and now we are officially divorced and he moved on and living with his new gf. I don't have anything against them, as it was my decision to split up few years ago. It's been 3 years now and for the sake of my daughter I accepted his terms on the days he was deciding to see her, but I think it's his way at getting back to me. He hasn't had our 7 year old daughter overnight once. He sees her 2 a months on Sundays from 12-7 and it leaves me with no time for myself and unfortunately I do take my frustration of not having a social life our on our little girl sometimes. Its almost like he dictates me when he's going to turn up. I want him to fight for her and give me a break too. I know I can just get awkward and not be at home on the day he chooses to pick her up, but I am not a nasty person and don't want to go that root.Please advise how can I stop him dictating me what to do?
Claire - 7-Sep-16 @ 12:43 PM
al - Your Question:
Hi. I would like some advice as my ex won't let me see our daughter unless she is controlling every aspect of it. we split 18 months ago as we were in a unhappy marriage and I met someone else ,not good I know, and I understand completely her resentment towards me but I don't think it's fair to use our daughter to hurt me as this is only making our daughter suffer too. I am only allowed to see her if my girlfriend is still not involved (after 18 months) because we split up once because of the lies my ex told her so she says we aren't stable but I think these are all excuses. I'm not allowed to take her to my home or even allowed to take her out in the car as it's my girlfriends even though I'm insured? I am currently registered with a solicitor and trying to arrange mediation but I'm afraid she will say no and I can't really afford court. I have stopped maintenance as I can't afford to pay for that and the solicitors which makes her more angry towards me but I don't know any other way to go about it. Can she do this and is there a way to sort this

Our Response:
If you cannot afford legal fees, you can self-litigate, please see link here. It is not advisable for you to stop paying child maintenance, especially if you are paying through the CSA/CMS as you will be liable for arrears.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Sep-16 @ 2:34 PM
Hi. I would like some advice as my ex won't let me see our daughter unless she is controlling every aspect of it. we split 18 months ago as we were in a unhappy marriage and I met someone else ,not good I know,and I understand completely her resentment towards me but I don't think it's fair to use our daughter to hurt me as this is only making our daughter suffer too. I am only allowed to see her if my girlfriend is still not involved (after 18 months) because we split up once because of the lies my ex told her so she says we aren't stable but I think these are all excuses. I'm not allowed to take her to my home or even allowed to take her out in the car as it's my girlfriends even though I'm insured?. I am currently registered with a solicitor and trying to arrange mediation but I'm afraid she will say no and I can't really afford court. I have stopped maintenance as I can't afford to pay for that and the solicitors which makes her more angry towards me but I don't know any other way to go about it. Can she do this and is there a way to sort this
al - 6-Sep-16 @ 7:31 AM
Khdrobeck - Your Question:
Hello. I have a very particular situation. My son's father is a British citizen, he works as a doctor at the hospital. He haven't send any money to my son the last 11 years. My husband (stepfarher) pays for all my sons expenses, school, everything. I never filled a case, nor make a suit. Now my son is 16 years old, planning on going to college son and my husband haven't have a job the last 19 months ( I don't have a job either). My son is an american citizen, we live in the USA and my questions are: can I fill a case to get childe support for my son? Does his father to pay the money he didn't pay for 11 years? I really appreciate your help! Thank you so much!

Our Response:
I'm afraid we can only answer UK-based family law questions as we are a UK-based site.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Sep-16 @ 1:50 PM
Hello.I have a very particular situation.My son's father is a British citizen, he works as a doctor atthe hospital.He haven't send any money to my son the last 11 years. My husband (stepfarher) pays for all my sons expenses, school, everything.I never filled a case, nor make a suit.Now my son is 16 years old, planning on going to college son and my husband haven't have a job the last 19 months ( I don't have a job either).My son is an american citizen, we live in the USA and my questions are:can I fill a case to get childe support for my son?Does his father to pay the money he didn't pay for 11 years?I really appreciate your help!Thank you so much!
Khdrobeck - 28-Aug-16 @ 9:44 PM
I currently pay maintenance for 2 seperate children living with their mothers. I am on basic rate so £36 in total for maintenance but i have arrears with 1 mother. They are taking a further £58a wk.. £94 in total from my weekly wage!! I cant physically afford to pay this amount with car tax/insurance/ petrol... just the essentials to hold down my current job. Thats not including rent & household bills! Ive made several attempts to contact the agency abd constantly being passed on to others then told they will ring back but never hear back. Im at a loss what to do... if this continues im going to have to give up my car and in turn lose my job with no transport ??
Paul - 28-Aug-16 @ 3:28 PM
I've had custody of my son for 14 years in that time the CSA where still taking money out of my wages for a child living with me. I believe in the time it took them to stop they had taken £2000 out of my wages. There excuse was it was arrears I owed but I can read and at the time I owed £300 in arrears. I had to get the independent case examiner to step in who confirmed the mistake but I've never been refunded a penny. However about two months ago I received a letter telling me my ex owed me over £3000 in arrears not much I know for 14 years but something at least hay I did apply 14 years ago like. Now it's been two months I still have bills like all single parents so where's the cheque oh an my refund for £1700 because ive not had it yet.
Stel - 28-Aug-16 @ 12:45 PM
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
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