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Enforcement of CSA/CMS Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 15 Oct 2019 |
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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I have been contacted by the Cms and told I have arrears when the csa changed to the cms. I was paying my ex by cash and now she is saying to the Cms that I didn't pay her. I don't have proof that I paid and it took me two weeks to send in documents(5 a day!) To upload to prove I paid my other ex. But because I can't prove I paid the other I'm stuck. Is there a time limit on arrears or any way to dispute this as I'm now having to pay £70 a month back to them because I can't prove I've paid. I wondered if there was a landmark case where people have disputed the figures brought over on the system from the Csa to the Cms and won.
RICKYBOY72 - 15-Oct-19 @ 8:04 AM
Can anyone explain what "deferred debt" is I was told due to missadinistraion back in 2000 a deferred debt had been authorized and providing I kept up with agreed payments re introducing the deferred debt willnot be re added. In 2001 I got a letter stating my arrears had been paid and received a rebate for one over payment. Fast forward to 2019 when CMS took over my arreas I have found this has been re introduced ( deferred debt) Can anyone advise on this as I'm at a total loss
Welshmen - 30-Sep-19 @ 8:11 PM
Just wondered if you can force bankruptcy on your ex. Would rather this than he gets away with not paying for 20yrs and csa negligent
Lisa - 17-Sep-19 @ 4:33 PM
Well ive just been hit with massive shock after dealing with the CSA for some years they alleged that when i came outof work they had to do do a special trace costing 2000 grand added to me but ihadn't moved house or telephone number (no Contact)when started a new job i informed them what were and when. But two mouths later the CSA had sold arrears to a collection agency and couldn't speak to me so i had contacted them and paid the said amount which they calculated £50.00after 16 years with no letter or contact and paid back 7,150.00 now in 2019 CMS took back an arrears amount when asked they had added 2,356.99 while being handled by a collection company totalling now 14.860.99 and slap an deduction of earning to my company with out notificationmy son now 28 yrs been working since 19 yrs old this is still on going CMS they haven't a care the stress involved is overwhelming just cant afford it cant live on 20 a month wont even get me to work for the week have nothing else to able to do but finish work i'am 58 yrs of age
wander - 11-Aug-19 @ 7:54 PM
I have just received a letter from csa saying that arrears from my sons biological father will be written off. my son is now 18and have had no payments for the last 10 yearseven then he only paid £5 a wk it says amount to be written off is 1480. Yet I read that others get thousands of arrears???? Why is it going to be written surely what is owed is owedthe csa previously have said that the money will always b owed, when 1st the payments stopped, what can I do to re in force this, I have no idea where biological dad he never remained in contact (he only saw my and his son once when he was 2wks old when he came to register birth) its not right he should get away scot free
Mel - 2-Aug-19 @ 2:17 PM
Well I think the cms are a joke..!!!full stop I had an agreement with my ex until my life moved on after our divorce where I sign a house over to her. Things started to go good with seeing my daughter which is the love of my life and we she was born I promised I’d protect her.. as all of ye people would do for your own children.. I’ve moved down south and have being here for the past 5 years now and 3 years ago I meet my soulmate and a lady who has being my rock through hard times and dark days.. It all happened when I started dating and now long in to my new relationship I received a letter in the post by the scum CMS demanding I’d pay more for my daughter as 70 pound a week was not good enough anymore!! I must also add that I have my daughter every other weekend for overnight stays which I travel 640 miles round trip which is not cheap on fuel either I must add.!! They then started to look for 126 pound a week and my cost was going to be around 850 a month just t to see my daughter!! I came home from work 1 night and I just broke down on front of my partner.. upon my partner seeing me in such a state she took to the laptop and started to write a email to our local MP. I can’t believe with what he did for me. Within 2 weeks my payments that had started at 126 pound a week went to 50.20.. and it was only a manager I would deal with as the rest that works there are just idiots... they don’t know what to do.. it has being great until Now!! Fast forward and 2019 has been a great start to the year when I tied the knot with my soul mate in February, Easter we found out we are expecting our baby due at Christmas and recently bought a house.. when my annual review for the new payments came in June it stated that I was pay 62.18 per week which I’ve nothing against. I gave the cms a call to say I was happy with there review and let’s keep going with payments.. since then my ex has called them up told them I’ve missed payments and then I get a email from her telling me in 3 days time there going to give me a call as there changing to collect and pay plus I’ve to pay 20% on top for there fees.. I’ve been all last week talking to different people that clearly don’t what there doing getting different answers from every single person. I then requested a call back from a manager which they say it’s 24 hours before they’ll call you I’m still waiting for the call since last Monday.. They asked me to upload my documents to this portal that they use and I’ve being trying to this for 4 days!! Eventually when I got logged in I started to upload my documents and evidence they need to be told I can only upload 5 documents a day?????????? I’ve got about 40 documents to upload!! God give me strength.. I can honestly see why people have mental issues and it’s down to the CMS that causing men to have a meltdown so we need to stand together and tell them go a jump with there fines and do there job correctly.. the only reason my ex has done this is because her pay
Babble83 - 23-Jul-19 @ 12:56 AM
So I have 3 children 1 with a nightmare ex that never lets me see him and 2 with a ex I am civil with. The nightmare ex does not know about my other 2 children and cannot find out about them she is a nutter and would cause living hell!! I have paid both ex’s through a private agreement always £40 per child per week so one ex £40 the other £80 My nightmare ex went to csa and they calculated I should be paying her £70 a week ! And she wanted to use there click and collect service which adds another 20% I simply can’t afford it and now csa saying I owe her over £4000 despite always paying her £40 a week directly to bank I have explained to csa I also have 2 other children so they need to re calculate the amount I have to pay the mother going through csa and they said they would need my other children’s details! Why should I give other this personal information when it is not me or their mother that has contacted csa this is my private information that I do not want her knowing about anyone else had anything similar ?? This is really getting me down and making me very depressed
Robs house - 18-Jul-19 @ 10:31 PM
So I have 3 children 1 with a nightmare ex that never lets me see him and 2 with a ex I am civil with. The nightmare ex does not know about my other 2 children and cannot find out about them she is a nutter and would cause living hell!! I have paid both ex’s through a private agreement always £40 per child per week so one ex £40 the other £80 My nightmare ex went to csa and they calculated I should be paying her £70 a week ! And she wanted to use there click and collect service which adds another 20% I simply can’t afford it and now csa saying I owe her over £4000 despite always paying her £40 a week directly to bank I have explained to csa I also have 2 other children so they need to re calculate the amount I have to pay the mother going through csa and they said they would need my other children’s details! Why should I give other this personal information when it is not me or their mother that has contacted csa this is my private information that I do not want her knowing about anyone else had anything similar ?? This is really getting me down and making me very depressed
Robs house - 18-Jul-19 @ 10:19 PM
After a divorce which I didn't want in 1995 I paid my ex wife maintenance for my son by private agreement from day 1, an amount worked out for me by a relative who worked for the CSA. At the time my ex got the CSA involved, they worked out my payments based on 50.5 working weeks a year with full overtime, despite my sending letters from the company I worked for and payslips to prove that I only earned about two thirds of what they calculated they pursued me for the money until I had a nervous breakdown and had to leave work. My case was closed nearly 20 years ago when my son left school. I have still helped him since that time. After all this time I thought that this was all behind me, but I have recently received a letter totally out of the blue stating that they want £12,000 in unpaid arrears, no option to ask how this has come about, just pay now, followed more recently by threats of a court order. I have written asking for a meeting as I still have proof of all the payments made, bank statements, cheque stubs etc. I owe nothing and still don't know why they have ever been involved, but they responded with threats of a court order. It seems that I am to be treated as a criminal and am now being threatened with court action to take the money they have decided I owe directly from my bank account. This is theft, the taking of something which is not yours,but because it is a Government department it must be right. I never recovered from the breakdown, and now find myself panicking when faced once again with the same faceless bureaucratic ineptitude that nearly drove me to suicide all those years ago. Fortunately a have good partner these days, and with her help I hope to prove that I am an innocent party and just want to be left alone.
Boater - 9-Jul-19 @ 9:22 PM
I have recently been approached by the CSA that after 27 years that I owe them £1012.92 arrears. I have no proof and this is the first I have heard of this. I spoke with someone yesterday who told me that I must paye them £50 month until this is cleared. Is there anyway I can challenge this decision
Rotherbear - 9-Jul-19 @ 4:41 PM
I have had a mutual agreement with my ex regarding a weekly payment for child maintenance for my son, he is now 18 and left fulltime education, i have since stopped the weekly maintenance payment, can my ex contact the csa stating i havent paid enough per week/month and demand more and can the csa intervene to arrange this via an arrearspayment
M - 18-Jun-19 @ 10:42 PM
Hi I was wondering as I paid my ex directly even though she went through CSA and they worked out how much I should pay her a week I spoke to CSA because I'm struggling to pay and they said because I pay it directly into her bank that is not enforceable I could stop paying and it would take up to 2 months for them to put me on a different scheme only if my ex reported it to them. Is this true and would I have to pay arrears as they are saying it's not enforceable?? Thanjs
Jj - 12-Jun-19 @ 5:20 PM
I finished paying CMS in July 2018. I paid my ex direct from my account to hers and referenced as CMS payment. I have just received a letter from the CSA saying that I owe £5742 in arrears. I have never been approached by the CSA before, all contact has been via the CMS with whom I have no problem. There is no breakdown as to why I owe this money or from when. Having read other peoples comments, I feel I'm being scammed by a government department. Any advice is welcome.
Certa_Cito - 8-Jun-19 @ 10:21 PM
I received a letter from the CSA/CMS saying that I owe £2058. My last payment was in October 2009 when my boy was 16 and 6 months old. I paid until then because I was paying off the debt. All of my payments were under a DOE order. I have paid for my son from day 1, usually in cash to his mother, until she spoke to one of her friends and she advised that she could get more from the CSA. I didn't quibble at this and paid up. There was a limit set up by the CSA where if I earn't below a certain amount then the payment wasn't taken, but if I went over that amount the following week then ALL of the arrears were taken leaving me with pennies to feed and clothe 3 other children. I was broken, emotionally broken and contemplated suicide many times. But, we got through it and when my boy was 16 he came to live with us as his mother had kicked him out. He lived with us for 3 years until he got a place of his own. The CSA now want £178 a week from me, not a f£$kin chance. I would rather pay £10000 to a solicitor than pay 1 penny to them. I've made countless phone calls to them asking for clarification of the debt and they are unwilling to tell me. They are a disgrace and only persue those that can pay. I can, but I won't. Not until they provide me with unequivical proof that I owe them anything
Smurf580 - 31-May-19 @ 11:39 AM
My sons will be 16 and 14 soon and in these years their dad has paid 4 times. The CMS keep giving him chance after chance and he fails. Their dad thinks my partner should pay for them. I've had 7 DOE orders in the last 2 years hes a job jumper and everytime further action starts he calls tells them a story and they stop it. I read a comment that stated the system is suited towardsthe mother I disagree. They cut him slack left right and centre. He earns over 2 grand a month and cant even pay for the boys one of which have celiac diseaseand his food cost a small fortune.Me on the other hand I go to uni full time,work and nearly every month have to sell belonging to make ends meet. They constantlyput me on blast on social media knowing my sons could see it and it upset them. The boys chose to stop seeing him after a holiday where he got ridiculouslydrunk and smashed up the hotel room but apparentlythat's my fault. The CMS is a joke. Theres not been 1 occasion where I've been given the same info. I've been on the phone to them twice today and both worker had differentanswers to the same questions. I hope he enjoys his 3 holidays a year and every weekend drinking and taking drugs. This father is missing out on the respect and love of two amazing boys. Theres a huge stigma against mums that seek cms but why shouldn't the dad pay an equal amount for their child to live each month. It cost a fortune for kids to live. It cost me £50 just to send them to school each week. Why should the financialresponsibility fall on the mum??
MissD - 30-May-19 @ 2:10 PM
My ex partner opened a child maintenance claim in 2016, has refused to provide bank details, both personally and to the child maintenance service, I've supplied substantial evidence to them showing he's told me he doesn't want maintenance payments because the kids don't need or want anything from me. I received a phone call this morning, saying that I owe nearly £1000, luckily for me I've been keeping the payments aside but after pointing out that my ex hasn't provided his bank details since the beginning of the case, they're now looking into getting the case closed down, due to non compliance. The trick is, make sure you have evidence, of absolutely everything, they can't argue with what's there in black and white.
Lucy - 24-May-19 @ 9:39 AM
My partner has been asked to pay child support for a child that his ex doesn't allow him to see, she refuses him access but wants him to pay, can my partner refuse to pay until she allows him access?
Anna - 20-May-19 @ 3:01 PM
Iv had a lettter 48 hours ago saying l owe 6091.83 in child payments.i do not call it non payment or arrearsbut i have agreed to paying this back at 10.00 a week. i will be well into my 60s when i make the final payment. All i would like to say is im sorry for the upset caused to my son in any way who is now 25 years old .Im sorry i did not fightharder to see you Im sorry that out of all the payments i made the cash i did not get a receiptand there for after 20 years i can not prove that i paid this child support.to your mother. Im sorry that your mother did not declare this to csa at the the time 20 years agoIm sorry that coming home from work one evening i caught your mother in bed with another women ofthis i could never forgive & along with the other discretions i eventualy left But One thing i will never be sorry for is you my son love your farther
budda - 18-May-19 @ 10:55 AM
Employer had been instructed to deduct child maintenance from the father's wages. They have complied with this - but will not pass the money on to either the CMS or the mother! They are hanging on to it, and the CMS say it's not cost-effective to take out an Enforcement Order!
Sharkie - 17-May-19 @ 5:19 PM
Having lived through this nightmare with the CMS with my partner it seems the whole system is biased towards the mother. I accept there is fathers who do not support their children and I agree this is unacceptable. However my parents ex wife has used the system to for her own financial gain...... It started with a realisation that she could get more money going to the CSM than through the court order that was in place, she the realised if she manipulated her daughter not to stay with her Dad two nights a week that would also increase the payment. The CSM were not interested in anything he had to say they just took her word for it. He just had to accept it and get over the emotional distress it caused him. Move forward 3 years and his daughter has decided to leave college and take up an apprenticeship working 40hrs per week and getting paid......are they interested that she is no longer entitled to Child Maintenance the answer is no it’s all dependant on her mother telling the child benefit agency that’s circumstances have changed who the CMS will then contact to clarify as and when and she isn’t rushing to do that and risk missing out on hundreds of pounds a month. The only advice the child benefit office offered was report her for fraud! All the dealings he has had with the CMS has been a complete and utter waste of time.He doesn’t want to shirk his responsibility but wants a fair playing ground!
Dave - 14-May-19 @ 8:32 PM
There are guys here who do flout the system and there are honest guys who pay everything that is needed to their kids, so lets not get all feminist or gender extremist here guys! I paid child maintenance for many years, as some girls stated here at their frustration that calculations and amounts owed just keep changing... Yes isnt it frustrating! As a guy trying to make ends meet the Child maintenance system is and always has been a joke. My salary has never changed yet the amounts are persistently changing. One minute I have arrears and they agree £250 per month, 3 weeks later they want £486 per month, then a month later they want £867 a month. Come on... My salary is only a fraction above that a month and now they write to me wanting £1200 a month. Of course this is a joke. Women have no need to complain if they knew what was happening to guys also! This CMS is a complete joke, incompetent, liars, extortionists and fraudsters and BOTH parents are losers. Women who seek CMS do you think they are there to help you? When will you learn? You didnt need CMS to get married or jump in bed to make a child did you? So when it all goes pear shaped why do you call on a third party gov service? Everyone is responsible for their own actions so why run to gov for help when it all goes wrong? British benefits culture strikes again!!!
Ady - 12-May-19 @ 8:25 PM
Hi I received a letter regarding unpaid child maintenance for my daughter who is now 28 years old. Her father never laid a penny to me and CSA never chased it up. I was told about the debt to me and asked if I wanted to write it off, I said no and sent them all the information on her father I could fine, address, phone number, business address etc only to be told some 3 days later they had written if off. How can that be, they have not even tried to get it for me. Can I demand they send me correspondence between them and her father and take it to court myself and perhaps even the CSA as they have failed me. Feeling so annoyed right now, as he has recently come into her life, only because she tracked him down and told her siblings about herself.
Jackiel - 9-May-19 @ 5:44 AM
Hi can anyone help me please - my ex has now gone self employed after being employed and was earning over £70k. After non payment from him and numerous calls with CSA they eventually set up DOE with his employers and I thought Im getting somewhere, but then he leaves his job and becomes a director of his company so he doesn’t have to declare all his income and is earning between £400-£500 a day.The account is in arrears of £2k and my question is can I apply for liability order with the CSA to somehow get the arrears back?
Sue - 8-May-19 @ 7:21 PM
My husband pays 10k a year to his weathy ex through csa. His stepson My son is due at uni and due to husbands wage is going to get nothing. Due to the 10 k she gets plus the 300 per month seing them we've nothing left. Theres no help for my son at all. Im so upset with it all. Wheres the justice in the world. Why are his kids in tge eyes of csa the only ones that matter.I dont see an end to this im seriously considering divorcing my husband . £ 10 K per year for next 9 years . Thats 90k whilst we live a hard life
skint - 8-May-19 @ 4:58 PM
I'm currently in a really frustrating position. My ex has fraudulently declared his income, variations were made for 17/18 and 18/present. He is in arrears of well over £10k. He refuses to cooperate with CMS and continues to ignore their calls and their letters. His first payment (including arrears) should be made this month but I'm not holding my breath. I dont get how so many letters can have different figures on them all the time. When I call CMS I get different advice all the time...how do CMS expect us to understand the letters when they dont themselves?! These so called parents cant get away with it!
MissM - 5-May-19 @ 12:59 PM
I have paid my ex for 3 kids for the last 8 years, never missed a payment through bank transfer. I moved to Philippines with my current wife and daughter and my ex is saying that she has been to solicitor and they are arresting my wages!! She apparently wants more money. I work for an international company with no ties to uk, is there any grounds for the above threat? Thanks
Distraught - 5-May-19 @ 12:45 PM
My ex never once volunteered maintenance for our son. When I did receive any payment through the CSA,it was always arrears that had to be fought for. Even when he had 'no money' he could afford an accountant, just couldn't afford his son. My son is now 26 & a few weeks ago I received a letter from the CSA saying I was still owed over £12,000. This seems a lot & I know people will think he was asked to pay too much, the arrears have been calculated as he has provided information & dropped from £47,000 & as I've stated he has never just paid. It's been passed on to the CMS to collect, already on the third letter saying he hasn't paid. I'm not surprised. I'll give it a few months & see what happens, though after reading comments I'm thinking the CMS have as much power the CSA, which I concluded over the years to be none.
nickyozzy - 2-May-19 @ 2:23 PM
My ex had blagged the system for years, so it came back he had low income so only paid minimal for our 2 children. And that wasnt regular. Anyway,Finally he has been busted for fraud and has been earning over £65,000 per year. Pig! Got alot owed to us but won't hold my breath.
Phoenix - 1-May-19 @ 5:26 PM
Ive had arguments with my ex over amount ive paid in the past, received a letter from cms asking for 7000 in arrears which I asked for a breakdown of as its gone up by 2000 in a year even though I was out of work and claiming jsa. What really makes me laugh about them is they say on there letters that they want the parents to not pay via them yet they take 24% per payment, 20 from the payer and 4 from the receiver. Also maybe if they took 20% from the payer and 20% from the receiver people would stop using them as a god damn weapon/ threat!!
Brookie - 1-May-19 @ 2:30 AM
Unfortunately you cannot claim if your ex receives a large sum such as inheritance, I know because I tried it.It is not taken into consideration. For the lady who mentioned her disabled son.. I also have a disabled son and have arrears of over £9500 owing to me.The deductions of order didn't work as the employer was not cooperative.I was on the phone to them today asking where do we go from here, what happens now.They are now going to take out legal enforcement action and it's going to court. Now, I was told this last year and when he got the letter he made one payment and they dropped the case as he'd shown willingness to cooperate and think that was last payment he made so here we are again nearly a year later and when he gets his letter, he will probably do the same again and cheat the system.If it does go ahead a legal representative will represent me provided by CMS and they will write to me so I'm to expect a letter any day now and get this... I have to write a justification on why I should receive part of the money!£2705.14 of that arrears was when it was CSA, they are now trying to write that off as old debt and I have to justify why I should get it. Well I think I should get it on principal but don't think they'll see that as a justifiable reason. Was wondering if saying that because I am a full time carer to my disabled son, it limits me to what I can work because of my role as carer therefore I have a very low paid part time job. If I put his neglect of duty as affected the welfare of the children I'm worried they'll send Social services round
Bellaz - 30-Apr-19 @ 8:31 PM
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