Home > Paying Child Support > Enforcement of CSA Payments

Enforcement of CSA Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 25 May 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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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Sara - Your Question:
Hi, my Ex has the csa deducted from his wages but since last year my payments have been all over the place. I have to wait til 26th of each month before I chase it up. When I ring they try to contact my exs work, then they send a letter then finally I get a payment. The following month the same thing will happen. I am now ringing every month on 26th chasing payments. I end up speaking to someone new and they start the procedure again. They say they give the company warnings but then it starts again on the next missed paymentThis is getting really frustrating now. My arrears are now nearly £3000. What are my rights on this as I feel the csa are not really interested.

Our Response:
You have the option to complain if you feel you are being treated unfairly, please see gov.uk link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-May-16 @ 2:47 PM
Sarah - Your Question:
Hi my ex has a deo set up with his employer since last november. Iv only recieved one payment in 6 months. I ring up csa all the time and they tell me there looking into it but nothink seems to be happening. They are taking the money from him but are not passing it on for some reason. Can I put a complaint in or something to get something done about it ??

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-May-16 @ 10:57 AM
Hi, my Ex has the csa deducted from his wages but since last year my payments have been all over the place. I have to wait til 26th of each month before i chase it up. When i ring they try to contact my exs work, then they send a letter then finally i get a payment. The following month the same thing will happen. I am now ringing every month on 26th chasing payments. I end up speaking to someone new and they start the procedure again. They say they give the company warnings but then it starts again on the next missed paymentThis is getting really frustrating now. My arrears are now nearly £3000. What are my rights on this as i feel the csa are not really interested.
Sara - 25-May-16 @ 8:19 AM
Hi my ex has a deo set up with his employer since last november. Iv only recieved one payment in 6 months. I ring up csa all the time and they tell me there looking into it but nothink seems to be happening. They are taking the money from him but are not passing it on for some reason. Can i put a complaint in or something to get something done about it ??
Sarah - 24-May-16 @ 11:58 AM
Kazza- Your Question:
Hi I hope someone can help. My ex paid through CSA on & off trying every trick known to stop paying going self employed quitting his job etc. The case is closed as daughter is 19PUT but there is £2000 arrears. He is employed now how do I claim the arrears will the CSA do this if I contact them

Our Response:
I would contact the CSA directly and request it chases the arrears, please also CAB link here for more advice.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-May-16 @ 11:32 AM
Hi I hope someone can help. My ex paid through CSA on & off trying every trick known to stop paying going self employed quitting his job etc. The case is closed as daughter is 19PUT but there is £2000 arrears. He is employed nowhow do I claim the arrears will the CSA do this if I contact them
Kazza - 23-May-16 @ 2:47 PM
Hi, I have bought everything for my daughter from day 1, my ex finished with me. Then I was still buying for my daughter everything my ex asked me to buy also every time I have her on the weekend. She then got the csa on my case, I was previously paying her an agreed amount before the csa was involved. When the csa sent me the amount to pay, My ex and I came to an agreement where i am now paying double to the set figure I was originally paying.I have paid this amount by standing order from my account to hers since we agreed 4 years ago, I have my daughter every friday and saturday but she sleeps every other weekend, as I only get friday and saturday off every week, My ex keeps blackmailing me if i don't do everything she asks me to do that she will take me back to csa. where I haven't missed 1 payment. please can you tell me where I stand on this because I am feeling very depressed and bullied by my ex.
dad - 21-May-16 @ 9:20 PM
Lainey - Your Question:
Please help. I have been asking Csa for help with payments for the last 12 years now and the most I have ever recieved from the ex is £250. He owes nearly £3000 in arrears now. Every time Csa try to contact him via phone or by letter he will ignore them. It is left for me to constantly call Csa and chase myself and eventually after about 6-8 weeks once I have found out he is working and a letter of a payment plan is sent out to me he quits his job, with my son recieving not a penny of said plan. I have now received a letter stating that my Csa claim is coming to an end and to decide which payment scheme I would like to take over my case. With no help really from the Csa over the years I am worried if I will ever get financial support for my son who is disabled and has to undergo many operations in Oxford and London with travel expenses paid by myself as I do not drive. I have been told by my ex that if I try to get money off of him he will appeal it. Where do I go from here? Please help

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. It sounds to me that your ex has deliberately dodged the system in order to avoid paying. While this is incredibly frustrating and difficult for you, it is also difficult for the CSA as it is powerless to extract money from him if he continually quits his job. Of course while he may build up arrears because of this, it is impossible for the CSA to collect this if he is no longer 'earning' as this is what payments are based upon.While every non-resident parent is responsible for paying to financially support their children, this money cannot be taken from savings etc, it has to solely come from income. This also makes it difficult for you to be able to pursue this further via a court of law, or to receive anything more than a flat rate if your ex is in receipt of benefits. I can only suggest you take legal advice regarding the matter to see if a solicitor may think you have a case. In addition to this article, please also see CAB article regarding enforcement here. Unfortunately, I am probably re-iterating information you are already aware of, but I can't personally see another option. Many primary carers are faced with a similar situation when their ex has found a cunning way to slip through the child maintenance net.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-May-16 @ 10:12 AM
Please help.. I have been asking Csa for help with payments for the last 12 years now and the most I have ever recieved from the ex is £250... He owes nearly £3000 in arrears now.. Every time Csa try to contact him via phone or by letter he will ignore them.. It is left for me to constantly call Csa and chase myself and eventually after about 6-8 weeks once I have found out he is working and a letter of a payment plan is sent out to me he quits his job, with my son recieving not a penny of said plan... I have now received a letter stating that my Csa claim is coming to an end and to decide which payment scheme I would like to take over my case... With no help really from the Csa over the years i am worried if I will ever get financial support for my son who is disabled and has to undergo many operations in Oxford and London with travel expenses paid by myself as i do not drive.. I have been told by my ex that if I try to get money off of him he will appeal it.. Where do i go from here? Please help
Lainey - 17-May-16 @ 12:02 AM
Hi im owed child maintenance since my daughter was 9 shes 13 now .her father goes on holidays every year .They managed to get him.can they aresst him at the airport as he never picks hes mobile when hes called by csa as I know the date hes travelling
Pokemon - 16-May-16 @ 8:29 PM
Hey I'm just wondering, me and my ex are speaking of cancelling cms and agree to payments ourselves without a third party, will the arrears still need to be paid to cms or will they need to be paid to the mother if we come to an agreement ourselves?
Daddy tojj - 7-May-16 @ 2:38 PM
My case goes back to 1996 when I was informed that a child was born and that I was the father the story is that not just me but others he'd sex with the mother of this child I told csa that I was not the father but Es usual csa did not want to no sent me letters that I had to pay weekly for this child at one stage they wanted £106.00 a week out of my wage at that time was £156.00 a week told them could not afford that but again did not listen time and csa have caught up with me and last week they told my employer to take 40% out of my wages I have a 7 year old who I pay for every week and for the first time in years I could not give the right money so this has now effected my x and my child EJO made the decision to enforce wage deduction
del - 26-Apr-16 @ 8:29 PM
My ex has never paid a penny to me i went through csa when my son was 6 months old he is now 17 and all csa say is we cant find him something needs to be done about the absent parent lying were they are in this day and age i am sure there is a way of tracking them down i am owed thousands back dated money but i will never get it.
scorpion - 9-Apr-16 @ 12:15 PM
I have just received a letter from the CSA saying I owe £27000 in arrears. This is despite me always paying my ex by direct debit the amount they have told me to over the last 15 years. They say they have no record of me making any payments between 2004 and 2011. This is despite them assessing me and telling me what to pay!! I have been told to prove payments were made by showing bank statements from that period but statements only go back 6 years. The CSA have lost my records and are going to make me pay again!!!! My ex will happily take the money as she has no morals. Any suggestions as to how I can sort this mess out. Just to reiterate, I am a model father who has always paid the correct amount through the correct channels.
jamie - 27-Mar-16 @ 9:02 PM
Hi, looking for some advice :) My dad has played an active part in my life but now my mums chasing him for unpaid child maintenance, which he did pay just not directly through the csa so he has no proof, I am now 21 years old, is there anything I can do to help or stop this case?many thanks
Char - 12-Mar-16 @ 11:12 PM
My Csa case is not open recieved a letter saying my ex owes me money how long do I wait
Angel40 - 9-Mar-16 @ 10:07 PM
Ann - Your Question:
My ex husband has once again stopped child maintenance for his 9 year old daughter. He lives in Boiling Springs, South Carolina, USA. Is there anything that can be done?

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which gives the helpline number of the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO) unit. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Mar-16 @ 2:52 PM
My ex husband has once again stopped child maintenance for his 9 year old daughter. He lives in Boiling Springs, South Carolina, USA. Is there anything that can be done?
Ann - 3-Mar-16 @ 11:41 PM
DB - Your Question:
I wonder what we make of this. I was informed in 2008 two years after my ex left I owed about £4000 in arrears. Over the period of 2006-2008 this is the movement pattern of my ex:Left: January 2006 Came back December 2006 Left: July 2007 Came back August 2007 Left: September 2007 Came back November/December 2007 Left July 2008 permanently- My landlord maybe able to corroborate this as he installed a new bathroom in January 2008.The arrears covered this period of time and originally was written off by the csa as it was clear I had, was and do make payments. They recently wrote to me informing me I owed the secretary of state this sum bearing in mind that it is now 2016. Can they enforce this as a debt as my ex and I even wrote a letter confirming that I had always provided for my child.

Our Response:
We cannot advise on this as it is outside our remit - if you feel you have been treated unfairly, you can appeal or complain, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Mar-16 @ 12:27 PM
I wonder what we make of this. I was informed in 2008 two years after my ex left I owed about £4000 in arrears. Over the period of 2006-2008 this is the movement pattern of my ex: Left: January 2006 Came back December 2006 Left:July 2007 Came back August 2007 Left:September 2007 Came back November/December 2007 Left July 2008 permanently- My landlord maybe able to corroborate this as he installed a new bathroom in January 2008. The arrears covered this period of time and originally was written off by the csa as it was clear I had, was and do make payments. They recently wrote to me informing me I owed the secretary of state this sum bearing in mind that it is now 2016. Can they enforce this as a debt as my ex and I even wrote a letter confirming that I had always provided for my child.
DB - 2-Mar-16 @ 4:57 PM
Jessi - Your Question:
I had a DEOvinnplace with my sons father and it's not been paid. What can I do? Why would this be?

Our Response:
Their could be various reasons, please see CAB link here . Depending on how it was organised, the CSA/courts should be able to tell you directly why the money cannot be transferred to you.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Feb-16 @ 10:17 AM
I had a DEOvinnplace with my sons father and it's not been paid. What can I do? Why would this be?
Jessi - 21-Feb-16 @ 2:21 AM
I've paid child support I'm in arrears contacted cms asked for a family based arrangement which you can ask after 9 payments I managed to get one sorted out set up a standing order to the mother where she took the money then refused to agree now I have a doe of 378 a month I went to court for access I'm not an absent father just denighed by my children's mother to be with our children I'm discriminated because I'm a fixed income home owner and I want to see our children ?
Dave - 17-Feb-16 @ 8:48 PM
Kel - Your Question:
My ex now owes £40,000 in arrears. I have been in contact with the csa for several years, I have emailed my M.P, and no one will help me. I have struggled through, working full time, but am getting deeper in debt, and have never even received a penny in child maintenance. Dont know where else to turn. The csa send statements severaltimes a year, telling me how much im owed and what they can do to enforce it, but never do.

Our Response:
This is difficult to advise on as it depends on what your ex is telling the CSA or whether he is paying tax through the HMRC. If your ex is not working, or even working, but not declaring his income (regardless of the illegality), or self-employed and paying very little tax, then unfortunately there really is little you can do.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Feb-16 @ 2:50 PM
My ex now owes £40,000 in arrears. I have been in contact with the csa for several years, i have emailed my M.P, and no one will help me. I have struggled through, working full time, but am getting deeper in debt, and have never even received a penny in child maintenance. Dont know where else to turn. The csa send statements severaltimes a year, telling me how much im owed and what they can do to enforce it, but never do.
Kel - 13-Feb-16 @ 11:06 AM
Kat - Your Question:
Hi I am a single mum of a 10year old son his dad has never paid anything for his up bringing and he hardly sees him if he does it's because I take him to his dads mums house, I've been really struggling recently with money and he is doing really well in the music industry and earns quite a lot, CSA haven't been able to help me in the last 10years but how do I get him to contribute to his sons upbringing could I take him to court even if he's not on the birth certificate?

Our Response:
It depends on whether he registers his earnings. Of course it is illegal to earn without paying tax, but there are people that try to avoid the HMRC. If this is the case with your ex, then proving he is earning is the difficult part, and because child maintenance is based on registered earnings then there is little you can do either via the CSA and/or through court, unless you can prove your ex is earning versus your ex doing his best to prove he isn't.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Feb-16 @ 12:05 PM
Hi I am a single mum of a 10year old son his dad has never paid anything for his up bringing and he hardly sees him if he does it's because I take him to his dads mums house, I've been really struggling recently with money and he is doing really well in the music industry and earns quite a lot, CSA haven't been able to help me in the last 10years but how do I get him to contribute to his sons upbringing could I take him to court even if he's not on the birth certificate?
Kat - 11-Feb-16 @ 5:33 PM
Busie - Your Question:
Hi we have finalised the mantainance on november last year. And they told me that I will get the 1st payment on december,but since then I did not receive a cent,at the court they told me to wait, how long does it take?

Our Response:
I'm afraid we do not have this information. You would have to contact the court directly again to see what the hold up is.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Feb-16 @ 11:51 AM
Hi we have finalised the mantainance on november last year. And they told me thati will get the 1st payment on december,but since then i did not receive a cent,at the court they told me to wait, how long does it take?
Busie - 7-Feb-16 @ 4:04 PM
Bronny - Your Question:
Hi, My ex in currently in arrears of £3,000 for child maintenance over 9 years. I've given the details of his new address and phone number. They said they have rang him and hes requested a DNA test. Nobody else is getting back to me from CSA. He is also now going through a custody battle with another woman who he has a child with as well as having a different pregnant girlfriend. What can I do? I constantly ring the csa to be updated but my case worker never gets back to me. They've made contact with him after 9 years how come nothing is being done? How long does it normally take? And how long will they wait before they decide to use there enforcement powers?

Our Response:
Have you complained? See link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Feb-16 @ 12:40 PM
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