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Enforcement of CSA/CMS Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 19 Jan 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 made an arrangement in September after the change over I contacted can and set up a new ddthey failed to set up the ddas far as i know it was being paid now I just had a letter for a deo they have decided to contact my employer without notifying me without any contact and charge me 50 for the deo I was not in arrears with payments till the change over now I'm being peanaliised for there mistake
Native - 19-Jan-19 @ 4:14 PM
I have 3 children on my case with Cms I have disputed parentage with 2 children because mothers put doubt in my mind It took nearly a year to get done having to lose my home and job because of this. Nearly 2 month later I am still waiting for the letter confirming I’m not the biological father. The Csa/Cms have said I have nearly 10k in arrears then I get a letter saying I have 7k then just over 4K all in a space of a year they have repeatedly lied to me saying they have sent bank details of all mothers when they have not and stuck me in collections the one parent which they sent bank details and amount to pay I have been paying without fail but they have kept me in collections for over 10 years what advise would you give me I need serious advise
Why me - 10-Jan-19 @ 5:10 PM
My x and I have a private arrangement for child maintinance, that has worked for both of us for 10 years. i have recently recieved an arrears demand letter from the csa for £4400. i am living in thailand and am trying to contact them to discuss what this is about. i cannot ring them and wish to do via email. My x has now admitted that she has recieved similar letters over the years but has ignored them. Any advise please?
Bry - 8-Jan-19 @ 4:59 AM
I have been paying via DEO for ages. I also pay arrears due to the calculation being wrong. What i don't understand is, I pay arrears to the CMS but these are not passed on to the mother of my daughter. e.g : i pay £455 per month (with fees) but my ex only gets £280 (after fees). Where's the rest going? Can anyone help me understand this. The CMS are no use
Andy - 3-Jan-19 @ 9:15 AM
"CMS have done nothing to help me... Ex was paying until he went on an expensive holiday and since I have received nothing although he brought me to court to ask for time to take my child on holiday" What a horrible person you are. Do you work?
Starboy - 30-Dec-18 @ 11:09 AM
I have just had a payslip and found csa have taken £865. Not only does this mean I can pay any bills but I've have been trying to get them to respond to me for 6 months about miscalculation using old figures and not once have they made the promised 24hour call back. The also haven't contacted me in writing or verbally about any figures or that they were going to take any money from my wages as I previously paid direct to receiving parent. Please halp, where do I stand
Steve4 - 24-Nov-18 @ 10:00 PM
I have seperated from my wife, one child lives with me and two younger once with ex. She works 20 hours a week, im a full time carer with only carers allowance coming in. She now wants me to pay child maintenance from my ca. Can I not ask her for the same for my elder daughter? Please help, Bob
Jerry - 11-Nov-18 @ 11:21 AM
My brother had a child over 26 years ago.The mother denied he was the father and had been playing away whilst he was at work.In the 1990's the CSA forced him to take a DNA test and he was deemed to be the father so he was required to pay.He did so but changed jobs several times, was self-employed for a while and so on and the CSA placed DEOs on his employers.My brother was told by the CSA in a phone call in 2012 that his case was now closed.This co-incided with the child's 18th birthday, so seemed reasonable but they did not tell him at any point that he had arrears still outstanding. Fast forward to September 2017 and he is contacted by the CMS who say he owes £30k in arrears!!They have not explained how that figure is calculated.Is it based on his assumed income or is it a standard amount or what?They never answer any questions he puts to them in writing or by phone and their favourite phrase is' we are not required to tell you'. He works on a farm, gets £13ph gross and just about makes ends meet over a 12 month period.He is 53, rents a flat, has no pension or investments or savings of any kind. He had to get his MP to intervene to get a statement of account from the CMS as they said they were not required to provide it to my brother when he asked them. IN June this year he provided bank statements and proof of basic outgoings and agreed a £20 per week payment as he literally has no more spare and now the CMS have deducted £850 from his bank account because they decided it was 'surplus'.He has told them in writing and by phone that it is not surplus or savings but is money from the hours he worked harvesting potatoes which is needed to pay his winter bills when there is less farm work available, but they do not listen and do not care. He is heading for a breakdown but still they do not care.He worked 505 hours in the last 8 weeks to bring in the money he needs for the next few months.505 hours! Anyone got any advice for me as I am so worried about him. Thankyou. x
Anna Webb - 10-Nov-18 @ 11:28 AM
Ex is in are ears, pays bare half of what he's expected, he is abusive and controlling something I told Cms about when opening the case, he is due me quite a bit of money and just ignores all the letters and phone calls. Though manages to take me to court every month for extra time with his child. 10weeks I've to wait for collect and pay..10 weeks even though his payments had been missed from August we face another 10weeks ??
Stargirl - 6-Nov-18 @ 1:16 PM
In 2006 my daughter turned 16, left her mother and started work so my CSA payments stopped. End of I thought.... However, 2018 - I've been told that I owe nearly £5000 in maintenance payments to her mother as the CMS has calculated arrears. I've been down the local MP route and had numerous follow ups breaking down every payment I made for my daughter in the 13 years I had to. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I'm having to pay £187pcm for this 'debt' calculated as arrears despite my numerous attempts to have this wiped out or at least reduced. The CMS are saying that this money was still owed but in 2006, my argument is well why wasn't it asked for then? I did not expect to haunted by this again after years and years or misery through the CSA which ultimately cost me another marriage where I had more children. I have some paperwork dating back which I have submitted to my MP, to the CSA and to the CMS where it was a debt around £2,900 is still payable. I was never asked for this until recently but now the CMS have taken over, the figure is now £4,900. I don't know where to start to get through this again as I'm going around in circles with the CMS who slapped a DEO on me without knowledge. This is so difficult, after so many years of paying out then being clear of payments as your children grow up and I've since become a grandfather twice over to my daughters children, to be paying maintenance to her mother now, 12 years on I just so unfair and unjust. It's not as though my daughter gets that money!! The ex was contacted and said thanks very much instead of just moving on. Anyone help me please? regards Rob
Robster - 30-Oct-18 @ 12:32 PM
Company are a joke. I have dealt with them since 2009 when the changed from CSA to CMS they informed my husband he had arrears where from they couldn't tell us just pay it or we will take it anyway. We contested this and put an official complaint in sent evidence to prove we had paid since 2009 years nothing. They switch him to attachment of earnings with charges! Again we contested this won the case and was referred back to direct pay. We have been paying the arrears even though we don't owe them (request the arrears to be means tested they must do this) the debt has now doubled this year!!! How? No one knows! All we get is rude ladies favouring mom everytime and not prepared to listen they just tut and say pay it! This mentality of mom.is always right must stop. We paid thousands for a court order they always lose! It seems dad's that paying are bullied into paying more and they are making money from you! The harder you work the more you lost to your ex. I have complained to the ICE as we have had enough. We are paying for Christmas birthdays and holidays twice over!
Caz - 30-Oct-18 @ 11:16 AM
I have 6 children, up until last year CMA were collecting payment by an Attachment of Earnings Order, he then persuaded them that as he had paid for 6 months he should be allowed to switch to direct debit on collect and pay, he made 1 payment and then stopped paying, the order was reapplied and after 7 months he has again persuaded them that as he had paid for 6 months he should be allowed to switch to direct debit on collect and pay, he has now missed this payment, CMA say they will reapply the order but if he pays for 6 months he has a right to switch back to direct debit, is this the case? they also say if he maintains this for 6 months he would be entitled to switch to Direct Pay, this is a DV case, is he really allowed to keep repeating this cycle? The arrears are nearly 4K, how can we get CMA to take action?
ZT - 25-Oct-18 @ 3:58 PM
My partner us due back payment on csa. I work full time. Will i be liable for his back payment. The kids are nothing to do with me
Les - 23-Oct-18 @ 1:47 PM
Hi My husband has his own limited company and have always paid the maintenance the CMS has calculated for the three children he has with his ex. A few days ago, he got a letter from CMS saying they have recalculated his earnings (on the back of a request from his ex) and they are now saying he has to pay a substantial amount more. They are also saying they are back dating this payment to 2016. Can CMS do this, when they have never told him they were reassessing the case. Also the figure they have used for his initial payments were based on figures they took straight from the HRMC. Now they are saying they will include to full company account and not just the salary he was paid. Can they do that? Also, if they have done their own miscalculations, can they now go back years and tell someone to pay? It seems highly unfair that he should be penalised for something he has never done wrong. Further to this, the new weekly payment does not take into consideration his living expenses, food, rent, household bills and he will not be able to pay them. Can CMS do that as it would mean he can’t afford to provide a roof over the head for his children when he has them? Only earlier this year did he manage to stop a claim from his ex where she had told CMS that he had not paid maintenance for a year, even though he had (private arrangement between them). He had to provide bank statements and even so, CMS said that wasn’t enough and they then asked the mother to show statements as well. When she didn’t, they suspended the case saying they can’t close it as the mother has to do it. So it’s clear she is lying to the CMS she is still the one they look out for. She even lies to them with regards to how often he has the children which is roughly half the year and tells CMS he has them one night a year. Again, they will not listen to my husband and just take the word of the mother into consideration. I am absolute chocked and disgusted with how they treat fathers and how they think this is acceptable. Is it anything that can be done about it?
Emma - 23-Oct-18 @ 1:46 PM
I made a claim to CSA nearly a year ago and I’m still waiting on my first payment although I’m highly annoyed and frustrated there’s nothing more then can do! CSA have their own polices and procedures they have to follow and unfortunately it seems like it’s always in the exes favour BUT they have been great every time I have rang up or when they have phoned me...I am hoping to get a payment in the next few weeks or the start of December as enforcement is now handling my case and I just pray to god that the scumbag gets sent to prison for 6 weeks and becomes someone’s bitch! And for anybody that is moaning about CSA taking making from them well maybe if you had of been a man and took care of your responsibilities in the first place just maybe you wouldn’t of got into this mess! And P.S CSA gives you enough time to contact them regarding payment plans etc so no excuse to have a moan to pay for your kid/kids
Frustratedmamma - 18-Oct-18 @ 10:17 PM
One of your answers to a query shows is the August 2018 briefing paper which states that all CSA debt owed by non-resident parents will be written off. My ex's debt was transferred to CMS when our case moved over. Will his arrears from our time with the CSA also be written off or will they be safe because they have transferred to CMS please?
plainbobnat - 18-Oct-18 @ 1:04 AM
I have historical arrears owed from my ex husband £3000 through csa. Cms asked if I wanted collected, said yes. Ex currently has a DEO with CMS for two separate younger children, yet CMS say although he has DEO and it’s collected every month, no children live with him,and owes me £3k+ They can’t give me any of money collected as my case is arrears only and other two cases live?? Please advice?? Surely I am entitled to some part of this money!
Polly - 16-Oct-18 @ 6:47 PM
Yeah they are taking nearly half my wages had to go bankrupt, don't even know if the kid is mine and if it is I know I was set up for a fact,had my name dragged through the mud and not even allowed to see the child who is now legally an adult still in education, and still paying they don't care what your story is what your situation is or if the child is yours or not from my point of view this csm is a total joke I am furious
Roland rat - 11-Oct-18 @ 6:46 PM
Shocking system If I was 10 weeksbehind at work I'llbe sacked You lot csa are a joke you shouldall sacked ??????
Prem - 10-Oct-18 @ 6:08 PM
CSA are an absolute waste of time! I’ve had a case ongoing with the Father of my son since 2013, each year the case gets a default again my case! He changed address 4 times & hasnt informed them, apparently they can’t find him! On inland Revenue’s data base or DWP’s data base! But yet he’s living the high life! Something totally wrong with this system!
LoulaBell - 8-Oct-18 @ 8:15 PM
I have been paying my ex every month without fail and she has started getting greedy and got csa involved this was back in May i have a change in my financial situation and a drop in salary so csa asked me to send my wage slips which i have done but i havent heard anything from them so whats happening? I am only paying for one child shes 16 in february 2019 so will csa get in touch or will they scrap it due to my daughter reaching 16 in a couple of months
Smithy - 8-Oct-18 @ 9:31 AM
I want to make a cms claim against my sons father but he says he works cash in hand. Will I receive and be entitled to anything if this is true, thanks
Char - 28-Sep-18 @ 7:43 PM
CMS have done nothing to help me... Ex was paying until he went on an expensive holiday and since I have received nothing although he brought me to court to ask for time to take my child on holiday and would like to book it now... No money for school uniform etc.. I have had to sell things to make up for loss... He refuses to provide the info asked for and CMS just seem to accepted that he is avoiding them.. His work have also hidden hrs of work.. Where do I stand?
Stargirl - 26-Sep-18 @ 12:49 AM
I have been paying my ex through an agreement between the 2 of us since we split. She has recently made a claim through the CMS. The claim started from the 10th September but I have continued to pay the previous agreed amount weekly. Should I continue to pay or should I stop until they have decided on the amount? I don't want to stop paying as it could leave her short, will CMS take these pavements off the amount when it has been decided?
Mjg123 - 22-Sep-18 @ 11:02 AM
Jason - Your Question:
I am a father that is paying CSA payment and have been over the last couple of year when my ex parents left me with our two gorgeous kids and I don’t file for CSA payment then after approximately 18 months late came back and took the kids off me and rang CSA straight away to get payments I haven’t se or heard from the in two year now and it not from the form of trying he is coming up to 19year old and still paying so I rang up CSA and explain that I’m going to withhold payment until I receive documents stating what education He is doing inwhich I’m allowed to know by law and once I received the information I would pay the founds but non of the information was put on my case file and now they are trying to go in for direct payment what can I do please help if you can

Our Response:
Unfortunately, until CMS hears from the Child Benefit Office that your child is no longer in full-time education then you have to continue paying and will be subjected to direct pay or arrears until CMS have clawed back the outstanding payments. I advise you not to take the law into your own hands and argue with CMS (regardless of your principles) as you will quite possibly come off worse off. Child benefit and child maintenance payments work in parallel to each other, so when child benefit stops, so do child maintenance payments, please see the link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Sep-18 @ 2:09 PM
I am a father that is paying CSA payment and have been over the last couple of year when my ex parents left me with our two gorgeous kids and I don’t file for CSA payment then after approximately 18 months late came back and took the kids off me and rang CSA straight away to get payments I haven’t se or heard from the in two year now and it not from the form of trying he is coming up to 19year old and still paying so I rang up CSA and explain that I’m going to withhold payment until I receive documents stating whateducationHe is doing inwhich I’m allowed to know by law and once I received the information I would pay the founds but non of the information was put on my case file and now they are trying to go in for direct payment what can I do please help if you can
Jason - 20-Sep-18 @ 8:42 PM
The Independent Case Examiner wrote a report about my case and found there had been errors and maladministration dating back to 2012. ICE recommended that the CSA apologise and pay me £100 compensation, which they did. The PHSO agreed with ICE.I don't think this was enough to compensate for all the hardship me and my children had to go through due to these mistakes and the non payment of child maintenence due to this.Is there any more I can do or is that it have I gone as far as I can?
hells45 - 20-Sep-18 @ 4:56 PM
my ex owes£16800 arrears to the csa.it was then transferred to cms to collect the arrears .the cms made an order to deduct £30pm from his wages.He was supposed to pay on the 19th of the month. He paid June missed July i then received a payment on the 9th Aug and nothing since. I've constantly rung the cms and keep getting told he has until the end of the month before they will chase.They say an email has been sent to my case worker re the first missed payment but they can't chase for this month's payment yet. they have no notes as to why the employers aren't paying or whether the case worker has even contacted the employers. I have asked to speak to the case worker only to be told he's not available and they will send a further email to him and i can ring again at the end of the month. what can i do? at only £30pm this debt will already take years to clear without payments being missed.I keep asking them to either send the bailiffs in so i get a lump sum or a charge on his property but they keep saying that takes years to do and they don't like going down that road.
susanm - 18-Sep-18 @ 3:27 PM
In 2014 I received a call from a man you claims to call from the department of pensions. He requested my NI in order to verify my identity and update a gap in my NI contributions while in full time studies. Having provided the info, he then claims to be calling from CSA. It really does not matter to me where he was calling from. But it mattered to me that he was lying on behalf of government institution. I have since paid over £22,000 on a less than national average salary to CSa in past years. This was wide scale deception and it's worse than the PPI schemes. Early this year the case was transferred to CMS. I requested for paternity test having been previously denied illegally by the CSA. I was told to hold off payment until the outcome of the test. 3 months later, I was told the outcome was positive. The CMS then insisted I had to pay 3 months arrears. I offered to pay £80 a month extra plus current monthly payments. The CMS ignored my arrangement and proceeded to DOE. I had to take a bank loan/overdraft to clear the arrears, this was done before the DOE started. The CMS proceeded with DOE, when I had already proven to it that those payment had been made. I was told by CMS staff that the only way I could stop the DEO is to stop working, which I am now being forced into. I have other children that CMS is putting into undue hardship. I have written and appeal to CMS without any answers. I will like to know: Does the CMS have regards forfundamental human right and the rule of law or is it above the law; and therefore lawless? Does the CMS have the right to forcefully enforce DOE on payment that have been already been made and agreed? Is CMs enforcing DOE illegally in order to force people to pay charges? Is CMS trying to alienate absent parent from their children, rather than than encouraging cohesion and cooperation? Are staff of CMS deliberately misbehaving, and acting beyond the law and punishing people by putting them through undue hardships. Thereby forcing vulnerable people in our society to also take matters into their own hands? Why are people less confident in the court systems which should have powers to check this illegalities by CMS? Is the CMS fit for purpose, or is it now suffering from the same fatal flaws of the CSA?
Dan - 17-Sep-18 @ 2:40 PM
Archie - Your Question:
I made my first claim 10 years agoAm I entitled to any back payment

Our Response:
No, you are only considered for payments from the date you registered the claim.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Sep-18 @ 12:22 PM
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