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Enforcement of CSA/CMS Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 18 Nov 2017 |
 
Csa Maintenance Payments Arrears Child

Once the CSA/CMS has made a calculation for child maintenance, it has discretion to stipulate the method by which payments are made, to whom, when and how much should be paid towards any arrears. Notifications of any CSA/CMS decisions relating to payments must be made in writing, and should allow the non-resident parent as well as the person with care to make representations about them.

Payments to the CSA/CMS

In the majority of cases, the CSA/CMS prefer payments to be made directly from the non-resident parent to the person with care – save for when the person with care is on either Income Support or Job Seeker’s Allowance. In this situation, payments are made using ‘the collection service.’ In other cases (i.e. where the person with care is not on benefits) the collection service can be used if one or both of the parties request it. If there are problems with payments, it is possible to request the intervention of the collection service later on.

Under the new rules for child maintenance calculations, if a non-resident parent is on benefits Jobcentre Plus may make deductions at source of flat rate payments, at the request of the CSA/CMS.

When Payments Fall into Arrears

The CSA/CMS only intervenes in cases where payments have fallen into arrears if the collections service is being used. However, it is important to note that by the time the first calculation is made there are always arrears to be paid (because the calculation isn’t made until after the date when payments are due).

When a calculation is first made, the CSA/CMS will telephone the non-resident parent and tell them how the payments should be made, including the arrears. It is during this conversation that the non-resident parent should negotiate if they feel that they are not satisfied with the proposed schedule: this may be particularly pertinent given that the CSA/CMS always request that the initial arrears are cleared by way of a lump sum. (Any voluntary payments that have been made after the effective date can be deducted from the initial arrears.) The arrears are also notified in writing. If they are not paid within seven days of the written notification, the non-resident parent could face fines and enforcement action.

Enforcement Action

If a payment that is due directly to the person with care is missed, they must inform the CSA/CMS so that they can make enquiries as to why the payment has been missed. If a payment that is due to be paid via the agency is missed, the CSA/CMS will follow this up of its own volition. In other cases, a person with care who is on certain benefits may request an increase based on the fact that child maintenance has not been paid.

In these circumstances the CSA/CMS will telephone the non-resident parent to find out whether there is a problem (e.g. a change in circumstances.) If the non-resident parent anticipates that they may find themselves in difficulty over payments, such as an impending redundancy, they should contact the agency in good time to negotiate a reduction. There may be a suspension of arrears temporarily if the non-resident parent is ill, unemployed or incarcerated.

Deductions From Earnings

A Deduction from Earnings Order (DEO) is where payments are deducted from the non-resident parent’s earnings and paid to the CSA/CMS. Voluntary DEOs are available if the non-resident parent requests it: however if they persistently default, fail to keep to arrears arrangements and do not respond to enquiries, a DEO may be imposed. However it is possible to appeal a DEO to a magistrates’ court within 28 days of its imposition, either on the basis that it is defective or that the payments being made to the non-resident parent do not qualify as ‘earnings.’

If a DEO is inappropriate for whatever reason the CSA/CMS can apply to the magistrates court for a liability order. The CSA/CMS has to provide the non-resident parent with 7 days written notice of their intention to apply for this order. Once granted, the CSA can arrange for a county court to enter the order into its register like a judgment debt. This means that the CSA/CMS can pursue a charging order against land, property or other assets, a third party debt order against bank accounts or debts owed to the non-resident parent by a third party.

Disqualification From Driving and Imprisonment

In extreme circumstances, the CSA/CMS may take action to disqualify a non-resident parent from driving and can fix a term of imprisonment (up to six weeks) that is usually postponed to enable regular payments to be made.

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I have been trying to get a response from the CMS for nearly a year, my eldest daughter has left full time education,I have a daughter and son whom I pay for, there was a lot of confusion about when she left education, then they were both taken off as the parent with care no longer claimed child benifit, this turned out to be because she earns to much I have been trying for months to get written information about when my payments would have gone down as she left in September and I was still paying the full amount in March, I now pay more for my son than I did for both, it can’t be right, I have asked for paper work to support this and have had nothing
Dan - 18-Nov-17 @ 9:56 AM
MY DAUGHTERS EX-HUSBAND PAYS MAINTANANCE FOR HIS TWO CHILDRE. HE LEFT FIVE YEARS AGO AND HAS NO CONTACT (HIS CHOICE). HE HAS ASKED IF HE CAN HAVE A MONTHS HOLIDAY FROM PAYING AS HE IS GOING ON HOLIDAY. BOTH HE AND HIS PARTNER WORK FULL TIME. CAN HE DO THIS?
floss - 17-Nov-17 @ 9:44 PM
Samcave1 - Your Question:
Can I stop Csa payments to my ex if I'm paying a debt that's hers? My dad lent this money to both of us which we had to pay back 50% each so we could get a roof our head. I've paid my 50% but she hasn't and of course because this is my dad I've started paying her 50% of the debt back. As well as paying her CSA every month. I'm self employed.

Our Response:
Child maintenance payments is considered a separate issue to anything your ex owes you and are paid solely towards the day-to-day upkeep of your child. If you have evidence that your ex owes your father the money (i.e written evidence, even through text or emails etc), then you would have the option to apply to the small claims court for your ex to keep her side of the agreement. If you can prove the money was a loan to you both, with you both having to pay an equal share back to your dad, and the money was not a gift, then you should have a case to claim the money back, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Nov-17 @ 10:43 AM
Can I stop Csa payments to my ex if I'm paying a debt that's hers? My dad lent this money to both of us which we had to pay back 50% each so we could get a roof our head. I've paid my 50% but she hasn't and of course because this is my dad I've started paying her 50% of the debt back. As well as paying her CSA every month. I'm self employed.
Samcave1 - 15-Nov-17 @ 8:19 AM
@JRB - it depends upon who is claiming child benefit for the child. It is this parent who is generally allowed to claim child maintenance. But in shared-care arrangements as a rule no one claims child maintenance.
ASav - 14-Nov-17 @ 12:18 PM
My partner has a shared parenting arrangement with her monster of an ex-husband enforced through courts. He was the only earner when they were together and earning quite well, but lost his job shortly before they broke up. She has after 5 years of separation just started work again. He has not bothered to work since they separated and then divorced and is now threatening to approach the CSA to get her to pay him maintenance so he can continue to be a leach.He is perfectly capable of working, but chooses not to. Since they have a shared parenting arrangement, and they are both technically resident parents, does that mean he can't claim and also, is someone allowed to claim just because they are not working, when it is evident however long ago it was, that he was the main earner but has simply shirked his responsibilities.
JRB - 13-Nov-17 @ 7:48 PM
Hi, thank you for answering my last question. I'm currently in arrears with cms however looking at a statement i received from csa they didn't take in to account that i was self employed for 6 months in 2014 and on low income; so low i ended up claiming job seekers for the first time in my life. Question is, how can i challenge this full rate of child support payments for 6 months. I completed my self assessment once back in full time employment, surely they would take this as evidence?
Webroo - 9-Nov-17 @ 12:04 PM
@Kay - CSA/CMS will always attempt to extract money where they can. But what happens if the non-resident parent leaves their job and becomes unemployed deliberately to avoid payment? This can happen. Some self-employed people also try to dodge the system. The blame is on the people who are trying to dodge the system than the agency who are trying to extract the money where they can. The CMS don't have a problem getting the money from NRP's who are 'not' trying to dodge the system.
Andy\9 - 9-Nov-17 @ 9:59 AM
Why is it that the assessment, collection and enforcement of child support was the responsibility of the Child Support Agency. However, due to them not carrying out the administration of the system correctly they want to write off all outstanding amounts owed to people. The Child Support Agency are at fault for not carrying this out and should be responsible for paying people what is owed! A lot of people are owed a lot of money and this should not be written off!
Kay - 8-Nov-17 @ 3:52 PM
Since settng up with the cms last year i have only received 5 payments through a deo. They now have arrers of over £6000 but when i phone the cms they say that they canbnot give me any information on whats happening on my case just feel like i get fobbed off all the time. Apparently its with a enforcement team who you cant actually talk to. I want to know if there is anything i can do to get the money that is owed for my child.
Shorty - 8-Nov-17 @ 1:38 PM
Mezza - Your Question:
Hi I made a claim for child maintenance last September. I haven't received a payment. He is currently in just over £800 arrears. Why haven't cms took enforcement action. He clearly isn't going to pay it. But owns his own business and runs 3/4 vehicles. It's really frustrating when the other parent won't help pay for their child. I leave myself with nothing just so my child has everything !!

Our Response:
I can only really direct you to the CAB link here, which may explain more. If you feel you have been unfairly treated, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Nov-17 @ 12:03 PM
Hi I made a claim for child maintenance last September. I haven't received a payment. He is currently in just over £800 arrears. Why haven't cms took enforcement action. He clearly isn't going to pay it. But owns his own business and runs 3/4 vehicles. It's really frustrating when the other parent won't help pay for their child. I leave myself with nothing just so my child has everything !!
Mezza - 6-Nov-17 @ 11:28 PM
SJ77 - Your Question:
I've just noticed that my ex husband has been paying child maintenance from a joint bank account that I still hold with him. I've also seen that he should be paying from a sole account (think this said it was the law that it was from a sole account). Do I have a right to say that I have been paying half of his child maintenance and he owes the other half that he hasn't effectively paid?

Our Response:
Yes, you do. If your husband has been paying from an account that is deemed to be jointly yours, then you can request to claim this money back if and when you choose to divorce and/or if/when a joint financial settlement is reached. Or you may wish to speak to CMS about this directly, if child maintenance is being paid/assessed through CMS.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Nov-17 @ 11:11 AM
Webroo - Your Question:
Hi, My ex wife has been illegally claiming benefits for the past 3 years and not paid a penny towards my sons upkeep. She has in fact been working full time for agencies and earnings paid direct to my other sons bank account. I've informed CSA however nothing has been done. I reported her to benefit fraud out of frustration, however they aren't obliged to share any findings and wouldn't update CSA automatically; how can I get to the end of this and recover money she owes?

Our Response:
If your ex-wife is working for agencies and claiming benefits, then benefit fraud would be able to see the agency or her employer is paying tax on her behalf or that she is registered via HMRC if she is considered to be self-employed. Much depends upon what benefits she is claiming. Dependent upon her circumstances, a person can claim certain benefits while also employed or self-employed. If you have concrete evidence your ex is claiming benefits fraudulently and you feel you have been unfairly treated, your only real recourse would be to complain via the link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Nov-17 @ 9:37 AM
Hi, My ex wife has been illegally claiming benefits for the past 3 years and not paid a penny towards my sons upkeep. She has in fact been working full time for agencies and earnings paid direct to my other sons bank account. I've informed CSA however nothing has been done. I reported her to benefit fraud out of frustration, however they aren't obliged to share any findings and wouldn't update CSA automatically; how can i get to the end of this and recover money she owes?
Webroo - 1-Nov-17 @ 4:02 PM
I've just noticed that my ex husband has been paying child maintenance from a joint bank account that I still hold with him. I've also seen that he should be paying from a sole account (think this said it was the law that it was from a sole account). Do I have a right to say that I have been paying half of his child maintenance and he owes the other half that he hasn't effectively paid?
SJ77 - 1-Nov-17 @ 12:44 PM
@Pixie100 - your hubby could write to the college and ask for his absence report on a monthly basis. Or you could ask a solicitor whether it's worth taking to court.
TomasNH - 31-Oct-17 @ 3:30 PM
@Kay - it depends whether your ex has the money to pay and why it was written off. It seems a bit of a vague/lame response from CSA, I mean, of course you don't think there is a reason why it should be written off and of course you want your money. But it sounds like they don't give any answer on how you can attempt to extracate it. I know some people take it to court. But it's expensive and if the court fails to get the money you'll be lumbered with the costs. I'd take some independent advice to see whether trying to collect it yourself is an option. If you want a job doing properly and all that.....
JC - 31-Oct-17 @ 10:09 AM
@Dacey007 - if you think you have a case you can take it to court. I'd seek legal advice though first as you'd have to be able to prove he owes the money and he has the money to pay and that he has deliberately been avoiding paying.
SUN - 30-Oct-17 @ 3:54 PM
I've just received a letter stating that child maintenance arrears of £4018.57 owed by my ex partner, who died some years ago, will be written off unless I have a reason why they should not. The arrears are from the period 20/03/1996 to 22/05/2013. During that period I always kept the CSA fully informed of any information I had. I feel they are at fault for not collecting this money through whatever powers they have and it should not be written off. Has anyone else come across this problem and know what I can do?
Kay - 30-Oct-17 @ 3:11 PM
Mitch - Your Question:
Can someone tell me what happens if my ex is on benefits and a pension??? Unable to work??? What will happen to the money he owes and should be paying to his daughter please?? Can monies be taken from his benefits or his pension??

Our Response:
Money that an individual receives that are not classed as ‘earnings’ include: statutory payments made by an employer for reasons of maternity, paternity, redundancy or adoption pay; tax credits; social security pension, benefit or allowance, any payments made under a disability pension or benefit; or a guarantee payment under social security pensions legislation. If your ex receives any of these kinds of payments and they are his sole income they are not counted as earnings and therefore are not assessed by CMS/CSA. Some benefits come into the flat rate calculation i.e a person will pay a flat rate of £7 a week towards child support if they don't qualify to pay the nil rate, and their gross weekly income is less than £100 a week. A non-resident parent will be assessed for a reduced rate of maintenance if they don’t qualify to pay either the flat rate or the nil rate and their weekly gross income is more than £100 but less than £200, please see gov.uk link here. Employers can deduct money from the following types of earnings: private pensions, occupational pensions; wages; overtime pay; bonuses; commission; or any payments that are made on top of a person’s wages. In addition, it is possible to deduct from an individual’s statutory sick pay. If their employer pays a ‘contractual’ maternity, paternity, redundancy or adoption pay, this is classed as ‘earnings’ and can be subjected to deductions for child maintenance.
ChildSupportLaws - 30-Oct-17 @ 10:08 AM
We sadly have no contact with my husband’s son who was 18 mid 2016. He registered for college 2016/17 never attended one day, my husband pays maintenance spot on 1st of month every year for last 10. Stepson registered for college again this year 2017/18 - again not attending. We contacted CB, CTC to say-he’s sadly lying in bed I instead of attending college. Child maintenance contacted by my husband’s ex-wife demanding money. Pointed out the rules -6month extension on CB post 18 and non attendance at college. Child maintenance say payment depends on Child Benefit. If it’s being paid they expect us to. Involved MP about to take complaint further. Husband’s ex wife has broken the law-she should have reported non attendance at college straight away instead of claiming benefit fraudulently. What can we do to get child maintenance/child benefit to check his attendance at college. Thanks.
Pixie100 - 29-Oct-17 @ 9:59 PM
My eldest is 13 this year and throughout her upbringing the absent father was £9,000 in arrears. As soon as CSA we’re no more I tried to find out what to do about arrears and never had a response. Child Maintkance could only help with new claims and not arrears so I was told from you at the time. This is wrong and felt as if he got away with financially supporting my daughter that took us both to bring her into this world and only me to raise alone. Any advice on where to to go with this much appreciated
Dacey007 - 29-Oct-17 @ 9:38 PM
Can someone tell me what happens if my ex is on benefits and a pension??? Unable to work??? What will happen to the money he owes and should be paying to his daughter please?? Can monies be taken from his benefits or his pension??
Mitch - 29-Oct-17 @ 5:01 AM
Ever thought about fathers that want to see there children but are not allowed by their Ex's? They do it out of hatred and spite which you feel shows up in the child later on life ( You read the news about a crime and then you read, there was no father figure in the house OOOH) My story: Me and the ex-wife divorced in 2003, my son was three at the time, at 1st she would let me see him, I worked funny shift hours so it difficult sometimes. She then decided, I would not be allowed to see him anymore. CSA came next, £230 a month I started to pay, never missed a payment, I kept on paying having no knowledge of my son's well being or whereabouts. 11 years later, Message out of the blue on Facebook, he wants to meet me (his 14 now) we met in Mcdonalds, total strangers now, I am 42, his 14, we do not know one another, he was a child when we last met, What do I tell him? I tell him what I do for a living and we find common ground (We support Man Utd) Thanks to my ex-wife, me and my son become strangers, he was too young to understand and I was dumb enough to let her get away with it but funny how life has a way of finding a way around narrow-mindness. Sadly 2014 was the last time we met and havent since, he is not interested, I offered him to come round, spend time with me and his half-brother. Maybe one day he will, my door is always open. His 18 now and I paid £72, 980 to the CSA in the 15 years and only saw my son once. Tell me did I get value for me. PS: The Ex been divorced four times since 2003 and is only 40 years old (2017) Peace!
Big Dweeb - 24-Oct-17 @ 12:40 PM
My ex husband paid £17 per week for 2 children through the csa for approx 7 years although as a self employed plumber l knew he was earning more but couldn’t prove it, I did call the csa and write to them but they said it was up to me to prove his income had gone up which obviously I couldn’t do. This was proved though as when I changed from csa to child maintenance service and they checked his income his payments went from £17 per week for 2 children to over £40 per week for 1 child (my daughter turned 18) it has just been checked again and the payment has gone up again to £64 a week for my son although my son has now turned 18 so the payments have stopped anyway.I believe the payments of £17 7 years ago for 2 children was correct at the time but in those 7 years his income was never checked again. My question is should my ex have let the csa know if his wages went up during the next 7 years so that my payments went up? I thought he had to let them know if his income rose by 20%?Can I get back payment for him underpaying for years?
KB - 23-Oct-17 @ 7:21 PM
My ex to date owes £2,600 in child maintenance payments. After the CMS literally chasing him around the country they have put through a deduction on earnings for two different employers in the past 4 months and seams as its another payment missing I can see the third order being put through next month. Has anyone else been through multiple DOE orders? if so, How many did it take till the took it to the next step? I know hes also had a 20K payment in the last 3 months too so hes not short on money to help pay for his kids. Also if anyone has taken it upon themselves to go through the courts to sort it out, how much did it cost?
Bubz70111 - 23-Oct-17 @ 3:56 PM
My ex owes me child maintenance, as soon as a DEO was done he left his job!!! CMS have done a liability order, they have informed me I have to wait till compliance get in touch with me, I've had no updates at all while he's having a great life posting it in all on social media and when I asked him to buy the his kids clothes, he told me to go and beg outside the tube station!!! So what happens time wise when a liability order is done.
Lou Lou - 23-Oct-17 @ 12:34 AM
The amount of men complaining about having to pay for their child is disgusting....dont have kids if you aren't willing to provide for them....my ex hasn't paid a penny....is trying to make out he is on benefits....yet he provides for four other children....three which aren't his...he goes on family weekends every week and drives a land rover....he also goes in holiday in two weeks time....he only had to pay 20 quid a week....I ring cms every week to find out whats happening....I pay for there service so they should be chasing him up constantly. Luckily my ex is one if them that craps himself with the threat of court action
Flump - 21-Oct-17 @ 8:12 AM
Leigh - Your Question:
My child's father has not paid a penny in the last 14 month! Or bothered to see his child! Or made any effort to ask how his child is!! Makes my blood boil don't know how folk can just not bother with there own flesh n blood!! Biggest regret is his name is on child birth certificate!! CMS are involved and changed to collect and pay still no payment received he was self employed so was earning GOOD money he has now married and been away on holidays and supporting new wife's children but doesn't bother with his own child I called CMS to find out what is going on only to be told he is now unemployed and HMRC have confirmed this!! My question is where do I go from here? I know for sure he is working doing homers and it's cash in hand and if any money going into bank account he is using his wife's accountant details can any mummy's give me so advice please many thanx

Our Response:
I know how frustrating this must be. However, unless your child's father is paying tax via HMRC, there is little you can do. You could possibly seek legal advice about taking him to court. However, you would have to be able to prove that his lifestyle outweighs his expenditure and that he is sidelining any money earned through his wife's account. This would not be easy to prove and for this you would have to seek legal advice to see whether you have a case. However, this is unlikely where he is working cash in hand, as in theory the money doesn't exist which makes it impossible for a court to force any payment.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Oct-17 @ 11:37 AM
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