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How the CSA Works

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 9 May 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Csa Child Support Agency Payments

It is the Child Support Agency’s aim to reduce child poverty in the UK. The CSA provides a means by which parents with care can collect maintenance payments, for their child or children, from the non resident parent. As part of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission the CSA is able to trace non resident parents and enforce financial responsibility.

What The CSA Does

By collecting information, regarding income and circumstances, from the parent with care, the Child Support Agency can assess and process a maintenance claim, collect periodic payments and distribute the funds to the parent with care. The agency’s aim is to support the main carer of the child, or children, throughout the maintenance set-up process. This is done by calculating the amount of payable maintenance and handling the payments from the non resident parent.

The CSA also has the power to track down absent parents who avoid paying child support maintenance. Tracking is done by accessing information held by government departments like HM Revenue & Customs, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and agencies like Jobcentre Plus. Specialist tracing companies are also used by the CSA, and the agency has the power to take someone to court and impose a fine of up to £1,000 for failure to provide information.

Child Support Agency Activities

The CSA maintains contact with parents with care and non resident parents in order to facilitate the maintenance process. The CSA will discuss the amount of maintenance that is payable and provide payment options for the parents to consider. The agency also ensures that the suggested periodic payments are continually made by monitoring maintenance and taking any necessary action to re-establish payments and recovery of child support maintenance arrears.

When enforcement action has to be taken the CSA will continue to provide information regarding the individual case, to the parent with care, so that they are able to consider all options and update claim application details.

The Action The CSA Take

Having collected relevant information from the parent with care the Child Support Agency then processes the application and requests maintenance payment from the non resident parent. The payment can be taken directly from the parent’s wages, if they refuse to pay maintenance. The CSA can also use the courts to claim the payment, and can freeze accounts, register the parent’s debt, force the sale of property, confiscate a driving licence or send the parent to prison.

How Parents Can Take Action

An increasing amount of liability orders are granted each year. Appealing against a CSA decision is a simple process that requires the parent contacting the agency and requesting an explanation of the decision. A formal appeal can also be requested by submitting the appeal to the Social Security Child Support Appeals Tribunal. Around half of the appeals currently made are resolved directly within the CSA.

CSA Changes

Child maintenance arrangements made through the Child Support Agency (CSA) will be ending between now and the end 2017. If the CSA currently handles your child maintenance, you’ll get a letter telling you:when your child maintenance arrangement will end and how and when to make new child maintenance arrangements. The Child Maintenance Service(CMS), is the agency which is replacing CSA.

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[Add a Comment]
Steph - Your Question:
I was due to get first payment flat rate of £7 a week at start of the month through direct pay, it wasn't paid. I contacted cms and my ex partner no longer receives benefits and they have no income from hmrc so what happens now? Cms have written to him asking about his current situation and he hasn't responded and won't answer his phone, I believe he is no longer living at the address cms have for him

Our Response:
Unless your ex has an income either through benefits or work (and is paying tax through HMRC) then CMS will not try to take a payment from him. If your ex owes money, then this will be attributed to arrears.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-May-18 @ 10:49 AM
I was due to get first payment flat rate of £7 a week at start of the month through direct pay, it wasn't paid. I contacted cms and my ex partner no longer receives benefits and they have no income from hmrc so what happens now? Cms have written to him asking about his current situation and he hasn't responded and won't answer his phone, I believe he is no longer living at the address cms have for him
Steph - 9-May-18 @ 12:32 PM
Unknown - Your Question:
Hi my daughter's father went to prision nothing to do with not paying chill maintenance, should I have told child maintenance that hes in prison or not??

Our Response:
You can see more via the link here , which will help answer your question.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Jan-18 @ 11:13 AM
Hi my daughter's father went to prision nothing to do with not paying chill maintenance, should I have told child maintenance that hes in prison or not??
Unknown - 14-Jan-18 @ 2:43 PM
Lily - Your Question:
I slept with 2 people around the same time and found out I was pregnant I recently given birth and don't know who the father is. Neither of the people I slept with are interested can I get CSA involved

Our Response:
You can get CMS involved as all non-resident biological parents of a child are responsible for helping to support the day-to-day needs of their child. If you are not sure who the father is, then you would have to request a DNA test is done to establish who the father is, please see link here. You would need to speak to CMS directly regarding this.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Jan-18 @ 12:26 PM
I slept with 2 people around the same time and found out I was pregnant I recently given birth and don't know who the father is. Neither of the people I slept with are interested can I get CSA involved
Lily - 6-Jan-18 @ 4:39 PM
He my baby dad and me are not togeather he lied about everythink even his name not 2 shore i know where he was working and the name known by them could you trace him through his old work
Roerow - 8-Dec-17 @ 12:02 AM
Mc - Your Question:
How can I find out what my ex is earning as he is refusing to contribute towards uniforms, trips etc

Our Response:
You could apply for child maintenance via the CMS link here. Otherwise, you will have to continue to discuss mutually what your ex should pay via a family-based arrangement.
ChildSupportLaws - 30-Nov-17 @ 11:54 AM
How can I find out what my ex is earning as he is refusing to contribute towards uniforms, trips etc
Mc - 29-Nov-17 @ 3:11 PM
Mellow - Your Question:
My husband has sold his house, a house he bought AFTER we split can I claim for half the proceeds through CMS?

Our Response:
You cannot. You can only claim on the non-resident parent's taxable earnings via CMS.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Nov-17 @ 3:16 PM
My husband has sold his house, a house he bought AFTER we split can I claim for half the proceeds through CMS?
Mellow - 26-Nov-17 @ 9:26 PM
Millie - Your Question:
Hi please can someone out there help me My child father had a very good highly payed job. Now I have asked for child support for my 16 year boy he has supposedly quit his job and set up a company with no email or contact details , now the agency has told me he cannot be made to pay anything. How can this be right He has 2 houses , 3 cars , a horse ,a motorcycle yet not even £5 to help my son

Our Response:
Child maintenance is based upon earnings and the tax the non-resident parent is paying through HMRC, not through his personal assets. However, if your ex is earning and paying tax through renting one of his houses out, then you may be eligible for child maintenance via this route. There are different rates of child maintenance according to the paying parent’s gross weekly income (which means how much you receive before things like tax and National Insurance are taken off), you can see more via the link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Oct-17 @ 1:44 PM
Hi please can someone out there help me My child father had a very good highly payed job . Now I have asked for child support for my 16 year boy he has supposedly quit his job and set up a company with no email or contact details , now the agency has told me he cannot be made to pay anything. How can this be right He has 2 houses , 3 cars , a horse ,a motorcycle yet not even £5 to help my son
Millie - 21-Oct-17 @ 8:43 AM
Laura - Your Question:
Hi I have a daughter with my ex partner who hasn't been involved he also has another baby in same position the mother has claimed for Csa but I haven't and I wanted to find out if they would make the father pay for my daughter as well or if I'd have to do it because me and the other mother have been trying to sort it together

Our Response:
Every resident parent is able to make a claim to the non-resident parent for child maintenance. Every non-resident parent (i.e in your case, the father), is by law responsible to help financially contribute to their children's day-to-day care.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Oct-17 @ 2:29 PM
Hi I have a daughter with my ex partner who hasn't been involved he also has another baby in same position the mother has claimed for Csa but I haven't and I wanted to find out if they would make the father pay for my daughter as well or if I'd have to do it because me and the other mother have been trying to sort it together
Laura - 19-Oct-17 @ 8:09 PM
Michu - Your Question:
Hello. I would like to know if I live in Poland and my dad avoids paying maintenance or could I count on your help? Since 12 years living in angla has no contact with him, I do not know adrsu recently stopped paying alimony.

Our Response:
Your mother would have to contact the REMO unit via the link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Oct-17 @ 11:59 AM
Hello. I would like to know if I live in Poland and my dad avoids paying maintenance or could I count on your help? Since 12 years living in angla has no contact with him, I do not know adrsu recently stopped paying alimony.
Michu - 1-Oct-17 @ 7:11 PM
Amm - Your Question:
Was getting money through CSA. Past 2 months have not received anything.Called CSA they said will send letter out.Where do I stand and will I manage to get anything from him, as he has got away with 9/10 yrs of paying

Our Response:
Much depends upon the reasons why your ex has not paid. If he has lost his job, or his income has decreased signigicantly, then he should report this to CMS/CSA as this may affect what he pays. However, if there has been no change, then he will go into arrears and the CSA/CMS should attempt to extract the money on your behalf.
ChildSupportLaws - 29-Aug-17 @ 10:07 AM
Was getting money through CSA. Past 2 months have not received anything. Called CSA they said will send letter out. Where do I stand and will I manage to get anything from him, as he has got away with 9/10 yrs of paying
Amm - 27-Aug-17 @ 6:57 AM
My ex has had his payments to me raised as he has had a payrise. He has not given me the increased amount only the original amount. How long does it take before his wages are attomaticlly garnished as he won't pay the increased amount. He claims he has not been informed of this
Mitch - 31-Jul-17 @ 9:23 PM
ryanlango - Your Question:
Hello, just a quick question, my partner has just started receiving csa from her ex for their 3 children, but upon the first payment he only sent half of what csa said he must pay, his excuse is that she still has possession of their family car and that he wants to car given to him or he will not pay in full, just wondering where she stands in this case?

Our Response:
If CMS has assessed your partner and he does not send the full amount, then he will be liable to pay arrears to his ex. It is not up to him to decide what his ex should and should not receive by way of payment.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Jul-17 @ 3:31 PM
Hello, just a quick question, my partner has just started receiving csa from her ex for their 3 children, but upon the first payment he only sent half of what csa said he must pay, his excuse is that she still has possession of their family car and that he wants to car given to him or he will not pay in full, just wondering where she stands in this case?
ryanlango - 24-Jun-17 @ 4:12 PM
Elly - Your Question:
Hello I was curious if I can contact the csa in regards to a past case in relation to my father.My mother passed away in 2013 and I have no real information on my dad and hes never been involved in my life but I'm now 29 and really want to reach out have been looking for a few years but with little to no information its difficult. My mum once told me when I was roughly 2 years she went to csa to get support from my dad who fled, would they give me the information on my father? and how would I go about approaching it cause it is a long time ago

Our Response:
I am unsure whether CSA would be able to divulge such sensitive information. You would have to check directly and check soon as CSA is closing. Have you tried family or old friends of your mothers who might be able to give you some information? I assume you have requested a full copy of your birth certificate? If not, you can do this via the gov.uk link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Jun-17 @ 12:02 PM
Hello I was curious if I can contact the csa in regards to a past case in relation to my father. My mother passed away in 2013 and I have no real information on my dad and hes never been involved in my life but I'm now 29 and really want to reach out have been looking for a few years but with little to no information its difficult. My mum once told me when I was roughly 2 years she went to csa to get support from my dad who fled, would they give me the information on my father? and how would I go about approaching it cause it isa long time ago
Elly - 31-May-17 @ 6:56 PM
Artex - Your Question:
Hi. My mother in law is looking after my brother in law's son since being taken from him due to legal proceedings. The child is now 5 years old and is in full time education. His dad had made an agreement to pay my mother in law a curtain amount each month and has only paid the novelty payment for the first few months but nothing since. Where does she stand regarding getting advice or help from CSA and could CSA get involved regarding child support.

Our Response:
If your mother-in-law has been given parental responsibility or a residence agreement, she can take the matter to CMS in order to claim child maintenance from both the non-resident parents (if applicable). It is certainly worth her ringing up in order to explore her options.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-May-17 @ 11:22 AM
Hi. My mother in law is looking after my brother in law's son since being taken from him due to legal proceedings. The child is now 5 years old and is in full time education. His dad had made an agreement to pay my mother in law a curtain amount each month and has only paid the novelty payment for the first few months but nothing since. Where does she stand regarding getting advice or help from CSA and could CSA get involved regarding child support.
Artex - 22-May-17 @ 11:38 AM
Nanna - Your Question:
I would like to ask if I am entitled to claim CSA from my grand daughters grandfather (my ex-husband) who is joint main career for her but since last August 2016 walked out on us. I lost my job and I am struggling to maintain my bills and caring for her on my own????? Please can you help me please.

Our Response:
The only people you can claim child maintenance from is the biological parents. You may wish to double-check with Child Maintenance Service.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-May-17 @ 12:14 PM
I would like to ask if I am entitled to claim CSA from my grand daughters grandfather (my ex-husband) who is joint main career for her but since last August 2016 walked out on us. I lost my job and I am struggling to maintain my bills and caring for her on my own????? Please can you help me please.
Nanna - 17-May-17 @ 7:27 PM
@Ac - both parents have equal rights to access their children. Mothers do not have all the control. Unless a court order forbids your husband not to contact your child, just as you are not forbidden by him to contact her while she is with him, then there's not much you can do. Unless you take it back to mediation or court to complain!
Ant - 2-May-17 @ 12:44 PM
My husband and I have divorced and I'm the main carer for our daughter. She's stays with my husband twice a week! Although I have asked him to msg me about any changes in times and dates to collect her etc, he ignores me and continues to msg our 9 year old daughter on her iPod bypassing me! This puts her in an awkward position and I'm wondering if he is allowed to do this without messaging or consulting me directly to arrange times/ dates etc? Many thanks in anticipation
Ac - 1-May-17 @ 9:32 PM
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