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How the CSA Works

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 10 Mar 2017 | 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 Improvements

It is expected that by Spring 2010 the CSA will have introduced a policy of disregard concerning payments received in conjunction with housing, council tax or out-of-work benefits. A new system of calculation is also planned.

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Tib- Your Question:
Hi. I have 2 kids(1 with my ex wife and 1 with my expartner). I still live with my expartner but we share the bills.my first child stay over with me more than 52 nights /year and the second is in the house ever night. How do I calculate the child maintenance for them?

Our Response:
Please see CMS link here which should help you further.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Mar-17 @ 3:03 PM
Hi. I have 2 kids(1 with my ex wife and 1 with my expartner). I still live with my expartner but we share the bills.my first child stay over with me more than 52 nights /year and the second is in the house ever night. How do I calculate the child maintenance for them?
Tib - 10-Mar-17 @ 7:22 PM
Gaz - Your Question:
Hi. I had serious illness 8 years ago and I can not work due to it, but I do get an ill-health pension. I have been paying child support for that time, but now I have no money left to pay it with as I have run out of money. My benefits have all been cut and I have no savings so I just can not pay even if I wanted to. I want to support the children but I can'tWhat do I do?

Our Response:
If you are not earning or paying tax, then you would be moved on to a flat rate or nil rate of payment. Until you begin earning money again, you will not be liable to pay child maintenance. However, your access or contact to your children should not stop because of this.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Feb-17 @ 12:14 PM
Hi.I had serious illness 8 years ago and I can not work due to it, but I do get an ill-health pension.I have been paying child support for that time, but now I have no money left to pay it with as I have run out of money.My benefits have all been cut and I have no savings so I just can not pay even if I wanted to. I want to support the children but I can't What do I do?
Gaz - 27-Feb-17 @ 7:32 PM
Nanny- Your Question:
Hi my son has a x she is asking for money for there daughter I have looked at the csa and it says 28.00 pounds a week she is asking for 40.00 pounds a week can my son get in contact with csa about it please help

Our Response:
The CMS prefers parents to have a family-based arrangement with regards to child maintenance. However, if your son does not wish to give in to his ex's demands, then he can approach the CMS directly. Please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Feb-17 @ 2:44 PM
Hi my son has a x she is askingfor moneyfor there daughterI have lookedat thecsaand it says28.00 poundsa weekshe is askingfor40.00 poundsa week can my son get in contactwithcsa about it pleasehelp
Nanny - 17-Feb-17 @ 7:19 AM
Tina - Your Question:
My children father owes over £17.000 in arrears it has gone now to collect and pay to try to regain some of the money he owes.He is now telling the children hes goung to give his job up as he would rather tell the child maintenance he has heart problems just so he doesn't pay.How low can one scoop. I find this disgusting and cruel to even mention this as well as using this excuse as a loop hole.Is there anything that one can do.

Our Response:
You don't say how your ex has managed to avoid paying for so long. However, one option would be to apply to court for a liability order. The court can make a decision regarding taking payment via your ex's assets, please see CAB link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Feb-17 @ 10:52 AM
My children father owes over £17.000 in arrears it has gone now to collect and pay to try to regain some of the money he owes.He is now telling the children hes goung to give his job up as he would rather tell the child maintenance he has heart problems just so he doesn't pay .How low can one scoop. I find this disgusting and cruel to even mention this as well as using this excuse as a loop hole.Is there anything that one can do .
Tina - 12-Feb-17 @ 5:32 AM
Anom - Your Question:
I've done all ICan do my child's father was supposed toBe traced but you did nothing toGet what was owed even after IGave His address , his now driving and has a vehicle if you can afford a vehicle and a wedding you can afford maintenance simple

Our Response:
Child maintenance is based solely upon the non-resident's parents 'earnings', not what assets he has or what he or his partner can afford. If your ex is working any paying tax via the HMRC, then he will be eligible to pay child maintenance to financially help support your child.
ChildSupportLaws - 31-Jan-17 @ 1:40 PM
I've done all I Can do my child's father was supposed to Be traced but you did nothing to Get what was owed even after I Gave His address , his now driving and has a vehicle if you can afford a vehicle and a wedding you can afford maintenance simple
Anom - 30-Jan-17 @ 11:22 PM
Hi, I have a 4 month baby and found out my ex was cheating on me 3 months before I gave birth. I let my ex see the baby but have never asked for money. Recently I have asked and he said go through csa as then I will have more rights and can get custody, he is constantly threatening me with this. Do the csa deal with access and custody as I do not want to open myself up to being vulnerable to my ex with this?
Sarah - 19-Nov-16 @ 3:19 AM
kelvin - Your Question:
Hello I'm just about to put in for ca my child is three I was wondering would it be possible to clam bk from the last two years even thou there was no claim active.

Our Response:
You can only claim from the moment you make a claim. You cannot claim retrospectively where no claim has previously been made.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Oct-16 @ 12:33 PM
hello I'm just about to put in for ca my child is three I was wondering would it be possible to clam bk from the last two years even thou there was no claim active...
kelvin - 21-Oct-16 @ 8:00 PM
Nat - Your Question:
Hi. Please can someone help? My xp has moved to London. He refuses to help pay for anything for our child. He will not tell me where he is living so I have nothing to give to csa. He wrote a letter to tell csa he is not working. But he is can anyone help me?

Our Response:
If your partner is working, the CMS will be able to trace him through the HMRC.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Sep-16 @ 3:03 PM
Hi. Please can someone help?My xp has moved to London.He refuses to help pay for anything for our child. He will not tell me where he is living so I have nothing to give to csa. He wrote a letter to tell csa he is not working.But he iscan anyone help me?
Nat - 25-Sep-16 @ 8:01 PM
Tyke - Your Question:
My ex partner who I have children to past away and her husbsnd seeked a residency order for my chukdren which the court approved can he make a claim now for CSA

Our Response:
Yes, you are still the father of your children and therefore continue to be legally co-financially responsible for them.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Sep-16 @ 11:07 AM
My ex partner who i have children to past away and her husbsnd seeked a residency order for my chukdren which the court approved can he make a claim now for CSA
Tyke - 18-Sep-16 @ 9:43 AM
Joe - Your Question:
I'm very dispointed with the way the CSA works. My daughter used to get her £146 every mouth from last mouth. Now he's saying he's keeping 3 other children wish are not his. And her we money has been cut. I don't think that's fair that after all this time and within a mouth you can just ring or write and say this and make your real child suffer. I'm looking for proof but has anybody else every went through this. Thanks

Our Response:
If your daughter's ex has other children that live with him, then this will make a difference, as specified in the article. Your daughter can see how much he should be paying by the CMS calculator link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Aug-16 @ 2:53 PM
I'm very dispointed with the way the CSA works. My daughter used to get her £146 every mouth from last mouth. Now he's saying he's keeping 3 other children wish are not his. And her we money has been cut. I don't think that's fair that after all this time and within a mouth you can just ring or write and say this and make your real child suffer. I'm looking for proof but has anybody else every went through this. Thanks
Joe - 24-Aug-16 @ 8:56 AM
My case dates back to 2008. My children are 23 and 19. My ex owes arrears of £9000 according to CSA. He was once supposed to go to court. He never did! He is now marrying again, and although I know partners income is not included in assessment, his circumstances have changed, as he's marrying a woman who has money, so no rent etc. I've been in contact again, as my daughter starts university and I need to help her. The CSA need his address!!! Can't they find this out themselves? It is just not fair, he has told the CSA that he paid cash at one time to me. This is not true at all, otherwise why would I use the CSA. I have had payment schedules over the years but nothing. I'm fed up with having to provide the CSA with information they are supposed to know!
Don - 14-Jun-16 @ 1:01 PM
My case has been transferred from CSA to CMS but they will not accept any employer details unless directly from HMRC or the father. My daughters dad will not provide the details to them, even though the CSA have them and prior to my case being transferred the CSA were calculating unpaid child maintenance. CMS say that they cannot take the employer details from the CSA despite them both being formal organisation, so I am therefore now in a position where my daughters dad is working full time and refusing to give any details and CMS are declaring he should pay 'zero'. Should I just cut out these agencies and deal with this myself - cam I summons him to court to force him to provide his employment details?
Max - 11-Apr-16 @ 10:03 AM
katie - Your Question:
What are the minimum details required of an absent parent in order for them to be traced?

Our Response:
I assume name and possibly the last address the person was known at. However, if the courts or CMS/CSA are organising a trace, they will request as much information as possible that may lead to that person's whereabouts.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Apr-16 @ 12:57 PM
What are the minimum details required of an absent parent in order for them to be traced?
katie - 4-Apr-16 @ 4:15 PM
How do the payments work if both parents are absent? I have always been the absent parent and always paid and had contact with my daughter. For a number of reasons my daughter now lives with her grandmother and has done for many years. I have been paying her grandmother the payments for the last 5 years. My daughters mother in this situation is now also the absent parent has she doesn't have care of her. The grandmother used to have a residency order in place for my daughter being there but it is no longer in place, however she lives with her grandmother permanently. Essentially what I am asking is, should it be just myself paying maintenance or should her mother be paying as well? If so, how would her paying impact my payments? Would they be split, as in, what she pays would be taken off what I would usually pay? Many thanks.
SRH13 - 1-Apr-16 @ 9:37 PM
stepmum84 - Your Question:
I have two children that live with me, my biological daughter and her older half brother my step son who is ten. My step son has lived with me solidly for more than three years and I have always worked and paid for them both and have been happy to do so, but recently I have become resentful of the fact his mother doesn't pay for him there have been school trips and he's had growth spurts which means new clothes and shoes not to mention all the food he eats! He's also at an age when pocket money is necessary and I just think she needs to help. He does see her but it isn't consistent and he hasn't stayed at her house for the night for three years, he doesn't get invited to! The problem is that she is pregnant and lives with her new partner and another child from a different relationship, she doesn't work and I assume she is supported by her new partner, I think they receive tax credits but other than that she has no income of her own. I cannot ask her directly for child support I know we wouldn't see or hear from her for a long time, she hasn't bought her son a thing in all the time he's lived with me and I know that she would dismiss my request, I did briefly discuss child support with her once when she made it clear that she was under the impression only absent fathers needed to pay for their children, I am really confused and am totally unsure about what if anything I can do, any advice would be great, thanks

Our Response:
You don't say whether the father is around or not. However, in addition, the mother is also financially reposnsible for her child until aged 16+.I suggest giving CMS a call and speaking with someone directly in order to find out your options, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Mar-16 @ 12:13 PM
I have two children that live with me, my biological daughter and her older half brother my step son who is ten. My step son has lived with me solidly for more than three years and I have always worked and paid for them both and have been happy to do so, but recently I have become resentful of the fact his mother doesn't pay for him there have been school trips and he's had growth spurts which means new clothes and shoes not to mention all the food he eats! He's also at an age when pocket money is necessary and I just think she needs to help. He does see her but it isn't consistent and he hasn't stayed at her house for the night for three years, he doesn't get invited to! The problem is that she is pregnant and lives with her new partner and another child from a different relationship, she doesn't work and I assume she is supported by her new partner, I think they receive tax credits but other than that she has no income of her own. I cannot ask her directly for child support I know we wouldn't see or hear from her for a long time, she hasn't bought her son a thing in all the time he's lived with me and I know that she would dismiss my request, I did briefly discuss child support with her once when she made it clear that she was under the impression only absent fathers needed to pay for their children, I am really confused and am totally unsure about what if anything I can do, any advice would be great, thanks
stepmum84 - 21-Mar-16 @ 8:35 PM
Ollybear - Your Question:
Please help: The father of my daughter is now 65, he is still working full time: He is far better of now, not only does he get his state pension and several other pensions but he also gets payed for full time work (due to him claiming his state pension he does not pay any insurance contributions):However, he was told that due to him getting his state pension he does not have to continue paying child maintenance for his daughter (she is 16 and going to continue her education - A levels). This is grossly unfair: Is there some loop hole: I cant believe that this is the Law??

Our Response:
If your ex is earning, then you should be able to appeal, or alternatively take the matter to court. I should seek some legal advice before you approach this to see whether you have a case. Please also see gov.uk link here regarding complaints and appeals.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Mar-16 @ 2:24 PM
Please help:The father of my daughter is now 65, he is still working full time: He is far better of now, not only does he get his state pension and several other pensions but he also gets payed for full time work (due to him claiming his state pension he does not pay any insurance contributions): However, he was told that due to him getting his state pension he does not have to continue paying child maintenance for his daughter (she is 16 and going to continue her education - A levels). This is grossly unfair: Is there some loop hole: I cant believe that this is the Law??
Ollybear - 14-Mar-16 @ 5:45 PM
Hello there, I'm now 4 months along and don't know the whereabouts of the father, All I know about him is his mobile number but when I ring the number it is inactive, can the csa help me find find the father with his inactive mobile number?Any help would be great, ta
mother2be - 25-Jan-16 @ 9:07 PM
Do the csa contact you before taking payments to discuss things or do they just take the payments without you knowing
Finob - 31-Dec-15 @ 2:00 AM
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