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Does the CSA Have To Get Involved?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 22 Aug 2023 |
Does The Csa Have To Get Involved?

In short, no. Although child support reflects the legal obligation of parents to provide financially for their children, many people make informal arrangements. It is, in fact, quite common for parents to be able to come to a decision about financial arrangements for their children without needing to involve the courts or other agencies. However, these agreements can be broken and relations between the parents can sour, which then leads to the involvement of other agencies.

In other instances parents are made to pay by court order, or the Child Support Agency calculates the amount of the payments that parents should make. These are not mutually exclusive solutions, and it may be that a parent pays maintenance using more than one of these ways.

Could you Avoid CSA Involvement?

Not all couples will be able to come to an amicable private settlement but it can be beneficial to all sides, including the children, to try to reach an agreement without involving the CSA. Some of the benefits to private arrangements are; the lack of interference of third parties, which gives you more control and flexibility over the particular terms of your agreement and the ability to adapt to your own specific circumstances, rather than be trapped within the rigidity of CSA policies. However, there are several questions that you will need to ask yourself about your particular circumstances.

  • Could you and your child’s parent work together in the interests of your child/children?
  • Can you be honest with one another about money issues?
  • If either of your circumstances changed, would you be able to work together to be able to make changes to the agreement as necessary?
  • Is your relationship with your child’s parent such that you can agree to commit to making a private settlement work?
  • Have you tried to agree payments before, but it hasn’t worked? If so, it will be harder to make it work the second time around.
  • Will it matter that your private settlement is not legally binding? If the non-resident parent stops paying, you will have no recourse to collect or force payments against a non-paying parent.
  • What would happen if your agreement stops working? Could you talk to one another about it?

Coming to a Private Arrangement

If you have arranged to settle the matter of child maintenance privately, you will need to discuss the agreement together to work out the fundamental aspects. Once you have been able to agree these elements, it is helpful to reduce it to writing and for both parents to sign it. Be aware, however, that this type of arrangement is not legally binding. The basic issues to agree are as follows:
  • The cost of maintaining the child, including school, day to day living, clothing and sustenance
  • How and when to make payments
  • How much the payments will be
  • Include a date in the future on which to review the terms of the agreement, to discuss whether or not the agreement is working

Can you Stop the CSA Being Involved?

If the CSA is already involved, and the care parent does not provide the CSA with the information they need to make the calculation for maintenance payments, the case can be closed and there will be no maintenance paid. It should also be noted that giving false information to the CSA, or not providing information to the CSA when it is requested is a criminal offence for which a person can be fined any sum up to £1000.

However, if a non-resident parent is not cooperating with the CSA in disclosing his or her income to them, the CSA can impose a ‘default maintenance decision.’ This is an automatic rate based on the number of children for which maintenance is being sought. The rates are currently £30 per week for one child, £40 for two children and £50 for three or more children.

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I have a private agreement with my ex signed by solicitors regarding Maintence. In that agreement there is nothing about the annual review. I have never missed a payment it’s been now 5 years.Can she still demand an annual review or can she go back to child Maintence at any point?
DB - 22-Aug-23 @ 7:30 AM
I have been paying for my child for the last 9 years since we split. Never missing a payment whist also making payments for other shared costs for my child. I had a disagreement over 50% childcare arrangements over school holidays as I don’t have shared custody. My sons mum has now reported me to the CSA. Can this be done if the issue isn’t really financial.
D - 17-Jul-23 @ 3:25 PM
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oliviastephen02 - 3-Jul-23 @ 6:17 AM
My ex has stopped paying maintenance from his account and it’s now coming from his girlfriends. I’m worried as she doesn’t have Parental Responsibility for our child and could she come back and claim what she’s paid from me? Should it be coming from fathers account?
Rach - 30-Jun-23 @ 8:07 AM
Hello I've been paying my partner every week £100 for the last 2 years I have recently moved and got another job but can't afford £100 every week What should I do she is threatening to take me to csa I'm only paying for 2 children my other daughter will be 18 next month
Jas - 23-Jun-23 @ 3:32 PM
Hi my first born is nearly 12 his dad hasn’t been in his life at all due to keep coming in and out of jail iv never stopped him from having contact but he’s been out for ages and not one seen our boy and but we have a non mol between up but he can still see his boy and iv never once took a penny of him. I need advice on going ahead with csa as iv never needed his money but it’s only right he pays for his son needs. ? Right
Sally - 26-May-21 @ 12:17 AM
I have been paying child maintenance for over two years never missing a payment and calculated through the government calculator. I have moved in with a new partner with 3 children and as this affects the payments, she is threatening to go to the CSA so I have to pay an additional 20%. Can she do This?
Craig - 7-May-20 @ 1:26 PM
My ex and I are currently going through the last stages of an awfully divorce. Last night he threatened to reduce my divorce settlement if I continue to pursue him for child maintenance. Can he do this?
Karla - 8-Apr-20 @ 8:01 AM
I have paid my ex partner every week since my daughter was born, I use the online csa calculator to determine how much I am to pay based on my income, I sometimes even give her more. I have decided to change the payment day from Friday to Sunday as I have my daughter over the weekend and she end up spending the money on her own weekend (whatever that may include) and I preferred that it was given on a Sunday so she can get stuff for pack lunch for school through the week. She I saying she is getting csa involved because of this. I am still paying, all I have done is changed the day. Can she do this?
George - 22-Mar-20 @ 2:26 PM
Hello there I was wondering if anyone would know about this if the separated parents arranged a fixed amount per week could you still be taken to the CSA??? In advance thanks
Andy - 19-Sep-18 @ 7:48 PM
Trying my best - Your Question:
I took a loan out to settle family debts whilst I still lived in the house my ex and I have a joint mortgage for. I will continue to pay half the mortgage and that and the loan repayments mean I am barely able to live. Remainder might just cover rent and travel to work and hopefully food. Would the CSA take the mortgage payments so they don't lose the house and the loan repayment into account?

Our Response:
Child maintenance is assessed on the non-resident parent's gross earnings, it is not assessed on outgoings.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Mar-18 @ 2:47 PM
I took a loan out to settle family debts whilst I still lived in the house my ex and I have a joint mortgage for. I will continue to pay half the mortgage and that and the loan repayments mean I am barely able to live. Remainder might just cover rent and travel to work and hopefully food. Would the CSA take the mortgage payments so they don't lose the house and the loan repayment into account?
Trying my best - 14-Mar-18 @ 5:56 PM
Hi There I'm a dad currently going through a bit of a rough patch with my sons mum, when my son was born, for the first few months i was giving her £200 but then we re evaluated and came to an agreement of £150 pounds, he was born last February only recently in the upcoming months i've increased how much i gave my son's mum by £30 pounds so in total i was giving her £180. She currently say's it's not enough and has threatened to go through CSA - bearing in mind she has got two other children from a previous relationship and their dads aren't around so i'm assuming she's struggling due to them not paying child maintenance. Will CSA take in to consideration my travel cost and also present i get my little one as well at christmas and birthday's? i normally transfer his mum the cash via bank transfer so i've got recorded history of money going from my account to hers. I have tried to be reasonable with her but it's like talking to a brick wall, if she goes through CSA what is the process and how much more or less will i need to pay? am i right in reading at the top that The rates are currently £30 per week for one child, £40 for two children and £50 for three or more children? Previously i've read they take a percentage out of your wage depending on how much you earn, If someone could advise, that would be great. Cheers
dad01 - 28-Dec-17 @ 11:58 PM
LynneG - Your Question:
My ex husband lives with his girlfriend and three of her children. Everything I read says that her three children will be counted in any calculation for maintenance for our son. Is this correct?If so, will his girlfriend's income be taken into account as well? Both of them earn more than me and she gets maintenance from her ex for her children.

Our Response:
The extra children he support will be taken into account. However, your ex's girlfriend's income will not be, only your ex's.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Sep-17 @ 12:29 PM
My ex husband lives with his girlfriend and three of her children.Everything I read says that her three children will be counted in any calculation for maintenance for our son.Is this correct? If so, will his girlfriend's income be taken into account as well?Both of them earn more than me and she gets maintenance from her ex for her children.
LynneG - 4-Sep-17 @ 9:11 PM
My son's father it's from Lancaster, England He hasn't paid any child maintenance since my son was born, he is 7 years. Every time I have applied for child maintenance, the agency close the case as most of the time he is aboard. He hasn't seen my son for the last 4 years, he call my son only once a year.. replied his emails every 3 months and never get involve financially or emotionally in anything in his live, but I have to ask permission to him every time I travel with my son, it's ridiculous, if English law can not force him to visit his son, to get involve with him, and help to cover the financial needs of his son and do his duties as a father, then I don't understand why I have to ask him permission to take my son aboard.. In my country a man who don't pay child maintenance and can't be found as they are aboard, the law sheare his details in the airport, so once the arrive the get sent to jail until the put to up to date with the child maintenance.
Clarens - 20-Mar-17 @ 12:25 PM
Allie - Your Question:
Dear adviser, I would like to know if I can recover retroactive payments of a informal arrangement, email and other trying to contact the father without reply? Except for one harsh and bully reply to us. I am now, since one year and half with CMS but there are years of unpaid child support for unmet need of an 11 years old child.I look forward to hearing from you,Many thank,A

Our Response:
You cannot recover retrospective payments from an informal family-based arrangement. Now you are with the CMS, should your ex default on payment, then he will be liable for arrears.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-Feb-17 @ 12:55 PM
Dear adviser, I would like to know if I can recover retroactive payments of a informal arrangement, email and other trying to contact the father without reply?Except for one harsh and bully reply to us.I am now, since one year and half with CMS but there are years of unpaid child support for unmet need of an 11 years old child. I look forward to hearing from you, Many thank, A
Allie - 23-Feb-17 @ 8:20 AM
My ex told me today that she had received a letter from the CSA asking her if she is receiving enough money. Why is she getting letters from you when we have never been through you and have had a private agreement for years. This has always been paid on time (and sometimes early if she needs helping out) So why CSA are you interfering?
What!!! - 11-Jun-16 @ 6:07 PM
I have one child my ex has refused to bea father even though I have tried to involve him throughout the the pregnancy and also tried doing the right thing by daughter but he was working but gave it up because he wants everything his own way. I wasn't getting no help from him he didn't feel he was obliged to pay anything for his daughter, I applied for csa he didn't work or claim any benefits as the information he told them and they never requested any explanation how he was supporting himself, kid and wife. We started talking again he informed me he was claiming benefits plus working on the side my child receives £10 a fortnight when he receives £200plus a fortnight but his new family are reaping all the benefits while my child gets nothing and he's had another 2 children after my child.
bumblebee - 30-Sep-14 @ 1:12 AM
Why is it that the former CSA ignores payments made by fathers on a voluntarybasis before the CSA became involved. In many cases the payments can be proved as having been paid with bank statements y). Also is it true that if someone owes over £5000.00 the case should be heard in a County Court and not a Magistrates court as the former CSA persistently did. Is this legal?. Why do they then demand that all arrears should be paid off in 2 years leaving many fathers unable to live decently?By the way I say former CSA we all know it is still the same dept just with another daft name manned by the same incompetent people
madgran - 22-Jul-14 @ 3:38 PM
I have shared care for my two boys (9&12) since I moved out of the home 5 years ago,They stay overnight Tuesday to Wednesday / Thursday to Friday and every Friday, Saturday & Sunday every other week as well as approximately 30 days over the year during holidays. I have to collect and return the boys using my fuel (about 15 miles each way - 100 per week). I pay the CSA every month yet I have to feed, clothe and entertain my children when at mine with out support. My ex-wife has always received family allowance and working tax credits for the children since we split. Am I entitled to a share of the family allowance ?. The money she receives from my maintenance payment is generally not spent on the children. Why do I have to pay Maintenance to her for the benefit of me having my children jointly ? . Can my CSA payments be reduced due to expense of travel ?
JADuk - 11-May-14 @ 1:59 PM
Hi, my problem is quit complicated. I've been living in Uk for about 2 years with baby's father, give birth to my baby in UK. after baby born he keeps on neglecting, treating us very bad and accusing mefor different things which were not true. Keep on say me to leave in the middle of the night with the baby, throw things around even say will kill us( then he stand in the prison for a night but without proves he was granted and i was advised by the police man to leave as soon as possible) and also been physically abusive at some time. Finally he told us to leave when baby was 5 months old but in a week things were going a bit better and i ve Left to my country with d baby for a holiday and in two days he told me on d phone than me and the baby got no reasons to come back. In a few days I come back alone to UK at lease to pick up some baby things but he didn't even let me go in d court yard with the police. He put some things in plastic bin bags and put it down in d street to d gate were I was waiting with d police. For few months he was not answering on d phone and when dropping a MSG or a call refused to be a father or for us to go back. Been pleased him for 13 months to come and c his son he refused, finally come after 13 months. In those 3 years that pasts he was not at all reachable only when he wanted and not helping me financially to take care of the baby other than few boxes of milk at the beginning and maybe at some time for two tree months every years when he wanted he send some £50 weekly. Last year I come with the baby to visit him in UK, and he let us in d house not gate remote just when he wanted, treat us bad, offending, kick the baby for a few times, not spending time with him or take care, even said that is making charity giving him to eat. Once he stop the car after getting nervous and tried to throw us out d car. After that I say that if I call d police he will again sleep in d prison. To avoid that he didn't sleep at home and make us tickets to fly back in a hurry. Three months later he says he chanced and is good n better now and want to come to my country for baby's bday. I agree as I wanted my baby to have a father. He says will stay for two weeks but after 6 days he left to another country saying he got something to do there. So, he didn't care once again of baby feelings. For one years he refuse to come or for us to go, keep offending and call only when he wants never answer on my calls. Sent £ 100 in 12 months. Now I say if he wants to start a relation with his baby I'm willing to go every one month one month and a half to him for a week, then it takes him to come and so on for baby to know better his father. He agree. He send around £ 50 weekly for 3 months( coz he does send some money when think he wants us to go or him to come) and also money for the tickets coz we agree I will go for a two weeks time. In d day I took d money he change his mind saying if I don't go for 6 months or one year I should not go so I
Jess - 18-Oct-13 @ 12:08 AM
I have recently cum to a mutual agreement with my ex to pay x amount each week for my 2 kids, but the csa have decided to get invoved (because she is on benifits), csa told us that if we had a mutual agreement that my ex is happy with then the case wud b closed but we have both been recieving more letters since sayin they cant put the new agreement in place n that large amounts of money are owed, how can this be when we have a agreement and making payments to her? also they have told my ex that they know all details on me and my current partner ie names, employment, address ect but I dnt understand why they would need any info on my partner wen it is me payin for my children? any help givin is much appreciated as seem to b goin round in circles with the csa.
martin - 22-Feb-13 @ 9:28 PM
My ex tries to dictate to me when I can have our children. She keeps getting calls from the CSA asking her whether she wants to go through them to claim maintenance from me. I have them 50% of the time shared with their mum. She claims benefits for both of them and I am left with squat. I pay for our daughters nursery fees, the school uniform, shoes etc. Has anyone experienced anything similar?
guesswho - 22-Jan-13 @ 5:43 PM
Default maintainance decision? Is it permanent? And can the mother with the child take any savings from parent without the child?
Roger9 - 24-Sep-12 @ 5:50 PM
I just wonder whether people think that I'm being unreasonable. My ex husband and I have a little boy together. When we were together his career was allowed to flourish whilst I moved around the country with him with his jobs so my career never really developed. When I left him just over 3 years ago it was very difficult to support my son and I had no maintenance and an averagely paid job. After a year or so with nothing from my ex husband I went to the CSA and he went mad. Since then we have been forced into a shared residency by a court and we have an almost 50/50 split but I have just over 50 percent. I pay for everything for my son obviously with a contribution from his father's maintenance apart from when he goes to his dad's house and he clothes him. My tax credits are worked out on my income. My ex husband has now told me that he wants almost half of my tax credits, half the benefits and he's not prepared to pay maintenance to me. If I don't agree he will take me to court. He has now moved in with a new girlfirend and the have a house which is worth double the value of mine. Does anyone have any thoughts - would love to hear them
cornwall girl - 19-Sep-12 @ 9:29 PM
Hi, my partner is currently in the process of divorcing his ex, however she is applying for x amount a week for CSA for their one child, however as he has two other children from a previous relationship which he is also paying CSA for, should she be looking at the rates for three children or just the fact she is applying for money for only one?? Can someone please help as I don't want him paying more than what he should do! Answers would be very much appreciated! Thank you!
Bumble - 29-Aug-12 @ 9:12 PM
Two years ago my ex told CSA wrong information for contacting me.I moved back to New York and they stayed in Brisbane.She knew all along my new address, email and phone for some time as I have been in contact with me son often, yet she gave them my old address and number where I lived in Acacia Ridge. Since then CSA had been trying to contact me at my old address and number and since they could not, I accumulated alot of arrears.(Over $5,000) Last year they were finally able to contact me and told me about this and they could do nothing about the arrears. Is this a proper cause to sue for false information to CSA, can I sue her for damages that has occurred to me?
TheMiz - 4-Jun-12 @ 12:50 PM
@bubbles. He cannot refuse to pay support simply because you are notplaying by his rules. It seems as though you have been very fair in your arrangements, but you may need to get them formalised via an agreement drawn up at mediation or through a court order.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-May-12 @ 10:17 AM
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