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Enforcement of CSA/CMS Payments

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 9 Jul 2021 |
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 am working again after suffering from mental health issues; the CMS have decided that I must pay £761 a month! I have always paid and supported my children through money to their mother and directly to my two teenage kids. They wont talk to me, they hide behind their portal, referring to notifications I had not idea I had or received, they take my exes word over mine and dont seem to care that I will have nothing to live on or hope for a future of my own with my girls? They seem to be quick to take sides and quick to assume you are a bad parent, because you are male. I will have to stop my job and survive on god knows what because I will be losing money if I continue. What can be done about this organisational theft?
Ian - 9-Jul-21 @ 1:21 PM
My daughter is 30 now but i have never received money for her from my ex husband since tge day she was born. I chased the CSA for years but norhing was ever done so i gave up in the end because the on time tgey did speak to him about it he packed his job in. He now has a goid job and is narried again but gladly looks after her children which i think is so unfair.i wS told years ago that there is no final time fir him to pay for his daughter, is there no way he can be made to pay something fir her now?
Juicy - 9-Jun-21 @ 10:17 AM
Cms staff are nothing but cowards who hide a telephone. Nothing but lies,rig court for their own benefit. Breach human right act and Equality Act 2010. Discrimination which is against the Equality Act is unlawful.A
Cms killer - 23-Mar-21 @ 1:13 PM
How long does a parent have to pay through DOE before can go back to direct debit?? I thought it was 6mth, but CMS are saying that you have to go from DOE to Collect and pay but I’ve also been told this is wrong. Everytime we speak to CMS we get told a different thing!!
Denbyduck - 7-Jan-21 @ 3:12 PM
Hi my daughter goes to university next week.my ex as attachment of earnings order due to him missing payments the last 5 years..He still owes over 8k in arrears. My daughter is still living at home even though attending uni. Will cms still collect payments off my ex until the arrears Ave been cleared.
Caron Rea - 17-Sep-20 @ 8:58 PM
My violent ex has not paid CSA since Oct 2016. He owes a total of 12,000. Meanwhile myself & my son are facing eviction because I am struggling with my mortgage which is in both our names. Children’s services banned my ex from seeing his son due to his violence, alcoholism & drug taking. My son is entitled to this money for clothes etc, but the CSA say they’ve sent baliffs to an address I had for him, but there’s no answer @ the door. They have also phoned him, but again no answer. They’ve said there’s nothing else they can do even though they send me a yearly decision pack with scheduled payments on it...........we are debt ridden because of him & it’s not fair at all!!!!
Bubbs - 14-Aug-20 @ 3:23 AM
My kids father stopped paying maintenance, I got my first one this week, He is in nearly £500 arrears as that's when csa contacting him but refuses to pay it. When i get it im at his mercy he holds it over me between abusive bullying. I want it to be collected as well as the arrears can't take the abuse any more. Nicola Dougall
Nicola - 1-Aug-20 @ 3:50 PM
After almost 5 yrs of phone calls to the CMS and eventually monthly MP letters, I have been receiving regular CMS payments as the ex has a DEO against him. He has now applied to have this stopped. CMS rang me and said it is 'his right' as he has been 'paying regularly' for 6 months - even though the only reason he has been paying regularly is because CMS have been deducting it from his salary and the only possible reason he can be applying for it to stop is so that he can, once again, stop paying! I told the CMS all this. Is there anything I can do?
Hippychick - 12-Jun-20 @ 6:24 PM
I have always paid my cms via d.o.e , I am set to makemy 1st DD payment this month. I have just recieved my payslip and it has been taken out of my earnings again even tho a DD is due same day. Anyone any advice.
DaddyN - 10-Jun-20 @ 10:20 AM
I'm paying csa regularly payments now back to work after illness. Still getting text all the time saying I must pay csa or court proceedings. How do I stop the text frets.
Phil - 9-May-20 @ 12:49 AM
Please can anyone tell me who you are meant to talk to about the CSA /CMS taking over half of my wages every week it has completely destroyed me financially and is now destroying my relationship my health and mentality and worst of all not being able to see my kids as my car now has no mot and I can’t afford to have it fixed so I can’t pick them up. This all started when The cms/csa sent me a letter to say that I owe them 28k I have No idea how they came to this figure as most of my working life I had been self employed and only just managed to scrape by I have proof of giving my ex money by bank transfer but as we did get on I used to give her a lot of cash (BIG MISTAKE) she has been to the CSA/CMS and told them I have never given her anything. I feel suicidal because of this I work everyday just to see my earnings all taken away and left with noting to live on literally I am about to become homeless. The CSA/CMS do not listen to your problems and have no advice. Please can anyone tell me how to get the payments reduced. Ps I earn £440 a week and they want £657 how is this possible
Guesto - 20-Feb-20 @ 1:00 AM
I owe 12000 pounds according to CMS, i disagree, my kids are grown up..in their 20s. They were taken into care in their early teens due to their mothers neglect, but still i owe her this money. I refused to pay the money, now i have an attachment to earnings of 400 pounds per month. Its destroyed my life and my familys... im on the verge of suicide
Brooxy - 27-Nov-19 @ 8:26 PM
My husband has always paid maintenance for his children.We have received a letter from cms stating there are arrears from 1999 to 2002 with the CSA but cannot say which months and how the amount is worked out. We do not owe any money and have never been chased as his ex closed the original case.They wont give any info just threats about taking us to court.We cant even get bank statements from that time to prove all our payments were made.Any advice on what we can do?
Tiffany Cheyne - 25-Nov-19 @ 9:19 PM
So earlier this year I get a letter telling me my alleged arrears were written off...fast forward several month I get another letter telling me that they made a mistake and it wasn't written off I have rang them numerous times only to be told I still have to pay and that I agreed to pay £150a week which is a load of bull..can anyone give me some advise please
Sam - 19-Nov-19 @ 2:05 PM
I have a received a letter from the CMS saying I owe over £4000 in child maintenance arrears. My daughter was taken to Spain by her mother in 2002 and I've never seen her since. I paid maintenance up until she left the country and was told by CSA, Birkenhead that I no longer needed to pay maintenance as she wasn't in the country. I sent money at birthdays and Christmas up until her mother changed her bank account and never informed me, first I knew was when the money was returned to my account. My daughter is now 27. What, if anything can I do? I never had a problem paying for my daughter but I can bet this money certainly wont be going to her !
Disgruntled - 18-Nov-19 @ 10:16 AM
I've recently received a letter from child maintenance saying that I owe my ex child maintenance from back in 2004. I have sent proof I don't owe this, I'vesent statements they sent to meshowing I paid. . And in 2010 my son come to live with me. Andhe's lived with me ever since they are still insisting I owe it. . Theywant me to set up a standing order. Can anybody give me advice on where I can go or what I can do. .BecauseI don'towe anything.
Jj - 27-Oct-19 @ 1:37 AM
My son has lived with me coming being 10 and I've recently had a letter from child maintenance saying I owe my ex partner my son's mother child maintenance from back in 2004 and i have sent proof I don't owe this I sent statements that they sent me. . I've paidit and they still insisting I owe it. . This is devastating being as my son's live with me in 2010 and his mother's paid nothing. . . Can any give advice
Jj - 27-Oct-19 @ 1:25 AM
I had a letter to say my exs payment will bewritten off Icontested this and now they asked for bank details for future payments from him I explained to them it's his problem he never saw the child who is now 18 and should be made to pay what he owes
Glen - 23-Oct-19 @ 2:13 PM
I have been contacted by the Cms and told I have arrears when the csa changed to the cms. I was paying my ex by cash and now she is saying to the Cms that I didn't pay her. I don't have proof that I paid and it took me two weeks to send in documents(5 a day!) To upload to prove I paid my other ex. But because I can't prove I paid the other I'm stuck. Is there a time limit on arrears or any way to dispute this as I'm now having to pay £70 a month back to them because I can't prove I've paid. I wondered if there was a landmark case where people have disputed the figures brought over on the system from the Csa to the Cms and won.
RICKYBOY72 - 15-Oct-19 @ 8:04 AM
Can anyone explain what "deferred debt" is I was told due to missadinistraion back in 2000 a deferred debt had been authorized and providing I kept up with agreed payments re introducing the deferred debt willnot be re added. In 2001 I got a letter stating my arrears had been paid and received a rebate for one over payment. Fast forward to 2019 when CMS took over my arreas I have found this has been re introduced ( deferred debt) Can anyone advise on this as I'm at a total loss
Welshmen - 30-Sep-19 @ 8:11 PM
Just wondered if you can force bankruptcy on your ex. Would rather this than he gets away with not paying for 20yrs and csa negligent
Lisa - 17-Sep-19 @ 4:33 PM
Well ive just been hit with massive shock after dealing with the CSA for some years they alleged that when i came outof work they had to do do a special trace costing 2000 grand added to me but ihadn't moved house or telephone number (no Contact)when started a new job i informed them what were and when. But two mouths later the CSA had sold arrears to a collection agency and couldn't speak to me so i had contacted them and paid the said amount which they calculated £50.00after 16 years with no letter or contact and paid back 7,150.00 now in 2019 CMS took back an arrears amount when asked they had added 2,356.99 while being handled by a collection company totalling now 14.860.99 and slap an deduction of earning to my company with out notificationmy son now 28 yrs been working since 19 yrs old this is still on going CMS they haven't a care the stress involved is overwhelming just cant afford it cant live on 20 a month wont even get me to work for the week have nothing else to able to do but finish work i'am 58 yrs of age
wander - 11-Aug-19 @ 7:54 PM
I have just received a letter from csa saying that arrears from my sons biological father will be written off. my son is now 18and have had no payments for the last 10 yearseven then he only paid £5 a wk it says amount to be written off is 1480. Yet I read that others get thousands of arrears???? Why is it going to be written surely what is owed is owedthe csa previously have said that the money will always b owed, when 1st the payments stopped, what can I do to re in force this, I have no idea where biological dad he never remained in contact (he only saw my and his son once when he was 2wks old when he came to register birth) its not right he should get away scot free
Mel - 2-Aug-19 @ 2:17 PM
Well I think the cms are a joke..!!!full stop I had an agreement with my ex until my life moved on after our divorce where I sign a house over to her. Things started to go good with seeing my daughter which is the love of my life and we she was born I promised I’d protect her.. as all of ye people would do for your own children.. I’ve moved down south and have being here for the past 5 years now and 3 years ago I meet my soulmate and a lady who has being my rock through hard times and dark days.. It all happened when I started dating and now long in to my new relationship I received a letter in the post by the scum CMS demanding I’d pay more for my daughter as 70 pound a week was not good enough anymore!! I must also add that I have my daughter every other weekend for overnight stays which I travel 640 miles round trip which is not cheap on fuel either I must add.!! They then started to look for 126 pound a week and my cost was going to be around 850 a month just t to see my daughter!! I came home from work 1 night and I just broke down on front of my partner.. upon my partner seeing me in such a state she took to the laptop and started to write a email to our local MP. I can’t believe with what he did for me. Within 2 weeks my payments that had started at 126 pound a week went to 50.20.. and it was only a manager I would deal with as the rest that works there are just idiots... they don’t know what to do.. it has being great until Now!! Fast forward and 2019 has been a great start to the year when I tied the knot with my soul mate in February, Easter we found out we are expecting our baby due at Christmas and recently bought a house.. when my annual review for the new payments came in June it stated that I was pay 62.18 per week which I’ve nothing against. I gave the cms a call to say I was happy with there review and let’s keep going with payments.. since then my ex has called them up told them I’ve missed payments and then I get a email from her telling me in 3 days time there going to give me a call as there changing to collect and pay plus I’ve to pay 20% on top for there fees.. I’ve been all last week talking to different people that clearly don’t what there doing getting different answers from every single person. I then requested a call back from a manager which they say it’s 24 hours before they’ll call you I’m still waiting for the call since last Monday.. They asked me to upload my documents to this portal that they use and I’ve being trying to this for 4 days!! Eventually when I got logged in I started to upload my documents and evidence they need to be told I can only upload 5 documents a day?????????? I’ve got about 40 documents to upload!! God give me strength.. I can honestly see why people have mental issues and it’s down to the CMS that causing men to have a meltdown so we need to stand together and tell them go a jump with there fines and do there job correctly.. the only reason my ex has done this is because her pay
Babble83 - 23-Jul-19 @ 12:56 AM
So I have 3 children 1 with a nightmare ex that never lets me see him and 2 with a ex I am civil with. The nightmare ex does not know about my other 2 children and cannot find out about them she is a nutter and would cause living hell!! I have paid both ex’s through a private agreement always £40 per child per week so one ex £40 the other £80 My nightmare ex went to csa and they calculated I should be paying her £70 a week ! And she wanted to use there click and collect service which adds another 20% I simply can’t afford it and now csa saying I owe her over £4000 despite always paying her £40 a week directly to bank I have explained to csa I also have 2 other children so they need to re calculate the amount I have to pay the mother going through csa and they said they would need my other children’s details! Why should I give other this personal information when it is not me or their mother that has contacted csa this is my private information that I do not want her knowing about anyone else had anything similar ?? This is really getting me down and making me very depressed
Robs house - 18-Jul-19 @ 10:31 PM
So I have 3 children 1 with a nightmare ex that never lets me see him and 2 with a ex I am civil with. The nightmare ex does not know about my other 2 children and cannot find out about them she is a nutter and would cause living hell!! I have paid both ex’s through a private agreement always £40 per child per week so one ex £40 the other £80 My nightmare ex went to csa and they calculated I should be paying her £70 a week ! And she wanted to use there click and collect service which adds another 20% I simply can’t afford it and now csa saying I owe her over £4000 despite always paying her £40 a week directly to bank I have explained to csa I also have 2 other children so they need to re calculate the amount I have to pay the mother going through csa and they said they would need my other children’s details! Why should I give other this personal information when it is not me or their mother that has contacted csa this is my private information that I do not want her knowing about anyone else had anything similar ?? This is really getting me down and making me very depressed
Robs house - 18-Jul-19 @ 10:19 PM
After a divorce which I didn't want in 1995 I paid my ex wife maintenance for my son by private agreement from day 1, an amount worked out for me by a relative who worked for the CSA. At the time my ex got the CSA involved, they worked out my payments based on 50.5 working weeks a year with full overtime, despite my sending letters from the company I worked for and payslips to prove that I only earned about two thirds of what they calculated they pursued me for the money until I had a nervous breakdown and had to leave work. My case was closed nearly 20 years ago when my son left school. I have still helped him since that time. After all this time I thought that this was all behind me, but I have recently received a letter totally out of the blue stating that they want £12,000 in unpaid arrears, no option to ask how this has come about, just pay now, followed more recently by threats of a court order. I have written asking for a meeting as I still have proof of all the payments made, bank statements, cheque stubs etc. I owe nothing and still don't know why they have ever been involved, but they responded with threats of a court order. It seems that I am to be treated as a criminal and am now being threatened with court action to take the money they have decided I owe directly from my bank account. This is theft, the taking of something which is not yours,but because it is a Government department it must be right. I never recovered from the breakdown, and now find myself panicking when faced once again with the same faceless bureaucratic ineptitude that nearly drove me to suicide all those years ago. Fortunately a have good partner these days, and with her help I hope to prove that I am an innocent party and just want to be left alone.
Boater - 9-Jul-19 @ 9:22 PM
I have recently been approached by the CSA that after 27 years that I owe them £1012.92 arrears. I have no proof and this is the first I have heard of this. I spoke with someone yesterday who told me that I must paye them £50 month until this is cleared. Is there anyway I can challenge this decision
Rotherbear - 9-Jul-19 @ 4:41 PM
I have had a mutual agreement with my ex regarding a weekly payment for child maintenance for my son, he is now 18 and left fulltime education, i have since stopped the weekly maintenance payment, can my ex contact the csa stating i havent paid enough per week/month and demand more and can the csa intervene to arrange this via an arrearspayment
M - 18-Jun-19 @ 10:42 PM
Hi I was wondering as I paid my ex directly even though she went through CSA and they worked out how much I should pay her a week I spoke to CSA because I'm struggling to pay and they said because I pay it directly into her bank that is not enforceable I could stop paying and it would take up to 2 months for them to put me on a different scheme only if my ex reported it to them. Is this true and would I have to pay arrears as they are saying it's not enforceable?? Thanjs
Jj - 12-Jun-19 @ 5:20 PM
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