Home > Legal > Can I Leave the CSA and Come to a Private Arrangement?

Can I Leave the CSA and Come to a Private Arrangement?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 29 Mar 2017 |
 
Csa Child Support Maintenance

Due to recent changes in child support laws, it is now possible to leave the Child Support Agency (CSA) and come to a private arrangement about financial provision for your child. Before the change in the law, if a parent with care was on benefit, they were required to use the CSA. Now it is possible to make a private arrangement if you are on benefits, and the parent with care who is on benefits is also entitled to keep more of the maintenance before it has any effect on the benefits they receive.

Of course, resident parents may want to take some time to think this through. If they do not have another definite arrangement in force, and the non-resident parent is simply promising to pay maintenance, they should consider coming to a private arrangement. There is no requirement to have an agreement in place before leaving the CSA. It is necessary to keep the CSA informed as to what you decide, however, as otherwise they will continue to try to collect money from the non resident parent.

Coming to a Private Arrangement

If you are thinking of coming to a private arrangement, there are several things you should know. A private arrangement is just that – there are no authorities involved and it is purely an agreement between you and the resident parent. It is vital, therefore, that you and your ex-partner are able to communicate honestly, openly and calmly with one another for a private agreement to have any chance of working. If you’re able to do this, you’re more likely to co-operate with one another.

Statistically speaking, parents who were not able to come to an arrangement prior to CSA involvement are less likely to be able to agree matters informally. Don’t let that put you off if you both genuinely want to try to make a private arrangement.

Making a Private Arrangement Enforceable

It is possible to create a binding agreement from a private arrangement for Child Maintenance Payments. Unless you’re eligible for legal aid, you’re likely to have to pay a solicitor to do this for you. The terms of your private agreement will be recorded on a document which becomes a consent order in the family courts.

Private arrangements involve a certain level of trust between the parents. Negotiations should therefore focus on the best interests of your child or children, and you should ensure that you have had discussions before coming to a suitable figure. This may mean discussing all the elements of your child’s upbringing that involves cost.

Not only is it important to decide how much money is paid, but you need to decide when and how payments are made. If you have this in writing, you and the other parent are more likely to stick to it. You may also want to make provision in the event that your circumstances change, for example, if you lose your job.

Changes to the CSA

In November 2013 the Child Maintenance Service replaced the CSA. If you have an existing case with the CSA they will remain in charge of your case and will continue to manage it. Any new cases will be managed by the Child Maintenance Service. The CMS encourages parents to agree family-based arrangements.

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My husband has been paying his ex £280 per month straight into her bank account. Csa called this an amicable agreement, my husband still made payments to csa seperate each month for arrears so has kept in contact with them. However out of the blue the ex has now started a new case with effect from 27th of this month, because she says she wants to "keep an eye on his earnings, and make sure she gets what shes entitled too".. Therefore all payments need to be paid to the csa every friday, but.... the ex still expects my husband to pay the 280 direct into her account on the 1st april. This would mean my husband would be paying nearly £600 in child maintenance for april!!! There is no way we can afford this. My husband understands that hes legally obliged to pay the csa the new weekly anount, but is refusing to pay the 280 directly into her bank account additional to that. Csa are sitting on the fence and not giving a definitive answer on whether he needs to pay her, all they keep saying is the case opened 26th march and he has to pay them every week. As long as my husband pays the csa weekly is there any legal repercussions if he does not pay her the amicable agreement amount on the 1st???
Chloe - 29-Mar-17 @ 3:15 PM
I have my son on a 50/50 basis 1 week on 1week off, but still have to pay my ex money through the cms! How is this deamed fair they that the only reason is because she gets the child benefit! Seems highly unfair to me and can't seem to grasp the way this system works, any advice or help on this will be much appreciated.
Tommo - 14-Mar-17 @ 11:39 PM
Andy - Your Question:
Hi,We left the CSA a couple of years ago.m and have a signed private agreement following mediation. I have always always paid everything. Recently she threatened to refuse for me to go on a holiday with my daughter that I had thought was agreed and had paid for. I said I would take her to court or withohold maintenance, this prompted a change of heat and it was then all resolved.Anyway she has gone to the Child Maintenance now and made an application and they say I have to pay by them even though I have an agreement as it is not from a court and is over a year old. Can I be forced back through the CSA? Also what deduction am I entitled to as they didn't seem to know. Mileage and food? Thanks for any help.Andy

Our Response:
The fact you threatened to withhold child maintenance has obviously prompted your ex to approach the CMS in order to ensure that any future threats to withhold child maintenance cannot be upheld. She is well within her rights to do this, if and where a family-based arrangement falls apart. This means if you attempt to restrict payment in future you will be liable for arrears. You can see how much you will be paying via the CMS calculator here. I don't understand when you ask about 'deductions'. If you travel long distances to see your daughter, then you may be able to claim a variation in the amount, if this is not factored into the original assessment, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 10-Mar-17 @ 2:02 PM
Hi, We left the CSA a couple of years ago.m and have a signed private agreement following mediation. I have always always paid everything. Recently she threatened to refuse for me to go on a holiday with my daughter that I had thought was agreed and had paid for. I said I would take her to court or withohold maintenance, this prompted a change of heat and it was then all resolved. Anyway she has gone to the Child Maintenance now and made an application and they say I have to pay by them even though I have an agreement as it is not from a court and is over a year old. Can I be forced back through the CSA? Also what deduction am I entitled to as they didn't seem to know. Mileage and food? Thanks for any help. Andy
Andy - 9-Mar-17 @ 3:08 PM
Aaza - Your Question:
Hi I have recently been contacted by csa for payments I had a agreement with my ex and csa to pay £200 for my 2 kids and and the ly coz I missed a few payments at the beginning they are now wanting more money off me when I can't afford it at all I even struggle to pay for my 1 year old that lives with me. I would like to have a family agreement with my ex in regards to this but with csa involved it looks like this won't happen I do want to pay my way but I can't afford more money than the £200 any advice would be much appreciated

Our Response:
Unfortunately, family-based arrangements are made between parents. If your ex found your payments unreliable, then she has every right to approach the CMS who will help regulate payments More importantly for your ex, you will be liable to pay accrued arrears if you fall behind in the payments. You can see how much you will be paying via the child maintenance calculator here. You may actually end up paying less than you are now. Believe it or not, it does happen sometimes.
SeparatedDads - 8-Mar-17 @ 2:11 PM
Hi I have recently been contacted by csa for payments I had a agreement with my ex and csa to pay £200 for my 2 kids and and the ly coz I missed a few payments at the beginning they are now wanting more money off me when I can't afford it at all I even struggle to pay for my 1 year old that lives with me. I would like to have a family agreement with my ex in regards to this but with csa involved it looks like this won't happen I do want to pay my way but I can't afford more money than the £200 any advice would be much appreciated
Aaza - 7-Mar-17 @ 8:41 PM
Hi my ex and I have had a family based agreement in place since we have split. I have had to take her to court recently for contact as she has made things very difficult, this worked in my favour and I was awarded more over night stays.. Which inevitably now reduces the payments. I have payed her on the 1St of this month for February albeit it was at the correct reduced amount she was not happy so She rang the Cms on the 1St February knowing I had payed her for this month already. She has requested to get the payments legalised from the 7th which means the cma are taking February into account as owing although I have payed it and can proove it. Surely they should legalise it from the 1St when she made initial contact and due to payment being made that day to her this should be taking into consideration??. If not I'm paying her double this month, again not a very fair system .. Need some advice??:(
DJ17 - 3-Feb-17 @ 6:51 PM
bill - Your Question:
I'm in a situation. I left my wife over irreconcilable differences about 5 months ago. I currently live with my dad, and since then I have been privately paying £250 to my Ex, for our 2 yr old. I am now in the process of moving into my own flat. Which means that my arrangement with my Ex has to change by reducing my monthly payments to an amount that suits us all. I have been on the CMS calculator and it estimated that my payments should be within the region of about £175 p/m. I have spoken about this to my Ex and as you can imagine she was not happy about this. She doesn't believe that my payments should be "Bare minimum". If that was the case then I wouldn't be paying anything at all really would I? HAHA! anyway I've explained to her that we need to come up with another agreement between us both, so we wont have to go down the CMS route. Unfortunately she refuses to accept these numbers and she wants me to continue to pay the original amount, so she can pay for our little ones nursery fees. Now I'm not trying to be a selfish father here and saying that she doesn't need the extra amount. But surely she needs to understand that I need to live as well as pay for my child's needs. There's nothing worse than the idea of when its my turn to spend time with her, I cant spend any money to spoil her.

Our Response:
If you cannot agree between yourselves, I can only suggest you consider mediation, please see link here . Or, suggest that you take the official route through the CMS which will be financially beneficial to yourself.
SeparatedDads - 3-Feb-17 @ 12:55 PM
I'm in a situation. I left my wife over irreconcilable differences about 5 months ago. i currently live with my dad, and since then i have been privately paying £250 to my Ex, for our 2 yr old. I am now in the process of moving into my own flat. Which means that my arrangement with my Ex has to change by reducing my monthly payments to an amount that suits us all. I have been on the CMS calculator and it estimated that my payments should be within the region of about £175 p/m. I have spoken about this to my Ex and as you can imagine she was not happy about this. She doesn't believe that my payments should be "Bare minimum". If that was the case then i wouldn't be paying anything at all really would I? HAHA! anyway I've explained to her that we need to come up with another agreement between us both, so we wont have to go down the CMS route. Unfortunately she refuses to accept these numbers and she wants me to continue to pay the original amount, so she can pay for our little ones nursery fees. Now i'm not trying to be a selfish father here and saying that she doesn't need the extra amount. But surely she needs to understand that i need to live as well as pay for my child's needs. There's nothing worse than the idea of when its my turn to spend time with her, i cant spend any money to spoil her.
bill - 2-Feb-17 @ 3:24 PM
Piglet- Your Question:
My husband has an agreement with his ex wife to pay the sum of £250 a month for his two children. This has been paid every month on time for years, but she's now threatening to go to the csa for more money and back payments. How is this possible when they have an agreed sum which has always been paid in full. We have a baby ourselves, and my partner is self employed so this is causing us a lot of stress. Please help! Thank you

Our Response:
If the agreement is family-based i.e agreed between both parents with the CSA/CMS not involved, then his ex cannot apply for back payments.
SeparatedDads - 2-Feb-17 @ 2:34 PM
My husband has an agreement with his ex wife to pay the sum of £250 a month for his two children. This has been paid every month on time for years, but she's now threatening to go to the csa for more money and back payments. How is this possible when they have an agreed sum which has always been paid in full. We have a baby ourselves, and my partner is self employed so this is causing us a lot of stress. Please help! Thank you
Piglet - 2-Feb-17 @ 9:09 AM
Gibz - Your Question:
My ex is trying to claim csa from me when she moved away with my daughter Iv had no contact or been allowed any contact and im being told I have to pay? I don't think this is fair and being threatened to hand over all my rights and I have looked into the law and I would still have to pay if I gave up my rights?

Our Response:
Every non-resident parent is by law responsible for helping with the financial upkeep of their child until their child finishes full-time education, regardless of whether they see their child or not. Child maintenance and contact are two completely separate issues. If you wish to apply for contact to your child, you can do this through the courts. You will not be allowed to 'hand over' your rights (by which I presume you mean parental responsibility) to your child - only in very rare circumstances would a court allow this.
SeparatedDads - 25-Jan-17 @ 2:31 PM
My ex is trying to claim csa from me when she moved away with my daughter Iv had no contact or been allowed any contact and im being told I have to pay? I don't think this is fair and being threatened to hand over all my rights and I have looked into the law and I would still have to pay if I gave up my rights?
Gibz - 25-Jan-17 @ 6:24 AM
george - Your Question:
I have come to a personal arrangement with my ex partner and she signed a document to leave the CSA but they are still trying to take £400 from work I have started paying my Ex back in december when she cancelled so why are they still trying to take money from work?

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk site here. If you cannot get an answer from the CSA directly, then you would have to take the matter further.
SeparatedDads - 16-Jan-17 @ 1:49 PM
I have come to a personal arrangement with my ex partner and she signed a document to leave the CSA but they are still trying to take £400 from work i have started paying my Ex back in december when she cancelled so why are they still trying to take money from work?
george - 13-Jan-17 @ 11:09 AM
I recently applied for child maintenance through the cms.. due to having no contact with my ex.. but now I have had a call he is agreeing to pay a certain amount every week and has made a contract of this so can I cancel my claim with cms if we have made a private arrangement
Kaj - 24-Dec-16 @ 4:14 PM
Tammy - Your Question:
I have a family based arrangement with my daughters dad to pay 30 a week but he not give it to me for over 6 weeks then he pays for two then not again he owes me round 500 in back money What can I do

Our Response:
Unfortunately, if the arrangement is family-based then there is nothing you can do to claim the money back. I can only suggest you tell your ex you will take the matter to the CMS if he refuses to pay. If you make the arrangement more official via the CMS (who will arrange the payments on your behalf), then you would be entitled to back pay if your ex falls into arrears.
SeparatedDads - 27-Sep-16 @ 3:03 PM
I have a family based arrangement with my daughters dad to pay 30 a week but he not give it to me for over 6 weeks then he pays for two then not again he owes me round 500 in back money What can I do
Tammy - 27-Sep-16 @ 12:48 PM
I have paid a court order since the very beginning of a claim the mother submitted to the CSA. She has never worked for the 18yrs this has been in place. This resulted in the CSA being able to obtain amounts money of which I have always been able and willing to face the consequences. Astonishingly, the figures are no where near to monies that the mother has received as a result of parenting the child. I understand the Law has been changed since 1998; however, if the original court agreement was set, then are they actually allowed to change any arrangements? Furthermore, rather than check via government departments to see if the child/adult has paid National Insurance, they actually rely on the mother to tell the truth when asked about any circumstantial changes that have occurred to finish the CSA payment at this point. Where does this leave honest and hard working individuals who would like to finish arrangement? I mean is it worth going to a solicitor?
PA - 1-Sep-16 @ 4:58 PM
MaMa - Your Question:
I have a case with CSA, my twin girls should be receiving money from their dad but we havent had any since 7 months ago. He is non existent in their lifes and havent been since they were 5 months old (they are nearly 4) it would be much preferred if we just cancel the case altogether. Can I do this as there is no point to it what so ever?! We have no contact with him at all and it will stay that way.

Our Response:
You would have to contact the CSA/CMS directly to ask this.
SeparatedDads - 28-Jul-16 @ 12:32 PM
Jam man 67 - Your Question:
Since the cms took over my case thay want £777 per month for one child due to there rules fees added. There is no way this is right. I have missed 3 payments and now thay want £777 per month I am now remarried and have to sons. Any help please

Our Response:
You will have to be careful if you miss payments as you will find yourself in arrears. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, and fear you will have problems keeping up with maintenance and child support payments, it is important to notify the CMS as soon as possible. If you think you have been treated unfairly, you can complain via the link here. Some parents prefer to organise a family based arrangement and the CMS will encourage, rather than discourage this. But if either parent feels for whatever reason they would rather the CMS take control, then fees will be charged accordingly.
SeparatedDads - 28-Jul-16 @ 11:56 AM
I have a case with CSA, my twin girls should be receiving money from their dad but we havent had any since 7 months ago. He is non existent in their lifes and havent been since they were 5 months old (they are nearly 4) it would be much preferred if we just cancel the case altogether. Can i do this as there is no point to it what so ever?! We have no contact with him at all and it will stay that way.
MaMa - 27-Jul-16 @ 6:42 PM
Since the cms took over my case thay want £777 per month for one child due to there rules fees added . There is no way this is right . I have missed 3 payments and now thay want £777 per month I am now remarried and have to sons .. Any help please
Jam man 67 - 27-Jul-16 @ 3:09 PM
hazel - Your Question:
Hi, I've applied for CMS a month ago and that's when my ex had a job, now he quit his job and he told me he can only pay £8 a week which he claims from somewhere to pay me. Now I'm not bothered with him at all as it looks like he's not trying hard at all to support our daughter. I, myself can get that £8 a week so why would I go through CMS just to get that amount.Is there a possibility to cancel my claim at CMS? Thanks

Our Response:
You would have to speak to CMS directly in order to have this question answered. If the paying parent is not working then they will pay a flat rate until they are working again and once working the payments would rise accordingly. Therefore, it may be wise to stay with the CMS, so you can claim immediately your ex gets another job.
SeparatedDads - 26-May-16 @ 2:50 PM
Hi, I've applied for CMS a month ago and that's when my ex had a job, now he quit his job and he told me he can only pay £8 a week which he claims from somewhere to pay me. Now I'm not bothered with him at all as it looks like he's not trying hard at all to support our daughter. I, myself can get that £8 a week so why would I go through CMS just to get that amount.Is there a possibility to cancel my claim at CMS? Thanks
hazel - 26-May-16 @ 10:47 AM
Anibur - Your Question:
HiI agreed to receive child maintenance mutually in 2013. Since then we've been through a lot of hardship being redundant and homelessness and ex didn't come forward to help with kids even knowing his kids suffering due to homeless situation, is it possible to go to CSA to make him realise the amount he pays for 2 kids just unfair as he doesn't even visit them regularly let alone keeping them overnight. I don't have funds to go to court and fight for it. Any suggestions and advice would be appreciated.

Our Response:
Yes, you can apply via the CMS which have taken over from the CSA. You can find out more about what they do via the link here and what your options are. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 3-May-16 @ 10:12 AM
Hi I agreed to receive child maintenance mutually in 2013. Since then we've been through a lot of hardship being redundant and homelessness and exdidn't come forward to help with kids even knowing his kids suffering due to homeless situation,is it possible to go to CSAto make him realise the amount he pays for 2 kids just unfair as he doesn't even visit them regularly let alone keeping them overnight. I don't have funds to go to court and fight for it. Any suggestions and advice would be appreciated.
Anibur - 2-May-16 @ 12:33 AM
A few month back me and my ex cleared the arrears and came to an agreement. Which I have never ever missed a payment. She is now saying I have to pay more because she's not working. Also does it affect my payments if my ex is no longer living alone
ste - 24-Mar-16 @ 8:32 AM
Charlene - Your Question:
Before I start I have an ex partner who pays me child maintenance direct to my bank (without intervention of CMS) and I have a fiancé who pays child maintenence in the same way to his ex. So I am on either ends of this. But.my fiancé's ex is now all of a sudden wanting to go through the CMS, he really doesn't want to get involved with them as there is no problems as it is by paying directly to her. Does he have a say in whether he has to go through the CMS? It just seems a bit unfair if he doesn't. He's basically being told how and in what way he should distribute his money by a company, when there really isn't any need for them to get involved!

Our Response:
If his ex would prefer the reliability of taking the issue through the CMS, then she has the perogative to apply. The CMS would always rather parents sorted the issue out between them, but sometimes one parent may wish the payments were made official and have recourse should one party fail to pay for any reason or rack up arrears.
SeparatedDads - 26-Jan-16 @ 11:49 AM
Before I start I have an ex partner who pays me child maintenance direct to my bank (without intervention of CMS) and I have a fiancé who pays child maintenence in the same way to his ex. So I am on either ends of this. But....my fiancé's ex is now all of a sudden wanting to go through the CMS, he really doesn't want to get involved with them as there is no problems as it is by paying directly to her. Does he have a say in whether he has to go through the CMS? It just seems a bit unfair if he doesn't. He's basically being told how and in what way he should distribute his money by a company, when there really isn't any need for them to get involved!
Charlene - 25-Jan-16 @ 4:30 PM
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