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: 13 Jan 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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[Add a Comment]
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
Hi, my partner has received a notification that he owes around 5k in CSA arreas between 2003-2007. Having spoken to the CSA they have said that the case was originally opened in 2003 and also closed in 2003. My partners ex did I fact open and close this case and all payments were made cash in hand (stupid mistake) but she is now denying it . The CSA confirmed the opening and closing of the account but have said that this was closed in error on there part with no explanation/ reason behind it and now are saying that they have noticed there mistake some 8 years later ( 12 if you count from 03) demanding money. No correspondence about this 'debt' has ever been sent out or telephone calls, in fact my partner receives regular statements and on the odd occasion a payment has been delayed has received letters chasing it, never once has been informed of this other debt. Is this legal? Is he still inclined to pay this debt even though he has paid his ex directly (other than cash withdrawals no other proof). Thanks
Concerned - 14-Jan-16 @ 5:38 PM
My ex and I agreed on an exact 50/50 childcare routine (182/183 nights a year). As my ex receives child benefit I have to pay maintenance. There is no relationship with my ex at all. A month ago my daughter decided she didn't want to go back to her mum's house and has been living full time with me. Is there anything I can do to stop CSA payments even briefly? I could do with the extra money for my increased food bills.
Danny - 14-Dec-15 @ 9:49 AM
Hi my partners ex stopped her csa money over a year ago when he told her I was expecting my child. She denies him access over the last 5years. And told her not to contact her once he told her said information. Over a year later and not seeing the child she has contacted him asking for money which he was happy to oblige if he had contact with his child. She is now saying he needs to pay more or she will contact csa. If she does this will the money be backdated from when she cancelled this ? Or will it just start afresh from when she makes a new claim?
Concerndkel - 27-Nov-15 @ 5:09 AM
sc - Your Question:
Hi my partners ex is being a right cow and im not to be mean but shes using the csa to black mail him into doing what she wants and have everything on her terms and its not right cause she has said" she would change it to mutal agreement if he keeps his way" which he goes and sees him of all his days off gives her loads of money I was wandering does both parents have to agree to a mutual agreement or does it juat have to be one

Our Response:
Looking at in another way, perhaps the CSA or CMS may be a better arrangement, if he is already giving her a generous amount of money. At least it would be regulated and she couldn't make demands from him, as the payments would be arranged officially. Regarding a family-based arrangement; it has to be by mutual agreement.
SeparatedDads - 20-Nov-15 @ 11:58 AM
if my x partner has cancelled the csa arangement as we have cam to a private arabgement what happens to the money i have allready yet she has not received?
harry - 19-Nov-15 @ 5:39 PM
Hi my partners ex is being a right cow and im not to be mean but shes using the csa to black mail him into doing what she wants and have everything on her terms and its not right cause she has said" she would change it to mutal agreement if he keeps his way" which he goes and sees him of all his days off gives her loads of money I was wandering does both parents have to agree to a mutual agreement or does it juat have to be one
sc - 19-Nov-15 @ 4:30 PM
Pricey39 - Your Question:
I split with my ex over 8 weeks ago, we agreed that I would pay her £200 month, I would put 20 month on my daughters osper card plus I would help with buying clothing etc.Now she has put a application fo child maintenance and they have written to me saying they have calculated £4312 per year as I have no visitation/overnight.I was having my daughter two nights a week but she stopped that so she could claim the highest amount, if I still had my daughter 2nights that figure would of come down to 3170. This legislation just encourages the one parent to denies access so she can get more, it's absolutely disgusting!!!

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. You could take this to court and the court will decide on your access rights, which your ex will have to abide by. Please see article: When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access, link here .
SeparatedDads - 12-Nov-15 @ 2:09 PM
I split with my ex over 8 weeks ago,we agreed that I would pay her £200 month,I would put 20 month on my daughters osper card plus I would help with buying clothing etc.. Now she has put a application fo child maintenance and they have written to me saying they have calculated £4312 per year as I have no visitation/overnight.I was having my daughter two nights a week but she stopped that so she could claim the highest amount, if I still had my daughter 2nights that figure would of come down to 3170. This legislation just encourages the one parent to denies access so she can get more, it's absolutely disgusting!!!
Pricey39 - 11-Nov-15 @ 10:42 AM
Anneka- Your Question:
My partner has a particularly vengeful ex who has made up lies about their children being 'rushed to hospital' when they haven't ( when she couldn't contact him once as he'd left his phone at home) She regularly stops his weekly access on a whim.children are 'tired' or they are away or innumerable other things.I can't bear to see it as he's a loving caring daddy and his kids clearly adore himHe has equal rights but doesn't want to cause wavesAny suggestions?

Our Response:
This is always a difficult question to answer when a parent understandably does not wish to cause waves, and yet on the other hand is subject to the whims of the ex who uses the children as a weapon. He has a couple of choices; either to continue on the same path, suggest mediation (which his ex may not subscribe to) or bite the bullet and apply through the courts for regular access (although this is still not guaranteed). If he takes it to court, it is stressful, and Cafcass would have to get involved, please see article: What Goes into the Cafcass Family Report? Link here. However, if a court order is issued, it is official, and should his ex not comply to it, then she would be in breach. Although it is not an easy decision to make, your partner needs to assess whether to focus on short term gains or take a gamble towards long term ones.
SeparatedDads - 19-Oct-15 @ 2:01 PM
My partner has a particularly vengeful ex who has made up lies about their children being 'rushed to hospital' when they haven't ( when she couldn't contact him once as he'd left his phone at home) She regularly stops his weekly access on a whim ...children are 'tired' or they are away or innumerable other things. I can't bear to see it as he's a loving caring daddy and his kids clearly adore him He has equal rights but doesn't want to cause waves Any suggestions?
Anneka - 19-Oct-15 @ 5:50 AM
Me n my x went through CSA as we wasn't talking however after 6 or so months of them not taking anything out of my bennifits obviously I've accumulated a debt now iv got a job and we are now talking we've arranged between ourselves a figure however after ringing CSA both of us they are saying we cannot close the account because of arrears? Is this true?
jb - 13-Oct-15 @ 12:35 PM
Hi. My ex and I had a discussion about a maintenance agreement. She was all for it until she called the csa who told her there is no legal precedent to enforce it if I decided not to pay it, and that she would lose the back pay I owe if she had to re-apply. I applied due to the fact as I don't live with my new partner I am unable to get a reduction of payment for my 2 new children apparently they don't count the children as mine! Any help
Kev74 - 15-Jun-15 @ 8:11 AM
@Caroline - Perhaps this is because the CSA is being phased out and has been replaced by the CMS, so your new application will be treated as a new case. You can get Child Maintenance Service to collect payments if you can’t agree between you, see linkhere. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 5-Mar-15 @ 2:10 PM
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