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 Nov 2017 |
 
Csa Child Support Maintenance

Due to recent changes in child support laws and since the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) has replaced the Child Support Agency (CSA), it is possible to come to a private/family-based 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 family-based 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 family-based 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. Please also be aware that under an informal family-based arrangement CMS cannot collect arrears on the receiving parent's behalf if and where the paying parent refuses to pay. 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. You can access a family-based arrangement form/template via the Child Maintenance Service website.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Taffy - Your Question:
Me and ex have made arrangements for me to pay her directly, but csa still taking money off me?? How's this possible???

Our Response:
You would need to let CMS know. If you have instructed CMS to stop collecting payments and you cannot resolve the issue directly, you can complain, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 30-Nov-17 @ 12:00 PM
Me and ex have made arrangements for me to pay her directly,but csa still taking money off me??How's this possible???
Taffy - 29-Nov-17 @ 5:45 PM
Hi, I’ve been paying a financial agreement with my x partner for 7/8 years now and due to my job was a large amount of money though due to changes in work and not working nowat all where do I stand now with payments as ive always said if and when I started work again on same pay it would go back to that agreement.
Ants - 26-Oct-17 @ 1:31 AM
Jayne- Your Question:
CMS confirmed child benefit has ceased for partners son, but haven't been able to contact the ex, she isn't responding to them. They say for this reason they cannot close the case. My partners son is doing a paid apprenticeship so they need the details of the apprenticeship in order to close the case. Surely they can't keep it open indefinitely though? Where do we stand with this? We've placed a complaint, but understood payments stopped when child benefit ceased.

Our Response:
Hopefully, if there are any overpayments you will get them re-imbursed if your partner's ex refuses to co-operate. The ending of the child benefit will mean this is the official cut-off point.
SeparatedDads - 18-Sep-17 @ 11:25 AM
CMS confirmed child benefit has ceased for partners son, but haven't been able to contact the ex, she isn't responding to them. They say for this reason they cannot close the case. My partners son is doing a paid apprenticeship so they need the details of the apprenticeship in order to close the case. Surely they can't keep it open indefinitely though? Where do we stand with this? We've placed a complaint, but understood payments stopped when child benefit ceased.
Jayne - 15-Sep-17 @ 3:29 PM
Hi me and my ex have come to an agreement .we have both told the Cms over and over again for over 2 months we want them gone so we can have a private arrangement so my son gets a weekly amount off me into his bank account.i am the paying parent,I have always paid via D E O for 12 years I have always paid until I was made redundant a couple of years ago.i signed on the dole straight away and was paying £5 a week out my benefits,I was unemployed for about a year.i eventually found myself a job and after a couple of months the D E O started again.the csa transferred my case to the cms near the end of last year.about 4 months ago I get a letter from the cms saying I owe £2000 in areas and they sent a D E O to my employer for £70 a week,they can't/won't tell me where the areas are from,I've rang them almost daily they are the most clueless stuckup people I've ever spoken to.and ex tells me she has only been receiving £20 a week from them.all they keep saying to both of us is the D E O will stop next week.i found out today that my ex hasn't had any money off them for a few weeks?
Pmaca - 31-Aug-17 @ 12:55 AM
Adan - Your Question:
I haven't seen my daughter for nearly 7 months now. The ex has reason but womt let me see her. very cinfused and heart breaking. im still paying csa each week though. do I stop paying????

Our Response:
You cannot stop paying child maintenance if your ex does not agree. Child maintenance and child access are not connected, meaning you still have to help support your child financially regardless of whether you see her or not. However, you can apply to court to see your child if your ex will not allow you to see her. The court will then decide on what it thinks is in your daughter's best interests. If a court order is put in place for you to see your child, then your ex will have to adhere to it.
SeparatedDads - 10-Aug-17 @ 3:00 PM
I haven't seen my daughter for nearly 7 months now. The ex has reason but womt let me see her... very cinfused and heart breaking... im still paying csa each week though... do i stop paying????
Adan - 10-Aug-17 @ 6:44 AM
I think divorce rate r very highe in uk reason.law support women more than man and i think its encourage women to leave hasband for littel reason because they will get more money from csa and government.other hand poor husbands partners.became financial difficulties.and ruin kids life without father its very sad
shaz - 5-Aug-17 @ 8:36 AM
Hi, I have paid CMS through arrangement following transfer from CSA (with associated debts from arbitrary calculations made over self employed earnings which are minimal). It seems, following a series of circumstances my ex (parent with care) has closed our case prompting a repayment to me from the CMS? An arbitrary £150, no letter no advice, all within 3 days of said circumstances? Can this possibly be the case? Can she be forced to accept payments?
martysmarty - 21-Jul-17 @ 9:30 PM
Damien - Your Question:
Hi I am paying maintainance through the old CSA scheme, I have no contact with my daughter for complicated reasons so not sure of what she is doing education wise. As she will be turning 18 in August and should be at the end of her A levels would that mean I am no longer obligated to pay? My schedule shows payments going beyond this period?

Our Response:
Your payments should stop when child benefit stops and at the end of the school year (Aug 31) when your daughter finishes full-time education.
SeparatedDads - 3-May-17 @ 2:00 PM
Hi I am paying maintainance through the old CSA scheme, I have no contact with my daughter for complicated reasons so not sure of what she is doing education wise. As she will be turning 18 in August and should be at the end of her A levels would that mean I am no longer obligated to pay? My schedule shows payments going beyond this period?
Damien - 29-Apr-17 @ 3:15 PM
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
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SeparatedDads website. Please read our Disclaimer.