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How Many Fathers Don't Pay Child Support?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 19 Feb 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Support Maintenance Csa Child

In 2007, the Liberal Democrats revealed that the Child Support Agency (CSA) had failed to collect maintenance in 34% of cases where one parent owed money. That figure was 4% higher than it had been in 2006, meaning more parents (and figures aren’t separated for men and women) weren’t paying their child support.

In fact, in 2006, the Agency had a backlog of some 330,000 cases and over £3 billion in unrecovered debt. That’s a lot of unpaid maintenance, and a lot of people walking away scot free. By late 2008, the CSA calculated the figure of those not paying to be 31% – that’s still over 172,000 cases.

How Did It Happen?

Much of the problem actually lies not with the parents – most of whom are men – but with the CSA itself. Since its establishment it had undergone problems, which were worsened by the installation of a new computer system that was supposed to speed up the process, but ended up causing chaos.

That’s not to say the CSA has been completely ineffective. In 2006/7, it prosecuted 485 people for non-payment of maintenance, and took the controversial step of naming and shaming on their website another 40 whom they’d taken to court for providing false information or no information at all. They added details of the proceedings in court and the sentences received by the guilty, all of whom were men.

Who Owes Money?

Among that large backlog of cases – which has been reduced, and the CSA estimates it can recover almost £2 billion of the money owed – are all kinds of people. There are professionals, labourers, those who earn a lot of money and those scraping by on benefits. There are some, like prisoners, who simply can’t pay, some who won’t pay because of disputes with their ex or over paternity, and those who are waiting to have their cases adjudicated. In Northern Ireland, the figure owed by absent parents is £3.6 million, and a stunning £41 million in South Yorkshire.

In other words, there’s no set demographic to those who owe, and they’re actually not all the deadbeat dads the tabloids claim. Many will pay, but there are also those who will have to be taken to court.

What Happens to Those Who Don’t Pay?

If a non-resident parent doesn’t Pay Child Maintenance, and the resident parent uses the CSA’s collection service, the Agency will contact the debtor to try to arrange payment, including arrears. It can access information from HM Revenue & Customs to try to track people down.

Where they can’t reach an agreement with the person who owes money, they can impose late payment penalties (up to 25% of the amount owing) and arrange to have the money garnished from wages as a deduction from earnings.

In some instances, they will take the person to court, although this is generally a last resort. The first thing they’ll do is obtain a liability order, and even then payment arrangements can still be made. In 2007/8, over 19,000 liability orders were obtained in England and Wales.

Where the CSA does obtain a judgement, there are a number of possibilities open to them, including the seizure of goods and disqualification from driving, which could affect employment. The guilty would also owe court costs. In total, 35 people were imprisoned in 2007/8 and another 400 got suspended sentences.

How the CSA is Changing

Although it won’t have any effect on penalties, the CSA was taken over by the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission in November 2008. It’s worth noting that the collection of child support is becoming more effective. The CSA collected £1.1 billion in the year ending September 2008, benefiting over 750,000 children.

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.

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[Add a Comment]
My son’s father has completely disappeared and I have no idea where in the world he is. Surely there has to be some better way of tracking these men, such as by their passport (if they have one) and then REMO can contact the country they are in to try and get the money back that way??
Worried Mum - 19-Feb-18 @ 10:54 AM
Herby2017 - Your Question:
Hi,I pay the full amount of child support that is suggested by the CMA, my darling ex wife has recently stopped sending clothes with them when I have them on a fortnightly basis.Should she not be supplying theseI had to battle through court for 18 months because of false allegations she made which all had to be debunked so this seems really petty.I am trying to got through mediation to have more time with the children as I believe making contact as more of a normality will be best for them.Thanks

Our Response:
Your ex is under no obligation to supply clothes for your children when they come to stay with you. Most non-resident parents have a separate clothes and belongings that cross both houses. Child maintenance is paid to help support your child's day-to-day needs.
SeparatedDads - 16-Feb-18 @ 10:48 AM
Hi, I pay the full amount of child support that is suggested by the CMA, my darling ex wife has recently stopped sending clothes with them when I have them on a fortnightly basis. Should she not be supplying these I had to battle through court for 18 months because of false allegations she made which all had to be debunked so this seems really petty. I am trying to got through mediation to have more time with the children as I believe making contact as more of a normality will be best for them. Thanks
Herby2017 - 15-Feb-18 @ 12:55 PM
Suzi - Your Question:
Do I have any chance of getting a child support from ex-husband who is basically homeless? He lives in a caravan and has no regular job. No big assets. At the time of working he paid only £80/month for a few months. Can he be in trouble for that in future?

Our Response:
Child maintenance is based upon earnings and tax paid via HMRC. If your ex is not earning, then he will not be deemed to be responsible for paying child maintenance.
SeparatedDads - 2-Feb-18 @ 2:48 PM
Do I have any chance of getting a child support from ex-husband who is basically homeless? He lives in a caravan and has no regular job. No big assets. At the time of working he paid only £80/month for a few months. Can he be in trouble for that in future?
Suzi - 31-Jan-18 @ 11:45 AM
My ex hasn’t paid a penny in child maintenance since 2011. Our child is 9 years old - so the majority of the child’s life. We went to Court in 2010 and agreed an order of £500/month. But he has defaulted since 2011. He then took the matter to the CSA who wrote to me to say they were reducing the court agreed sum to Nil. I left the matter alone for some years because I knew they battle was going to be extremely difficult. I then returned to the CSA around 2015 and never got anything. Now the case is transferred to the CMS and they have ordered £1/day maintenance and have not been able to collect anything. The ex opens companies regularly and then shuts them down soon after. 10 companies in the last 5 years. His self assessments are 3 years late so the CSA and HMRC have no figures to work with. His assets, I believe, even the tenancy to his home, are all put through his companies. Is this a complete dead end? The level of sacrifice I make (Willingly) is still unfair and hurts. He is happy to see the child anytime but never to put his hand in his pocket. I never received anything through our divorce settlement and turned down the judges offer of his pension and spousal maintenance. I say this so that no one cynical feels I’m not giving the bigger picture or taking facts out of context. Any advice would be greatfully received.
Pineapple - 30-Jan-18 @ 10:54 PM
Hi looking for advice my partner has a 19 year old son who has autism and is at college learning life skills, his ex went to the csa at the start of this year of course my partner refused to pay. The consequences was he had his savings account frozen and the csa took what was owed, he received a letter from the Sheriff court today I’m worried about what happens next. I have tried to tell him that our belongings can get took he could lose his van or worse case prison. He’s listened to others who told him not to have any contact with the csa, then there won’t be a case to answer. His son is receiving adult disability money from the social so why do he have to pay maintenance
Kez - 18-Dec-17 @ 7:32 PM
@Mud - I can't quite see your logic here. I'm not sure why your ex's threat to quit work is an issue if you are not receiving anything from him anyway. This is effectively bribery, which you should ignore. If he is earning and paying tax through HMRC, then you are entitled to make a claim through CMS. If your ex gives up work, then you have lost nothing (as you had nothing in the first place). If your ex gives up work, he will not receive benefits, so unless he has plenty of capital to live on he too has to manage somehow. It sounds more of an idle threat. I would be tempted to call his bluff.
OllieVG - 12-Dec-17 @ 12:11 PM
It's a fab system isn't it? One where it does nothing but make make parents aware it takes 2 to make kids. I'm actually facing a battle. My income working and tax credits are around £1,300 per month. I pay everything for 3 children and that's after £650 rent so we have £650 to get by on. However, my ex has £1600 coming in, after £450 rent is £1150. Refuses to pay any maintenence and says he can't afford £200 per month. He says he has bills to pay. He invites friends to his home showing off fancy items, ornaments, household goods. We can barely afford wallpaper because the financial responsibility is thrown at myself. He has now threatened to quit work if he has to pay maintenence. I go without to feed and clothe my children and have done so for 9 years. What can be done about this threat? Nothing! I just hope to god one day my children will see who their father really is. Another one who avoids the living costs of the children he helped make.
Mud - 11-Dec-17 @ 4:36 AM
Working dad - Your Question:
Agreed. I paid £500 per month for my child and was constantly told it was insufficient whilst she went out drinking every night. Then my ex loses custody and access to child and I take my child in and look after them properly. Now she hasn’t made a single payment in 11 months and csa are doing nothing other than sending me letters saying that they cannot collect and will keep me updated.

Our Response:
Much depends upon your ex's circumstances, whether she working or whether she is self-employed (which is always tricky as much depends upon how much your ex declares to HMRC). If you feel you are being treated unfairly, then you can complain, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 21-Nov-17 @ 11:03 AM
Agreed. I paid £500 per month for my child and was constantly told it was insufficient whilst she went out drinking every night. Then my ex loses custody and access to child and I take my child in and look after them properly. Now she hasn’t made a single payment in 11 months and csa are doing nothing other than sending me letters saying that they cannot collect and will keep me updated.
Working dad - 20-Nov-17 @ 4:06 PM
Hahha amazing reading all these women squirming over payments, clearly in need of extra cash for there own benefits while the child gets a small proportion of it.... if the situation was on the other foot and they were the NONE payer they would do exactly the same!!! We are human and that’s how we work, it’s not a fair system for men, and women always get the good end of the stick, crap system and should be scrapped
Ms Con Artist - 10-Nov-17 @ 9:46 PM
I suggest we start a name and shame showing the names of fathers who don't pay (or are lying about income) ......and show what they pay/how many childrenthey dot pay for/their personal lifestyle
Bethy - 8-Nov-17 @ 7:27 PM
Char91 - Your Question:
I have a 6 year old son, but am no longer with the father. He is obviously supposed to be paying me maintenance. Only today he has decided he isnt going to pay me the money anymore but start sending £200's worth of clothes to my house every month!!! This quite clearly isnt practical nor sensible, seen as its to cover things like gas, electric, everyday living costs. He thinks that he should have a say in how I spend the maintenance, although he knows that I spend it solely on him and anything left over in a month goes into an account for him. My question is can he do this? I thought the maintenance was to be paid in money?

Our Response:
Child maintenance is for the day-to-day care of your child/children, as you say to help towards the likes of; utility bills and everyday living costs. If you are involved in a family-based child maintenance arrangement and your ex is not complying with the rules, then CMS can arrange your child maintenance on your behalf, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 7-Nov-17 @ 10:00 AM
I have a 6 year old son, but am no longer with the father. He is obviously supposed to be paying me maintenance. Only today he has decided he isnt going to pay me the money anymore but start sending £200's worth of clothes to my house every month!!! This quite clearly isnt practical nor sensible, seen as its to cover things like gas, electric, everyday living costs. He thinks that he should have a say in how i spend the maintenance, although he knows that i spend it solely on him and anything left over in a month goes into an account for him. My question is can he do this? I thought the maintenance was to be paid in money?
Char91 - 6-Nov-17 @ 4:34 PM
Going back twenty plus years I paid child support for two children for five years and never missed a payment, this was arranged through the courts . A couple of years later I had another child and the mother left with the child when he was two , now the CSA got involved and demanded payments for the child that I could not make , the CSA also refused to acknowledge my payments for my other children because that was made through the courts . To cut a long story short I went to the USA and drifted for two years before I settled down , I never heard from the court or CSA again . The youngest child is now 22and I have regular contact with my two oldest children and I want to come to the U.K to see them while I still can because my health is going downhill fast . Will I be in any trouble when I get to the U.K. or will I be arrested?
Jack - 13-Sep-17 @ 12:38 PM
@Jessica - but every parent is different. Do you think if a father has no job and cannot earn a living (for whatever reason), that he should have to pay to see his child? What about someone who is homeless or disabled, or can't get a job after redundancy? The reason child maintenance payments are not linked to child access is for various reasons, one of the reasons being that some mothers (and fathers) use the child then as a bartering tool. 'Unless you pay for you can't see the child'. Do you think this is good for the child? The child then becomes a tool for blackmail. There are two sides to every story. Yes, there are NRPs that try to avoid paying child maintenance and they should be made to pay where the CMS can make them, this is their job. But there are also people who can't pay to support their child and the child should not be punished if and where the father can't pay.
Phil81 - 5-Sep-17 @ 3:06 PM
The problem lies with the non resident parent (usually the man). They don't believe they should have to pay but still think they are entitled to having as much contact as the court gave them. Contact and maintenance is not linked but it should be. The courts need to support each case differently rather than a blanket over all child welfare cases, which in my experience supports the non contributing man. He is able to get away with not paying where if I stop contact I will be the one who gets in trouble. CSA have no power as there is a court order. Social has no power as there is a court order. I have no power as there is a court order. He has all the power and I am left in a controlling abusive situation and I can't do anything about it. Fathers who don't contribute to their children's lives should not be allowed to be part of it. Taking them on holiday and buying them what ever they like does not count as maintenance. Websites like this only add fuel to their already deluded minds.
Jessica - 5-Sep-17 @ 10:52 AM
Called 5 weeks ago and had to call back today to find out whats happening,haven't received a welcome pack or any correspondence whatsoever. I as the parent looking after my child feel your organisation isn't on my side but is on the side of my ex partner who is clearly avoiding his responsibility. You should be keeping the resident parent up to date on whats going on. Im currently struggling to get by meanwhile he is just getting away with it!I asked what the next step was only to be spoken to like its none of my business. Im sure this is about my childs welfare so therefore its very much my business. Absolutely furious and have lost all faith in this system.
mo - 3-Jul-17 @ 11:45 AM
Stop the abusive on kids and fathers and take into count on how the fathers have to survive equal rights, think off what you put the fathers though ( yes a few women aswel) which this is why mental health is on the rise, think off the csm (csa) payments and you should put what the mothers earn not just the fathers, (paying parent) and why do the paying parent have to pay more each year because our wages go up but then on paying parent can earn as much as you like, ask part off fathers for rights uk, there is over 4 million fathers alone just for this group and most of them never voted out or in, and it fills the same now, god know what the other groups out there, the law states 50/50 and it's clearly not happen why does the parent get nothing and then no paying get everything, this is unfair why can't the paying parent get to do anything with the children because we have to struggle totally unfair, even if we did the collection service and that even unfair we have to pay 20% extra and the receiving parent has to only pay 4% why is this so unfair. Equal rights, also you tell me why a child on average have £140 on them each a month but when with the paying parent that potential another £40 so you tell me which child should have £180 each month.You talk a load off rubbish, you need to speak the truth and action rather then say you idiot, think about the whole off the stuff not just the poxy EU, just get us off the EU, now start thinking about about the more serious matters that the government abuses people. Think off the un equal rights you give us, you have to serious look at the what you are doing to the people out there rather then just doing what you like, he one that issue that you can't deal with and no one will deal with full I what to know and trust I will not give in this is the start off something and I will keep fighting for this, I am loving father who love having my kids 3 times a week I want to know why is that I have to pay child maintance and I struggle to live and can't do anything with my children and my ex can get Benifits, housing paid, council tax paid, why is this fair and then on top off this she gets wages and working tax credits, and also she get money from doing people's nails, and then you wonder why parents are at war, and more child suffer, we take about who will vote for who which is coming up, there over 4 millions votes that prob weren't voting last time because fathers that care couldn't vote because there was no ground to appeal, the amount of money that is used for mothers that get everything this money could be spent else where, I have now depression and can't focus at work or at home, I miss my children but the government don't listen all we ask is for you to make changes, these mothers earn so much money it'sbelievableI challenge you to live a month in my life and see how hard it is, they say abuse is serious surly that's what the government is doing to these children.Following on from previou
bubbles69 - 13-May-17 @ 11:48 PM
Stop the abusive on kids and fathers and take into count on how the fathers have to survive equal rights, think off what you put the fathers though ( yes a few women aswel) which this is why mental health is on the rise, think off the csm (csa) payments and you should put what the mothers earn not just the fathers, (paying parent) and why do the paying parent have to pay more each year because our wages go up but then on paying parent can earn as much as you like, ask part off fathers for rights uk, there is over 4 million fathers alone just for this group and most of them never voted out or in, and it fills the same now, god know what the other groups out there, the law states 50/50 and it's clearly not happen why does the parent get nothing and then no paying get everything, this is unfair why can't the paying parent get to do anything with the children because we have to struggle totally unfair, even if we did the collection service and that even unfair we have to pay 20% extra and the receiving parent has to only pay 4% why is this so unfair. Equal rights, also you tell me why a child on average have £140 on them each a month but when with the paying parent that potential another £40 so you tell me which child should have £180 each month.You talk a load off rubbish, you need to speak the truth and action rather then say you idiot, think about the whole off the stuff not just the poxy EU, just get us off the EU, now start thinking about about the more serious matters that the government abuses people. Think off the un equal rights you give us, you have to serious look at the what you are doing to the people out there rather then just doing what you like, he one that issue that you can't deal with and no one will deal with full I what to know and trust I will not give in this is the start off something and I will keep fighting for this, I am loving father who love having my kids 3 times a week I want to know why is that I have to pay child maintance and I struggle to live and can't do anything with my children and my ex can get Benifits, housing paid, council tax paid, why is this fair and then on top off this she gets wages and working tax credits, and also she get money from doing people's nails, and then you wonder why parents are at war, and more child suffer, we take about who will vote for who which is coming up, there over 4 millions votes that prob weren't voting last time because fathers that care couldn't vote because there was no ground to appeal, the amount of money that is used for mothers that get everything this money could be spent else where, I have now depression and can't focus at work or at home, I miss my children but the government don't listen all we ask is for you to make changes, these mothers earn so much money it'sbelievableI challenge you to live a month in my life and see how hard it is, they say abuse is serious surly that's what the government is doing to these children.Following on from previou
Terry69123 - 13-May-17 @ 11:47 PM
Helen - Your Question:
My ex partner owes me over £10,000 in arrears he owns his own business but refuses to pay I'm struggling and working as many hours as possible to pay my way. He gets investigated then he will pay for a while then stop again he rents a large property and he has put everything in his girlfriends name so bailiffs can't take anything he is soon to get married will this make a difference? I can't understand how he has been able to get away with I ?? Will the new system be better than the Csa?

Our Response:
You may wish to seek legal advice about taking the matter to court, as the courts will look into his accounts and earnings in much more depth. However, this will cost and there is no guarantee you would still get the money you are owed and there is the gamble. The CMS can enforce payment, but only where it can, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 10-May-17 @ 12:28 PM
My ex partner owes me over £10,000 in arrears he owns his own business but refuses to pay I'm struggling and working as many hours as possible to pay my way. He gets investigated then he will pay for a while then stop again he rents a large property and he has put everything in his girlfriends name so bailiffs can't take anything he is soon to get married will this make a difference? I can't understand how he has been able to get away with I ?? Will the new system be better than the Csa?
Helen - 9-May-17 @ 10:37 PM
Hi there are no arrears currently, I am more thinking of using what would be my April payment to buy the things our daughter needs before continuing with payments?
Boomerrat - 7-Mar-17 @ 12:17 PM
Boomerrat - Your Question:
I have posted recently in relation to deducting money from my payments as my ex does not supply reasonable school clothing for our child or even have her hair cut, I was advised by the CMS today that I can if I wanted to and it was between us to arrange, however my ex and I are not on talking terms by any stretch and all she seems interested in is taking the maintenance and then forcing me to buy what it is meant for as she knows I will not allow our daughter to suffer.I no longer have a case in place as the CSA finalised with me in December, I have made the same payments now every month but the ex is demanding more, I intend to buy our daughter all the necessary bits she needs for school and then carry on with payments as normal the following month, my question is;As there is nothing other than my paying as I have done, no order in place and no CSA / CMS involvement at this stage, if I do as I intend will I be liable for arrears? or would that only be the case if there was an order/ CMS case in place?I desperately want my daughter to have what she needs but fear that this is going to bleed me dry if I cannot do this.

Our Response:
If arrears have built up whilst your case was with the CSA, and your ex chooses to use the Child Maintenance Service, the arrears will still stand and can be enforced. This is also the case if you decide to come to a family-based arrangement, please see link here. However, as we have no direct knowledge of the administrative procedures regarding the transfer, I can only suggest you contact either/both organisations directly in order to fully clarify your situation.
SeparatedDads - 7-Mar-17 @ 11:24 AM
I have posted recently in relation to deducting money from my payments as my ex does not supply reasonable school clothing for our child or even have her hair cut, I was advised by the CMS today that I can if I wanted to and it was between us to arrange, however my ex and I are not on talking terms by any stretch and all she seems interested in is taking the maintenance and then forcing me to buy what it is meant for as she knows I will not allow our daughter to suffer. I no longer have a case in place as the CSA finalised with me in December, I have made the same payments now every month but the ex is demanding more, I intend to buy our daughter all the necessary bits she needs for school and then carry on with payments as normal the following month, my question is; As there is nothing other than my paying as I have done, no order in place and no CSA / CMS involvement at this stage, if I do as I intend will I be liable for arrears? or would that only be the case if there was an order/ CMS case in place? I desperately want my daughter to have what she needs but fear that this is going to bleed me dry if I cannot do this.
Boomerrat - 6-Mar-17 @ 2:49 PM
Jo Flo - Your Question:
Hi I need advice. I had a one night stand last year and am pregnant. I only know the first name of the father. I do not have his address. We are not on speaking terms. I have his phone number. Will I be able to make a claim for child maintaince?

Our Response:
Yes, if you know who the father is then you can make a claim to Child Maintenance Services (CMS). You may wish to speak to one of its advisers regarding how you can make a claim against a person you do not have full knowedge of, please see link here. If the father denies he is the father, he will have to request a paternity test through the courts.
SeparatedDads - 23-Jan-17 @ 10:47 AM
Hi I need advice. I had a one night stand last year and am pregnant. I only know the first name of the father. I do not have his address. We are not on speaking terms.I have his phone number. Will I be able to make a claim for child maintaince?
Jo Flo - 22-Jan-17 @ 4:49 AM
ric - Your Question:
Hi I have been child support for 6 years now, and on the new scheme they know want me to pay an extra £140 a month recently I have bought a house so paying a mortgage, I do not know where the child or mother lives and have never had contact, how can I be expected to pay more when I am struggling as it is

Our Response:
Child maintenance is based upon your earnings (incomings) not outgoings and regardless of whether you see your child or not. You can see how much you should be paying via the link here. If you feel you are being treated unfairly, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 16-Jan-17 @ 2:29 PM
My daughter has recently turned 16. I have court order for every other weekend (2 nights) for my younger son and her. However she occasionally texts me to say that she won't be coming at the weekend because of sleepovers parties etc. Which I am happy to allow as I want her to enjoy growing up and having responsibility. However Ive just been contacted by the CSA stating that my ex has evidence from 2014 till present that I've not had contact with my daughter over all the weekends that she hasn't come to my house. And therefore the CSA are looking at charging me back payments for all the weekends she's not been staying with me.The issue I have as that I've always wanted my daughter to visit but felt obliged when she's contacted me to say she wasn't coming to accept this. Why should I be punished twice? Not seeing her AND paying CSA for the privilege??
Graham - 13-Jan-17 @ 8:17 PM
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