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How Many Fathers Don't Pay Child Support?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 20 Jan 2021 | 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.

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@A man. As you stated you have never seen your son and plan on never seeing him .so how in world do you know your son as no reproductive rights( born sterile).as you said you dropped out off school to work cash in hand .no offence mate but you don't sound to (bright ).I think your son is better off without you .
C laurie - 20-Jan-21 @ 12:46 AM
@A man.what the f*** are you talking about ?? Identity and reproductive rights .I hope mother f***** like you don't have reproductive rights because our future will be f***** .with your offspring .
C laurie - 20-Jan-21 @ 12:00 AM
I was forced into fatherhood. Blackmailed into signing the birth certificate. Proved it to the police, but to no avail. I walked away from an engineering degree. Have been working cash in hand that was 14 years ago. I have never seen my son and have no plans too. I am super sad that my son will have no reproductive rights and that his mother has no doubt lied to him about his identity to reinforce hers just like my mother. Everybody needs an identity everybody needs reproductive rights.
A man - 19-Jan-21 @ 10:14 AM
I think people will find it is not just some Father's who don't pay, but Mother's as well. My children's Mum, has paid nothing in 12 years and even had the milk and fruit tokens sent to her as all she had to say was she had the children and no one even questioned it-she was also housed on her say so and she received the benefits for them. I have had to prove that the children live with me as she walked when they were 4 years and the other 9 months over and over and still to this day Schools etc fall over themselves to take her say so as gospel. When i went down to 8 stone and waking with my teeth on my pillow as my gums could not hold them in due to having no money for food ( what little i had i fed the children with )i was merely toldwhen seeking help that she is the Mother, did i love her, and her maternal instincts etc. Finally being told" i need a good slap around the face " My Son is 17 now and my Daughter 13 and i will never seek help again.
Neily1 - 23-Nov-20 @ 2:16 AM
Hi all I have triplets and she moved them up Liverpool and this was 6 years ago now,and now she wants money when I don't even see my children it's too far to go I live in the Ipswich Suffolk.
Nightclubs - 18-Jun-20 @ 7:34 PM
I can’t pay child support because I’m (“technically homeless “)what this women who (incarcerated me )wants my 7 pound out off my benefits wtf ?.is she really going kick a men why down in the dumpster literally?.what more does this women want she is a wealthy women who was raised with a (gold spoon) and was left a massive inheritance and her partner is a wealthy men loaded and could afford to pay for 1000 children .where with me I struggle to (fed myself )and I can tell you there is more dinner times then feeds in my world my world is literally falling apart from the seems .
Homeless joe - 5-Apr-20 @ 11:11 PM
@smithliving.i can (guarantee )men don’t get away with abuse or control in fact 75 percent off men incarcerated in the prison system are in there over dv .and they said all We wanted was to see our (children) and every time they turned up there ex called the police .(oh yeah I can relate) .never will I ever get a( court order for visitation or ever speak to her mother again). because I like my (freedom) she can have the child I want no proper court order I just want to be left alone .she can raise the child with her husband or wifey or whoever she is with and play happy families.hey I would even surrender my (parental responsibility) and sign it over to her partner .now that for generosity?
C.laurie - 5-Apr-20 @ 9:10 PM
I find the UK system absolutely appalling.There is no proper protection, and men get away with abuse and control.My ex has completely taken advantage of the system by refusing to pay his child maintenance according to our previous CMS & court agreement/arrangement now the children and I were granted leave from the country.The CMS don’t care anymore as they have no jurisdiction and it was not put in our court order as the stupid UK system does not order maintenance because they rely in the CMS in full.My ex refuses to pay child maintenance claiming “there is no court order”.I have three kids, my 19 yr old son has recently been diagnosed with a disability, has no health insurance as an adult and my ex doesn’t care to know.Yet he demands contact which he still gets unlimited indirect contact with us living abroad and there is court order for visitation which is due to take place and I cannot afford flights without my maintenances.a vicious circle of broken court orders soon taking place all because of refusal to pay maintenance and no proper court arrangement to begin with.
Smithliving - 5-Apr-20 @ 5:16 PM
I've never had one payment from my sons father, my son is now 17. He's gone on to have three more children and lives with the mother, the system is a complete joke.
Lozza - 4-Mar-20 @ 8:05 PM
I after a little info if possible thanks in advance ?? Cut a long story short recently found out I wasn't that father to a child after paying maintenance for 14 years I have proved to csm through csm originally I thought I would only receive a years payments back (time I contested the parentage) it has taking since July to sort (still not ) I have just received a call from csm asking for bank statements from a period of 2016-2016 we it was set up through them but paid through are banks to each other they need to add this amount then can finalise and release the money my question is would they be refunding me my payments going back 4 years ??
J - 3-Dec-19 @ 7:18 PM
Help. I have no income a joint mortgage with 2 young children to support. Partner has walked out and said will no be responsible for any costs and is leaving the UK. What can I do.
Worried - 21-Oct-19 @ 6:42 AM
Can I also add that the drop in paying from £42 a week to £5 was not a change of circumstances but because he had a birthday and I guess beer to some is more important than saving a child from hate crime attacks. As he refuses to contact cm despite them phoning and letters, I fear my 11 year old with downs syndrome will have to give up school and be socially isolated at home. I cannot own a car or drive as I was attacked saving a neighbours life giving refuge, ironically his father has cars. I pay cm for my 18 Yr old daughter out my carers allowance (she harmed my disabled son hence doesn't live with me) which is more than my sons father now has decided that's all he is paying (ironically my ex hubby - daughters cm I pay - earns more in a month than I get in a year. So it's not just men who get screwed by the system, and I am seriously ill and 24 hr carer
Hedgey - 2-Oct-19 @ 1:50 PM
I have a disabled son aged 11, and he needs 24 hr care. There were safety issues in neonate that his dad could harm him after threatening me. Only when my son was 8 did I try for child support, he paid only for 5 months. There was £50debt which got transferred to child maintenance who found my sons father was working, so for 7 months he paid each week, suddenly dropping it to just £5 a week which means despite my son been severely disabled and me seriously ill we are struggling to get to my sons school due to health an mobility. My sons father was offered again access to my son but said a disabled child would be too much for him, and at birth he said it was an embaressment, and he would never pay any money towards him as it would take away his beer money. So while many father's think their child never gets the money, my costs are higher than average child as I have to replace his clothes monthly, we get no support due to council cuts including disabled transport to school, and we get targeted by hate crime struggling to walk to school, last week someone tried to run over us. We have never had a holiday anywhere, and my clothes and shoes are in holes. This is why some of us finally put in for child maintenance despite death threats, as child poverty is real
Hedgey - 2-Oct-19 @ 1:41 PM
I am a parent to a 6 year old.. I work 40-50 hours a week and earn an exceptional income and have money at my disposal. I do not need money from my child’s father ever and I thankfully have been able to provide him with an amazing lifestyle and he is given opportunities that I never had as a child. As for my child’s Father he has a good income and comes from a wealthy background. He has made payments to his Son which I have put into his savings. However his Father misses payments and he has avoided the CSA claiming he in on benefits when he owns a gym and has recently bought his partner a new car. I find as a human being and as a parent I would be deeply ashamed and also deeply embarrassed if I could not provide for my child nor give them what they are entitled too. It is disgusting for any parent to with hold payments, their child should be their main priority and focus in life. Putting them first is paramount and buying new cars or going on holidays isn’t important. It is awful that some people do not see what is important in life. Children should come first. I hope someday the laws that are in America come in to law here. The percentage of non payments would soon drop!
Ck - 7-Aug-19 @ 11:49 PM
What is so wrong with each parent being solely responsible for the cost of supporting the children when in their care? Two households, two finances. We are in modern times gone are the days when one parent is the provider and the other the child care.Both parents can equally provide and care for the children and this is the position that all divorces and separation should commence from. If you can’t afford to support the children during your time with them then the other parent should get the chance to increase their time with the children. This stops CMS financially rewarding one parent for limiting the others access and help to ensure the best arrangements can be made for the children. It’s also should not be called child maintenance, no one is making sure the children see any of the payments it is ex-spousal/partner maintenance payment. No other aspect of life are you forced to handover your money with no say on how it is spent... at least with tax you get to vote and have some say.
Gary - 30-Jul-19 @ 12:16 PM
What is so wrong with each parent being solely responsible for the cost of supporting the children when in their care? Two households, two finances. We are in modern times gone are the days when one parent is the provider and the other the child care.Both parents can equally provide and care for the children and this is the position that all divorces and separation should commence from. If you can’t afford to support the children during your time with them then the other parent should get the chance to increase their time with the children. This stops CMS financially rewarding one parent for limiting the others access and help to ensure the best arrangements can be made for the children. It’s also should not be called child maintenance, no one is making sure the children see any of the payments it is ex-spousal/partner maintenance payment. No other aspect of life are you forced to handover your money with no say on how it is spent... at least with tax you get to vote and have some say.
Gary - 30-Jul-19 @ 12:16 PM
Glad that I am now coming to the end of making child maintenance payments and I can give the money directly to my 2 children as I wish. Never had an issue with supporting my kids but paying £250 to £300 a month on my own has meant that I've had to live a frugal existence living on my own. Meanwhile my ex has remarried to a copper and is very well off buying 2 brand new cars last year and she has had money to spend on 'cosmetic' improvements. The calculations for maintenance are seriously flawed in not taking into account the receiving persons household income.
Brigham - 26-Jun-19 @ 1:31 PM
i would just like to say i think the system is flawed for both sides. My husband has 2 children to a previous relationship. he fought his ex in court to have them and to be able to take them abroad etc. he pays CSA and he spends more on the kids when he has them, he pays to clothe them etc as nothing goes between the houses. the kids have the best of both worlds and get spoilt rotten at birthdays, christmas. We also end up having them extra nights throughout the year due to weekends away, holidays etc but his ex is a nightmare. she is constantly phoning the csa saying he is earning more than he is etc. he has never lied to them and i have an extremely good job so i subsidise and treat us a lot. It is so annoying when you have someone who will do anything for his kids and arranges his access time so she can work and then is constantly being hassled by csa. surely once you pay and have it sorted this should just be it.
Ola81 - 12-Jun-19 @ 9:00 AM
Please realise..that as a paying parent.. Especially of children your X' may not allow you to have contact with, Is extremely against your Human Rights. When the CMS Paperwork falls on your doorstep..DONT PANIC! You DO NOT ...DO NOT.. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES... Have to give them your NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER...(SO DONT) They will try their best over the phone to intimidate you to do so. Tell them your a PART TIME Cleaner..etc They will take an assumptive 'GUESS' Rate based on YOUR INFORMATION. DO NOT GIVE YOUR N.INSURANCE NMB THEY WILL NEVER HAVE ACCESS TO THIS UNLESS 'YOU' TELL THEM..ITS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION. THEN ..Never contact them again/write/call them...lie LOW. OR IF THEY HAVE THIS N.INS NUMBER ALREADY....YOU HAVE TO GO SELFEMPLOYED..& MAKE THEM 'Guess' Your income again. DO NOT TAKE YOUR OWN LIFE ... THEY ARE WORSE THAN THE MAFIA BUT REMEMBER..... THEY CANT GET ONE OVER IF YOU TAKE THIS ADVICE.
Pilki - 9-Jun-19 @ 10:15 PM
The CSA system is a joke. My daughter was born in November 2018 and my exes first child maintenence payment was due in February through the collect and pay service... he failed to pay and this was quickly change to a deductions of earnings order which i was informed by CSA would result in a payment in March... still nothing... this then changed to April and then june Nd now i’m being told the first payment is expected in August! They have assured me everytime that i’d get the payment and then it gets delayed again. They are fully aware that i am struggling on my income alone but they have no sense of urgency. How is it fair for my ex to keep getting away with non payment... his work received the DOE order in April! I can’t see any reason for the constant delays. It’s beyond unfair and the system really isn’t working.
Bronwyn - 4-Jun-19 @ 12:08 AM
Rick, You are 75yrs old, pay the arrears for your children, what you have willingly had so late in life, and you are still refusing to pay at £5 per week. Your disability benefits will be more than £25,000 pa tax free. As Bob Marley says: ‘Once a man and twice a child, and everything is just for a while’... I hope you get well to meet your sons’.
Dbeats - 23-Jan-19 @ 12:21 PM
Hi I had a drunken one night stand with girl that has slept with half the town and not to mention my family... It was agreed that she would get the morning after pill, as time went on I found out she didn't so I contacted her and she said I have nothing to worry about as the child isnt mine JOB DONE!! I'm a father of 4 children that I have FULL custody of and my new partner has just given birth to our beautiful little girl... Boom out the blue this one night stand chick starts contacting my partner saying Ive been cheating on her and that she has a baby that is mine... I'm worried that she's going to try and clean me out as she has threatened already... Surely she can't get away with this ???
Mickey - 23-Jan-19 @ 10:36 AM
I amaskingifI getjobwilltheyfineoutormyxwife hastotell themhelpplz
ALI - 19-Jan-19 @ 12:58 PM
My child is now 14 years old and I have been separated from her father since she was 6 weeks old. I was set up in the old child maintenance system and received nothing from her father who tells me he is a self employed millionaire. I was informed that the new csa was in place a couple of years ago and to forget previous costs owed (12years worth of payments)and that they would start the process again. I’m told that he can not be traced on HMRC but they continue to make attempts. I do receive regular communication now from the CSA team - which basically tells me that he has not paid therefore I will not receive payment. I’m a single working parent, I work full time and overtime. The part that I resent is having to work the extra hours which means i have less time with my child and not alway able to be home for her after school.I have always promoted contact however he chooses not to see her. He has told me on numerous occasions that he does not give me money because I will spend it on myself - what a joke !! Neither does he buy her anything or send gifts for birthday or Christmas. He had the cheek to tell my daughter that I was tight that I only give her £10 a week pocket money. Nonetheless, I have my beautiful girl who I see grow everyday.Peace out to you non paying parents.
Lj - 13-Jan-19 @ 12:03 AM
Name and Shame these faceless parents who shirk responsibly to contribute to feed, clothe, educate and provide a home to their children. Start a movement & shame them all. Avoid Avoid at all costs getting into a relationship with anyone who doesn’t support their children - they’ll do the same to you . Eventually Karma will visit them.Their children will despise them on reaching adulthood & realizing the deprevation they inflicted on them & their struggling parent. Will they feel guilty & live the rest of their lives with regret- they deserve the same neglect and hardship they’ve inflicted. Too late then - the irreversible damage & cruelty is done.
Solesupporter - 5-Nov-18 @ 9:18 AM
I am a 76 year old man my children are now 22&19. I owe (according to the csa) several thousand pounds in child support payments. I have a terminal illness and only have a small private pension £180 per month,from this I pay £20 a month to the csa. I have received a letter informing me that I have to increase my payments to £35 per month. I have no savings, and my state pension and pension credit are both paid into my wife's account for her to manage our outgoings my wife is my carer and has my power of attorney, as I cannot manage my own affairs. I cannot afford to pay the extra money that the csa want from me. Any help please.
Rick - 15-Oct-18 @ 11:54 AM
Ive been dealing with csa since august 2018. What a complete joke the system is. I got advised to try a family based arrangement. This dad wouldnt even pay £50 a month since april. He owes me £5000 already for paying for his mums medical bills. Never paid a single penny for any of his children. In arrears on the court order with his ex wife for her two children and i get told i have to agree to him voluntarily making payments. Finally in august call again and this time csa get involvedbut first payment wont be till 24th october!!! Plus the arrears have been miscalculated and the letter sent out to him with the mistake. Its a complete joke. Its also against the law to state misinformation in the letters sent out stating both parents agree to direct pay when in my case i specifically asked for collect and pay as this father is so dishonest. I dont really understand the point of this. Two parents make a baby so why does one get away with not contributing 50%?
Dee - 11-Oct-18 @ 3:14 AM
I think it’s discussing how my partner has to pay the CSA money for his ex who denies him to see his children made loads of lies up and allegations which aren’t true and the court went ahead with the hearing while he had to have an emergency operation. How are we supposed to survive and bring our own child up who is younger then his other two. The system is so wrong.
Row - 6-Oct-18 @ 8:03 PM
At the end of the day the system is broken. I fought long and hard too get a court order too see my children 3.5 days a week, which means we have equal time with the children. I buy them new clothes there school things and such. However somehow I'm still expected too pay CSA I have never missed a payment but I already buy all there things so she uses the money on her self now how is that fair. I would stop buying there stuff n let there mother use the money but she wouldn't n they would be walking round in rags. So broken.
Pullinorama - 3-Oct-18 @ 3:47 PM
john - Your Question:
Please our granddaughters father has never paid to his childrens support. He has recently inherited a large amount of money. We as grand parents have supported our granddaughter and helped her to university using money we could not really afford, but we did it out of love for our granddaughter. Can her father be required to repay his daug daughters upkeep for all those years people have done for his daughter what he should have done. Yours Sincerely Peter

Our Response:
Child maintenance is based upon and calculated from taxable earnings only.
SeparatedDads - 9-Aug-18 @ 2:26 PM
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