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How Many Fathers Don't Pay Child Support?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 11 Mar 2017 | 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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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
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
ric - 13-Jan-17 @ 3:44 PM
Cath - Your Question:
I just wanted to ask qhat will be the process as im currently living in the phil.i got prego to my husband but he ran away like nothing happened went back to uk after his visit here and didnt know he was having an affair to other woman there and now he doesnt want to take his responsibility I tried to adjust for him and for our baby but really he refuses to take his responsibility he says he cant plan etc etc which I got drained from talking to him what ahould I do?

Our Response:
The Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit helps to register and enforce child maintenance orders internationally, link here. You would have to check whether you country is a REMO member here which means a maintenance order can be enforced. Otherwise, you would have to seek legal advice in your own country in order to bring your husband to court.
SeparatedDads - 9-Dec-16 @ 12:15 PM
I just wanted to ask qhat will be the process as im currently living in the phil.i got prego to my husband but he ran away like nothing happened went back to uk after his visit here and didnt know he was having an affair to other woman there and now he doesnt want to take his responsibility i tried toadjust for him and for our baby but really he refuses to take his responsibility he says he cant plan etc etc which i got drained from talking to him what ahould i do?
Cath - 9-Dec-16 @ 2:24 AM
i've been in a relationship with my partner for 3 years and recently we managed to get my step daughters father to start seeing her again with help from his mother and he agreed that he should be paying towards her care as she is getting older and needs more things we all agreed £200 a month but that has never happened he paid £100 twice and this weekend he didn't have her overnight as agreed and now he wants to keep it £100 pounds or to completly scrap that and just pay when she needs things and if not he has threatened to quit his job and go cash in hand i pay for my kids from a prev marriage and not once have i refused to have them and now my partner and i are the ones that have to comfort her and bare the brunt of her acting out when this waste of space disapoints her constantly
altrek83 - 20-Nov-16 @ 12:33 PM
Daddy O - Your Question:
Hi I've been paying maintenance to my ex ,I have two children aged 15 & 11 ,just had a letter in the post saying I need to pay £4,000 a year ,I've been paying £2680 a year ,I'm thinking of selling my two bedroom house and moving in with my fiancé who lives couple of streets away from my ex ,can I tell I'm not having the children overnight any more and just have them visit whenever.but not stay overnight.is there anything my ex can do about this.??and just pay her the full £4000 a year ,She's a Mobile hair dresser so it's all cash ,she earns a lot more than me but does not declare it.

Our Response:
If you refuse to have your children overnight there isn't much your ex can do about this, i.e neither she or a court can force you.
SeparatedDads - 17-Nov-16 @ 11:54 AM
Hi I've been paying maintenance to my ex ,I have two children aged 15 & 11 ,just had a letter in the post saying I need to pay £4,000 a year ,I've been paying £2680 a year ,I'm thinking of selling my two bedroom house and moving in with my fiancé who lives couple of streets away from my ex ,can I tell I'm not having the children overnight any more and just have them visit whenever.but not stay overnight..is there anything my ex can do about this ..??.and just pay her the full £4000 a year ,She's a Mobile hair dresser so it's all cash ,she earns a lot more than me but does not declare it ...
Daddy O - 16-Nov-16 @ 5:51 PM
Fee - Your Question:
I have 4 children 3 of them with the same dad and all have type 1 diabetes there dad wont pay a penny for them cause he says he works part time and self employed yet he has got a 4x4BMW and a AUDI AND MOTORHOME goes on holidays all the time yet the CSA thinks its acceptable for him not to be earning enough yet he manages to live while I am struggling to pay for everything and buy school uniforms I phoned CSA and was told I HAD TO PAY £20 TO PUT A CASE IN AGAINST HIM WHEN YET AGAIN I GET TOLD HE DOES NOT EARN ENOUGH WHAT A JOKE IF MOTHERS TURNED AROUND AND SAID WE WASN'T PAYING FOR OUR CHILDREN MMM WONDER WHAT WOYLD HAPPEN THE SYSTEM STINKS AND IS A COMPLETE JOKE

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear you are having a bad time with your ex with regards to CSA payments. All non-resident parents are treated equally with regards to child maintenance payments whether male or female, meaning a NRP mother who earns a salary is responsible for the same payments to the male resident-parent, it just so happens that most mothers choose to become the resident parent instead of the father, with the father becoming the person who pays maintenance. If you can prove your ex is earning more than he says, then you may be able to take the matter to court. The court would look more closely at his earnings to see if he was evading payment in any way. However, as with all cases, mother or father, if the ex's wife/husband or partner is earning a salary and may be keeping their other half, this is not taken into consideration as the other partner is not expected to pay towards their partner's children. You may wish to take legal advice if you think your ex is earning more than he claims.
SeparatedDads - 1-Sep-16 @ 10:29 AM
I have 4 children 3 of them with the same dad and all have type 1 diabetes there dad wont pay a penny for them cause he says he works part time and self employed yet he has got a 4x4BMW and a AUDI AND MOTORHOME goes on holidays all the time yet the CSA thinks its acceptable for him not to be earning enough yet he manages to live while i am struggling to pay for everything and buy school uniforms i phoned CSA and was told I HAD TO PAY £20 TO PUT A CASE IN AGAINST HIM WHEN YET AGAIN I GET TOLD HE DOES NOT EARN ENOUGH WHAT A JOKE IF MOTHERS TURNED AROUND AND SAID WE WASN'T PAYING FOR OUR CHILDREN MMM WONDER WHAT WOYLD HAPPEN THE SYSTEM STINKS AND IS A COMPLETE JOKE
Fee - 31-Aug-16 @ 12:26 PM
Hi,my ex and I have a shared care child arrangements order for our 2 children.i am on esa,I have the children 45% of the time,more than 50% of the time in school holiday's.my ex recieves all the child benefit and child tax credits and refuses to discuss finances even through mediation.is there anything I can do about this as I can't sustain this for much longer,need help about this ,thanks in advance.
Gazza - 13-Aug-16 @ 9:13 PM
jholden - Your Question:
Had my hours cut at work looseing around £280 a month rent gone up was paying ex £100 a month over last 7years now cms want £440 a month I only come out with £1130 month this will kill me would I be better not working

Our Response:
If you feel you have been unfairly treated you can complain, please see gov.uk link here.
SeparatedDads - 10-Aug-16 @ 2:34 PM
Had my hours cut at work looseing around £280 a month rent gone up was paying ex £100 a month over last 7years now cms want £440 a month I only come out with £1130 month this will kill me would i be better not working
jholden - 10-Aug-16 @ 3:10 AM
My ex doesn't allow me to visit my son I want support my son
Get - 1-Aug-16 @ 11:48 AM
I've currently gone into direct pay but they have still not received my ex partners details so I can pay. Is there not a time limit for when she needs to supply her details otherwise loses out on the money. It's ridiculous I have to hold the money whilst she makes no contact with them. She already does not allow me to see my son which we are currently going through court.
Ray - 11-Jun-16 @ 12:41 PM
I have my kids every weekend and all week on holidays and now my x has started to ask me for money when I only live on 65 pound aweek. plus I've raised her two older daughters as my own contributed to birthdays and Xmas there real dad hasn't payed or bothered with them for over twelve years but she's never asked him for a penny
rob - 21-May-16 @ 11:15 PM
Child Maintainance Service has managed to get £7 per week from my son's deadbeat 'father' over the past several months.....taking it directly from his benefits. CSA, got nothing from him, zilch, null, niet, then, big fat zero. My son will soon be 16. Over the years I have reported him as working, but still never got a penny through CSA. this is all despite him splattering all over fb how much his fishing boats were making. He was even interviewed by BBC Wales several years ago about one of his boats....and still not a penny. He now owns a fairground ride (since last June) and I am sick of reporting him to benefits office. He has worked the system so well. Not to mention working me well 16 years ago....he disappeared with all of my savings, which he used to set himself up with his fishing boats. I lied to my son over the years, telling him that his 'father' lived too far away to visit him, yes his 'father' loved him, yes of course he'd see him if he lived closer etc. Now ofcourse , my son knows most of the story (listening at the door when he heard me upset on the phone etc) and he's angry with me for the years of lying to him.
Sicktodeathofhim - 17-May-16 @ 12:53 PM
I have been trying to receive child maintenance for 6 yrs for my two children. Although the CSA constantly write to me stating my children's father should pay child maintenance the CSA have never once in 6 yrs enforced or ensuredo my children have received any money. I do not understand what this organisation do other than annoy mothers with no money to state their children's dad's should pay but do nothing to make this happen.I think its a complete joke to mothers and children and it should be totally illegal for any parent to ignore any payments that should be made for a child. Not once in 6 yrs have the CSA done anything. I have complained so many times it has been soul destroying. How is this even legal I do not know! Keep up the completely crap work CSA!
Little star - 13-May-16 @ 7:56 AM
I have continuous problem obtaining maintenance from my ex now for six years. Her is a man than does not try to better his situation but worsens his situation purely so he can get out of paying as little as possible for his two sons. Been with both the CSA and CMS and they both a load of rubbish. My ex is also self employed which makes it so easy for them to hide their earnings and CSA/CMS won't do a thing. Everything an absent parent tells them is believed. But if I tell them something I have to prove it. Took my ex to a Tribunal as I disputed the CSA's calculations. I won as the judge ruled that the calculations that he had given the CSA and they had used where inaccurate. I was awarded £57.00 per week from my ex plus arrears. He paid that for approx 4/5 months and then my money was stopped as he went to the CSA and told them his circumstances had changed. A judge ruled that I should have that money and if that money was to be taken off me then that should have been done by that judge again and not the CSA just taking his word. Appalling to say the least. CSA and CMS only help absent parents to commit fraud and should be brought to right to justify why they do that.
Ginger66 - 30-Apr-16 @ 9:15 AM
Georgia - Your Question:
My sons dad who he has ok contact with pays me 55 a week through the csa he's just dropped the bombshell he's moving to Qatar for work training for three years and won't be paying me what can I do

Our Response:
I have included a link to the REMO document contains a list of countries with Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO) for decisions made by courts in the UKhere. Please also see gov.uk link here which will give you more information.
SeparatedDads - 4-Apr-16 @ 11:06 AM
My sons dad who he has ok contact with pays me 55 a week through the csa he's just dropped the bombshell he's moving to Qatar for work training for three years and won't be paying me what can I do
Georgia - 3-Apr-16 @ 7:44 AM
Well what about these woman who want pay csa iv had no money for 14 years as she want work what do you all think of that full time single dad
bert - 20-Mar-16 @ 9:58 AM
Kay - Your Question:
My childs father hasnt paid me a penny in 8 months now! She is 1 years old and stays there every other weekend. He works seasonal work which is 4 months a year earning roughly 400+ a week (self employed) and gave me 30 a week. He hasnt paid since he finished last year. And is currently working again but wont give me a penny. What shall I do? I struggle to pay all bills and everything as a single parent with no money from my childs father as extra support for bits she needs.

Our Response:
You can apply through the CMS, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 18-Mar-16 @ 10:52 AM
My childs father hasnt paid me a penny in 8 months now! She is 1 years old and stays there every other weekend. He works seasonal work which is 4 months a year earning roughly 400+ a week (self employed) and gave me 30 a week. He hasnt paid since he finished last year. And is currently working again but wont give me a penny. What shall i do? I struggle to pay all bills and everything as a single parent with no money from my childs father as extra support for bits she needs...
Kay - 17-Mar-16 @ 9:48 AM
Mt- Your Question:
Hi , my ex wife is slowly removing any parental descisions from me and using my son as a pawn basically for the money. I have no say in his life but when he's with me I live under a massive list of rules to the extent of not allowing him to be a page boy at my brothers wedding , where I can or can't take him , etc etc.My divorce isn't completely finalised as need to sign the financial agreement as I've been paying what the CSA calculated ( no actual case raised ) for some time My question is, is it purely financial or are there grounds other than that which can adjust payment for eg if it goes to courtBasically I'm sick of just being a source of income for my ex wife when I get noSay in descisions made in my sons life Especially as I have A step son with her that she has made no effort to collect CSA as he either dosent work or is on benefits and has no contact with him so as I have a ok job and see them regularly I'm being punished for trying to do things correctly

Our Response:
Child maintenance and child access have no bearing on each other and are two separate issues. Every parent with PR is deemed financially responsible for their child/children up until the age of 16, at minimum. However, you also have a right to access to your child and if your ex is messing you about and using your son as a pawn, then you can take the matter to court and apply for a court order, which would make the access to your child official. If you cannot afford the legal fees, you can self-litigate, please see link: Legal Aid Withdrawal: How to Represent Yourself, here. Many fathers are taking this route and having success in this area.
SeparatedDads - 14-Mar-16 @ 10:30 AM
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