Home > Financial > Working With the CSA on Support Payments

Working With the CSA on Support Payments

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 16 Jul 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Support Maintenance Csa Lose Your

The financial circumstances of a separated father can change. Sometimes they’re for the better, if you get a new job or you get a good pay rise. At other times they’re for the worse, for example, you get laid off or the company closes. Sadly, in the current recession, the bad instances are likely to outpace the good.

Whatever happens, if you Pay Child Support and things change, the Child Support Agency (CSA) will need to recalculate the amount you pay, if everything is done through them. It’s not as daunting as it sounds, and they really do work with you to adjust to your new circumstances.

What if You Lose Your Job

Losing your job and going on benefits obviously means a drastic reduction in your income, which will affect the amount you can pay in child support. The CSA will look at your case again if you lose your job and you’re getting Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, with no other income.

Where the new circumstances mean the amount of support will alter by £10 a week or more, then they’ll also re-open the case. Contacting them is easy, either through one of their offices or on the phone (08457 133 133 during office hours, including Saturday). Obviously, they can’t help you find a new job, but they can remove one area of stress from your life.

In some cases, your maintenance payments might have been taken off at source by your employer, so you’ll need to contact CSA about a new way of paying.

If You Become Self-Employed

If you no longer have a regular job, you might be inclined to try working for yourself to make money, and if you have a skill, it could work out – certainly it might be better than trying to survive on benefits. Obviously, however, it’s going to affect your income, and once again, CSA will work with you on calculating the amount you should be paying in child maintenance.

Normally, they’d look at the average weekly earnings you’d made as a self-employed person over the previous year. But when you’re starting out, that’s obviously impossible. Instead, they’ll see how much the business has grossed since it began, then take out all reasonable expenses and VAT in order to come up with an average weekly income, from which they can evaluate a new child support figure.

Again, it’s important that you contact CSA when you start working for yourself in order for them to make the new calculations. It’s in your own interests, as money is likely to be tight in the early days, and you’ll need to watch every penny. Remember, too, that they can obtain information from HMRC.

Getting Back to Work

If you’ve been unemployed and you’ve found a new job, you’ll be feeling relief. But it’s going to affect how much you pay each week in maintenance. The CSA website has an easy-to-use calculator that can let you see how much you’ll have to pay.

No matter what happens, it’s vital that you contact CSA as soon as possible. You’ll find that they really are there to help you – after all, you’ve been paying child support, not one of the deadbeat dads they have to chase down – and they’ll gladly work with you. Yes, they’re a bureaucracy and a government agency, but don’t let that put you off. Apart from anything else, you need them, and you should find that the process will go smoothly.

Of course, where you and your ex have come to a private agreement on child support and your income, or a large part of it, vanishes, then you’ll need to undertake negotiations through your lawyers to re-calculate the amount. Want to know how many fathers don't pay child support? read on...

Changes to the CSA

In November 2013 the CSA was replaced with the Child Maintenance Service, although the CSA is still in operation it is no longer taking on any new cases. New cases will be dealt with by the Child Maintance Service while exsiting cases will remain the responsibility of the CSA.

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]
Hi I adopted 2 children with my ex partner 4 years ago but we split last August. We were givin a adoption allowance to take these 2 children on in region of 750 a month. Which was both means tested on both are incomes. My ex asked if she could keep the full allowance she would not ask me for maintenance. We have alternative weekends and I have them one night thru week every week. She went back on her word an went to csa . Csa first said we will not take that allowance into account an said I have to pay 80 a week. Find it so unfair that is not took into account as this payment was given to provide a better life for kids. But now she has full allowance plus my payments each week . After some advice basically. Local council have said they will not intervene as it is a personal matter
Jw81 - 16-Jul-18 @ 9:32 PM
Spally - Your Question:
Im a separated dad who has paid csa payments up until last year. I have my children every weekrnd with out fail. I'm in a huge predicament with the CSA. I lost my job over a year ago and had a mental break down. I told the CSA this and my new partner supported me back.into self employment. Again I told the csa this but they still based my payments on me earning 25k a year, but I wasn't being self employed. They asked for a projection of earnings, which I provided. They wouldn't accept the accounts letter. Which I had paid £50 for. Then they asked for my tax return that I sent in April this year. Inbetween all of this I paid what I could when I could to the csa. They then sent threatening letters to my care of address at my sisters as I live in a caravan as can't afford another house. She then asked for me not to use that address. I informed the csa of this and because I no longer have an address they have let the money rack up and won't accept my last year's tax return or adjust the.amount I need to pay. Thus they now said they are taking me to court. All because I can't provide them with an address. I'm wanting to pay maintaince. But can't possibly afford the 101.00 per week they are after when I only earn 130.00. Help!

Our Response:
CMS base payments on the amount earned from the previous year via HMRC records. This means the following year your payments would go down to reflect the previous year's non-earnings. Unfortunately, there is little I can say to help given CMS has taken the matter to court. The main thing was to keep communicating with CMS in order to try to resolve the matter. Going AWL by not having an address where CMS could contact you may have lead to CMS assuming you were ignoring any letters and trying to avoid payment. If you ignore reminders, then court is the remaining option. The magistrates’ court may decide not to make an order if you seem to be co-operating with the CSA or CMS. So, if you can contact CMS to try to resolve any issues you have, this may help. You can see more via the link here. As Citizens Advice states, if you can, you can make a suitable repayment offer to avoid court action at any time.
SeparatedDads - 10-Jul-18 @ 1:54 PM
Im a separated dad who has paid csa payments up until last year. I have my children every weekrnd with out fail. I'm in a huge predicament with the CSA. I lost my job over a year ago and had a mental break down. I told the CSA this and my new partner supported me back.into self employment. Again I told the csa this but they still based my payments on me earning 25k a year, but I wasn't being self employed. They asked for a projection of earnings, which I provided. They wouldn't accept the accounts letter. Which i had paid £50 for. Then they asked for my tax return that I sent in April this year. Inbetween all of this I paid what I could when i could to the csa. They then sent threatening letters to my care of address at my sisters as I live in a caravan as can't afford another house. She then asked for me not to use that address. I informed the csa of this and because I no longer have an address they have let the money rack up and won't accept my last year's tax return or adjust the.amount I need to pay. Thus they now said they are taking me to court. All because I can't provide them with an address. I'mwanting to pay maintaince. But can't possibly afford the 101.00 per week they are after when I only earn 130.00. Help!
Spally - 6-Jul-18 @ 12:18 PM
Queensman - Your Question:
Been paying 5 years now over 20000 my daughter is 18 at work place getting 30 to 50 pound a week were do I stand on payments and do I drop her money

Our Response:
Unless your daughter has left full-time education and is working i.e earning her money through an apprenticeship, then you would have to keep paying. If your daughter is in full-time education still and earning money via part-time work, then you would continue to pay child maintenance until your daughter left full-time education.
SeparatedDads - 25-Jun-18 @ 3:24 PM
Been paying 5 years now over 20000 my daughter is 18 at work place getting 30 to 50 pound a weekwere do I stand on payments and do I drop her money
Queensman - 23-Jun-18 @ 10:21 AM
Haro - Your Question:
I spilt with my son's mum 7 years ago and he's lived with me since. I set to a solicitor and at the time she wasnt working so we worked together and with advice of the solicitor I agreed to give her 50 a month as he stayed with her3 nights a week. Since them over the years the amount she says she needs to.help look after him has grown to 80 a month but she only see's him for a few hours three times a week and now never ( well unless she's away with her bf and daughters when her mum has him a night or two) sleeps there. I am kind of thinking this is becoming unfair. Mainly.on him but also on me. Not sure what to do though.

Our Response:
Which of you receives child benefit for your child? If you receive child benefit, then you would not have to pay any child maintenance as you are seen as the primary carer of your child. If your ex is earning, you could claim child maintenance from her (if you receive child benefit).
SeparatedDads - 18-Jun-18 @ 12:37 PM
Jayeyedee - Your Question:
I’m just wondering if ther Are there any other fathers out there who despite having shared care or equal access to their children but still have to pay child maintenance, if so this may be of interest.Since my son was 13 he has split his time equally with both his parents. However his mother still maintained her claim with the CMS and refused to come to a more balanced arrangement given the new circumstances. Originally the CMS stated that as my sons mother had a child benefit claim in place and in their eyes that entitled her to maintain a CM claim. I objected to this and challenged the legality of their decision as it is my understanding that CB is now income related and CM are not allowed to base their decisions on factors associated to income, and if necessary I would argue that point in court as a test case. After much discussion, deliberation and refusal to accept the unfair situation to uphold her claim I’m glad to say that the CMS Have come to the decision that both patents are equal and provide equal care and have now finally rejected my sons mothers claim for CM and written off the past 2.5 years of alleged arrears that accrued while arguing the case. I don’t know if anyone else has found themselves in a similar situation I just hope the information might be of help to someone.

Our Response:
Many thanks for sharing this with us. If both parents are earning and sharing care of the children, then just because one claim child benefit then this should not mean that that person is deemed the primary carer. Hopefully, this will be increasingly recognised.
SeparatedDads - 18-Jun-18 @ 9:57 AM
I’m just wondering if ther Are there any other fathers out there who despite having shared care or equal access to their children but still have to pay child maintenance, if so this may be of interest. Since my son was 13 he has split his time equally with both his parents . However his mother still maintained her claim with the CMS and refused to come to a more balanced arrangement given thenew circumstances.Originally the CMS stated that as my sons mother had a child benefit claim in place and in their eyes that entitled her to maintaina CM claim . I objected to this and challenged the legality of their decision as it is my understanding that CB is now income related and CM are not allowed to base their decisions on factors associated to income, and if necessary I would argue that point in court as a test case. After much discussion,deliberation and refusal to accept the unfair situationto uphold her claim I’m glad to say that the CMS Have come to the decision that both patents are equal and provide equal careand have now finally rejected my sons mothers claim for CM and written off the past 2.5 years of alleged arrears that accrued while arguing the case. I don’t know if anyone else has found themselves in a similar situation I just hope the information might be of help to someone .
Jayeyedee - 17-Jun-18 @ 12:01 AM
I spilt with my son's mum 7 years ago and he's lived with me since. I set to a solicitor and at the time she wasnt working so we worked together and with advice of the solicitor I agreed to give her 50 a month as he stayed with her3 nights a week. Since them over the years the amount she says she needs to.help look after him has grown to 80 a month but she only see's him for a few hours three times a week and now never ( well unless she's away with her bf and daughters when her mum has him a night or two) sleeps there. I am kind of thinking this is becoming unfair. Mainly.on him but also on me. Not sure what to do though.
Haro - 16-Jun-18 @ 11:28 AM
My ex wife has stopped me bringing mytwo girls to stay with .e every fortnight I have to travel200miles to see them forsix.Hours then travel back she now wants more maintenance moneycan claim anything with all his travelling costing me money I sometimes have to book a hotel night before
Johno - 25-May-18 @ 1:16 PM
Debs - Your Question:
After advice for my brother he has been paying arrears on csa for the past 4 years and he has really struggled the money comes direct from salary both children are over the age and of 18, however he has recently contacted the csa and there is no record of the first 2 years payment what can he do

Our Response:
Your brother would have to prove he has paid the arrears via bank statements etc.
SeparatedDads - 5-Apr-18 @ 12:46 PM
After advice for my brother he has been paying arrears on csa for the past 4 years and he has really struggled the money comes direct from salary both children are over the age and of 18, however he has recently contacted the csa and there is no record of the first 2 years payment what can he do
Debs - 3-Apr-18 @ 10:23 PM
Sallyb75 - Your Question:
HiI have a friend after advice. His daughter is now 30 but he's paying £100 month to his ex wife for maintenance? Is this right apparently the Csa back when she was younger had some sort of order. Is this still enforceable?

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether this is a spousal maintenance order or a child maintenance order. If it is the latter, then it is highly unlikely your friend would still have to pay, unless he has had to pay backdated arrears. You can see more about spousal maintenance via the link here .
SeparatedDads - 29-Mar-18 @ 12:45 PM
Hi I have a friend after advice. His daughter is now 30 but he's paying£100 month to his ex wife for maintenance? Is this right apparently the Csa back when she was younger had some sort of order. Is this still enforceable?
Sallyb75 - 28-Mar-18 @ 10:45 PM
HRM - Your Question:
So my fella came to an agreement over email in regards to payments and allowed his daughter to be adopted by who his ex wife is currently with. She agreed that no more payments where to paid and the adoption would go through. The CSA recently slapped my partner with the back dated payments from June to March and also calculated his earnings from his tax code, they don’t take into account his basic earnings they have gone of his earnings with overtime on. We sent them proof of everything in regards to her not wanting payment and agreeing and all the emails back and forth as evidence. CMS said this has to come from the mother and now my partner has to pay 476 a month for a child he’s not allowed to see and a monthly income he doesn’t actually earn. He’s not looking at quitting his job and working bare minimium as he would be better off.

Our Response:
If your partner is in arrears, then regardless of whether his child has been adopted it is still considered money owing. His arrears will last until up to the time his child has been adopted. His ex may have allowed this in theory, but CMS will continue to collect the nine months of backdated money. His only option is to appeal/complain.
SeparatedDads - 26-Mar-18 @ 3:30 PM
So my fella came to an agreement over email in regards to payments and allowed his daughter to be adopted by who his ex wife is currently with. She agreed that no more payments where to paid and the adoption would go through. The CSA recently slapped my partner with the back dated payments from June to March and also calculated his earnings from his tax code, they don’t take into account his basic earnings they have gone of his earnings with overtime on. We sent them proof of everything in regards to her not wanting payment and agreeing and all the emails back and forth as evidence. CMS said this has to come from the mother and now my partner has to pay 476 a month for a child he’s not allowed to see and a monthly income he doesn’t actually earn. He’s not looking at quitting his job and working bare minimium as he would be better off.
HRM - 26-Mar-18 @ 12:12 AM
Optimum - Your Question:
Asking for advice - separated 2.5 years plus, have given minimum of 1k per month to wife with no written agreement - loosely agreed to cover mortgage and bills. Using CSA calculator that’s about double what they would ask for based on my current earnings. AmPlanning for divorce settlement and am wondering if she chose to ‘chase me’ via the csa as she believed I’d been underpaying her, would the csa take my previous payments into account - ie if I have been paying more than they would have expected me to would that reduce any future payments if they were to start setting them?

Our Response:
The CMS have a standard rate across the board based upon the amount of income tax you pay on your gross income. It would not expect you to pay more, even if you have paid more previously.
SeparatedDads - 22-Mar-18 @ 3:19 PM
Asking for advice - separated 2.5 years plus, have given minimum of 1k per month to wife with no written agreement - loosely agreed to cover mortgage and bills. Using CSA calculator that’s about double what they would ask for based on my current earnings. Am Planning for divorce settlement and am wondering if she chose to ‘chase me’ via the csa as she believed I’d been underpaying her, would the csa take my previous payments into account - ie if I have been paying more than they would have expected me to would that reduce any future payments if they were to start setting them?
Optimum - 20-Mar-18 @ 8:14 PM
Shylo77 - Your Question:
Hi I'm after some advice.M husband has a 19 year old daughter,hes never had contact with her,he only found she was his when she 11.The relationship between him and the girls mother isnt really that good.Anyway hes been paying maintenance I just want to know will he be inform when to stop paying or does he have to count on the mother to tell him.She finishes her college course this year.I'm worried because I know she won't tell him when to stop paying.Thankyoh

Our Response:
Child maintenance payments fall in line with child benefit payments. So when child benefit stops when the resident parent is no longer eligible to claim, then so will child maintenance payments. Please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 19-Mar-18 @ 2:40 PM
Hi I'm after some advice. M husband has a 19 year old daughter,hes never had contact with her,he only found she was his when she 11.The relationship between him and the girls mother isnt really that good.Anyway hes been paying maintenance I just want to know will he be inform when to stop paying or does he have to count on the mother to tell him. She finishes hercollege course this year. I'm worried because I know she won't tell him when to stop paying. Thankyoh
Shylo77 - 19-Mar-18 @ 11:30 AM
My son went to uni and CSA payments stopped in September but I have to support his loan as he does not get the full amount. Payments for my daughter still go to my ex-wife but recently changed from CSA to CMS. The amount has increased from £260 to £460, which is considerably more than when I was paying for both when both lived with their mother. Explanation - a new formula and because I can't prove my 16 year old daughter comes to me anymore despite a court order being in place. As a single parent there is no extra money. I have not had a pay rise since the crisis due to government cuts but have had it cut and now have to pay more pension too. I either pay up and fail to meet the mortgage and stop supporting my son or face a court. I am being assessed twice on the same income. Two wages go into the other home where the only child is my daughter. Soon there will be no home for my son to come back to. Any advice welcome.
B. Roke-now - 25-Feb-18 @ 11:25 PM
Agitta - Your Question:
HEY! Can someone help me? My husband's been paying child mantanace money to his ex for 7 years. We thinking to move abroad but it will mean he won't have a job for a while till he finds one. Obviously, he will let CSA know, but when he will find a job again will they ask him to pay back dated? I think they can ask to pay for those, who has a job,but missed payments or didn't pay at all,not in case of been unemployed for a while? Thanks! !

Our Response:
If your husband does not have a taxable income, then he would not have to pay child maintenance. However, how CSA/CMS administers this is beyond our remit to answer and the information of how child maintenance is worked out covering this period is best sought directly.
SeparatedDads - 19-Feb-18 @ 11:27 AM
HEY! Can someone help me? My husband's been paying child mantanace money to his ex for 7 years. We thinking to move abroad but it will mean he won't have a job for a while till he finds one. Obviously, he will let CSA know, but when he will find a job again will they ask him to pay back dated? I think they can ask to pay for those, who has a job,but missed payments or didn't pay at all,not in case of been unemployed for a while? Thanks! !
Agitta - 18-Feb-18 @ 4:21 PM
Lynda- Your Question:
So my partner has just had a letter through from the csa as his ex partner diddnt think she was getting the correct amount of money we have never had any issues for last five years as we have always paid her we have re calculated it and per month we where 5 pounds out only thing is we are now in January 18 and this is going of his current tax year which is a lot higher then the one come march?? Once his new p60 comes out do the csa take another look and re calculate how much we should be paying or will they not review it for another year?

Our Response:
As a rule, every year the CMS looks at the paying parent’s income, benefits and other circumstances. This helps us to work out if the amount of child maintenance they pay for the next 12 months should stay the same, or if it should go up or down, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 19-Jan-18 @ 11:25 AM
So my partner has just had a letter through from the csa as his ex partner diddnt think she was getting the correct amount of money we have never had any issues for last five years as we have always paid her we have re calculated it and per month we where 5 pounds out only thing is we are now in January 18 and this is going of his current tax year which is a lot higher then the one come march?? Once his new p60 comes out do the csa take another look and re calculate how much we should be paying or will they not review it for another year?
Lynda - 18-Jan-18 @ 8:32 AM
Diane21 - Your Question:
Hello, looking for some help. my partner is going from being employed to self employed and not sure how this effects child maintenance we have his daughter 50/50 however he still had to pay 159 per month. during the first few months we aren't going to know what he will be earning and things will be very tight while he is starting up. will csm take this in to account? Thanks in advance

Our Response:
You would have to speak to CMS directly regarding this, please see link here . If CMS uses a gross income figure that has been given to HMRC to work out child maintenance, this figure must go up or down by at least 25 per cent for CMS to look again at child maintenance payments.
SeparatedDads - 28-Nov-17 @ 2:14 PM
Hello, looking for some help.. my partner is going from being employed to self employed and not sure how this effects child maintenance we have his daughter 50/50 however he still had to pay 159 per month.. during the first few months we aren't going to know what he will be earning and things will be very tight while he is starting up.. will csm take this in to account? Thanks in advance
Diane21 - 27-Nov-17 @ 8:15 PM
Can anyone help? My partner has a child with his ex wife and we pay 150 a month which goes directly from my partners wage and directly to child's mother as agreed on by all of us. The problem we've got is that his work are still paying the money straight from his wages as per the csa instructions and are saying they've not been told to stop. Csa are saying they've stopped it their end. The money is still being paid SOMEWHERE. we don't have it. It's not been paid to his daughters mum and csa say they don't have it either. His ex is now missing 2 months money and we're doing everything we can 2 try and stop any more payments so we can pay her directly instead. Nothing seems to be happening and nobody can help us get her money back! She's now 300 short and it's so unfair! We want her to have her payments is there anything else we can do???
Ash - 22-Nov-17 @ 12:18 PM
1988 - Your Question:
Can we do amything if we cant afford tp pay thy want 130 a month for a 16 year old my partners never met after his ex ran off woth his best friend while pregnant we have 4 kids under 10 2 are 8m old were s scraping by now this

Our Response:
Regardless of whether your partner has met his child or not, if he is the father and therefore deemed financially responsible, there is little he can do. However, other children should be taken into consideration when CMS assesses what a non-resident parent should pay, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 17-Nov-17 @ 11:39 AM
can we do amything if we cant afford tp pay thy want 130 a month for a 16 year old my partners never met after his ex ran off woth his best friend while pregnant we have 4 kids under 10 2 are 8m old were s scraping by now this
1988 - 16-Nov-17 @ 7:29 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