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.
It should be a crime to make people pay CM when 8 times out of 10 it isn't spent on the child.
wicket6 - 7-Sep-23 @ 4:21 PM
I lost my job back at the start of January and was out of work for a month, I’ve paid this months money upfront but my daughters mum is asking for Januarys money too. I have started paying that back but she keeps demanding it right away even tho I have gave her part of last months and all of this months.
I just want to know if it’s obliged that I pay last months back out of interest. I obviously don’t mind as the money helps with the day to day care of our daughter.
Mike - 24-Feb-23 @ 10:00 AM
@Armed forces,( im at the stage now where I dont want to ever meet this kid ).I have grieved hurt and buried this kid and moved on .(I will not go back) life is to short to be dwelling on the past and the past wasn't that good in the first place .(now I look after number one ).you will get to this stage its the best stage they have (zero leverage) because they have nothing you want .I call this the (bliss stage ).
Rambo - 26-Sep-22 @ 11:08 PM
@armed forces, im sorry to hear this .(dont let it get you down )all us guys go though it when you spit up and have kids .(I myself went though that phase )I was even thinking off going to court for full custody and if you knew me you would off (laughed) like the people around me did .put I genuinely did want a relationship with my daughter but I have (realised and come to terms with the fact that's never going to happen).it gets better with (time mate ).keep yourself busy stay positive dont dwell on something that's completely out off your control. (I dont know if this is right but for myself I buried my daughter many years ago the same way I buried my father ).it's easier that way now im completely over it .and my life has improved I hope this helps.
Rambo - 26-Sep-22 @ 10:48 PM
I have not been able to have contact with my 2 children for 4 years now now aged 14 and 16. I tried going down the legal route, However she has poisoned the children to the point where when asked they have said they do not want anything to do with me. My ex wife has told me they don't even call me dad anymore. the surnames have been changed so that i have no association with them. I love and think about my children every single day. This has left me heartbroken. I have always looked after my children and have continued to pay for them every month. Up to now I have given her over £19000.00 in 4 years yet i have not even had the opportunity to even get a school photo? I bought them phones, she took the sim cards out? what can i do???
armed forces vet 69 - 26-Sep-22 @ 5:24 PM
My daughter has been paying / still paying her ex for her daughter who is actually in full time work and has been on/off for at least the last year. Granddaughter will be 20 in December.Why don't the payments stop. My daughter is in a low paid job and can barely afford her rent. Her ex has also fraudulently over claimed child benefit. She is on good terms with her daughter but she is reluctant to say anything against her father
Babs - 28-Jul-22 @ 3:01 PM
Hi have recently been told that I need to up my monthly payments from 426 too 454 a month , im currently already struggling to make these figures , plus I do a lot extra than is down im on the basic rate , for example in the last month I have had my children for 13 nights and 15 days that is nearly half of the the month but im down as 1 to 2 nights a week , I constantly get hassle from mum to cover this date that date do this do that , I don't mind sometimes but its quite regular,I also have to spend 500 a month on fuel just to get to and from my works , should child maintenace be taking this into account as when I get paid 500 pounds of that money Is really never there as its got to be used on fuel , can someone help with this or do I just need to get a job closer to home where potentially I would earn 8k a year less maybe more, im happy with paying the 426 but with all the extras I do and fuel in to consideration I feel like csa is a load bollox by tarnishing everybody with the same brush when there is actually a lot of good dads out there but unfortunatelymums who no they can play this crap system.LoG
No.1dad - 30-Jun-21 @ 9:21 PM
Hi all, I have been paying maintenance through CSA for my 2 children. I have recently been told through my daughter and my ex wife that my daughter got expelled from college (therefore no longer in FT education) I contacted CSA to report this change. I was asked to provide evidence - which I obviously don’t have due to these being verbal conversations. CSA then rang my ex wife who has told them my daughter is still in education - a bare faced lie. Can anyone please help me on what to do?
Mark - 20-Apr-21 @ 11:37 AM
I’ve recently just started paying child maintenance using direct pay. At this moment in time my payments are in credit (paid more than agreed). CMS seem unhappy regarding this as the payments aren’t on a set date. Do they need to be on a set date or can I just pay and ensure the payments are in credit as and when I can afford the payments at any random dates?
Topher - 10-Mar-21 @ 3:37 PM
What information can the CSA ask your employer? Is it restricted to topics of earnings, salary, hours, tax, bank accounts etc., or can they inquire about anything and the employer has to comply?
Chocb33 - 18-Dec-20 @ 8:49 PM
My ex has gone to CSA they are asking for 280 per month 2 children 1 chid is in full time respite but apparently I still have to pay for her I only earn 1600 a month after tax after my rent and bills I will have 40 pound a week for food and clothes I just don’t know what to do ??
Smithy - 16-Nov-20 @ 12:14 PM
My wife and I have separated and living in different houses and waiting for the divorce to go through. We did agree a 50/50 split with our 14 year old son, but since the split he’s wanted to live with me. So we’ve agreed he stays with me in the week and my wife has him at weekends for 2 nights and 1 night on alternate weekends. My wife is asking for the maintenance payments still to be made based on the 50/50 split. Do I still have to pay the maintenance as I’m now the main career and she’s still receiving the child allowance and family tax credit..?
Nelly - 1-Nov-20 @ 12:20 PM
Step daughter is doing level 2
Collage 4 days aweek. Does her dad still have to pay maintenance.
Twigg - 7-Sep-20 @ 4:46 PM
My ex is threatening to go to csa for my son who is 9. Since he was born I have not worked. I met my new partner 5 years ago and was diagnosed with brain cancer just over two years ago. I have had three major brain ops and radiotherapy plus a permanent shuntfitted. I still have some of the tumour left and am waiting on mri to find out ifand how much it is growing/how fast. I can’t drive as not allowed to for three years after last operation. I do not get any benefits such as PIP as can get myself up, washed and dressed and prepare a simple meal whilst my partner is at work. How do I complete an assessment so my ex stops threatening me to show her that I don’t have the means to pay. We do have my son with us every holiday and buy clothes unform etc My partner does all the driving to pick him up and drop him off so doing what she can
Dan - 6-Aug-20 @ 3:12 PM
My daughter is 22 and was working before we divorced with her mother, now she went back to college, my ex wife got 1.2 million of my pension funds, she bought a car for the daughter without telling me, now I'm expected to pay half of it, she is renting an expensive place and I must pay for half of the rent, when I started payingmaintenance I started with R2000, and R1800 for school every month now it's 10000 every month I couldn't afford it and went to court but my case was dismissed, now she is garnishing my salary, I feel like killing myself cause the law doesn't help us as men,
K2 - 22-Jul-20 @ 8:44 AM
our situation is the same, my husband however pays £83 per week. I his wife don't have a job as we have 4 small children 2 which don't start school for another year. We've been paying for the child he never is aloud to see for 10 years now.
My husband got a better job, they took double! So my advice don't work yourself down it's not worth it. Csa only class as having 3 kids and not 4.
I have simple now stated to my husband he quit I work. Then he hasn't got money to pay her, and my wages can't be taken. Have a think.
K. - 14-Jul-20 @ 12:20 PM
I've been paying child support for years my kid is 18 and has been on a college course since August 2019 which finished due to covid 19 , he was working in a superstore part time supposedly but earning over £1300 per month which I see is not part time but no one speaks to me and I'm still paying CSA what should I do
Wullie - 25-May-20 @ 2:10 PM
@bones.yeah I am single Mama I have 10 children with 10 different fathers because I’m a free spirt and they all pay child support because they are (real men )that don’t complain about the Coronavirus and go to work everyday .so take a leaf from there tree you dole bludger .
Kylie - 30-Mar-20 @ 10:45 PM
I've recently been laid off due to coronavirus. I can't afford the full payment of csa but I could afford half until the virus is manageable and I'm able to go back to work. I've been told by my boss that it could take upto 2 months before the government sorts out the back pay so until then I have no money. What can I do?
Bones - 30-Mar-20 @ 11:15 AM
My granddaughter is now 18 and as far as we know is not attending the college she's supposed to be doing her Further Education at... Why can't my son STOP paying the CSA....due to data protection the college won't tell us if she attends or not and my granddaughter won't reply to messages sent to her
Where the hell does my son stand with this
Ir8gran - 31-Jan-20 @ 4:17 PM
I pay child maintenance for my 2 children with my ex wife. We do not see eye to eye and therefore do not communicate. She has been convicted of fraud and therefore do not trust a word she says.
My questions are -
when do i stop paying csa?
Do CSA do any background checks to make sure that the Child/children over 16 are working,incase the parent receiving the money does not declare it?
My concern is due to my ex wife's conviction i do not feel she will declare they are working, any help would be appreciated.
turk - 22-Jan-20 @ 1:55 PM
My wageslip includes salary and payments for a mileage allowance.The CMA are including this milaeage allowance as income is this correct
gaylle - 13-Sep-19 @ 1:41 PM
I’ve recently been told to pay for my kids which I don’t have a problem with but they want a third of my money I only get 300 a week & my rent is £150 which doesn’t leave a lot for petrol for work about £30 a weekwhich means I have no money for food or billsand I don’t know what to do. I’ve offered my ex £45 a week but she wants the £90 csa wantsAlso I’ve just had to go bankrupt & I have no assets. Plus I have are 19 year old boy living with me he has adhd & epilepsy plus hyper mobility syndrome so finds it hard to get work so I’m surpporting with no extra money.
Jay - 29-Aug-19 @ 7:23 PM
Been paying csa for almost two years now, got an attachment of earnings, £31.12 weekly was agreed.. For the past year my boss has been taking upto three times the amount, sometimes more than half my wages.. Without any consent from me whatsoever, I have payslips going back to 2017.. I am over a thousand pounds out of pocket because my boss think it's OK to give my wages away.. Would appreciate any advice you can give. Thank you.
Rik - 25-May-19 @ 9:21 PM
I have issues with child maintenance but my main one is that I simply can’t afford the payments. I have 3 kids at home and I pay maintenance for a son from a previous relationship. He’s 10 now and his mother won’t even let me see him, I have been to court so many times I’ve lost count and to be honest I’ve just given up it’s been affecting my relationship with the kids in front of me every day. I’m asked to pay £53.41p a week and I swear the money leaves me and my partner financially crippled we’re not big earners and we’ve a lot of money going out. It’s got to the point now where I’m considering leaving work and signing in the bru as I feel we’d be better off. Can the child maintenance service be reasoned with? My money situation is starting to effect me mentally. My relationship is suffering and I’m not sure how much longer we can hold things together. My partner is resentful of the money we have to give my ex. I know I have to pay for him and I’m happy to do so but the way the payments are worked out are so Unfair. Is there anything I can do?
SCB - 12-May-19 @ 5:05 PM
@steve101.your men after my own heart (I don’t want give her mother money at all ).i would give my daughter money direct or for school cloths books pay for driving lessons in future or even help with her first purchase off a car at 16 .so she can be independent and travel around and be safe without relying on anyone .
Bob - 2-Mar-19 @ 12:05 AM
Looking for some help what exactly is further education class as? My daughter is turning 16 and going to college, i don't not want to pay for my kid but am getting robbed as it is from her mother and know she hardly receiving any of the money i am paying.
I would rather give my daughter the money,
Says i can stop payments unless she goes into further education so again what exactly is this?
Steve 101 - 1-Mar-19 @ 10:45 PM
Hi I’ve been paying child maintenance for my son for 4 years now,he is 19 and agreed to pay child maintenance up until my son is 21 providing he is in full time education,I pay the maintenance straight into her back account(I have no contact with my son or my ex),I havebeen informed that my son is working with my ex’s new partner,I have told my solicitor this and she says she has written several letters to my ex asking her to provideevidence/informationthat my son is in full time education,she has/will not reply.Any ideas what I should do next,I feel I’m being used not only by my ex and son but also by my solicitor ??
Rick - 19-Nov-18 @ 11:32 AM
I have been paying maintenance voluntarily for 5 years now my daughter is 18 and has left College unfortunately she has failed her mouth andEnglish.
My ex partner out of the blue contacted me and told me that she's back in college doing her math and English and she's doing a Level 3. But she has not provided me with any proof of her level 3. The way I understand it 12 hours more in college warrants a full-time course so math and English is not considered as full-time.
I have two questions first one is can the college refuse me information about my daughter attendance and my ex partner does she have to give me proof that our child is in fulltimeeducation.
Trev - 17-Nov-18 @ 8:45 AM
Hi needing advice please, my son lived with me from October last year until the end of May and went back to live with his mother right away she started claiming child maintenance which was fine. At the beginning of September she chucked our 13 year old out againto live with me and my wife so you would think that child maintenance would stop but know they keep taking money from me and arrears from when he lived with me as she was in receipt of child benefit and still is. I contacted child benefit and put in an application forum in this can take 8 weeksbut child maintenance is Still taking 466.00 every 4 weeks of us and it's left us completely skint. I have issued evidence to child maintenance of his new school as we live in a different district but this is not good enough it's only child benefit they can accept. It's so unfair we are so skint and it's not benefiting the children at all I have 10.00 left until I get paid in 5 days but will be skint again after bills and 466 to her. Please any advice would be great