Child Maintenance Overpayment

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  • #23705 Report


    I have being paying child maintenance by direct pay of £450 a month. Big child is 20 years in June 2019. Have no contact with mother or child. Called up CMS early April 2019 and inquired if big child was still currently legally eligible for child payments as did not think child would be doing A levels at 19 years old.  Was meant to make payment early April 2019 and withheld until CMS got back to me. CMS called me yesterday and demanded payment as mother has not received April payment. I inquired if big child was eligible for payment – seems nothing was done by CMS about by previous call.  Anyway CMS called mother and inquired what big child was doing at the moment. Mother told big child has been going to university since 2017. Therefore I have overpaid over 8K in child maintenance. Question is what are my chances of getting this money back? has anyone been successful in claiming back money. As I state I have zero contact with child or mother.

    #23712 Report


    I have overpaid for one child. Will claim the 8k back.

    #42979 Report


    I have also overpaid maintenance for my daughter who is 20 years of age on September 12th. Apparently I received a letter from the CMS on the 8th January 2020 informing me that from 1st September 2019 she was no longer in Full-Time Education. I have no contact with either my Ex partner nor my daughter.

    Firstly I did not receive the above mentioned letter so I have continued paying up until August 2020. To me it appears she has been guilty of fraudulently taking approximately £2500 from my bank account.

    I finally managed to speak to somebody at CMS on Friday. She kindly informed me that I had overpaid my Child Maintenance and then sent me the letter that I should have received on the 8th of January 2020. This however does not get me the overpayment money back.

    I have been very accommodating with the CMS. They were very quick to inform me when I was slightly behind with my payments a few years back and I apologised and made up the shortfall straight away. My Ex has clearly shown no intention of letting me know I should have stopped paying (No Surprise There!).

    The CMS told me they would inform her that I had overpaid so I shall await the outcome of their action. In my opinion the situation should work both ways in these unfortunate circumstances, I feel I have paid my dues and now I am hoping that she has the same moralistic values as myself…hmmmm.

    #42990 Report


    In theory you should have the money back but i wouldn’t hold out much hope the cms are useless at collecting arrears i can’t imagine they will do any better at collecting an over payment.  If they take it directly out of your pay you might have a better chance because they have been collecting money when they had no right to so might be something you can do legally, or maybe you can take your ex to small claims court.

    #45096 Report


    I have just recently taken my ex to the small claims court to recover my over payment of child maintenance, is was a waste of time trying to get the cms to do it they were not interested. in fact they are about as useful as a chocolate teapot, they act as an agent for the woman to get money but when you over pay they don’t want to know. I have the proof to show I have over paid so watch this space to see if I get some money back…..

    #48833 Report

    Mercury Dad

    cmsuseless – I am in a similar situation and the CMS is all one way ie they take it and don’t give it back even when you know they have overcharged you

    Can I ask – How did you get on with the small claims action?

    Yours is the most recent post i can find re this, shameful isnt it how the search results rarelt deal with over payments, its almost like we are expected to gift this


    #48857 Report



    Is your CMS case closed? If your still paying maintenance then CMS would offset your payments against how much you overpaid.

    #48905 Report

    Mercury Dad

    Hi, i am currently unemployed, bit hard as a management professional but my wife and i have planned for this period and will be comfortable for a bit, in my final year too as ends in August, at the very least i will never have to pay another penny in maintenance but that’s not the point here

    Spoke to someone on Friday who said its not their problem, i need to ask my ex for it back,  tried telling me if it was Collect and Pay then they’d have to refund me but as i had no issues with payments they couldn’t help

    I went off like a rocket on him, he was totally out of touch and i threw CMO bias at him too

    I’m normally very polite but like i told him i pay £amount because he/they tell me to OR ELSE, i simply cant refuse, then an English court of law agrees and 5 months later CMO apply the credit but don’t refund it after 3 months of phone calls, there is no arrears or other accounts etc etc or any other stall tactics they can use, also quoted Mims Davies MP from January 2020:

    This gave him pause as he didn’t know what to do next, i said don’t be put out as i’ve yet to speak with anyone that has actually refunded a NRP!

    As i said to him this isn’t right, they control this and cant act without consequence, telling me to ask my ex was laughable at best

    So i’ve taken my own advice and gone on an email rampage:

    • I want all my notes from the last 12 months – takes them 30 days and yes they will be sanitized by them they told me
    • Written to my MP
    • Complained to the CMO that i haven’t had an outcome from the complaint raised in November
    • Claimed compensation for blatant maladministration

    My contact strategy will now be 1 call followed by an email

    So we shall see i guess…i predict another 6 months of nothing from them





    #54243 Report

    Angry dad

    Hi Mercury Dad,

    Your post resonates with me.

    Any luck or response?

    Similar situation. I had my daughters 3 out of 7 nights so paid 434 a month (they included 13k benefit in kind from a company car I proved that I did jot have (hmrc letter and employer letter yet as it wasn’t 25% less than the previous tax year this amount of error if fine!) Then won 50:50 custody. Girls registered at my address for school and one for child benefit. Asked to stop payments. They said no. Appealed. Lost. Mandatory reconsideration went by and after (hundreds of messages phonecalls on hold) lost that too. Was never interviewed once. Ex lied and said she was main carer  – Her address for school and had both child benefits (even though I uploaded shared care order, letters from school showing my address was the only ine on file and child benefit proving one went to me).

    Went to a tribunal and won. Tribunal said as soon as I won 50:50 care in Jan 2020 there should not have been any paying parent.  Have messaged 20 times and spoken to 7 case workers, spent 4 hours on hold, and still 2 months later I have not had one phonecall and no messages to 20 complaint messages over past 8 weeks.

    I have never come across such an awful company with such badly trained staff.


    Any idea on what my best course of action is?


    Thanks guys

    #54248 Report

    Mercury Dad

    Feel for you Angry Dad

    The issue is one of cultural bias i’m afraid, mother speaks the truth is their thought process regardless of the situation you present factually and backed up on paper, supported by the courts etc. You may have won but are powerless to enforce said decision(s).

    So anyways since my post i have had a few more chats based around the following:

    *How do i sue her when you have provided me with NOTHING to support this idea? Finance team to send me a statement of account showing the credit overpayment, 6 weeks timescale, 4 weeks into it and i’m not holding my breath. I’ve been to court and they love documentation, in any case its only part of this mess, CMO insisted i pay as NRP with threat of penalties applied so why do i now have to chase her for this, why cant they do it? Answer is that they have NO POWERS OF ENFORCEMENT OVER THE PWC TO COLLECT MONIES OVERPAID IN ERROR…let that sink in for a minute…longer…yep that’s the answer they give, they can only collect from the NRP

    *He quoted the Child Protection Act at me, to which i replied yes i have read it too and it doesn’t cover the most important person in the relationship, the adult and how they will care and provide for the child, while battling adversity at every turn, he didn’t know how to take that so i suggested he read my notes and get caught up, which he did, then became apologetic, then frustrated, then admitted he couldn’t do anything but ask finance to send me a statement. Mental Health of the NRP clearly isn’t a concern at CMO. I said its a game to them at CMO pressing the TAKE MONEY button and he said no they were real people concerned with helping families…the rest of the argument he clearly lost to me

    *MP Office got a reply after 3 attempts, the CMO have replied and have asked i provide evidence that i have made the maintenance payments to her, from May of 2018 to present, no next steps hinted at either so i suspect yet another stall from someone who doesnt even leave notes on my case to say its being looked at by my MP. Ludicrous and i’m still yet to reply as so dispirited, its laughable that any ex would go without making a complaint this long

    *The 20% PENALTY, SOCIAL STIGMA, DEADBEAT DAD labeling, I asked why is the ‘risk’ of their mistake in calculation not highlighted when they present payment options and how they have NO DUTY or OBLIGATION to return any over payment regardless of the situation, indeed why does EVERY other CMO letter say ‘…good news, your paying direct so saving 20%…’ its shocking that its sold as a negative label instead of, as i see it now, assurance of correction for the errors they will surely make.

    *Freedom of Information Data request so i can see what you have on me, other than its amazing how many times they have contacted my employer, i have nearly 2 inches of documents stating nothing of value. There is a note from February of this year where the lady I spoke with took ownership and cited policy here in support of this. She had neither met, spoken with, stumbled across anyone else at CMO that has refunded a NRP so was also curious as to why i had not been payed back, especially after the legal decision at court. Her note is there…and then after that everything for seven pages is REDACTED…they have blanked out who/where/why/what/when leaving me no avenue to pursue, again very dispiriting. Says I’ve done everything right by them and the policies they follow but too bad for me

    So i remain 7 months unemployed, my ‘liability ‘ closes 1 September should my youngest go on to university, not that i will be told so i’m watching the dates closely as you might imagine so they don’t ‘forget’ to ask.

    The lessons here are at the beginning, when you get ‘set up’ with an account, now there’s irony for you.

    I read a book online last year about a guy (The 12 Month Millionaire <span class=”by” style=”font-family: Merriweather, Georgia, serif;”>by</span><span style=”color: #181818; font-family: Lato, ‘Helvetica Neue’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;”> </span>Vincent James) that was jailed by what he called corrupt government and the CMO system is no different, to me its just theft now and has nothing to do with fairness or entitlement. Vince James states’…the punishment is in the process…’ and he isn’t kidding there, that’s exactly how i feel.

    So what to do??

    I have decided to tell everyone i meet this story, forewarned is forearmed, when the matter comes up

    When splitting up with children, agree not to involve the CMO, pay up, pay on time and help where you can. Yes it will be difficult especially when others come into your lives, both of you, because people at their heart, like to take from others be it your belief’s, children or money

    Should you have grounds to disagree with the figure, offer to pay the extra 20% to insure yourself and ask why they haven’t presented this to you as an option, until the matter is resolved, then ask to drop back to normal payments, watch them panic at that. Get a solicitor involved in the matter from your side, again its a different proposition for them dealing with a real legal professional as after all they are just contact center staff and know little

    Ask them to evidence everything they base their decisions on, like how do they know what you earn, how often the kids stay etc etc, you’ll be surprised

    Earn more than all this trouble is worth, then you don’t have to worry about it

    Earn nothing, like i am, its been quite refreshing tbh although it has taken some planning

    Be mindful of the 25% change rule, if it isn’t working for you drop your hours and start over to protect your income. Furlough didn’t work for NRP’s as was only a 20% drop. You have to drop a day and a half, submit a wage slip, then up your hours by 20%. Its a pain but remains the only way open to you to manage this number, other than unemployment

    Start your own business but not as a SOLE TRADER as they can take it all from you, plenty of small scale ideas you can do out there if you apply yourself, register as a LTD company so your car and expenses are outside your earnings, salary is also under your control, again plenty of info out there, personally i wish i had done this years ago but i was ill so unable to do anything like it.
    <h2 id=”bookSeries” style=”margin: 4px 0px; color: #382110; font-weight: normal; font-family: Merriweather, Georgia, serif;”></h2>
    Remember they can only take the maximum allowable from you, nothing else regardless of how much they dislike you

    I could go on ages more as im really on my soapbox about these people, they help no one and punish those already punished from being separated from they’re child

    Based on the above experience i have decided i will respond to the MP query for evidence of payment but will do nothing further, i’m beaten and drained by it all and as i am at the end i just cant wait for closure and they can go fk themselves

    All the best

    #54278 Report

    Angry dad



    Thank you for your message. Lots of useful advice in their so I appreciate it.

    Completely agree with all your comments. I was told yesterday by a case worker that my case should be closed but they can’t find the tribunal decision and don’t think they had it.

    The good thing is that they have said I shouldn’t pay her any more paymwnts (at last) and I just need to be patient with them and was I aware that there was no need to call as I could use their online portal.

    I sadi yes…I have tried. Can you see how many complaint messages I have left 9ver past 2 months with NO RESPONSE. To this they said this wasn’t right and a fair reflection of how they operate (I almost choked on my coffee).

    Explained I had uploaded my letter with the judgement  2 months ago. Case worker told me she will now take on my case and will see this through. I explained I had been told this by 6 previous case workers over the past 2 months.


    She also said as paying direct I would have to wait for over payment statement and then ask my ex for the money back…at this I laughed as my ex has basically told me in no uncertain terms she was told by CMS that she was entitled to it and if I wanted to take her to court then do it but our daughters won’t like the fact daddy is taking their mummy to court! Unbelievable as I have never involved the children and told then anything about their mother having affairs/leaving them to go on holidays for 3 weekss with new fellas etc…. inhave shielded them.


    Basically I should have a phone call today. I advised I had 2 meetings today so could they call around those times and I was told no! Eventually they agreed to put the times I was available for a call.


    I have been told this twice previously and have never had a call back so will not waste my breath.


    She also said CMS would never pay me back.


    2 case workers have said though in the last few weeks that as a judge rules cms were wrong not the mothers fault and even though paying direct there is a department who would assess if CMS should pay or the mother.

    Case worker I spoke to yesterday said she has lots of experience and never heard of this…I said I wasn’t surprised as I doubt many fathers had the time to keep fighting CMS so probably didn’t happen often. I am lucky I have a flexible job. I feel for the guys who are not able to wait on hold for 40 mins before their call is answered.


    So yes so quick to take money from me when I had 50:50 shared care order, at my address for school registration, one child benefit so should never been a paying parent. Now a judge overturned them and was very critical of them and 2 months on notnone letter or phoncall and no way of complaining about this!


    It is suck a crazy system where the staff all seemed to be trained differently and its weighted so much in favour of the mother its bordering on unlawful..

    They act with complete impunity and are basically thieves.


    Best of luck with your case.


    #54279 Report

    Angry dad

    Hi. Hope you are well.

    Just seeing how the small claims court went as I probably will have to go down this route. Owed about 4k myself. Hope you won mate.

    #55198 Report

    Mercury Dad

    Hi Angry Dad

    It changes your perspective of ‘fair’ doesn’t it, so long as its being taken from you its considered fair and yes the staff are ridiculous, saying that’s not a fair reflection, been 20 years on and off for myself of poor service. Its just bias and they are trained that way, otherwise they would have NRP friendly policies.

    I’ve not been back in touch after my last call as taken a break, still need to reply to my MP as well

    As i said above i’m simply drained by it all, no one seems to care or willing to help, they literally just take money from you and that’s it.

    Just been on my account for the first time in a month and the additional payment i made 1 Nov 2020 still isn’t showing after me sending in the screenshot twice, at their request. Neither is my credit showing that i have accumulated.

    Will keep you posted as things develop but my feeling is i need to sue the CMO as they made the decision, not my ex

    #55199 Report


    I’ve been trying to get the CMS to see sense since 2019. They agreed to reduce my payments as I was still paying the mortgage on my ex’s house, but the reduction only covered about 20% of the mortgage’s cost. I complained, and am still waiting for a reply. My MP is involved too and they’re not replying to him either. The complaints procedure only allows you to escalate once they give you permission. So it’s in their interest never to reply to anything and, evidently, they don’t.

    When my ex and I finally got a financial settlement they told me I owed arrears, because of the previous reduction, but can’t explain why. I of course have no choice but to pay the extra anyway.

    My payments should actually have gone down. My eldest is now 18 and has left fulltime education. I sent the CMS a copy of the email from the school confirming this but that apparently doesn’t count. And as my ex has said my daughter is still going to school (a lie, I know she has a job now!) the CMS are taking my ex’s word over mine. This would seem to be them ignoring fraud.

    The CMS seem to be answerable to no one, impossible to complain to, and utterly biased against fathers. But there seems to be nothing anyone can do about it.

    #55201 Report

    Mercury Dad

    Hi Mjag

    The only way to force a change is to start over from my experience, if i hadn’t come out of work when i did i would in all probability still be paying over the odds over what the entitlement is. Admittedly i would be paying the 20% as i couldnt in good conscience pay unprotected now knowing there calculations are incorrect.

    I too have experienced the levy of an additional amount that cannot be explained to my satisfaction, they state it came from the CSA. My response is always HOW??? As i have paid through them for years so there are no arrears, no missed payments etc etc…all fell on deaf ears as they just place it there, i’ve told them i see it as an unfair tax on the NRP, they didn’t like that but how else to explain it.

    Id say that you are a classic case of needing a clean break as nothing you do will be good enough or counted favorably, but then i’m sure you have considered this and the emotional blackmail that goes with it. I’ve finally got out from under my ex, took 4 visits to court and 20 months since i got serious about ending it, her free loading on my name and mortgage with her 8 year husband, losers the pair of them in the end and all a waste of time and energy.

    As ive come to realise you will never be right, anywhere, as you are pre judged as a liar and a cheat or they got rid of you for being no good

    One things for sure, so long as money is linked to overnight stays this will never end, its too open ended for the CMO to take from the NRP and this is my biggest gripe, they act without conscience or care. and no i dont care about the families they help, this is about me and my family. This impacts on the PWC doing sums and dictating where they will live, how many nights you can see your child and being generally disruptive.

    Courts should be brought in to make decisions, not call handlers in a contact centre

    All the best



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