CMS arrears

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  • #35363 Report


    CMS has informed me that my ex partner has to start paying child maintenance in nine weeks. They also told me that it is up to him to pay the arrears leading up to the first payment. Everything has been set up within one week of my initial application, why does it take nine weeks for me to receive what my child is entitled to?

    #35373 Report


    I’m sorry you are experiencing this. It is really bad.

    I can only think it might be useful to see if there is a complaints process you can go through.

    I noticed that no one else yet responded to this thread, but it is so important.

    I wonder if Gingerbread itself has a campaign on this one. Speak to your member of parliament?

    So often I find that as a single parent I feel like some kind of alien species. Some organisations don’t seem to get the fact that as a single parent the buck stops with you – and that there isn’t necessarily another income coming in to your household and you have to manage.

    Just to offer my situation on child maintenance for the sake of comparison. I had applied for it under the old system and I felt ok with that as I knew that ex would HAVE to pay it and if not it would be chased up. Then the system changed and it no longer ran under CMA and he pays it ‘voluntarily’ now – DD is now 14. I find though that I am constantly in fear that he will stop paying it suddenly if he disagrees with something I am doing so it feels like coercive control. Also he hasn’t put the rate up in five years, so all in all,

    personally even though it might mean I would get less money, I would much rather apply via that agency – and then I wouldn’t have to worry about him withdrawing it suddenly.

    I know that someone said there was a calculator out there – which I looked at, but not knowing what my ex’s income is, I didn’t get very far.

    Sorry this response is a bit of a jumble, but didn’t want to read and run, and wanted to say I wish I could say more to help…wonder if the Moderator has got any thoughts?

    hope you are okay



    #35374 Report


    Hello again,

    After being thoughtful about this situation also with regard to myself – I phoned up the CMA this morning to ask how much she thought I should be getting, given I don’t know what ex’s income is. She said there is a complaints process and if you can get your M.P. to email CMA – then this would go through the complaints process.

    I looked on Gingerbread’s campaigns bit and there is the recognition that the situation needs to change as it is causing unnecessary hardship.

    good luck


    #35391 Report


    Thanks for the info. I was doing some further research into the child maintenance law vs CMS policies. It’s good that your ex pays, I was shocked to hear that my ex agreed to pay through CMS. I could put a complain but I am trying to understand how the whole system is set up. It seems very complicated and there is no need for it.

    #35571 Report


    I’m just going through the same thing and mine is taking so long as it is coming directly from his employer. I was told it’s so it gives them enough time to set it up through payroll etc however I could get it earlier than the date given by cms if they get it set up quickly

    #35586 Report

    Rob in Leeds


    As a ‘paying parent’ that pays my ex directly rather than via Collect & Pay through the CMS, in my experience the initial calculation and payment date were issued quickly. In my case the ex started her claim on the 8th of the month, I made the first payment on the 8th of the following month.

    They are also requested to provide evidence of their income, wage slips etc can be submitted as evidence. The CMS then use this for the calculation.

    If you’re using the ‘collect & pay’ service then I suppose this may take longer to set up for the reasons already explained, ie there could be an employer that needs to get involved. You should also note that the CMS is a public sector organisation, they give a parent and themselves 14 days to reply to anything which may be part of the delay highlighted.

    If the ‘paying parent’ were to fail to pay or pay the incorrect amount you can report this to the CMS and they will take steps to rectify this. A paying parent has a legal obligation to pay the amount calculated by the CMS therefore proceedings can be made against them if they fail to do so.

    If a case has been opened, the earnings evidence, contact frequency verified and payment calculation completed then I fail to understand why ‘receiving parents’ have issues with or fear possible non-payment when action can be taken.

    There is an online portal that you can use to send messages etc, this might help to speed things up and potentially avoid the 30 minute wait every time you call to speak to someone. You can also use this to make a complaint. You’ll need your case reference number, your 7 digit pin and your National Insurance Number to login.

    Hope this helps



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