Government U-turn on child maintenance avoidance is “welcome but not enough”

Posted 12 July 2018

The government’s new child maintenance strategy shows it is listening to the concerns raised by Gingerbread and single parents,[1] but still leaves question marks as to whether the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is fit for purpose.

Today’s Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) compliance and arrears strategy announces measures to limit child maintenance avoidance[2] and tackle non-payment – directly responding to many of Gingerbread’s recommendations.

The strategy outlines:

  • Ways to tackle child maintenance avoidance, including reintroducing the ‘assets variation’, making it easier to include paying parents’ unearned taxable income and increasing staff numbers in its Financial Investigation Unit[3]
  • New powers to tackle unpaid maintenance, including new ways to deduct maintenance from income and a new power to remove passports from parents who fail to pay what they owe
  • The DWP’s approach to deal with, and write off, outstanding arrears that have accrued under the old Child Support Agency (CSA) – now replaced by the CMS.[4]

Responding to the strategy, Sumi Rabindrakumar, Research Officer at Gingerbread said:

“We’re pleased to see the government listen to the concerns raised by Gingerbread and start to tackle the longstanding problems of child maintenance avoidance and non-payment.

“For too long, the CMS has stuck rigidly to a ‘one size fits all’ approach that failed to recognise more complex finances, leaving loopholes that allow parents to avoid paying what they can afford and mean many children go without the maintenance they deserve. The U-turn announced today shows the concerns raised by the many parents who campaigned with Gingerbread are finally being heard.

“Disappointingly, when it comes to unpaid maintenance, there still seems little that is strategic in the DWP’s plans. Today’s announcement sets out some tough new powers, but we know these are unlikely to be used.[5] The government also fails to outline how it will ensure prompt enforcement through its more commonly used existing powers. In the meantime, the government continues to add insult to injury by charging parents to use the CMS’s collection service when their child’s other parent doesn’t comply.[6]

“Buried in the consultation , the DWP confirms it expects to write off nearly £2 billion in CSA arrears owed to parents. Apart from the injustice this represents for parents, it is a sober reminder that the DWP must up its game to avoid history repeating itself in the CMS – particularly when arrears are already rising in the new service.[7]

“The DWP’s new strategy for compliance and arrears management was an opportunity to show how it intends to learn from the huge failings under the CSA. There are welcome steps forward, but not enough – offering no real fresh start for parents already struggling to get the maintenance owed to their children.”


[1] Gingerbread’s response to the DWP’s consultation.

[2] Child maintenance avoidance describes when a paying parent minimises their declared income, which is used to calculate maintenance owed, thereby paying far less than they can afford.

[3] Parents can challenge their child maintenance calculation by applying for a ‘variation’ on specific grounds. Previous reforms removed two grounds for a variation – having assets worth over £65,000 from which paying parents weren’t drawing an income, and having a lifestyle inconsistent with their declared income. To date, unearned income can be taken into account when calculating how much maintenance to pay, but only after a variation on this ground has been granted (ie not as part of the standard calculation).

[4] CSA arrears will start to be written off only once liability ends – ie there are no ongoing payments due.

[5] The government estimates that a new passport removal power would be used around once a year with the current CMS caseload. DWP (2017) Child maintenance: a new compliance and arrears strategy – methodology paper.

[6] The coalition government introduced charges to deter the use of the CMS ‘Collect and Pay’ service (where the statutory service steps in to collect maintenance, using enforcement action) and encourage compliance. If a case is in Collect and Pay, receiving parents get 4 per cent deducted from any maintenance collected and paying parents must pay an additional 20 per cent on top of their maintenance payment.

[7] DWP (2018) Child Maintenance Service: Aug 2013 to Dec 2017 (experimental).

72 comments on “Government U-turn on child maintenance avoidance is “welcome but not enough”

    1. This is leaving me with little hope. My ex gets industrial injuries benefit and has taken me to court for a contact order which has been established…….exactly the same as it has been since we agreed through solicitors in April. What a waste of money. I’m not legally aided and he is still trying to get flexibility after taking me to court. Aside from having a healthy salary and two pensions, he has just stopped maintenance for our little one. I had the agreement endorsed as part of our divorce settlement but this only lasts a year. Because he gets IIDB, it seems he doesn’t need to pay and has refused to supply income details. I’ve submitted a variation but not sure I hold out much hope. And yet he wants to act like superdad to the world when in fact he doesnt even care how her winter clothes, heat, light, food, clubs and activities get paid for. She won’t do without. I will. And I’m proud to. But what a waster.

      1. Supermum! God bless you and prosper you. His BS will wear thin with little one in the end. OR he’ll end up putting his hand in his pocket when she is with him, for clothes etc. And for clubs. And then you’ll have a little more in your pocket for you.

    2. The CMS is failing most parents paying or receiving, i has £12k of CSA arrears from an old a. closed case and now my CMS payments have increased and it’s unaffordable and it a non existent debt from years ago

      Dispite paying in line with the CMS by direct pay. I would be better off being on benifets but then both my daughter aworse off as my ex wife would get very little. All because we had a family based agreement at the advice of the CSA and payments alway made regularly but they don’t take notice of paying parents or review cases in a balanced way. All letter sl are generic and system generated and staff are not impowered or trained to meet the demands of their clients / customers

    3. I am owed 4000, had an attachment on his wages for a year and still only got 1 months. How the hell do businesses think its ok not to pay the attachment and dads should be ashamed. I work hard and invest everything in my children why shouldnt their dad be accountable

    4. I received a letter, after ten years string that my ex husbands maibtence arrears has been written off. Which is go good to me, I don’t what to make of this terrible letter… It’s not decent.

  1. If your child’s father lives in a Country, such as Egypt , the U.K. government have zero recourse to chase child maintanence . I’ve never heard anything about this being looked into , parents like myself just have to cope financially alone .

  2. I’ve not received a penny since my child was 9mths old and she’s nearly 16 . It’s absolutely disgusting . Whether it’s csa or cma it doesn’t help all them years you have had to do it all yourself does it

  3. i have been trying to get child support from my ex for three years. I am aware my ex has got a self employed business but yet he still does not provide his income to csa and he will avoid contact with csa also. This week CSA have informed me that child support is not an income. I have said to CSA those who do not pay are liable to pay and to pay the arrears off. My ex is in arrears and I feel that CSA do not enough to solve the problem. The powers they have they do not use if they take the parent who does not pay to court then this should give a wake up call to those who do not pay. Its not the receiving parent that misses out on this is the child. Its my parents that put food on the table for my daughter and clothing. My ex does not bother he rather pay for children that are not his. If CSA do not use their powers the person that should gets away with it.

  4. The father of my child has informed CMS that he no longer works, when he is in fact self employed, he rents out a house, so has income from that every month, has his current home up for sale and owns a caravan which he rents out, (he sold the second caravan in March). Cms told me to provide evidence and to inform HMRC tax office of his avoidance to pay tax! CMS said they received a letter from his ex employer to say he doesnt work for him, and they can only go off this evidence! (His ex employer is a personal friend of his!). I have to work 2 jobs to provide for OUR son and get penalised by getting less help and having to pay more taxes The CMS charged me to set up a case, I wonder what they are getting paid for? These payment avoiding absent parents, CMS and this government are failing our children massively!

    1. Tell cms u wish to raise a complaint and you know ur ex is earning and working and ur not happy with the decision and u wish for them to look into his situation and I don’t know how long you have been receiving cm bit I’d ask if his earnings coukd be investigated as you feel he has bedn earning more . I did this now my ex s tax returns are not being looked as he has lied about earnings . I’m now due thousands and I’m glad I kept fighting for my children as I struggle and work full time . Good luck . You can also go to ombudsmen and your mp .

  5. My ex has his own income, his wife’s (moonlight flit marriage and now she’s died) and that of her ex’s as the ex and the wife had 2 children. He has the money to take me to court over every little thing and has his late wife’s house and car and ‘apparently’ he’s looking after his late wife’s children meaning I get less although I’m sure these children live with their dad now. But I only £37 a week and have been homeless at one stage.

  6. I have lived below the poverty line for four years (and counting) with zero maintenance from my ex husband whom I’m currently divorcing. He continues to live the high life abroad in Europe, plus goes on exotic holidays, sipping cool beers by his pool, hiring speedboats for jolly days out. Money is no object to him, he affords whatever he so desires. Whilst I, the single parent with care, cannot afford oil to heat my house or hot water to bath the children in. Sometimes I cannot even afford enough electricity for basic living standards. Whenever the meter alarm goes off my heart sinks. A lovely charity last year gave us coal over the winter and I also cut down trees by hand with an awful rusty handsaw so that I could heat one room in my house. We went to bed in woolly hats and never took our costs off inside.

    Nobody cares. Judges apparently do not care that such a huge disparity in lifestyle matters. Apparently they think this is ok?
    It is NOT ok and NEVER EVER will be. Enough is Enough…. Judges cannot condone this continually abusive inequality and unethical reality one second more. Myself and other parents like me are battle READY! And people wonder why women stay in domestic violence situations???? Wake up world.

    1. That’s because the system is set up to protect the wealthy. Many of these deadbeat parents have great positions in society, tax dodgers etc. Just look at the politicians who have defrauded the system. It’s disgusting! What about the rights of our children? Zero equality. They’re silenced. I’m in the same boat as yourself, fast forward 11 years.It has been 3 years of dealing with the great CMS whilst my ex lived in Spain with his two other children and wife. Did he tell the CMS, no! He declares £11k salary and they accept it, still no sign of the poultry figure they calculated. He’s in papers all the time re his business, investors like Dan Pena and Robert Kiyosaki.

      1. My ex is a high earner. He owns 2 ltd companies. One of which he is an employee of & declares a mere £11,500 per year wages, which the CMS assessed his child maintenance payments upon. I immediately requested a variation & supplied copious amounts of evidence as to his hidden income. He is not actually doing anything illegal as far as I can tell, but he has a very good accountant who is using legal loopholes to minimise his tax liability, which at the same time reduces his child maintenance liability.
        I am not being greedy, I only ask that he provides financial assistance in order that our children can maintain the standard of living they would have had we not divorced. I would never use his contributions for the benefit of myself & the sad thing is, he knows this, but he is still so angry & bitter at the fact that I left him, that he is lost in his anger at me, which actually punishes our children. But then again, he knows that I would go without so that our children feel no financial affect. So I suppose he is winning. Friends say to me “it’s his loss”. And I suppose it is because even without saying anything derogatory against their father, in the end, they’ll see for themselves. But sadly it’s our children’s loss too, they’ve lost a daddy who they idolised & whom I always thought that no matter what, our children would come first.
        Just goes to show, you never truly know anyone….

        1. I find myself in the same situation at the moment. I will fight this every inch of the way but would like to get together with people in the same boat. Let’s not give in as individuals let’s fight as a group

          1. Same here. We do need to fight. The law needs to be changed to show household income not individual. Petition time?

    2. Childs father has household income of over 100k, but is a complete narcissist. He broke his ex and boasted how she lost her house. He said he will do the same to me. Once a high income earner myself I am now on benefits. He pays a bit of CM to keep them off his back, but now they are going to take it from his wages – that was mid August and found out that there is a month backlog to process it. Then it will be about 2 months. I earn 90 a week and have to spend 10 in transport and travel 1 h 40 mins to take a 3 year to weekly contact. I have requested handover at the local supermarket which is 14 miles off his journey but be refuses. Agree the Judge has to wake up. How can a man get quality time with a 3 yo when they have to get up nearly 3 hours earlier than usual and travel on 2 buses and a train and walk in excess of 1.5 miles. WAKE UP JUDGE!!!!!! Non payment and contact SHOULD NOT be seen as two separate things, finances need to be taken into account arranging contact

      1. Hi, I know it’s a rather late reply but I am pulling my hair out after years of battling for maintenance from my ex. I was finally put onto the deduction of earnings beginning of this year. Got a payment in July & August but nothing since. The process I am told sounds ridiculous.

        I am now in contact with my local MP. He has advised me to reach out to as many people as I can & urge them to do the same & contact their local MPs to put their concerns forward so that we stand half a chance of being heard & taken seriously. The system is absolutely ridiculous & just like this “amazing” universal credits I hear about seems to be causing more harm than good!

        My ex is a police officer & the issue I am facing after the years of him refusing to pay & racking up a hefty amount of arrears is his payroll are so slack & can’t seem to send the correct information or can’t get the payment in on time or just don’t bother! it makes me wonder if a large payroll like the met police can’t get it right what hope do any other parents in my situation have with smaller companies! It just makes it far too easy or the “paying” parent to avoid eg; going cash in hand etc!

        1. My ex is a police officer and made sure he was sacked as he says he’s not paying csa anymore and why should he .

        2. I have same problem my ex has attachments of earning order from September but I have had no payment yet when I call They tell me his employer hasn’t sent the money
          I have spoken to my ex employer who has made 3 payments to CMS
          I don’t know what to do as we both pay fees to CMS but don’t get the service we deserve
          So they have over £1000 of money but say they don’t

    3. All these replys on the child maintenance dodging ex partners makes me feel so angry and sad for the children and the parent. It’s absolutely despicable how society treats single mothers . I really feel it’s about time we all got together and campaigned for some real justice! It needs to be on mass. Sadly gingerbread and the likes are not effective in chasing these low lifes. I agree the justice system is archaic and flawed in this area plus it’s true that they seem to favour the wealthy non-paying parent- it’s a disgrace. Action is needed. Legislation should be brought in to make parents sign a contract before the baby is born that they will provide for their child even in the event of splitting up- children are more important than a marriage contract and should all have equal rights! They do something like this in Canada already. My heart goes out to all of you that suffer through this absolute bureaucracy!

    4. What a shocking indictment on this country’s lack of care for children. Absolutely APPALLING your children had to live that way. This government have serious answers and will have blood on their hands for many years if they allow this kind of financial immorality.
      All the best x

    5. This breaks my heart I’m in exact the same situation this could be me writing this x I’m just expecting the beeping of the electric meter to go off soon xx they are nothing but scum in my eyes x

    6. Hi I have just read this and can relate as my ex husband did the same whilst living in the Middle East, he’s now back living round the corner from me and has our 5 children every other weekend but it’s all not as it seems. He has only done this to re-establish a relationship with his children then he’ll be off again and won’t see them again for a further 3 years. He gains their trust and leaves basically. He is not working having gone from earning £10,000 a month as a VP with an Airline which has now left me in drastic financial difficulty similar to your situation. He has a couple of houses he rents out which are all on his new wife’s name, she also has a good paid job on top of that which is how he can afford not to work.

  7. Wow. Having read through all the comments, what concerns me the most is how much power it seems some of us have, are and still giving to these absent parents. Absent because any parent who can support their child(ren) financially YET still refuses to do so isn’t worth being acknowledged as having any relation to such a child(ren). In my opinion, anyway. Therefore, while reporting the inconveniences we have/continue to face at the hands of truly inconsiderate people, we also need to be counting our blessings at the same time. Especially while there are those courageous individuals out there (who probably doesn’t have to but still do) who continue to work tirelessly on our behalf to bring about justice and resolve in this somewhat neglected area. Not sure what to be grateful for? What about a roof over your head, drinkable water, family and friends, your health or perhaps access to the internet? Selah. On that note, thank you Gingerbread Group for all your support thus far! Together, we shall not only overcome but will eventually overthrow these low lives out of their current, fake existence of power as well. Here is to us! M

    1. Whilst we are all grateful for water and a roof,I think for me as a teacher working 16 hour days and having no energy for my child to pay the bills, the issue is that we live in a country that tells us we can expect more than running water and an insecure (rented) roof in exchange for hard work and HONESTY.
      If I lived in a developing country, of course I would expect less. Everyone’s context is different and this thread is really important in exposing the LOW EXPECTATIONS of the UK government towards it’s hard working tax payers and parents.
      I’ve never cut wood down to warm my home so I think that it’s important to consider a person’s individual circumstances before telling them to be grateful for water or stop challenging an injustice for their cold and hungry child.

  8. My husband lives in Pakistan, and he has given our daughter in total of £60 since she was born (she is now 2 and a half). I left him as he was abusive and violent. He is in and out of work as he does not want to pay CM, he has made no effort to meet me or my daughter or to even maintain a relationship with her over the phone. Absolutely disgusting. Parents like myself need more support from the UK Government to tackle this issue, no VISA’s should be issued to parents from another country who claim to want to come to be with their family but who have not paid CM and have no intention of supporting their family.

  9. The latest CMS are useless and a complete waste of time and money. The previous CSA took two years of fighting but then managed to get an attachment to earnings put on my daughters dad so he was then paying a small amount every month. Then the CMS wrote to say they were taking over. I had to pay £20 to get this set up. After explaining that he previous had an attachment to earnings as he had refused to pay, they said they will only do this if he breaks the terms of a direct pay. Obviously as expected he broke this. He now owes over £1700 in child support. He recently sent me a message to say that he had paid enough maintenance over the last 10 years and won’t be paying anymore and if the CMS pursue he will quit his job. They did and he quit. s (my daughter is 9, the attachment was put on when she was three and he paid (£150 a month) He is now working for a cash in hand job so the CMS cannot do anything. So thanks to the new and improved CMS, I am struggling to cope financially being a working parent whilst he basically gets away with it. £150 isn’t much to ask for and is better than nothing as far as I’m concerned but they can’t even enforce him paying that! It is a total shambles. The new enforcement is just a threat and the CMS admitted repeatedly that they have been unable to use these imaginary poweers. Oh and to top it, my ex doesn’t see his daughter and doesn’t want to. He messaged both me and my husband to say he wants him to adopt her so he can get on with his life! Apparently it takes two to make a baby but one when one person decides it’s toomuch of an inconvenience, the government pat them on the back and let them go. Unbelievable.

    1. Yes ,I feeling your frustration. My 8 year old girl don’t have nothing for her father or government. She didn’t have new shoes when she started school and she didn’t have winter ones. But she still love her dad!!!
      We can’t wait, need some help!! Anyone?? Anyway?? …… nothing , nothing NATHING. I can say my children is not owed nothing to the government and I hope when I die she won’t pay a penny Or vote for unather assooollll pradly sitting on highly pay ‘stool’ and asking me pay for. Shame on Government that children don’t have basic life. And shame on those who takes free homes, free money when they easily pay for it. It’s Cuncils job to find out how..really !!!can pay the rent!! but they are blind because most of their relatives will be homeless. This is real unjust made by local authorities specially Southwark Council. I never give up my children , I have to starve to death first, so I don’t asking for help to anybody but I feel the pain. It gave to be channeled!!! Best wishes

  10. The dwp, government as a whole and the former CDA have failed us single parents and the children involved by not upholding their obligation to ensure we have/ had the financial support we are deemed to be entitled to in raising our children.

    My ex partner has gone to e traorxinary lengrhs to avoid paying the £11000 he owes me. He lives in this country somewhere and boasts 6 holidays a year as well as enjoying a quality lifestyle and works cash in hand to afford this.

    If the suggestion is that a high percentage of the total owed will be greatly reduced because parents will assume they will n ever get their money and will therefore not pursue it then that is shameful.

    If the money owed was to HM revenues and customs the individuals would be found and receive hefty penalties on top of what they owe so the cost of finding these displays is less non paying individuals should come st a cost to them and them alone.

    The government, in admission to the failings of the CSA could and should pay a percentage of the debt as a whole to all those who should have received it and then they can by all means right it off if they choose to.

    Whatever happened to naming and shaming these individuals and taking away their freedoms as they have done in not supporting their children?

  11. I am a paying father who has been very honest about my salary and has always made sure my children are provided for and as such would like to comment on how incompetent the child maintenance service is and how biased they are towards the paying parent. They do not care about us at all and as far as they are concerned we are the problem and the receiving parents are angels! Also on a government level the amount we pay should not be based on gross earnings before tax and national Insurance…..We pay tax and national Insurance!!! It’s not an option to pay or not to pay…..and why does the amount of money that the receiving parent earns versus the paying parent earnings not factor at all!!!
    For all honest and up to date caring paying parents i’d Like to say you are in desperate need of a change of system.
    Just to be clear I think paying parents who avoid paying should be punished and made to pay….full stop!

    1. Gerard,
      I take your comments on board, however you mentioned that the receivers income should be taken into account. This would be necessary if both parents had joint shared care, whereby, the child lived between both households. If the receiver as the child(ren) in their care at all times or the majority of times, then it would mean that most, if not all overhead cost, eg. Food, water, electricity, gas, travel, entertainment, etc., will be the responsibility of that parent. My overheads have increased dramatically since my ex stopped shared care, including the school holiday breaks, which was equally shared. This is the invisible cost that is at many times overlooked by the paying parent.

      I challenged the maintenance after my ex made a conscious decision not to have regular contact. The children are now 12 and 15 years. I work but also receive tax credits and top up for housing as my income does not cover my overheads. Following a review, the maintenance was increased which upset my ex who has now stopped contributing to the cost of childcare. I am now in crisis for the first time and it’s frightening. I feel dispointed that my ex is not realising the difficulty at this stage for the children. I will struggling for the next 2 weeks to feed them, this includes school lunches too. I am so sadden by this situation as the children did not ask to be there, and we jointly have a huge responsibility to care for their basic needs and wellbeing. The system needs reform and that includes family law too!

      1. I had a letter from the CMS as my ex says I’m under paying her.
        I’ve been paying £205 a month for my son, i cloth him feed him pay for trips and after school activities yet my ex thinks it’s still
        Not enough. After CMS Carried our there investigate they recon I should pay less than £100 a month. They said that if I pay a penny under they would investigate me not a penny over. Whole system is a joke. Good honest single fathers paying more than they should yet the women hold all the keys
        I told my ex and CMS to stick it I will continue to pay as much over the top as possible as I wouldn’t want my son to go with out!!

      2. My now ex husband abandoned me and our two children 2008 (to set up home with his pregnant mistress) and the CSA couldnt trace him so i got no maintainence, until a consent order was agreed in Court,mid 2010. He paid the order until 2016. He stopped paying, gave no reason, did not respond to emails. I had no address for him so was forced to go to the CMS. The CMS it appears, does not have any powers to insist my ex declares any dividends. He is I believe, self employed and works for the police as a .net computer developer which normally pays in the religion of 60k +. For that level of job. He also has a second job and i have given all this information to The CMS when i applied for a variation order. They have dismissed my application for a variation order and promised to send me confirmation explaining why they made this decision, but i still havent recieved a hard copy as promised, in the post. Until i get this i am not permitted to apply for a mandatory reconsideration.
        Nor am i allowed to enforce the earlier consent order, as the CMS supersedes any previously agreed court orders with the expectation they have made the correct calculation and collected payments…. no they have got the calculations badly wrong and if my ex doesnt pay via attachment to earnings (when he is his own self employed boss) theCMS just add it onto arrears, with no agreement in place to pay off said arrears because they have protected his income as they falsely believe hes a low earner!The CMS are basing maintenance payments on a mere 13k via HMRC! All symptoms of a very broken Britain…. the last person to leave the country please turn off the lights…. I couldn’t be more horrified or disgusted with UK justice!

        1. I have a ltd company and the cms take my dividends in to account. Shame as I used to pay way more than the csm tell me to pay now and it all went direct to the kids (aprt from the First £220 I gave her direct). Now she gets hundreds a month to spend entirely on her self. What a great system

    2. Gerard
      I disagree that the RP ( usually the mother) are treated as angels. I do however sympathise with you and agree that the present system is utterly flawed.
      I feel you like so many men are just “ low hanging fruit “ for the CMS. It’s a little bit like HMRC chasing and threatening prison to individuals that have been over paid with Tax Credits….. easy pickings. Instead HMRC and CM should be chasing individuals like my former husband . Multimillionaire companies all over the world yet manages to get away with paying £40 per week for 2 children!

      I am seeing my MP next week and this is one of the issues I will be raising. They don’t have the resources to investigate individuals like my ex. Holding assets in offshore trusts etc etc. yet they chase individuals like yourself because they can as it is easy for them to do so!

    3. ….plus carryon sending him his 500pw army pension, advising we have no intention to make deductions at the moment, for his dependant 6yr old.

      Received from 10 Downing Street.

    4. I am with you on this one, I am a paying parent and as a Dad we still have to feed, cloth and put a roof over our child’s head. This still cost money! I cant believe that the CSA don’t take into account what the other parent earns, In my case they earn around 10k more than me a year, The System is wrong, so wrong, for us dads that want to see and spend time with the children are still punished. Punish those that don’t care.

  12. I have been separated from an abusive and controllling man (the word man is too good for him) for 9 years now and I have two beautiful children that this waste of fresh air refuses to pay to. He is a director of 3 companies and also self employed as a consultant but refuses to pay. I have battled with CMS for a year telling them to check his income with HMRC and they have done nothing. Last week I received a £25 compensation payment from CMS as they have delayed sending him letters regarding his income for 3 months with no explanation why other than it was an administration error. The man on the phone yesterday admitted that this waste of fresh air is dragging his feet on purpose to avoid paying yet the CMS can’t do anything as they have their “procedures” that need to be followed. They are a complete waste of time, maybe we all should set up our own group to assist people like us in gaining the money our children are legally entitled to. I am currently in the process of writing to my MP and see what response I get from her. I will keep you updated. Stay strong, you are all amazing and our children will always know who is there for them!

    1. I would like to do the same! Kelly. A protest for laws to change and have outcomes for different situations that is fair. These Parents that walk away just get off Scott free and they love it, living the high life while we’re left struggling. I am happy to stand with you so let me know!

  13. I am totally exhausted with battling with the CMS To ensure my children receive the money they are owed from the so called parent that does not want to pay towards them. What are my next options on taking this further as I will fight to ensure they are awarded every penny.

  14. Can anyone advise me on how I can apply to the family tribunal court to enforce a maintenance court order against my so called biological father? He has never paid a penny towards my child support in the past so this would be the first maintenance order for him. My mother was recently told by the Legal Team Manager that I would need to make this application myself instead of her, regardless to the fact that I am Special Needs and suffering from OCD, depression and anxiety. My mother was also told by the court that she can help me with my application form but It should still be myself applying. Do I need to request an application form directly from the family court or can I apply online? Thanks in advance.

  15. I paid my child maintainance since we split up.the problem was my ex wanted more an daughter ran me up mobile fone bills to the region of 150.00 a month.i refused to pay the ex as all she does is sit at home on the sick with her new fella who is on the sick too.
    My daughter sez the weekly money i paid was spent on green smelly stuff(weed).the ex has now gone to cms as i not paid her for 6wks.i am self employed.i lose days thru bad weather etc.i wont respond to them so its her own fault for been greedy an lazy.she shud get a daughters 15 now so why cant she earn her own money.the cms dont care that most women who claim dont let the fellas see the kid anyways.i done my best but i cant be dealing with cms shit paperwork.its my biz what i one elses.

  16. Hi looking for some advice. My Partner split with his ex just over a year ago and paid her over £2000 up front for child maintenance (from a loan he had to take just to provide for his child as he lost his job following the split)

    This is because his ex wanted a car after the split and she didn’t have the money.
    So he paid it alongside all of her rent and bills for 3 months, her phone bill (approx £50 a month for 8 months- £400) and also went halves on anything and everything the child needed on top of this and much more. They agreed when he paid it that any child maintenance he was due to pay once he started a job again was to be taken out of this huge lump sum- this should have lasted well over 3 years based on CMS calculations.

    In addition, for the past year he has had his child more than his ex.
    Now she is demanding more money that he can’t afford to be paying her due to massive loan repayments and other bills on top of providing fully for his child. She is refusing to acknowledge the agreement she made and in every conversation she refuses to listen and screams irrationally at my partner whilst twisting everything she can.

    What can we do? He has done everything she has demanded while she has made no compromise whatsoever. We have a child on the way, on top of all of this and I really don’t know how this can work out.


  17. I’ve been compelled to add to this feed to share my experience as I’ve been enlightened and horrified by all that I’ve read. Like many I chose to make the hard decision to leave an abusive marriage, mainly due to not wanting my children to grow up repeating behaviours as they had no perspective on what a good relationship was (my duty of care). I’m now 2.5 years on and been through every legal process to secure a future for us. I echo others that say there is no justice, the father of my children has played the system beautifully, removed himself from work, played the victim and saw me having to pay for the mortgage on the family home as well as a rental for myself and our children to shelter in for the duration of the process whilst having to maintain a full-time job. Thankfully we’re now the other side, family home sold, finances resolved and children matters agreed… so I thought. He ended up with more than me from the sale of the property (the judge took pity on the crying in court but didn’t see the sneering in the corridors) and before the ink had even dried moved lock stock and barrel abroad without a mere look back at his children. He sees that paying me is just that.. paying me and doesn’t see it as providing for this children. In comparison to many I’m lucky, I always maintained my career so have the ability to earn to keep our children (just!) and have managed to provide a roof over our heads for now. It seems all too easy for responsible parties to just walk away from their financial and contact commitments. I feel proud to be the person to raise our children and to shape them in what I consider to be the right way. Having contacted the CMS I quickly recognised that there is very little they can or will do, and quite frankly I don’t have the energy to pursue someone that clearly has no moral values nor wants to provide for his children. My only option.. to just get on with it and keep going. I refuse to be bitter in my situation but can appreciate that others are less fortunate in their circumstances. It’s disappointing, but I find that so much is disappointing in life now and how the legal system is so weighted to protect people that really don’t deserve it. I wish you all the best of luck in your journeys and hope you can keep focused on what is positive about our situations.

    1. This is just what I needed to read today.
      Trying to keep a positive outlook is far from easy at times but it is the only way…….
      Otherwise precious life is wasted feeling bitter.
      Thank you for reminding me

    2. This is just what I needed to read today.
      Trying to keep a positive outlook is far from easy at times but it is the only way…….
      Otherwise precious life is wasted feeling bitter.
      Thank you for reminding me of this at a time when I had been struggling with the injustice of it all.

  18. The Csa have received a bulk payment from the father of my child, but have not given me a penny because they don’t know how to distribute it to me as they have not had instructions from his employer however they have told me how much I should get so why have they got to wait until they get in touch with his employer before they can give me and my son the money that is owed to us they are worse than a father avoiding paying Csa they have our money but won’t give it to us when we need it also they said they can’t give me last months and this months together I have to wait until 31 st Oct for this months even though they have all the money and it should of been given to us on the 10th Oct and the 10 th sept what the hell is going on? And we are paying for this service now too

  19. I am a bus driver who have paid doubled of the due maintenance for last year. I have a new baby with my new wife and CMS refuses to take him into account from his birth arguing that they have been told 10months later. Child is born with heart defects and cataract so we spends the first 10 months in Hospital for allm sort of surgeries. £ 85 a week is being taken from my wage leaving me with nothing to pay for my rent, clothes, food, drive to work and simply have a decent life. So this week I am resigning thinks to CMS. this service is simply a JOKE

  20. I am a mum of two and the eldest’s, (16), Dad paid child maintenance when he could be bothered in the beginning of her life, he left when she was one. Them as the new service came in he had to pay and had no choice but I know the amount he was paying was definitely not the right amount and I feel he was getting his company to declare a different wage amount so he had less to pay. You can’t tell me a man that has been at a company for over 20 years earns £15’000 a year! I received £38 a week and this was then reduced as he had two more children. My daughter never got any birthday presents, cards or Easter gifts throughout her life and I had no help with school trips, uniform, or many of the other expenses it takes to raise a child. £36 did NOT cover anywhere near enough of what she needed. Now my daughter has gone to live with his brother for the college she wants to attend. Her dad says he does not have the room for her and I get a letter to say I have to pay child maintenance towards her! I have provided for my daughter her whole life and she didn’t even see her dad yet I am now being told to pay more money. I think it should be her dads turn but what can I do? Oh yes that’s right, nothing. Very frustrating and upsetting that we get treated like this. I think I may take it to court and see what is said about this situation as it is not fair at all!

  21. No it’s NOT fit for purpose! I claimed early last year. After receiving a letter to say my ex husband is not entitled to pay anything, (0 category) I challenged this. I know he’s working a substantial amount of hours in the exact same company as myself and has been doing so for years! I rang again after 2 months, apparently an old jobcentre claim for him was still open after 4 years and it had to be shut down. Only then would it trigger an alert on the CMS systems. They said they couldn’t interfere. OK, so I decided to phone the jobcentre myself and report that he was working even though he hadn’t claimed nothing from them the old claim was still open. Another 2 months went by, so I rang again. Apparently the inland revenue sent an income figure for him of £2.67 per year! Total BOLLOCKS! Again I challenged it. Taking into account the CMS already have details of the company we BOTH work for, I gave them the info for Head office once again to get the financial info for HIM and they said they would definitely sort it out. 8 weeks ago I rang AGAIN. Guess what? They shut down my claim!!!! They said in order to look into it they will have to restart it! Again I give them every detail of the company, and its a huge company so it’s not difficult to find out info from them or contact them like. They also said the whole time I challenged this they would not chase him for any arrears. So I was left without an answer again. Yesterday I rang. NOTHING has been done! Literally NOTHING! This is a service that takes your £20 and bolts. With the UC the way it is, I’m using up all my income on my children and neglecting myself. I haven’t had a decent meal for 2 weeks just so my children can eat and keep warm with the weather dropping. I was off work sick for 3 weeks and because UC take income from the previous month we were literally living on buttons when I was paid. I live day to day begging for help from the children’s father who would rather spend his days in a cafe between shifts eating English breakfasts and paying for his collegues too, all the while he moans that he doesn’t get any government help from UC while he brings in a payslip of over £1,400 per month as a single person and claims he cannot afford to pay for his children because he cannot afford to live himself? This is £300 MORE than my total income per month and I’m having to make mine spread between 4 people with £650 rent per month! There needs to be more done here. I’m visiting my MP this week because it’s totally WRONG.

  22. Hi I just wanted to get some information I am getting married abroad next year myself and my ex have been separated for 3years we have 2 children together but he gets away with out paying for child maintenance. He was working and only had to pay £12 per month for our children which he didn’t do because he quite his job and now he works cash in hand . but he has told me that our children are not aloud to go on their first holiday abroad to watch me get married to my new partner who has 2 children himself . I wanted to know can my ex stop our children from having a first holiday aboard?

  23. I habe an arrangement with the CMS and it was going fine. On the 19th August I received a £51 payment and that was it, I waited and waited for the payment to come through for the actually amount and nothing. I called the CMS on the 13th September who told me the oxygen stealer had called on August 31st to say he was off sick and apparently that is fine. I asked them if he is off sick surely he has to prove this and you can’t take his word for it!! They said my case neeeded to go to another department. I called back a week later to find out an update and was told that they had now asked for his sick note and were waiting for it so that would stop the maintenance owed. That he had another five days to supply this and if he didn’t further action would be taken, they promised to call me back the next Droday with an update, guess what I heard nothing. I called them again yesterday (22/10/2018) as I have still not received a penny and I have now been told because he has a detachment of earnings that they just take his word for it he is off sick!!!! What about if he ha left his job and gone to work for someone else? Why about if he has gone onto benefits because for once he is off sick and telling the truth (which my son would still be entitled to a bit of that money) still no evidence of the sick has been provided but That’s ok. There answer is well it will be our onto arrears!! Hello that doesn’t help us now does it and I get an extra couple Of quid a month to pay off the arrears. What about not one payment since August!!! I know many of you on here aren’t getting nothing and haven’t for years but I have been getting the money regularly because of a detachment of earnings order and also because under the old system he is to go to court to get him to pay CSA. So I have been though it all- I just don’t understand how he can work the system yet again and it is ok. He is back at work I have seen his van I know people who work on the site he works on. I’m not stupid but because he has called them and told them he is off sick that’s ok

  24. It’s quite hard to find advice on my situation as it’s always assumed the dad is a dead beat and the mother is a hero. After 13 years of a private arrangement paying my ex wife and having the kids 3-4 nights a week plus holidays (basically more nights a year than their mother) she decided to go to child maintenance to say I have them zero night to try and get maximum money and she succeeded and as a result I no longer seen my children. Now she has got her money she has ran off to another county with yet another boyfriend and just dumped my 15 year old daughter at my mams to live and hasn’t been seen for 2 month. Child maintenance said I still have to pay until she lets them know circumstances have changed. Like that’s going to happen as she is rotten to the core and it’s one scam after another. So to all you Mo aiming about csa, we get ripped off also because she can deny me my kids over money. What a joke. Like I’ve said to them do you not ask why after 14 years your saying he can have them no nights and for us to be involved. Common sense needed by them. Any advice would be good but just remember us dads also get screwed. Paying a woman hundreds a month to spend on boyfriends which should be for my daughters and backed by the government it a total and utter disgrace.

  25. Yeah then there is people like me who pay 161 pound a week off a 356 pound a week wage try and look after a family of 4 pay rent and council tax get no help coz the government says I make
    To much yet she sits on benefits not worked a day in her life and I don’t see my kids how is that fair she gets around 2500 a month am behind on rent council tax hardly survive yet she gets everything yes pay for our kids but not leave urself on the risk of homeless while paying it how ****** is the system most people moaning are on benefits how about getting a job fair enough if you can’t work but if you can work why don’t u think the government should look at it and if u can work and u don’t u should not get and child maintenance

  26. It’s disgusting that so little is done about non paying parents. In Poland if another parent doesn’t pay a child support his/her debt is increasing, he/her might end up in prison. The judge calculates what man/woman is able to earn not what they really earn. So if a man/woman was always successful and suddenly during the time of court proceedings he/she gives up his/her job in order not to pay child maintenance , the judge will order him/her to pay an amount based on what his/her abilities to earn are. If the parent will not be able to pay then grandparents might be forced to do it. So parents think twice before giving up job until the child is an adult . I have never understood why everybody claims Poland doesn’t respect women rights. There are far more rights for women than in the rest of Europe.

    1. So CMS , what a joke.. My ex pays as and what he likes when he likes, initial telephone call I told them I was a victim of domestic abuse and financial abuse and wanted to go straight to collect and pay, he barely pays a penny towards her, keeps her clothes etc and acts like super dad of the century.. I’m now at doctors receiving vitamins jags as am undernourished living off hardly anything.. As all us parents know its them or us and we choose our children everytime.. CMS have aided his abuse of me

  27. This is never going to get better, it is a flawed system which has left me and my 3 children without much hope. We struggle to eat and it has left me unable to cope to the point where I am suffering mental health issues over this and had to leave my job! It goes round and round in my head the constant worry with knowing my financial circumstances will get worse and ex has got away with not paying. So unfair that 5 years later and owing over £16,000 to the children…….. still nothing because he is allowed to work oversea’s, come and as he pleases.. WOW and still nothing to stop him. Carry on CMS…. you are destroying lives!!

  28. Hi All,
    How about this then. I am a father and I pay for my 17 year old son and have been for years. I find out he is a Director of his own business and has been since March this year and nothing mentioned by his mother. Its not only women that get the pee taken out of them, and this is from someone that has been paying their ex over £1200 per month. Non resident parents suffer too.

  29. This also works the other way around… The mother of my kids reduced my time with our children (6 and 8 yo) in order to increase and maximise my monthly CMS contribution. I earn a reasonably high salary but I now currently pay more than I can afford and I see the kids less. I’ve always contributed fairly and willingly while also trying to save money in case the kids wish to go to uni or travel when they are older. She refuses to allow me to reduce my contribution even though I’ve made her aware that my monthly salary has dropped massively.

    She cares not that she’s potentially affecting the lifestyle of our children while they are in my care. Unfortunately my situation seems to be a classic case of malicious mother syndrome and there is nothing I can do about it. I’ve always been a hands on dad and although I realise it’s unrealistic in today’s world to share the children 50/50, I would at least love to have them 60/40 (in her favour) especially as it’s viable as we live 15 mins apart, and their school is in between both houses – and it’s their wish too.

    I’m happy she found a new partner and that our children are living in a safe environment, however it’s a jagged pill knowing that I’m struggling due to CMS rules while seeing our kids less while I know I’m contributing to their lovely, recently bought GBP 550k house and seeing them take three foreign holidays this year while I’m not being given reasonable access over the school holidays to take them for one. There are many things wrong with the current system and time it’s changed.

    I just wanted to share the opinions of a responsible male. My heart breaks to hear the stories some women are going through but the CMS and UK legal system needs a better and fairer method to work out access rights and child maintenance which helps both men and women.

  30. Hello, I have a very stupid situation here. I have 4 children, and was in an abusive marriage with their father that I left 4 years ago. I tried the CSA when I left however he is self employed (owner of 6 properties and new car) however they told me he has 0 income. Recently my oldest went to live with him, now he has put a claim against me fir maintenance. I pay all the costs of these 3 pkus my oldests phone and all the travelling costs of £120 a month and im on a low wage and tax credits. How is this allowed. Ive been told its 2 separate cases, but this has no common sense.

  31. I read all these posts with such s heavy heart ..unfortunately I’m in the same boat and have been for the last 8 years ..left my ex partner when my daughter was 16 months old we lived in Cyprus I returned to U.K my ex partner continued to flutter from country to country avoiding any child maintenance and nobody would help as the CSA stated they can’t help unless he was working for a U.K company ..he finally returned to U.K. Nov last year after years of no contact ..I found out he was in U.K. and in May this year I contacted CSA which so far has just been a shambles they have sent about 10 letters to the address I know he’s at and he never corresponded so then they decided to do an estimate on what job I was told he was doing and salary that expected he would be earning they came up with a figure and sent it to him still no I get told oh we have now had to reject the figure as he has sent a offer letter into us!!i asked what offer and is if proof he’s working and wage slips etc etc …the lady said it’s being reviewed but it’s less than what we had advised you !so now I have to wait another 8 weeks to see if the Child maintenance believe his latest load of BS which I imagine they will ! They are not on the mothers side everything is about keeping the potential paying parent happy..I feel totally let down and still now feel no wiser to closer to having any support from him for his only child

  32. I received an urgent request letter to contact the CSA yesterday. I duly called them and they advised that I was still outstanding a ‘debt’ of approximately £1500- ( I admit I didn’t get the exact amount as I was still in shock that they had contacted me) . I was advised they will be chasing up the father of my child for this money but if it is not received the ‘debt’ will be written off.

    I have been solely financially responsible for my daughter from the age of 7 months with no contribution from her father. He had semi regular contact till she was 9 and then this ceased due to an argument which he could not win and rather than compromising he stopped seeing her. I encouraged contact with her family and happily she has a relationship with them . She lived with me till she was 19 and is now 21 and wants no contact with her father who has made no effort with her for years.
    I told her yesterday about my call regarding the money- which works out roughly about £83 a year for the 18 years he would have been responsible to pay- apparently she was a very inexpensive child !!! Neither of us have any hope that this money will be paid. The years we struggled- I worked 60 + hours a week to provide for us both- the fact that I still have financial difficulties as a result of his refusal to pay towards his child for all these years- all of this is not accounted for. I actually laughed at the woman who I spoke to- it’s not her fault and when I explained why she had obviously heard this before but it is a ridiculous situation where it has probably cost almost as much to deal with this ‘claim’ as the ‘debt’ itself. I -or my child- will never see a penny from this man, everyone knows it and it is a travesty.
    I refuse to be angry or bitter- I adore my daughter and if I’m honest with myself not having him in our lives probably made life mentally easier if not financially.

    Moving forward though this needs to be addressed- it is unacceptable that this is still happening. If you have children you should be responsible for them in all aspects- and that goes to mothers and fathers – and yes that should not just cover the financial aspects. Good luck to everyone in the midst of this – whatever your situation you will need it .

  33. It’s a broken system that has been set-up to be easy to administer not to be fair. Non resident parents have their financial situation scrutinised and in effect disclosed to the receiving parent, but receiving parents financial situation isn’t considered.

    Which other government system doesn’t have a level of means testing on the person receiving payment?

    Receiving parents often restrict access to children to increase their payments.

    Effectively this system needs an overhaul. The system should consider the financial position of both parents and ensure that both are making a fair financial contribution- not just “tax” the non resident parent.

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