Arrears & Enforcement

Child Support arrears can accrue through no fault of the non resident parent, but through delays in the administration process of CMS. Those arrears remain payable irrespective of how they accrued.

Each time a maintenance calculation is made, CMS will issue a pay schedule detailing the expected payments and their due dates. Failure to abide by the pay schedule may cause the case to be managed under the Collect and Pay service, which will attract fees. A Paying Parent will be charged 20% of the regular maintenance, which is payable in addition to the maintenance award. The Receiving Parent will lose 4% of any maintenance received.

Presenting a valid arrears dispute case to CMS requires sound knowledge and understanding of the legislation and how different decisions are made, and from what effective date. An in-depth study of the case history is often necessary to review the decisions made, the information used at any given time, any disputes raised and when and how payments were made during the relevant period. If you believe your debt is invalid, we can discuss the matter with you initially, or you can consider our Debt Verification Audits.

Persistent non-payment will often lead to enforcement action. Initial measures include a Deduction from Earnings Order, where a sum of money is removed from the Paying Parents’ wages, or a Deduction Order, which can remove funds from a bank/building society account.

There are two types of Deduction Order:

  • A REGULAR deduction order involves the removal of funds on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • A LUMP SUM deduction order involves funds being frozen and removed in one single transaction.

These orders can be made without an application to the court. They can be taken from various accounts, including joint accounts.
If those measures fail to recover repayment of the arrears in full or within a reasonable time, further enforcement measures will be considered.

Before any ‘legal’ enforcement is taken, CMS must first apply to the courts for a Liability Order. If granted, the CMS have the legal authority to recover the arrears by court based enforcement measures, such as bailiffs, charging order, order for sale or even committal to prison or the removal of a driving license or UK passport.

It is better to resolve any disputes over debt before enforcement action is considered. If you have any complaints over alleged arrears, it is vital that you seek sound advice and guidance to understand the system and how to raise your disputes. If after our investigation the debt is valid, we can discuss with you how you might approach repaying the debt in an affordable manner.

Contact Us

If you need help with any Child Maintenance Service decision or threats of legal enforcement against child maintenance arrears, contact us now.