Urgent - Child Support Agency Arrears
We have found recently that the Child Support Agency and Child Maintenance Service have started to actively pursue arrears from the past, some from the very dim and distant past in the 1990’s. Some of the children concerned in these arrears cases are parents themselves, one case that we dealt with was a case where one of the children concerned was actually a grandparent! So as can be seen these are very old arrears, but the CSA / CMS can collect any arrears that exist forever and in these very old cases they are particularly eyeing pensions where these very old cases now have pension drawing fathers and the CSA / CMS can then make Orders against pensions and deduct the many thousands of extraordinarily old (25 plus years old) arrears these frequently total tens of thousands of pounds.
We are frequently finding that many clients contacting us with large arrears state this is the first they have heard in their lives or for 20 years from the Child Support Agency. Further information from CSA or CMS indicates that assessments were first calculated between 1993 and 1999, arrears were allowed to build up and then the arrears were suspended after the case was closed. Now that the Child Support Agency is closing down the CSA has to write off these arrears and before it can do so it has to make efforts to collect. This produces this problem. The point here is that frequently these debts simply are not owed, the Child Support Agency was very poor at serving people in the 1990’s and frequently made and backdated assessments in circumstances where they were not able to do so. For instance, very recently in a case that we have just investigated we found that the Child Support Agency made an assessment in 2001 that they backdated to 1994. This is all perfectly possible with one problem, the case already had a Court Order in existence and the law as it stood at that time was that the Child Support Agency’s decision only superseded the Court two days after the decision was made. We recalled during the 1990’s and early 00’s that this was a common problem that we were dealing with. This may well turn out to be a common problem that we have to deal with for other clients too.
This is not however simply a plague on very old 1990’s cases, this is also occurring in cases which were launched post 2003 where again the Child Support Agency made a maintenance decision, did not collect it and then closed the case when the youngest child ceased to qualify simply suspending the arrears. Again just like the old CSA cases this has the same effect, namely the CSA is closing down and it has to make an attempt to collect these arrears. Again fathers of adult children who qualified 5 to 25 years ago are receiving a letter from the Child Support Agency which is frequently the first correspondence they have received and the demand is frequently for tens of thousands of pounds. It is extremely important in these cases to obtain legal advice, the Child Support Agency has to have acted in accordance with the law as it stood at the time that they carried out the assessments. The law has varied considerably over the years and therefore you need expert advice from a Lawyer that is aware of all the changes of the law and can prove all of the changes of the law and ensure that your case is properly represented to the Agency. If you find that you have been hit with an unexpected arrears bill call us on 03456 588683.