Problems You May be Having
Failure to follow up on an application for child support. This is a significant cause of delay and those months lost are frequently lost for the purposes of child support completely. If the CSA is ignoring you call us on 03456 588683.
Delay in carrying out assessments. The CSA can take months or literally years to carry out child support maintenance assessments. These then have to be backdated and whilst this frequently leaves you owed huge amounts of arrears these arrears can be extremely difficult to collect. It is important that the CSA carries out revised assessments speedily so that they are backdated for the shortest amount of time to ensure collection at a new maintenance figure as quickly as possible. We can help on 03456 588683.
Delays in enforcement. Even once an assessment is made and the arrears figure is calculated the CSA’s enforcement methods can be very slow and extremely long winded. The CSA has an absolute obligation to enforce debt owed and we can ensure the CSA takes every possible step to enforce via either:-
- Deduction from Earnings Order. This only works where the non-resident parent is employed and in some circumstances even then a Deduction from Earnings Order fails to collect the entire or any of the amount due.
- Liability Orders. Not a method of enforcement in themselves they simply represent the Courts approval of the figure owed but open the gateway to other methods of enforcement as discussed below.
- Bailiffs can be instructed once a Liability Order is obtained.
- Third Party Debt Orders can be obtained, not only to freeze bank or building society accounts but to ensure that any individual who owes the NRP money can be forced to pay the cash over to the CSA.
- Charging Orders. Where the NRP has a house a Charging Order can be obtained. A Charging Order is a kind of sleeping mortgage. It does not incur interest but it does secure the money for the parent with care provided there is the equity to pay it. In some cases Charging Orders can be enforced by the sale of the land they charge.
- Criminal penalties. Although it is not a criminal offence to fail to pay child support if a Liability Order is made and all methods of enforcement above have either drawn a blank or simply would not work (i.e. the NRP does not own a property) then the CSA can take proceedings in the Magistrates Court for the NRP to be imprisoned or his driving licence to be suspended. “A Committal Order or a Banning Order”. Such action will always be action of the last resort but the delays in obtaining an assessment, then a Liability Order, the Bailiffs, investigating whether a Third Party Debit Order or Charging Order is appropriate can often mean years of waiting.We can keep the pressure on the CSA to ensure the processes are followed as quickly as possible and that this, final method of enforcement, is dealt with efficiently.Very few NRPs go to prison or are banned from driving for a failure to pay their child support, this is because almost all NRPs once faced with the prospect of imprisonment or a lengthy driving ban reach an arrangement with the Courts to pay their maintenance. Ultimately therefore child support is collectable. It is nonetheless the case that many NRPs and parents with care feel that child support maintenance is in effect uncollectable simply because of very lengthy CSA delays going through the enforcement process. Speedy and efficient enforcement can ensure that a NRP looks at his obligations much more seriously much more quickly.
The idea of enforcement is to turn on the maintenance tap and if you are finding that your tap has dried up then please call us on 03456 588683.
Ms V G
Consulted by client. Ex had a £5 per week assessment despite being a local property magnate. We advised her to apply for a departure and following a two day trial and extensive cross-examination of the non-resident parent achieved a maintenance award in excess of £100 per week backdated two years.
Ms E C
Client came to see us with an assessment of £36 per week which we increased to more than £100 per week and despite the non-resident parent’s repetitive litigation we managed to keep the assessment in place at more than £100 per week.
Ms C H
Application made to the CSA more than three years before consulting this company with no maintenance collected by the Agency. We then put pressure on the Agency to obtain a Liability Order and the Bailiff’s collected £5,000.
How We Can Help
If You Feel the Assessment is Wrong
The method of calculating child support with a system in force on cases commenced prior to 2003 (old style) is very complicated with plenty of room for error. We have seen virtually every possible error with the CSA allowing for non-existent housing costs, non-existent pensions, incorrectly calculating Tax, NI, child living with the father, even stating the father is in receipt of benefits when he is not. There are therefore plenty of areas where the CSA can make mistakes. If you think an error has been you can appeal to a Tribunal but you should be aware that time limits are very strict, any appeal must be issued within one month. The time limit is absolute and is extended only on very rare occasions. You will note that just because you think the assessment is too low that is not in itself a reason to appeal however you may well feel that the income is too low or perhaps that his housing costs are too high. Perhaps the CSA have allowed for children allowances within the calculation and you do not think he has a child living with him. You can simply appeal a decision by stating that you believe that the net and exempt income is incorrect.