Our aim is helping everyone who experience difficulties with the CSA. Their remit is to ensure that the Child Support legislation is applied correctly and to educate the public about the administrations and powers of the Child Support Agency.

With the extensive powers that CSA have to pursue maintenance and arrears, it is vitally important that assessments are correctly calculated. We offer an assessment checking service to ensure that your assessments both past and present are correct.

Survival Tips

If you are contacted by the CSA, don't think that your 'ex' is out to get you. Very often the parent with care (PWC) has little or no control over the intervention of CSA.
Make sure the CSA put EVERYTHING in writing. At some stage you may need written proof.
Any verbal contact you have with CSA should be followed by a letter outlining the details of the call made.
Make sure all letters are sent recorded delivery or registered post.
Keep ALL copies of any letters sent to or received from the CSA.
Talk to your 'ex'. CSA can be problematic to both PWC and NRP, and now could be a good time to make your own private agreement and keep CSA out of the matter.

You can contact or visit your MP who probably doesn't know enough of it...make sure s/he does!! Remember only MPs can change the law!!
Help yourself. Find out your rights, and do not be afraid to challenge CSA.
Make sure your employer knows the rules for dealing with CSA.
Remember you are no longer alone. We will offer support and guidance to your case issues specifically.

There are many cases of misunderstanding when it comes to the subject of children, divorce and child maintenance.

Unfortunately in our society today all too many relationships breakdown and one of the most emotionally challenging aspects is how to deal with the children and the issues around child support on divorce and separation.

When do the Courts get involved in maintenance?

What many people are unaware of is that when the Government introduced the Child Support Agency (CSA) in the early 90's the Courts lost their powers to deal with maintenance for children. This means that Courts can now only make maintenance orders for children in a limited number of cases:

  • Where the parents both apply to the court for an 'order by consent' - that is both parties agree amongst themselves how much will be paid
  • Where a child is in full-time education and there are school fees to pay
  • Where a child is undergoing vocational training or an apprenticeship and there are expenses to pay
  • Where a child is disabled, and there are care costs
  • Where the other parent lives abroad on a permanent basis
  • Where the parties have agreed not to divorce just yet, but to enter into a formal, written separation agreement, then child maintenance can be incorporated into such an agreement and the terms and provisions of that agreement can be 'converted' into a consent order in a subsequent divorce.

 The role of the Child Support Agency (CSA)

The Child Support Agency deals with maintenance for children in most circumstances. This also means that if the CSA has already made an assessment and you refuse to pay or if you think the figure the CSA have decided upon is wrong you need immediatelly to appeal against CSA decision. You have to remember that you have only 30 days to submit this appeal.

Any way the responsibility rests with the CSA to take action, by hearing a form of informal appeal or by taking the non-payer to Court to make them pay by, for example, asking the Court to make an Attachment of Earnings Order so that the money is stopped out of their wages each week.

There are restrictions on what the CSA can deal with. They cannot for example deal with maintenance for children over 16 years of age unless they are still in full-time secondary school education.

Where a parent who should be making payments is living abroad, the CSA can, in theory, enforce payment by i) getting a Court order and ii) getting it enforced by local law enforcement authorities. They can send orders to all EU states, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some others but so far as we are aware, they actually never do this because it costs them too much money, but as set out above, you can personally apply to the court for a maintenance order in these circumstances.

The Child Support Agency, who are now back under the control of the Secretary of State since August of 2012 , actually have no legal duty of care towards the children of this country and nor do they have any over the PWC or the NRP.
 
What may the CSA ask you about?

Well as most of you who have had dealings with them will understand, they try and rule with a rod of iron without any care what so ever towards the father, known as the Non Resident Parent. Most of you will have experienced calculations that fluctuate from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds without any valid explanation from staff members at the CSA. Some NRP's have experienced oddities such as when they telephone the CSA they are be informed of one thing by a case worker only to have something else completely different happen, then when it is queried another case worker will tell you that the first case worker should not have told you what they initially did!
 
Others may have had  experiences such as summons to appear before a  Magistrate Court regarding liability Orders that they wish to impose upon you, and as some of you may have seen, that all too often the Magistrates do not listen to you once inside the court room, there is a reason behind this, something which we are not going to explain here as it runs deep. The upshot is don't expect to go into a Magistrates Court and expect justice to be done, it virtually never happens. The corruption doesn't stop there though, it does filter through to other levels of the system, ie the County Courts also.
 
So... What is the CSA, well they are merely  nothing more than a third party interloper , a Debt Recovery Agency in other words, and they have members of staff who are not legally qualified nor financially licensed. This therefore should have you asking your self this, who do the CSA think they are, especially when they are  giving out all of  the information that they do to people and  giving legal advice when they are not qualified to do so?
 
It is amazing when you start to ask the CSA the questions they do not like to answer,

Can You Change a CSA Decision? 

Can You Change a CSA Decision?

There are numerous ways in which a decision of the CSA can be changed. In general decisions change because either the CSA is informed that there has been an error, or because there has been a material change subsequent to the decision being made by one of the parties involved. It is also the case, on occasion, that the CSA may decide to revisit decisions of its own accord. Before exploring these further, it is pertinent to look first at the types of decisions that cannot be changed.

Time Limits

In terms of decisions that can be changed, these vary and some have time limits attached to them. For example, challengeable decisions may be revised if they are challenged within one month, after which they will not, unless there are special circumstances. However decisions that do not meet the special circumstances requirement may be 'superceded.' However, it may also be possible to request a late application for revision.

If a CSA decision is wrong for any reason it can be challenged within a month from the date at which you were informed of the decision. If successful the decision will be revised.

CSA Mistakes

In some cases, it may be that the CSA made a mistake in their decision-making. This may occur in three circumstances:

  • they made an internal error
  • they were mislead about a certain issue(s)
  • there was information available to them that would have influenced their decision, but the CSA were not in possession of this information at the time the decision was made
  • they used wrong effective date
  • they did not check PWC's (or NRP) circumstances

If the CSA's Decision is wrong in Law

Decisions that are wrong in law can be made in numerous circumstances. In the first instance, the CSA can interpret the law wrongly. This may be that they have wrongly judged case law, a statute (Act of Parliament) or other regulation.

The CSA may also make a decision without support by any evidence or without any sufficient reasons.
Also the CSA could fail to give proper regard to an important issue or alternatively take into account something that should not have been considered. If a decision has been made wrongly, it is capable of being superseded in these circumstances.

Procedure of changing the CSA's decision

You can apply for supersession at any time. If the supersession relates to an application for a variation, or a supersession of a previously agreed variation, then the other parties involved may be consulted. On receiving an application for supersession, the CSA has one of four options available to it:
it can refuse to supersede on the basis that there are no grounds to do so
it can find that there are grounds for superseding the decision, but that the maintenance calculation should not be changed
it can change the maintenance calculation
it can cancel the maintenance calculation

Ultra Vires

Occasionally appeals tribunals and commissioners have found that the regulation that has been used to make a decision is not a regulation that has been made lawfully. In these situations, the regulation is said to be made 'ultra vires.' This translates as 'beyond the scope of its powers.'

European Law

The courts, child support officers and tribunals, as well as the CSA itself and JobCentre Plus are all under a duty to follow the law. In some cases, however, the domestic law may not be entirely compatible with European law. Decisions that are made contrary to European legislation are wrong in law. In practice, the law of the European Court of Human Rights is more likely to be applicable in child support cases than European Union law. In the case of EU law relating to the equality of men and women regarding social security matters, child support commissioners have decided that this is not applicable to the child maintenance issues.
In  accordance to human rights regulations (ECHR, Human Rights Act), the domestic courts are required to interpret this as possible. Courts, and child support commissioners, are not able to override the European law in order to 'fit' with the domestic law. If EU and UK law are found to be incompatible with one another, the courts can declare this incompatibility.

However it is important to note that EU law reigns supreme in these circumstances. The European Court of Human Rights provides an opportunity for the courts and child support commissioners to override incompatible domestic law.
However, circumstances in which this occurs are few and far between, and it would be better if you got a legal advice. Legal aid may be available for these types of cases.

Complaints

If you wish to make a complaint to the CSA you should at first contact the person who has been dealing with your case, or their manager. You can either make the complaint over the phone or in writing, but either way it is vital to keep records of your correspondence in the event that you need to take it further.

If you cannot resolve the matter in this way, approach the complaints resolution team at the same office. It is once this avenue has been exhausted that you can make a complaint to the Independent Case Examiner. In order to complain this way, your complaint must have reached this stage:

a) you must have received a final reply from the Chief Executive of the CSA AND

b) you received the reply less than six months ago.

Actually this your complaint won't change anything unless it can force the CSA to review their decision.

How can we help?

Unfortunately most people find it uneconomic to try to tackle difficulties with the CSA using lawyers.
Instead we recommend contacting us. We will provide advice, support and information.

We will charge a subscription fee of just £35 for a year's access to advice, help and support through email or skype.

Remember, a CSA assessment may be better for you than a court order, or vice versa but once either is made, there are long-term implications for children and you may need help to choose the best option.

 CSA Mistakes, Procedure of changing the CSA''s decision