Here at Father Figure, we know you want to do right by your kids, and that means giving them the financial support they need. After all, research shows that child maintenance makes a real difference to children’s lives, because it gives them a stable environment to grow up in.
If you’re living apart from your children and paying child maintenance through the CSA, sometimes it’s easy to forget that, especially when it feels like the odds are stacked against you and you’re struggling to make ends meet.
But no matter how complicated your situation is, you need to deal with your child maintenance responsibilities. If you don’t, things might get even worse.
This five-part guide aims to make it a little bit easier to deal with the CSA so you can carry on supporting your kids, while making sure you don’t get into financial hot water.
It might seem like your child maintenance payments aren’t fair. Especially if you share the care of your children – or if you’re at the opposite end of the scale and you don’t have any access to them at all.
It might also seem like you’re being asked to pay unreasonable amounts if you’re struggling to make ends meet and you don’t think your children are benefitting from the money you pay.
Find out more about how the CSA works, including how payments are calculated.
If you still think you’re paying too much, we offer advice on what you can do here.
When you need to pay
Under CSA rules, the non-resident parent’s responsibility to pay starts as soon as the case is set up. So you won’t need to pay for any period before then – but there’s no point in delaying payments after that point, as you’ll just get into debt.
Find out more about keeping your payments manageable.
Child maintenance debt
Let’s be honest – the CSA don’t have the best track record. Will they really do anything about unpaid child maintenance? Well the fact is, the CSA is catching up with more parents every day who owe child maintenance and hitting them with tough measures which have serious consequences. What’s more, child maintenance is considered a “priority 1” debt. That means it’s the most serious type of debt – ignoring it is not an option.
Find out what happens if you stop paying.
Help with child maintenance
If you want to speak to someone in confidence about your child maintenance worries, call Child Maintenance Options on 0800 988 0988. This is a free service for separated parents. They can give impartial information about child maintenance and support on issues such as debt. You can also visit them online at www.cmoptions.org
Please note - Child Maintenance Options can’t answer questions about individual CSA cases. If you have a question about your CSA case, you should contact your local CSA office.