Child maintenance backlog exceeds £3.8 billion

Child maintenance

The amount of uncollected child maintenance in Britain now exceeds £3.8 billion, the BBC has claimed.

The figure, highlighted on Victoria Derbyshire show, is based on collated government statistics and dates back 23 years. An estimated 1.2 million parents with care of their children are currently owed child support payments by their former partners.

According to the programme, the majority of the backlog was accumulated during the notorious Chid Support Agency (CSA) era. The government began a phased closure of the CSA in 2012 but no less than £93 million has reportedly already built up under successor organisation the Child Maintenance Service.

Janet Albeson of single parent charity Gingerbread described the figure as a “huge, startling number”.

“People can’t quite believe it, and do a double take. And it’s money that’s built up over a long time.”

She called on the government to pay compensation to parents with care of their children who have lost out.

“They shouldn’t just be able to walk away and say it’s history when it’s due to their errors and their poor practice that money hasn’t been collected. That’s wrong and the government should pay for that.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson insisted that the government was actively pursuing child maintenance debts, adding that under the current system 90 per cent of non-resident parents “are paying towards the money owed“.

The parliamentary Work and Pensions Committee is expected to publish a critical assessment of the CMS next week.

Image by Alf Melin via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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25 comments

Andy - March 20, 2017 at 2:36pm

The trouble is and the reason is that the CMS and government implemented laws that crush the non parent with care who are taxed twice one by HMRC and one by CMS on gross income calculation.
As a paying booted out father who has to pay just under half of my salary and living like a sewer rat with any further increase in salary just get grabbed by CMS and ex partner.
CMS are incompetent from start to finish..never professional and just say that is the way it is..Good luck if you ever try and challenge them…
If you do all documentation seem to get lost how surprising!!!
CMS hide behind there own laws and I am not surprised majority of paying parents don’t pay..
Just an indirect tax so the Golddigger ex gets more money..plus benefits..If Ginger bread kept and Mums kept running the show instead of the government then perhaps the blame is on the so called mothers support groups.clear to see..

Yvie - March 20, 2017 at 5:13pm

Have these ‘debts’ been accurately broken down. Many fathers complain that arrears have accrued when they have not been in work, or through the general incompetence of the child maintenance service. The gross percentage calculation falls heavily on fathers earning below the gross national wage as once maintenance is deducted insufficient often remains to cover basic bills. As mentioned above, any attempt to improve the quality of life by overtime merely increases the amount due. Cooperation is always more effective than force, hence the number of fathers who hide their income either because of lack of compromise or over-expectation by the ex.wife.

Andrew - March 20, 2017 at 5:51pm

CSA/CMEC never writes a debt off. Now apart from being wrong in principle – there is no reason why the law of limitation should not apply as it does to other creditors – it is absurd in practice. By now there must be NRPs who have died and left no significant estate; if they’ve spent on high living what they should have paid for their children there’s nothing to be done about it.
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CMEC need to go through their files and work out what is realistically worth chasing and what isn’t.
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And I agree with Andy; it is wrong to leave payers of CM (or indeed spousal maintenance) with no incentive to better themselves. That indeed is the vice of spousal maintenance and why it should be exceptional and short-term. CM should be the norm and it should last during minority but some way must be found to make it worth the while of the payers to try to do better in life.

JamesB - March 20, 2017 at 6:01pm

In other related news fathers get 3.8 billion of their own money more to spend on their children as they think best. Which is better than giving it to the women to f up society with. I also agree with Andy.

On another related point, I think I may have fell for the fishing bait that seems to be to generate hits.

JamesB - March 20, 2017 at 6:06pm

I meant by last comment. Slow news day? Criticise and bait fathers calling them names and promote feminism or feminist legislation and feminist tax all of which I regard this as. I also have history with them on my case putting me at odds with society and politicians and like millions of other men and a few women in the same boat, being disenfranchised.

JamesB - March 20, 2017 at 7:11pm

It is wrong in principle. It gets on my nerves the sense of entitlement people have with regards to this. Like watching the woman on this clip on the BBC saying with all the confidence in the world how the man should pay money to her for treating him and their child so badly. This matter needs to go back to the courts where these woman can tell it to the judge rather than lying to the press about how bad their men are.

For millions of years humans got by without this. Men look after their children, where government intervenes where there is no abuse, then that is government playing father and encouraging parents to split.

JamesB - March 20, 2017 at 7:15pm

He’s an entertainer of children for work. Respect to him.

I respect all people who do their most to evade this horrible CSA/CMEC/CMS/CMOptions system. Hence why the government want out and people to do deals between them.

Also, this makes NRPs bitter, like when charities ask me for donations, if it weren’t for this system I would give more to them and it pushes people who used to be friendly and a couple parenting happily against each others throats, like the Muslims and Serbs in Sarajevo.

JamesB - March 20, 2017 at 7:16pm

The way she came across on the clip I saw would make me anti paying her also.

JamesB - March 20, 2017 at 7:18pm

bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39293209

Also a lot of women spend it on themselves or their new relationships or drug habits or more government spending on welfare and feminism and it doesn’t go towards new families either.

JamesB - March 20, 2017 at 7:20pm

p.s. The point about it financing drug habits is through experiences I have seen and heard of.

JamesB - March 20, 2017 at 7:32pm

Government could sort this out as quickly as article 50. Just make it voluntary. Decent citizens should write to their MPS and advise them of that as I have done. As I say, if these partners of deadbeats (they didn’t seem to mind their partners too much at one time if you know what I mean) have a case they should take it to a judge rather than relying upon feminist entitlements and welfare state demands on the very very dubious claims that their men are deadbeats.

JamesB - March 20, 2017 at 7:37pm

It encourages single parenthood such poorly thought through broad brush legislation as the csa. They should have thought about the law of unintended consequences and not done it or reverse it.

JamesB - March 20, 2017 at 7:52pm

I have always avoid like the plague women who expect maintenance from their former partners, child or spousal maintenance. I think most men feel like that. People should tell the women so they don’t believe that what the law says is by any way natural law. Paying to be treated like dirt and having your children stolen from you, that (unwanted unneeded counter productive feminist government into the family) is disgusting.

JamesB - March 20, 2017 at 9:32pm

Some points now I have semi calmed down.

1. I have spent hundreds of thousands on this over decades.
2. Re Andrew’s point above, it is not usual, or indeed often that the non resident parent spends any money extravagantly, indeed usually after being stitchedup on divorce the opposite is the case.
3. It is state sponsored child abduction. As with domestic violence and paternity fraud, that the victims are men should not make it any more of a crime.

Those three are facts. More on the how it feels.

For my eldest daughter she was less than one when Mum, after consulting a lawyer started claiming to be in fear of me. So, I get stung for over 19 years worth of maintenance. Now, that’s longer than I would have served for a murder for a life sentence.

It is am amoral carte blanche policy which results in immoral outcomes and men being labelled bad for no good (usually made up) reasons. Then paying to be insulted while ex moves boyfriend in and financing the dodgy law.

Encourages women to lie about being on the pill and chuck the man out.

“It’ll be ok, you will move out and pay maintenance and still see the children” and other such nonsense will come forth from women who go with the law rather than natural law. Especially with the breakdown of religion and community and society.

Financing two households where there was one costs more and is not usually affordable without a big hit on all three in the following order of suffering.
Non resident parent
Government
Resident parent

So, people who don’t pay it claim its should be paid. Like those who don’t go to museums want them open or the local pub they don’t visit to be open, or the power station not to be built near them.

Government should scrap the idea, put it back to the courts and mind their own business as it is detrimental to society encouraging women to use their wombs as cashpoints. By all means have decent relationship classes at school, but not this nonsense which is bad and Marilyn was right to resign from it.

I’m on a roll now and could go on more including how the rules are wrong and take no account of things they should do, like whether the parents were married when they had children and the degree the parents wanted to be active in the life of the children and if so how. Basically a complete mess and anyone who calls it like the woman in the clip does an automatic right is extremely misguided. I need to go and do other things now, but I hope the government stop poking their nose in on this and putting feminist laws in like they have done over the last 45 years and do more important productive things like editing the spectator.

JamesB - March 20, 2017 at 9:33pm

Just like Sarajevo. People who used to get on in a nice society at turned to each others throats and turning the society to ruins in the process after being educated incorrectly against each other.

JamesB - March 20, 2017 at 9:38pm

It stinks and the awards are too high also. Also undermines marriage and if was like Denmark and the government pay the difference apart from marriage where you may get a bit more then would be a better system.

Need to get my dinner. Point is you get a token amount from the non resident parent who may poor voluntarily through marriage or otherwise. The point is the government should pay for the (feminist) mess it has made and not encourage relationship breakdown by sponsoring single parenthood as it does so much.

Another example is the priority given to single parents with regards to housing. So, woman and child gets looked after following relationship breakdown, man ends up on the street. A basic example but one worth making. So much for the welfare state. Seems to be misfiring here. Hence losing socialists votes world wide (including Hilary Clinton whom it probably lost the election for) its a communist feminist law and sucks big time.

JamesB - March 20, 2017 at 9:48pm

It encourages single parenthood and homelessness and government spending and housing crisis and breakdown of society and morality. For example objectively where the family used to live together in one home they now double the demand and are needing two homes. Need to have my dinner and calm down now. Perhaps the work house wasn’t such a bad idea after all, if that was the choice women had if leaving decent men more often perhaps they would not do it.

I accept that the law was put in place with the best of intentions, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions and it is driving wedges in between men and women for example encouraging radical feminism, single parenthood, low birth rate, MGTOW lack of community cohesion, religious extremism, immigration, migration, unhealthy children, mental health issues, etc. Could go on with this list, the point is, but paying money to the people (Gingerbread and women’s aid) shouting the loudest, the government have made a right mess. I have said what should be done to rectify it and will try and not go on about all the harm it does, it just hurts and also its not fair on the women either like the ones struggling to find a partner with all the confusion caused by government intervention in this area, bit like brave new world or 1984 and counter productive the government getting involved, they should not have done and should have left it to the courts.

W - March 21, 2017 at 12:17pm

Whole system is corrupt. I’m a decent, honest and hard working guy.
Wife decides after spending 5 years off work she will go to work following second child. 14 yrs married.
Has affair with another married man at work, takes children out of the blue, rents a house together, refuses me access to children, stops paying all her liabilities, has me falsely arrested for DV (in an attempt to claim legal aid but thrown out), go to court, section 7 report ordered (she would chastise the children), Social worker spends 1hr with me over the 10 weeks for report, no issues with me, property, etc, etc, go back to court, mother and another married man playing dad now have my children.
So a totally useless and completely corrupt process and this is what the CMS is all based on. In my case (and I’m sure many other fathers are in the same boat), have done nothing wrong yet have had my children taken away from me and I’m left to pay a maintenance for someone else to babysit and pretend to play dad to my children when I have be denied. I was good enough prior to her affair, but now I only good for the allocated time given to me by the courts.
The comments above are correct, it causes further conflict and pushes fathers to sit back to reduce payments that the children would never see anyway. For some fathers, its better to just pack up work altogether, they would be better off, less stress and healthier.
There really isn’t any incentive to improve themselves when they have an attachment to earnings. Why should any decent honest and law abiding father be pushed to have to try an avoid a maintenance charge that they should haven’t have had to make in the first place? Its too easy for the (as quoted above) gold diggers to run the same system as in my case to get away with claiming to fuel there shopping habits while they move on to the next cashcow.

spinner - March 21, 2017 at 2:47pm

Just wanted to say that you are absolutely correct and you are definitely not the only one who has come to this correct conclusion based on the situation you and many many men have found themselves through no fault of their own.

Andy - March 21, 2017 at 9:14pm

This is such a volatile subject that all contributions on this subject are all correct..Typically in this and every example how it’s always the Male and that’s how the law takes it view.
We see the current bra chucking Female groups support for more money off the dead beat father where the Mother decided she could get more money from the system than still be in a marriage of some sort..common knowledge…
You get as I have said before the mother support groups who seem to run the government and demand changes that benefit themselves.
Let’s take the example where Ginger bread mother support group are demanding the fee as CMS want if you can’t agree. 20% deducted from the males wages but only 4% deducted from the mothers..now what that support group want is the 4% dropped because mothers or PWC needs all the money for child care..now you tell me why no deduction for the male and this stays at 20.%..
I agree with all comments made and as per usual CMS threaten you if you don’t pay etc..What I do wish for is a choice that the so called allowance was given directly to the child at a certain age not to the thieving, lying, crying in court mother who then can earn a large salary with no penalty whatsoever ever but the male gets peanalise drew every step of the way..
I could go on but what I want to know is who is fighting for us ,no one I would or don’t support the so called F4Justice etc as ther are only silent campaigners not fighters..
If we all stopped or just said I’ll pay an amount that is agreeable to then pay but not when some Fuckwit decided for me and then decided deduction from earnings with additional penalty at my cost..who dreamed that one up…
Sorry I’m on my high horse but I have no support for the idiots and if I had no one ounc or morals then I would do just the same and make it 5 billion they can’t cope now so how can they cope in the future..

H - April 30, 2017 at 4:57am

The system does not work. Everyone’s circumstances are unique. I have residency of our child and have had very little consistent financial support from my ex partner. We were unmarried, so I approached the child maintenance support service for help with this. My child’s father has a history of insolvency, including a criminal record for fraud, ridiculous debts with pay day loans companies, countless ccj’s for non payment of all sorts of things (when we were together the majority of this was hidden from me, as I discovered things I tried to help). The financial strife that he has always been in is something that he could easily have avoided on his 50k basic salary, plus commission, plus brand new BMW and numerous holidays since I chucked him out of our family home. I chucked him out, not for his financial problems but for his continual dishonesty and affairs with both men and women. The family home I refer to is the roof that I have put over all of our heads, paid the mortgage on my own- even during maternity leave, always paid all the bills on my own and sensibly kept everything in my own name. Not all women are gold diggers. In my case I’m financially independent because I have worked hard all my life and work full time. In my case my ex partner was (and still is) a parasite and a scum bag. I applied to the courts for residency because he made life very difficult for me know terms of agreeing contact (which I won’t go into, but I have always made sure contact is consistent and regular), I applied to the CMS for help because I don’t get any financial support towards looking after our child from him. I receive no benefits, other than child benefit (which has always been paid directly into a separate account for my son). For five consecutive months I’ve recieved no financial support from the ‘paying parent’- in spite of dutifully reporting this to the CMS each month, following their complaints procedure and writing two letters for which I’ve had no response- he is continuing to get away with it! I don’t need the money. My son and I survive without it – just. But I shouldn’t have to. That money is to help provide for OUR child. The cost of childcare has never been included in the CMS calculations- and seriously should be. In my situation, one parent has been allowed to opt out of providing for their child. He will always opt out because of his personality. But the CMS should be doing a better job than they are to recover the money owed and ensure consistent, regular payments. It is the child who is affected in my case. Two of us brought a child into this world, how is it fair that only one should be responsible enough to provide for him? Yes I chucked him out and he’s had to start his life again….but it was deserved. You live by the choices you make- and I won’t go into the debt he’s left me in now. It seems to me, that there are too many ways to avoid providing for your own flesh and blood- the CMS offer too many chances and he is too protected. A decent man would want to make sure that their child was well supported. This man isn’t decent and I will always have to pick up the pieces. Along with a lot of other women I know. Not feminism. Reality.

Andrew - May 1, 2017 at 3:56pm

H: While I have not a word to say in defence of your ex there is another interest here and that is his other creditors. Why is your debt more important than theirs?
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What is needed for this type is some sort of administration order system which will take his pay over a protected basic level and then divide it pro rata – the creditors being required to accept their share in settlement.
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And while we are in the area, and I have said this before, lump sum orders in divorce should be provable in bankruptcy and released on discharge; but postponed for dividend behind all other debts; so that bankruptcy means a clean start for debtors, which is what it is about, but ex-spouses’ do not compete with outside creditors, which is what marriage is about. If anyone disagrees I wish they would say why.

JamesB - May 1, 2017 at 7:32pm

To kick someone out (oust) and expect them to pay for that ongoing is a crazy feminist idea and tax and is about as defensible as a man tax, which it basically is. If you can’t afford to bring up children, get norplan or pill rather than moaning at men which rings hollow and the sense of entitlement makes me feel ill as it is ill.

JamesB - May 1, 2017 at 7:44pm

T didn’t work. Norplant apparently.Seems like a good (contraceptive) idea. Or (reversible) clips on the fallopian tubes. I’m not a Dr though and medical advice is best sought for family planning. Or you could try standing up after sex or the safe period each month which are as effective as each other (not a lot).

I think paying for women to have children is a fair use of tax payers money. A lot fairer than the CSA / CMEC / CMOptions / CMS which should be scrapped and put back to the courts. If you think you have a case, then tell it to the Judge. Like in Russia, where for example you wouldn’t get anything by way of maintenance if you were not married to the father, which is reasonable. I am beginning to repeat myself again so will leave it there. Regards to everyone.

JamesB - May 1, 2017 at 7:46pm

The 1991 CSA (Child Support Act), pro family breakdown act encouraging single parenthood and subsequent related legislation needs to be scrapped and the matter put back to the courts.

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