Latest insights from our experts

Posted 12 October 2017
by Ricky Noble

Child Maintenance – What Can You Do if You Are Not Receiving Child Maintenance?

The Child Maintenance Service will take action if child maintenance isn’t being paid. When a payment is missed, the Child Maintenance Service will contact the parent who is meant to be paying child maintenance to ascertain why they haven’t paid, arrange to take payment, and advise as to what action may be taken if they do not pay.

If the Child Maintenance Service does not receive a response, they can take action to obtain payment.

If payments are usually made through the Child Maintenance Service, they can take immediate action. If payments are usually assessed using the Child Maintenance Service, but payments are made directly between the parents, the receiving parent will need to contact the Child Maintenance Service and request them to take action.

Child maintenance which has not been paid can be recovered in several different ways as follows:

– Collect from a paying parent’s earnings or benefits

The Child Maintenance Service can contact the paying parent’s employer and tell them how much to take from their wages. The employer must then pass this to the service.

If the paying parent is in receipt of benefits, a State Pension or War Pension, the amount owed can usually be taken from these payments.

– Remove money from a bank or building society account

The Child Maintenance Service do not need permission to do this. They can tell the bank or building society to take either:

  • regular payments
  • a one-off payment

Take Court action

Court proceedings can be issued against a paying parent in respect of unpaid child maintenance. There are several remedies open to the Court as follows:-

  • sending bailiffs to a paying parent’s home to remove and sell their belongings to recoup the amount of child maintenance owed
  • sending a paying parent to prison
  • collect money that’s owed to the paying parent by someone else and using this to pay the child maintenance owed
  • forcing the sale of a property and using the money to pay the child maintenance owed

If a paying parent tries to avoid paying child maintenance by disposing of assets such as selling property or transferring it to someone else, the Child Maintenance Service can ask the Court to stop them.

The Child Maintenance Service can also ask the courts to reverse any sale or transfer that’s already happened.

If you require further information or advice in respect of child maintenance, or any family matter please contact our team of family law solicitors in Exeter on 01392 207020.

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About the author

Ricky Noble


Paralegal within our family team