People can fall behind in paying child maintenance for different reasons – household bills may have rocketed; working hours been reduced or sometimes you’re just not sure how to manage the money you have coming in with the bills you need to pay.
Paying child maintenance isn’t like paying a bill though – it’s paid to help children get what they need.
If you’re struggling to make your child maintenance payments, it’s important you act straight away to bring your payments up to date and continue paying on time.
If you have a family-based arrangement
Speak to your ex-partner. Explain your situation and try to renegotiate a new agreement. Our discussion guide can help you.
If child maintenance is paid through the CSA or Child Maintenance Service
Contact them as soon as possible if you’re having problems paying, or if you’re going to miss a payment.
If you don’t pay all the maintenance you should pay, and on time, the CSA or Child Maintenance Service may take enforcement action. This may include taking payments straight from your earnings or bank account.
If you continue not to pay, they could also get an order through the courts to force you to sell your home or other assets; take your driving license or send you to prison.
If you need help to manage your budget or bills
It can be difficult to know where to turn, but If you’re struggling to manage your finances there is expert help and support out there:
The Money Advice Service is an independent service set up to help you manage your finances better and show you how to budget.
If you’re in debt, StepChange Debt Charity are there to help you if your debts have got out of control. They have a number of different solutions which can help you get your life, and finances, back on track.