It is very important that you pay the Child Service Agency (CSA), as they have far more power than any other creditors. For example, they can have your driving license stopped for 2 years. If you can not afford your CSA, it is best to get some legal advice from the CAB or Community Legal Service.
I’m bankrupt, do I need to pay the CSA?
Yes, you will still need to continue to pay the CSA. Maintenance is not a debt and it will take priority over any Income Payments Order in bankruptcy. It can not be dealt with in IVAs, DMPS or Bankruptcy. Please note, the CSA have different powers to other creditors, For example, they can suspend your driving licence for non-payment.
I can’t afford CSA payments, what should I do?
The CSA payments have been calculated according to the CSA rates tables and they are classed as a priority payment. If the CSA payment means that you are now unable to make full repayment to your unsecured debts then it may be that your financial statement needs to be looked at in a different fashion.
There are different types of debts and there are priority bills that need to be paid and are not really possible to negotiate without quite severe consequence, for example, council tax or rent. Non-priority debts are the amount that you owe to unsecured creditors, credit cards, catalogues are a couple of examples.
A financial statement should list all of the details of your income, daily living costs and debts. Priority debts will need to be listed in the same way as you would list rent or council tax. A bill that has to be paid. If you speak to a debt advisor they will be able to prepare a financial statement and identify the options you have for dealing with your unsecured debts.
If you fail to pay the CSA, bailiffs can seize your goods and any jointly owned goods to pay your CSA arrears.
I’m being asked to pay the CSA wrongfully, what can I do?
If you feel that you don’t owe the CSA any payments or are paying the wrong amount, it is important to inform the CSA. If this does not work, the CSA also have a complaints procedure if you feel that you are paying the incorrect amount.
Please note, It may be possible that CSA debts become statute barred (This means they can’t enforce the debt) after 6 years. So if you were previously paying nothing and then are asked to pay, you will still need to pay the amount requested by the CSA. However, CSA debts are a specialist area and you should probably seek legal advice to be sure.
My circumstances have changed, do I still need to pay the CSA?
If your circumstances change (i.e. you now earn less than the taxable amount), you will need to speak to the CSA as this will change the information they use to calculate your maintenance. The CSA recommend you use this calculator to work out how much you should be paying.