To contact the CSA if you have a new claim, you must first call Child Maintenance Service on 0843 455 0030. To inquire about an existing account, you need to call your CSA regional office number. You will have to supply your national insurance number and date of birth, so have those details on hand when you call.
Child Support Agency (CSA)
CSA was established by the Child Support Act of 1991. This Act is a set of laws that govern CSA and is aimed at ensuring that both parents are held responsible for the upkeep of their children. The Child Support Act dictates how child maintenance should be calculated and collected. It also states that non-resident parents also have an obligation towards their children and are legally required to do their share of the responsibilities as dictated by CSA.
How CSA Works Out Child Maintenance
After a divorce, both parties can agree between themselves on how much should be paid in child support and when. This is referred to as a family-based agreement, which is most encouraged. However, in most cases, both parties cannot agree on amicable terms to sort out their finances. As such, they can involve CSA or the court to help sort out the situation. You can call Child Support Agency on 0843 455 0030 for more information.
Child Support Agency uses personal information of both parties to come up with a figure that is fair to both parties. CSA looks at such information as;
- The income of the paying parent
- The number of children whose needs should be met
- How often the children in question spend the night with the paying parent
- The number of other children that the paying parents get child benefits for
The calculated amount is not dependent on the lifestyle of either parent. It is based on a rough estimate of child care expenses and how much each parent should pay in proportion to their income. In essence, CSA makes sure that both parents share in the costs of raising the children. You can call Child Support Agency on 0843 455 0030 to know how the calculations are done or check out the child support calculator.
How Does CSA Collect the Necessary Information?
To determine an amount that is fair for both parties, CSA has to be adequately informed. The information is given by both parents as well as collected from third parties such as accountants, employers, and HMRC.
It is in the best interests of everyone that both parents give accurate information as soon as it is requested by CSA. This ensures that the payments are set up as soon as possible, and they are fair to both parties. If any party feels aggrieved, an appeal can always be filed. Call Child Support Agency on 0843 455 0030 if you have any additional information or would like to know how to appeal any decision.
Who Can Contact CSA?
Child support can be requested by any party who needs assistance with childcare costs. The applicant must be:
- Either parent who is directly responsible for the daily care of the children
- Any parent or person who expected to pay for the daily upkeep of any children
- Any Scotland resident who is over the age of 12 and is charged with daily childcare
- Any applicant whose child is less than 16 years of age, or up to 20 years old if in full-time training/education and is currently receiving child benefits
Anyone who is responsible for the daily upkeep of a child or children can apply for child support. The applicant is referred to as the receiving parent. Child support is remitted by the paying parent. You can call Child Support Agency on 0843 455 0030 for more information.
Previously, the regulations allowed parents to claim child support for children who were up to 19 years. However, it was later revised to a maximum of 20 years to be at par with Child Benefits regulations. This change has been affected across all statutory child support schemes.
CSA Helpline Numbers
For older CSA cases set up before March 2003, you can call the CSA Helpline on 0834 455 0070.
You can contact CSA through the numbers shown below. All lines are open from 8:00am to 7:30pm Monday – Friday & 9:00am – 4:30pm Saturdays.
|CSA Offices||Areas Covered||CSA Number||Addresses|
|Birkenhead||North West England & Wales||0843 455 0073||Freepost RTGJ-CERZ-LRSS, Child Support Agency 5,|
Post Handling Site B, Wolverhampton, WV99 1GH.
|Falkirk||Scotland & North East England||0843 455 0071||Freepost RTGJ-RHTA-EAAB, Child Support Agency 3,|
Mail Handling Site A, Wolverhampton, WV98 1SG.
|Dudley||The Midlands||0843 455 0074||Freepost RTGE-ZHHC-SXKE, Child Support Agency 1,|
Post Handling Site B, Wolverhampton, WV99 1ED.
|Belfast||The East of England & Northern Ireland||0843 455 0072||Freepost RTGJ-LSZK-GAET, Child Support Agency 6,|
Mail Handling Site A, Wolverhampton, WV98 1SH.
|Hastings||South East England||0843 455 0075||Freepost RTGJ-ZCRR-KKKZ, Child Support Agency 2,|
Post Handling Site B, WOLVERHAMPTON, WV99 1NE.
|Plymouth||South West England||0843 455 0076||Freepost RTGH-CAJR-AKJJ, Child Support Agency 4,|
Mail Handling Site A, Wolverhampton, WV98 1QL.
If you want to make an application, you may need to call the CSA Helpline on 0834 455 0070 for more information. The Child Support officer will be in a position to explain to you how CSA works, how you can apply, what will be required during the application and how you can appeal a decision.
Child Maintenance Service
CMS gives you information and helps with the choices that are available to you before you set up your new child maintenance agreement. The child maintenance options team can be contacted on 0843 455 0030. These lines are open from 8:00am to 8:00pm Mon to Fri & 9:00am to 4:00pm Saturdays.
After a divorce, parents have 3 options of arranging child maintenance. These options include:
- Family-based agreement
- CSA aided child maintenance
- Court orders for child maintenance
1. A family-based arrangement is where both parents come to an amicable agreement overall issues concerning child care. This is the most preferred child maintenance option as it is easy to change terms should the circumstances change, and it is cost-free. However, it is not legally enforceable should one party fail to honor the agreement.
2. Government aided child maintenance is whereby Child Support Agency or Child Maintenance Services are involved to help the parents decide on child care issues. CSA calculates how much is payable in child support depending on the income of the paying parent as well as childcare costs. You can arrange to have the paying parent remit the amount through Direct Pay or engage a Collect & Pay service.
3. Court order for child maintenance is the best option when the paying parent earns more than what CSA would typically use when making calculations. It is also the best option if the paying parent does not reside within UK. If there are additional costs that come with child care such as raising a child with disabilities, a court order may assist a parent get more to cover the extra costs.
CSA Appeals & Complaints
Appeals & Complaints can be made directly to the main CSA Contact Number 0843 455 0070; this line is open the same hours as the regional office numbers.
If you feel that the child maintenance decision made was wrong, you can apply for a review. If you still think that the review was unjust, you are allowed to appeal the decision to an independent tribunal. You can also call CSA Contact Number 0843 455 0070 to complain if you are not happy with any of the services offered.
You are allowed to request a review of a child maintenance decision made. In the review, CMS or CSA will explain the reasons why they have come to that decision. They may also look at the facts of the application again.
You can request a review within 30 days of the original decision, citing reasons why you feel that a review is necessary.
You can appeal the new decision made after a review if you are still not satisfied. The appeal may be filed within 30 days of receiving the review decision. Appeals are heard by an independent organization.
Appeals against enforcing child maintenance payments are not allowed. However, you can go to court to challenge the enforcement measures put in place
You cannot appeal against paying child maintenance under claims that you are not the father of the said child. There is a separate process for such claims.
CSA is not meant to punish parents who do not live with the children. It is important that both parents understand that they are legally obligated to take care of their children whether or not they are divorced. As such, each parent must bear the costs of childcare regardless of where the children live. Remember that CSA only works to assist parents and children who reside in the UK. You can call Child Support Agency on 0843 455 0030 for more details on residency requirements.