Collecting child maintenance owed from 1993 or 2003 schemes

If you’re a receiving parent owed child maintenance under the 1993 or 2003 schemes, the following information explains how the debt owed to you will be collected or written off.

Child maintenance owed to parents

In some cases, before Child Maintenance Service (CMS) writes off any child maintenance owed, the receiving parent will be given a final opportunity to help CMS to collect the debt from the paying parent.  If this doesn’t work, the debt will be written off.  For other cases, the debt will be automatically written off.

Child maintenance debt that’s eligible to collect

If you’re owed child maintenance from the 1993 or 2003 scheme and, the amount is:

  • over £500 and the case is less than 10 years old
  • over £1000 and the case 10 years old or over

You do not need to do anything, CMS will write to you and the paying parent about how much is owed. CMS will send you a representation form with their letter. You can ask CMS to try and collect the debt if:

  • the case is 1993 and 2003 scheme debt only
  • there hasn’t been any payment in the past three months

Asking CMS to collect the debt

After you get your letter, if you want CMS to collect the debt, you need to fill in and return the representation form. This is ‘making representation’ to CMS. You must do this within 60 days of getting CMS’s letter.

You should include any additional information about the paying parent such as their employment details and any assets they have.

Time limit on asking CMS to collect child maintenance debt

CMS will write to you 21 days after their first letter if they haven’t heard from you. If you don’t contact them after 60 days, CMS will write off the child maintenance debt and tell the paying parent.

When you ask CMS to collect the debt, they’ll need to check some information to decide if they could successfully collect the debt from the paying parent.

They’ll need to know:

  • where the paying parent lives
  • the paying parent’s income and financial status

When CMS decides not to collect a debt

Sometimes CMS decides they can’t collect the debt. They’ll write off the debt. They’ll write to tell you and the paying parent about this decision.

When CMS asks the paying parent for information

Sometimes CMS thinks the debt could be collected. But they’ll need more information from the paying parent before they make a decision to collect.

The paying parent can explain why the debt shouldn’t be collected and give evidence to CMS. This allows the paying parent to make representation.

CMS will then write to the receiving and paying parent to advise whether the debt will be collected or written off. 

How CMS can collect the debt

CMS can use different ways to collect the debt from the paying parent. They can:

  • take amounts from the paying parent’s earnings
  • use regular or lump sum deduction orders to collect payments from the paying parent’s bank account
  • send court orders to the paying parent

If CMS decide that the debt can be successfully collected, they will confirm how much is owed and move the case to the CMS 2012 computer system.

Writing off child maintenance debt from 1993 or 2003 schemes

CMS automatically writes off child maintenance debt from 1993 or 2003 schemes if the amount is:

  • £500 or less and the case is less than 10 years old
  • £1000 or less and the case is 10 years old or older

If CMS writes off a child maintenance debt, they’ll write to the receiving and paying parent. If the debt is less than £65, CMS will write it off but don’t need to tell you.

More information

If you need more information about 1993 and 2003 scheme debt, go to:

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.