CSA Self Employed

Being self employed doesn’t mean that non resident parents can avoid paying the CSA, but many NRPs do see self employment as a way of escaping the Child Support Agency.

Because the CSA tends to use the DEO (deduction from earnings order) as its favoured method of collecting payments, many people choose to quit their jobs as a way of escaping it. The CSA prefers to use the DEO because it is quick and easy, and it means they do not have to converse with the non resident parent or come to any agreement about how and when payment will be collected. The CSA will issue your employer with a DEO, and your employer has to comply with it or they will be threatened with the bailiffs. Few employers will challenge this.

As a result, and because a DEO can be for as much as 40% of your wage, many people choose to quit their jobs and either become unemployed, or go self employed. The CSA does not like to chase after non resident parents who are self employed because it is more hassle, requires more legwork, and through creative accounting the self employed are able to disguise earnings, thus reducing the amount they owe to the CSA for the maintenance of their children.

The CSA will use the most recent tax return of the self employed person to work out how much money they earn, and how much money they need to pay. Because a non resident parent has to pay 15% of their earnings, after tax, for one child, it is in the NRP’s interest to declare as little as possible in their tax return. This way they pay less tax, and less child support.

Becoming self employed is very easy, and it can even be done while keeping your current job if your employer will allow it. Some non resident parents choose (with their employer’s permission) to become ‘contracted’, which means they are not salaried, they do not have any of the perks or security of a full time employee, and they pay their own tax.

There are many tales on our website from non resident parents who have gone down the self employment route for one reason or another, and you can read their advice on how they have managed it, and what the outcome was, right here.


  • Peggy says:

    I applaud Joanne post in Jan 2016.
    Man or woman, they both can be pathetic selfish creatures if they cheat or gail their kids.They don’t think about the kids.
    Dealing with a pathetic excuse for a man who refuses to pay the bare minimum because of incorrect information to the useless and lazy CSA.
    Yes, you make them, you pay for them, regardless. It’s your moral duty. Surviving abuse and yet having to endure the cheating ex bad mouthing. The non paying ex are mental creatures that will never change and will never have true relationships with their kids as they are self absorbed. This is only one group.
    I feel sorry for those that did not cheat on their marriages and the breakdown was a last resort. I feel sorry for good people who have to deal with a bad ex.
    At the end of the day, pay for your kids. Don’t moan about not affording to pay because you made them, so too bad, they need help.
    If I have to read another pathetic moan saying They get child support blah…er, if you only have 2 kids, it’s not a lot. Feed, clothe, put a roof over them and keep them safe and warm…it’s really not much, even with a full time wage minus bills. Having a psycho ex who claims has no money but goes on holidays abroad, eats out etc…please.
    CSA are a disgrace not doing more. The govt need to crackdown on this self employed bullshit to hide money. Utter disgrace for the kids to find out their parent, mostly dad’s btw, didn’t give a shit about their financial security. No, they wanted the primary carer to suffer, so used their kids as pawns. Not a great legacy for your kids or a role model. Thank God for good primary care parents, mostly women but some men too, who try and protect their kids even though they see the selfish greedy ex. Thanks to the primary carer who always remain calm for the sake of the kids, even with hell from ex.
    There would never be a nasty bitter issue with child maintenance if the parent that did wrong: owned up and took responsibility. They would pay what is fair. They would not have to be spineless and avoid paying. They would show their kids they were an honourable parent by making payment.
    This is based on a cheating ex that broke the marrital contract and trust of a wife and their children. This scenario is a cheating ex punishing the good parent but is also punishing the children. When you don’t put your children first, you will never be a responsible parent. If it’s all about you…seriously, you have no right being a parent. You are too selfish. Childhood is only a short stage of their lives. I hope more people appeal or make complaints about CSA failings. The law also fails children. We also need to have some sort of name and shame site for child maintenance avoiders. It’s not slander if it’s true.
    God help the children who have a parent that chooses to do anything to avoid paying child support. For those poor children to find our they were not worth anything to that parent.

  • r doughty says:

    money money money….. the same old story i read in previous rant. think of the children, there being denied a father by this system . so broke hes like me working 60 hours a week for 15 pounds less than benefits would equal while shes buying them gifts with his money saying there dad doesnt care when hes unable to buy them stuff like mums does……. i was told last christmas when without warning my payment was trebled . after saying i couldnt see them over christmas or now afford any presents. the reply…..thats not our concern? the clues in the name you idiot!!!
    the children will one day grow up and as i already have experienced. find out the real truth and mum….yer fked. the hatred will run true.

  • Izzy says:

    Peggy, just reading that diatribe only makes me sympathise with your ex.

  • Hellen says:

    MY son is now 17 and in all the years growing up I have not had a penny of support from his Father. His Father is a PGA touring Gold Pro and Teacher living in Hereford. The last conversation we had via text was very telling, he said and I quote ‘ You need to go and find a man like any normal woman does and get him to support ‘Your ‘ son’. This from a man who went through to a DNA test to prove himself right that he was not the Father of our son, only to find out he was. He said I had cheated (which was not true) he truned out to be the one cheating on me with his now Wife….Sometime the odd fifty a month would make a difference, the positive is my son dies not have to interact with his Father and pick up his elfish ways..

  • Paul Phillips says:

    I do think parents should pay for their kids
    In my case I had to fight for 3 yrs from 2011 to 2013
    Against a lieing and bitter & controling mum who was hell bent in destroying the bonds between a loving father and his 4 children
    Iv not seen them since 2013
    it’s very hard to want to pay
    When this kind of crap has gone on
    Yes I know you should still pay bla bla bla
    But where’s the fairness here
    When a system called family law backs up these bitter women !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Daniel ford says:

    First off I’m a good dad that is refusing to pay the mum of my children for a number of reasons like my mum provides her with free child care so she can work part time and still claim all benefits so when women say u made them pay for them same goes to u why are u exempt from working cos u have children that spend 7 hours a day in school so she gets a house paid for rent paid for etc so I have to pay my own everything and I have my children every single weekend with or with out work their mum went to Thailand for 10 days last year while I had the children and went to work and she has a boyfriend that is refusing to move in with her cos they will lose all the state help they get and she went Ireland for 5 days with her boyfriend at the start of the year and guess who had the kids me and she’s Insured on her sisters car so she has enough money and I have bought the kids I pads the kids bikes cos I have them every weekend without fail so why the fuck should I pay her anything the kids have everything they want and I’ve had to buy them clothing for when they are with me cos there mum packs old stuff with holes in and don’t fit the kids so all u independent women out there who don’t work , before u moan at men try standing on ur own two feet first before u start bad mouthing men and another thing u was happy to lay down an spread ur legs , u picked the dad no one else

  • paul says:

    Hello everyone, I have read this article with great interest. I work full time and set up csa payments myself to pay my maintenance to my ex partner. And I’ve the last several years I have had one heck of a ride. First of all my ex claimed I had arrears because I hadn’t been paying her directly. During this time I was working offshore and paid what I thought I was due to pay. Turns out that I had overpaid by >£5k. This took years to recoup. Then my ex appealed the calculated figure and refused to allow me to have residential contact to gain more money (breaching a court order might I add) court of appeals ruled In het favour now I’m in arrears even after I appealed. They said regardless of a court order being breached It wad calculated on actual contact time. Never the less I argued no more. U then had the opportunity of an onshore job which I jumped at so the kids could get regular contact, during my time offshore It could be up to 8 weeks untill the kids got to see me. So because of this onshore was a no brainer. One year on after sorting out csa yet again based on my new wages my ex claims I still get offshore bonus because I’ve had 2 overseas management visits (no bonuses paid) so now I’m in yet another battle. Letters from employer saying that I dont get bonuses etc etc. Now I dont mind paying for my kids at all, but because I’m fighting to se them and solicitors arnt cheep I cant even afford to take the kids out to cinema and things and let them have treats. The shirt its literally been taken from my back. I’m a grafter and always have been all the while my ex takes more money home than some people get from a full time job and gets assistance from the taxpayer for benefits. Now before anyone jumps on a band wagon I will say that I’m happy to pay for my kids I just don’t understand that I work so hard and gave to sometimes choose between food or fuel to get to work.
    I decided to try and set up a small part time business to try and make a little more money to give my kids more when they come around. Guess what my ex its wanting a new calculation based on my self employed income which is at the moment nothing. When in profit again no issue with paying for my kids,but the biggest question in my head is why bother bo matter what I do its bot worth doing. Its very depressing and all I want to do its gave something to give to my kids and to leave for them when I’m gone. Um not surprised so many people get and buck the system to not pay. I feel sorry for my kids and also the guys/ladies that work at the csa they must have some grief to put up with if my story is a regular occurrence
    Thanks for reading. And yes I will not let it beat me will be able to some day rake my kids on a holiday. And maybe be able to buy them there first car I help them get to university.

  • Carelle says:

    Same old story. Ex-wives silly demands are not accepted by the Courts so they deny fathers access to their children. As if that is likely to get them any money! I imagine many fathers are drive to identify ways to reduce what they pay in maintenance by ex-wife’s refusal to allow access to children? Real loser is the child in my view.

    My stepfather provided me and my mother and his son with everything. Marriage did not work out. Stepfather initiated the divorce. My mother initiated the Courts about maintenance. Almost 30% of family wealth went on legal fees and my mother ended up with settlement much lower than my stepfather had offered before the courts were involved.

  • Laurie Moffat says:

    Very helpful article. I was worried as I got a letter from the csa telling me I had to pay more money… Just started my own Limited company… Now Contracting and in full control.

    I’ll always pay for my sons upbringing. Just not be bullied into unreasonable amounts of cash to fund 5 holidays a year…. The system is fucked. But on the bright sight it’s open to getting fucked back…. 😉😉

  • Single dad says:

    What about the dads that want to actually see their kids? Like me? I’m being refused 50 50 access for my son because his mother doesn’t like me. If I had this access there would b no reason to exchange money at all. The full system is flawed imo for guys like me who just want to be a good dad and be a part of their kids lives. I was kicked out of a home I paid half of for 4 years. Had to move home twice in two months, I was arrested over a txt message that was in my exes opinion ‘ threatening’, I never saw my son who is 3 yo for 2 weeks because my ex said I had aggression and anger issues, I have a lawyers bill of over £1000 and counting and now she is demanding child maintenance. My ex who still lives the same lifestyle as before and earns over double per annum that I do. I’m out on my own and having to start a life from scratch and I’m getting treated like this and it really bothers me that she is getting away with it

  • Faye says:

    I sympathise with anyone having a tough time. But it’s really unfair that some s/e nrp’s get away with not supporting their kids. My ex originally made an agreement with me, then reneged on it. After refusing to communicate with me I had no option but to go to the CSA. For a year he paid, late, every single month and only paid when i contacted the csa. I gave him every opportunity to pay consistently and in the end I got fed up of being yanked by him and asked the csa to collect from him. I’ve not had anything since for his children. He’s lied about his income for years anyway so I was never going to get anything like I should but now the kids get nothing- that’s not right in anyone’s book

  • Stevie says:

    My ex recently went self employed and CMS have gone off his last years gross income knowing this only includes 1month of self employed earnings. Then used that for income for this years payments. When they do the review in 12months going again off last years gross income from hmrc the figures will include an additional 11month self employed income, will put him in to almost 11montha arrears along with a much higher amount of cms from the previous year. This will be added to what he will have to pay next year to recover arrers they are causing him to have. This will mean he will likely not afford it and have no choice bit to go back on benefits next year. I told cms this and said they should ask him his weekly or monthly income instead or give the flat rate of 38 to avoid this. He will not know this is how it works and not the smqrtest if people so will just get the new calculation based on last years gross income which is only 1mobth of self emoyed pay and benefits 11month prior. Then that that will put him in arrears at the annual review. Then they are refusing to inform him of this and refusing to ask him his weekly income and also refusing to look at how they worked this out again. This means we get nothing now but the 7as for somone on benefits which 1month pay divided up over 52weeks hardly effects. Then after the annual review he will be shocked and have to pay allmist double what the new calculation will be based on 12month wage, include almost all from this year on top forcing him to be unable to afford that out of work and back on benefits so means we will not get the arrears they are causing nor any more than the 7for people on benefits next year. This is madness to say the least. I cannot even tell him as I cannot contact him he has been missing and in contactable for over 1year. They said I can ask for a mandatory review but they have failed to follow guidance on recently self enoyed paying parent and used the guidance and practice just for self employed. Wtf

  • Matt says:

    I don’t see y I should pay if my ex won’t let me see my child and they want me to pay

  • Matt says:

    I don’t see y I should pay if my ex won’t let me see my child and they want me to pay .I’m self employed and csa going to take me to court

  • Luke says:

    I am in arrears with csa based on last years tax deductions. I told csa I wasn’t working for six months of this year and took an £18000 a year drop as I started a new career, is it more better for me to become self-employed as they are asking for over £400 a month on a less than £16000 a year salary. This system is so unfair and it’s a scam and the mother should be ashamed of herself because I wouldn’t ask for a penny off her if I had the children and certainly wouldn’t stop her from seeing them because I could claim more csa, can anyone help me please.

  • Bella's dad says:

    Imagine the calculations were worked out like this

    The more you see your child the more you pay


    I’ve been fighting for my daughter and her mum is a horrible life ruimimg control freak, she wants to slow the process down but still wants my money.

    Why don’t the CSA ( who are just out to find funding from men to support the business ) see she dosnt want me around and tell her for that reason I don’t have to pay till I actually see my daughter regularly as a normal father should

    The system backs the women who abuse it and use the children as weapons

  • father of dylan says:

    One night stand – on birth control – how naïve could I have been!
    I had known her for a couple of months and turns out it was all lies, she only planned to have the baby to set herself up like the rest of her family turned out to be, council house and benefits.
    She got pregnant, so I sucked it up and did the right thing, got a 2nd job, rented a house for us (bearing in mind I was 18 at the time) and provided for her.
    She became a bit of a recluse, never wanted to go out, never wanted to do anything, would give me hell down the phone If she heard any females in the background (turned out to be a paranoid control freak too)!
    Lazy, never did anything, never cooked, never cleaned, I did everything for her.
    Then came the best day of my life to that date, my little boy was born, I was a dad!!

    Then came the not letting me hold him, or suddenly picking him up when I got home so that I couldn’t give him a cuddle, a kiss, the normal things a father should be able to do.

    This lasted 3 months before I couldn’t live like it anymore, and I found out she had been meeting up with her x!

    The relationship broke down, ended up her being escorted away by police as she got so violent.

    It has just been a down hill spiral since then.

    5 years through the courts, luckily they saw what she had been doing, granted me shared residency and shared parenting.

    Surprise surprise, she got in a pissy because she wanted more money and stopped my access.

    I wasn’t even working as I suffered from a very serious heart problem at the time that almost killed me.

    My boy is 9 now, I haven’t seen him for over 2 years. He hates me and my entire family because of her poisonous, toxic ways.

    The only thing my family and I are guilty of is trying to give my son as normal life as possible given the circumstances.

    I am now apparently in over £3600 worth of arrears even though I had been based on a nil assessment and the CMS are trying to fuck me royally!

    I am both employed, and self employed because I am trying to make a life for my wife and daughter, but CMS think they are above the law and are trying to take money out of my employment wages without even considering the fact that I am self employed as well and that they should go from my self assessment.

    HMRC have also confirmed that they should be going from my self assessment.

    All of this has almost destroyed my marriage twice, and I believe all this more recent hassle with my x partner contributed towards my wife having a miscarriage a couple of months ago.

    Is it not bad enough my x is a scrounger, sponging off the government, has no intention to work, house all paid for, benefits, and gets to be a mother to my son.
    That I have fought through the courts for years, paid money when I couldn’t work due to illness, stuck to the proper procedures the whole way through, but to try and bankrupt me when all I am trying to do now is provide for the family I do have.

    By no means am I suicidal, because I have a lot to live for now, but I am not surprised so many fathers commit suicide when they have been treated like this and not had the family support that I have had.

    Things need to change, women NEED to be punished for using children as weapons, making false claims, false paternity tests! ETC ETC

  • patrick says:

    I think you have that one wrong . I am a self employed nurse and worked hard all my life even as a student when my ex- wife made me homeless and then when I became a nurse screwed me for all she could get. Then one day took my kids away and never let me see them they were 5 and 8 now adults themselves who I have paid maintenance for the last 25 years due to errors by the CSA. My kids never saw me because of an evil woman but was happy to get cowards at the CSA take me for anything they could and even now as I have paid them am trying to get money back they took from illegally. So I’m sorry to say the CSA are rogues, cowards and idiots who think they can control a person’s life. Not being self employed is the blame , might be for some but please we are not all that way.

  • Jodie says:

    Seems like you have been brainwashed by your new “Dad of the year” who plays victim to abuse his children and keep his cash for his new lifestyle and “soulmate” who will only get dropped in a matter of time like the last women who he fancied playing with temporarily whilst claiming to be Mr Innocent with the best of intentions who is so hard done by and did nothing wrong.
    What sort of imbecile thinks that someone’s ex had a child(ren) with a previous partner and had no say in the conception like he was forced into sleeping with them. What you get told and the reality of the situation you choose to believe are 2 different thing entirely. The majority if mothers choose to continue with a pregnancy being under the impression the relationship is stable. Being a single parent is the hardest job in the world and costs a lot of money. It means sacrificing your own needs for someone else’s. Something you and your deadbeat boyfriend dont understand. Grow up and realise you will be next. He only cares about himself if he treats his kids like that and ropes some clueless dimwit into fighting his corner.

  • Nick says:

    Well what should happen is all married women that commit adultery should be thrown in prison for atrast a year for mental and emotional abuse. Women getting cms payments should have their benifits reduced by the same amount. Why should the tax payer pay for your children while you get extra money? The extra money goes on hair and nails and not the children.

  • Sw says:

    Oh dear, I think both parents equally make a choice to have children the majority of the time! My children’s dad who I share 3 children with changed after having children and we broke up, now he makes any excuse not to pay for the children we equally chose to create but he will dodge at any given chance and he now gone self employed telling me he’s not earning much when I know he is. I think it equally both parents responsibility

  • Clare says:

    Well said !!! I was just going to write the same thing! X

  • Clare says:

    What a nice guy!! How about you he a father !!! Cost a lot more than that to bring up a child you created !!!

  • Andy says:

    Being a parent is the easiest job in the world, if you’re parent material, it comes naturally..

  • Hard working dad says:

    It’s not always a 50 50 choice trust me their is rogue women out their that use kids and the CSA as a weapon Just as much as rogue fathers who dont want to help out with the kids or pay their way

  • Hard working dad says:

    That’s crap on his part . There is no way I would let any new partner dictate to what I have amicably agreed . Kids are 1st in my eyes and any new partner understands that it knows where the door is

  • John says:

    These women are all the same constantly playing the victim they make living with them impossible then blame the father for leaving.
    Then they make it as difficult as possible to have contact with there children I.e playing god they want it all there own way guess what not going too happen men are getting wise too these women.

  • Equal rights says:

    As with most things there is two sides to the story. The main problem with CSA is it only assesses the income of the paying parent. Surly we live in a day and age were the cost and parental responsibility should be shared?
    How much additional cost is a child?

    In my case I have 2 children, my ex would never let them stay longer than the minimum nights as her “income” would drop but that’s a different story.

    I’ve tried many a time to do a family based arrangement the only issue my ex is very jealous, rather than look at what she has she spends her time looking at what other people have.

    A married couple more often than not would live in a 3 bedroom house given the choice, its a study and a spare room, 2 bed houses for a married couple is small.

    So no really additional cost on housing.

    Water, electric and gas – lets be generous here and say an extra £30 pm. £360 pa

    You’d have Sky, Netflix, Prime etc if you wanted it.

    School wear again let’s replace every term and be generous £500 pa other essential clothing say £1,000pa

    Food lets say £100 pm for 1 child and £150 pm for 2. £1,800

    £3,660 – lets round this up to £4,000 for 2 children. Push it out to £5,000.

    The receiving parent is in all but full time employment, they could work more but that’s their lifestyle choice. Her partner works full time.

    I work full time, my partner works part time about to go full time.

    I am currently paying £6400 pa.

    Please tell me why I should pay more? Is it because I am a man? What is happening to the current surplus money? Why isn’t my ex contributing to their financial up bringing?

    My ex shows the kids all the letters from CSA and uses that against me. She tells them that I am only paying the minimum amount. Even at 14 and nearly 17 they really don’t have the concept of money.

    I know there are women out there getting a raw deal, millions owed because some Fathers walk away. No child should be in poverty.

    When I am willing to make more than a fair contribution why are CSA involved? What a waste of time, money and resources.

    Men and women should be treated equal – if one party doesn’t agree then both paying and receiving parents should be means tested.

    No parent should be able to use the system to screw the other over. We need to demand equal rights.

  • Cheri says:

    I so believe your comment and well said. All fathers have a duty to pay for their children. I have been on the receiving end of both types of fathers it’s the decent ones that care. Simple as!

  • Kay says:

    Amen to that michelle.
    If i had a law, the childmaintenance will only be given out if the child bears the fathers surname on the birth cert. This will make people think about actually having a relationship and a decision about a child is never taken too lightly. This is what happens when you over compensate for gender inequality. The balance doesnt even up, the balance swings in the others favour to make this seem right.

  • Neena says:

    You are a fucking thick idiot

  • Neena says:

    Half wit

  • Neena is a whore says:


  • Antiwomanman says:

    You make your snide comment fuck features when a man has had no choice but give up his job because some bint like yourself clearly is driven by money and vindictiveness toward men …. you are the first to moan about mental health if it doesn’t go your way but women and the CSA don’t give 2 hoots about ours … my ex made it clear that she wanted to ruin my life still 12 years after she did it the first time and the CSA have no remorse about their part as most of them are women ? Oh and before you comment I payed my way via CSA for 12 years thru covid I was off work she got paid when I’m out of work she got paid and even when shes been on fooking holiday and I’ve looked after my kids she got fookin payed …. so please shut the fuck up and give us honest blokes some respect fucktard

  • Ellie says:

    Stupid little cow. I’m here struggling with a one year old as his self employed father has never paid a penny and I’m the one in the wrong because I didn’t choose correctly? Would love to see you say this to my face you nasty little thing.

  • Strugglingfather says:


  • Guest says:

    You couldnt handle me..id wipe the floor with you and your nany daddy 🙂
    Mwah xox

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