Family Law News

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Launch of New Child Maintenance System Ensures Fairness and Encourages Co-operation

The new child Maintenance system, launched 30 June 2014, is designed to encourage families to work together whilst maintaining a subsidised service for those who need it most.

The previous system under the Child Support agency will be phased out over the next 3 years as its current cases gradually close. Parents will now be able to choose between making arrangements for child maintenance amongst themselves or using the new Child Maintenance service.

A one-off £20 application fee to use the Child Maintenance Service has been introduced, as well as enforcement charges of up to £300 for parents who have to be pursued for Child Maintenance.

Parents who chose to use the Direct Pay service to set up direct payments between the parents will pay no ongoing fees. The Department for Work and Pensions released figures which show that, already, 39% of parents within the Child Maintenance Service are using Direct Pay. The alternative is having the state collect and pay maintenance on their behalf - for which there will be an ongoing fee to be introduced in August this year.

The aim of the ongoing charges for parents who want the state to collect and pay maintenance on their behalf is to encourage parents to work together to make their own arrangements, freeing up the Child Maintenance Service to concentrate on the most challenging cases and get the money flowing where it hasn’t in the past.

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Child maintenance reforms to hit thousands of children

New survey results show that almost half of single parents currently using the Child Support Agency – as polled by charity Gingerbread - could not afford to pay the fees proposed to access the new child maintenance service.

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Flaws in child maintenance proposals, say charities

UK charities Gingerbread and Barnardo’s are highlighting research evaluating the Child Maintenance Options Service which supports their concerns around Government proposals to charge parents up to £100 for access to the Child Support Agency (CSA).

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