The Child Support Agency was in fact re-named as the Child Maintenance Service some time ago, but from 30th June major changes to the applications for child maintenance from the absent parent, were introduced.
From the end of last month, all new applicants to the CMS will be charged a one-off application fee of £20 whether you are in receipt of benefits or not, the only exclusion is for reported victims of domestic violence, if you live in Northern Ireland or are under 19 years.
From 11th August this year both parents will bear the charges of collecting maintenance in relation to all cases in the CMS Collect and Pay system, as they call it. The charges will be 4% of the total payment, to be deducted at source before you receive it. For the paying parent there will be 20% added on to the child maintenance liability, to be paid as a charge to the CMS.
The calculation for child maintenance has now changed for new cases – it is now on gross income, not the net income formula we have been so familiar with. For one child it is 12%, two children 16% and three or more children 19% for those earning £800 or less gross per week.
It is easy to see the government’s agenda here. By penalising both parents who choose to formalise child maintenance agreements and use the CMS service, the clear message is, reach an agreement between yourselves, make it work and you will save money.
The DWP has launched an Online Tool Kit to help with child maintenance, but the general message is self-help, or you will be worse off.
Friday, July 18th, 2014 Children