The Government has introduced a new scheme for the calculation and enforcement of child maintenance that will be managed by a new organisation, called the ‘Child maintenance Service’ (CMS). This service will in time replace the current or old system that we have all become familiar with, the Child Support Agency (CSA).
The scheme will be phased in over the next few years with the aim of converting all cases into a single system by 2015.
The calculation under the new scheme will based on the non-resident parent’s gross income as opposed to net income (as per the CSA scheme) to make the calculation simpler. There is in turn, changes to the percentages to be applied.
For a gross annual income of up to £41,600 (or £800 per week) the percentages applied will be:
- 12% for one child;
- 16% for two children; and
- 19% for three or more children.
However, any excess of income over £41,600 per annum will be subject to the following extra rates:
- 9% for one child;
- 12% for two children; and
- 15% for three or more children.
Gross income above £3,000 per week (£156,000 per annum) will be outside of the jurisdiction of the CMS and in these high income cases you will need to seek Court intervention in the event that you cannot reach your own agreements.
If you are unable to agree terms of voluntary child maintenance then you may have to invoke the services of the CMS. The Government plans to introduce fees for using this service for calculating the assessment and requesting payment through the service/enforcement. For more information please click here.
The idea behind the new scheme is to encourage separating parents to agree their own arrangements outside of the statutory system by entering in to ‘Family Based Arrangements’ (FBA’s). Most parents who are able to communicate and agree arrangements think this is a better option as it allows for flexibility, remains private and no one else gets involved. FBA’s are quicker and easier to set up, with no other costs. For for more information please click here.
Parents are encouraged to use family mediation services to reach agreement on all issues relating to the breakdown of their relationship/marriage and often mediators can help separating couples reach agreements on child maintenance issues avoiding the bureaucracy of statutory systems, delays and costs.
- New threat to child maintenance for the women who already live in fear (guardian.co.uk)
- Fathers to be hit by rise in maintenance for their children following sweeping new reforms (dailymail.co.uk)