A new report by social research charity the Nuffield Foundation into the maintenance arrangement of single parents on benefit suggests that around half of all private agreements break down within five years.
The report notes:
“Private arrangements appear to be difficult to sustain over time.”
According to single parent charity Gingerbread, the finding means government plans to focus on private child support agreements between divorced and separated parents will encourage poverty and deprivation.
From next year, parents looking after children will be charged seven per cent of each payment if they apply for compulsory child support via the Child Maintenance Service, successor to the controversial Child Support Agency. Instead, parents will be encouraged to make arrangements directly between themselves, called ‘family based arrangements’.
Gingerbread chief executive Fiona Weir said:
“At a time when private maintenance agreements are being sold as the best solution for separated parents, this study shows that for a significant group of single parents they are simply not feasible.”
“Introducing charges where private agreements haven’t worked risks making some of the most vulnerable parents even poorer – either because they have no choice but to pay to use the new statutory system, or because they give up on child maintenance altogether.”