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Government approaches second stage of Child Maintenance Service rollout

Couples with two more or children will soon be able eligible for enrolment in the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), the successor to the controversial Child Support Agency.

The Department for Work and Pensions began a national rollout of the new child support scheme in December, but the pilot was restricted to new applications from people with four or more children by the same partner. According to a DWP spokesman, this approach:

“… allowed us to test our systems with a limited number of applicants and made it easier to address any issues. It also commits us to only opening the…scheme to more people once we are confident that it has been working well.”

By the end of this month, the Department expects to open the scheme to “new applications from people with two or more children, where the children are from the same two parents.”

Existing claims will continue under the Child Support Agency for the time being. The transfer of all support child support claims to the new service  will continue until 2017.

The Child Maintenance Service will administer child support payments for those couples unable to reach voluntary ‘family based arrangements’ between themselves. In such cases the CMS will pursue the non-paying parent and collect the money, but in a significant break with the past, the government plans to make such ‘statutory’ arrangements subject to collection fees for both the resident parent receiving the money and the non-resident parent paying it – four per cent for the former and 20 per cent for the latter.

Commentators have criticised the planned collections fees as excessive and likely to encourage poverty. But the government claims:

“…too many parents have come to see the CSA as the default option for arranging maintenance. It is our view that the better way to secure an effective maintenance arrangement, including (but not limited to) financial maintenance, is to support parents to reach their own arrangements wherever possible, with a new, efficient and effective statutory scheme providing a safety net where needed.”

Charges will encourage the uptake of private ‘family-based arrangements’, the government believes.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. JamesB says:

    re : arrangements will be subject to collection fees for both the resident parent receiving the money and the non-resident parent paying it – four per cent of the former and 20 per cent for the latter

    Is that not completely unfair. Wouldn’t 12% for the former and 12% for the later be fair.

    I suppose it shows the political lobbying power of non resident parents, i.e. that they do not have any, disgraceful.

    I do not see why the Government continue to reward and encourage single parents.

  2. JamesB says:

    I mean, what are the underlying goals? Is it a man tax? Is it to prop up the welfare state? Is it to reduce the birth rate or encourage homosexuality? Is it to further empower women?

    I do not think it helps the children as I think it encourages single parenthood and welfare dependancy and undermines marriage.

  3. David WB says:

    If the NRP is charged 20% (!!) for using the “service” and the RP only 4%, where is the incentive for the RP to reach any agreement?

  4. Fighting fit dad says:

    I’m already struggling to keep my three sons since their mother denied me access to increase her maintainence.
    I had to represent myself in court while she was aided by the state to make fasle allegations and tell lies without being held to account.
    The children now live with me for 1/3 of the year (in poverty), while I pay unfair amounts of maintainence an am denied access to the child benefit.
    I totally resent the fact that I will be charged 20% for a ‘Service’ I neither asked for or wish to be part of and am foretelling the demise of yet another taxpayer of this country as I head for the.dole queue…

  5. JamesB says:

    I’m sorry ffd. I do all I can to stop this thing and I agree it is not right or fair. Keep going you are doing good for your children as you are.

  6. John says:

    What happens between parents regarding their children is absolutely nothing to do with these people. They are routinely breaching Human Rights, and demonising and criminalising the non resident parent.

    Important matters involving children belong in the courts with professional, qualified people, and not with a bunch of pen-pushing oafs at the CSA!

  7. Fighting fit dad says:

    You have to ask yourself sometimes, is it worth knocking your pan in, to keep someone who has never worked, in a standard of living I can only wish for?
    All the RP has to what they are good at, NOT AGREE TO ANYTHING… The CSA step in and charge the NRP 20% thus compounding the problem and creating even more resentment between the parents…
    What type of clowns sit down and actually think these actions are a good idea?
    A 4% ‘punishment’ isn’t going to chance the mind of someone who doesn’t care what damage they do in the first instance. Government really need to rethink their strategy..

  8. Herald says:

    FFD, you are up in the clouds if you think the government is at all interested in rethinking things. It has never been in the interest of the state to introduce anything other than an appearance of fairness/equality. But I totally agree with you that, so long as the CSA exists, it’s far better to quit working, and be an impoverished Jesus – at least that way your child will get a better education in morals than he gets from the other half.

  9. Laura says:

    Totally agree with all the comments…

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