Government publishes full response to child support consultation

Children|Divorce|News|November 6th 2013

The government has published a full response to last year’s consultation on child support regulations.

Supporting separated families; securing children’s futures, published in July 2012, outlined changes to the payment of child support in England and Wales, and the transfer of existing Child Support Agency cases to the new Child Maintenance Service.

Parents will be encouraged to make voluntary ‘family-based arrangements’ with their former partners, but those who cannot be will charged a fee for use of an obligatory collection service – both the parent owing money and the recipient will have to pay the fee.

The consultation ended in October and attracted 90 responses. Minister of State for Pensions Steve Webb gave a preliminary response to the findings in May and this has now been followed up by the government’s official report.

In a written statement, the Minister set out the government’s decisions:

“… we have reduced the proposed parent with care collection fee from seven per cent to four per cent. Secondly, we have extended the list of organisations to which domestic violence can be reported in order to qualify for the …fee waiver. We have updated our definition of domestic violence to keep it in line with the current cross-Government definition, which includes financial abuse. ”

Existing Child Support Agency cases for which no maintenance is currently due will be transferred to the Child Maintenance Service first, he continued.

“We estimate that around 50,000 cases could move from being nil-assessed to being positively assessed, should a new application be made to the Child Maintenance Service. “

Cases in which maintenance payments  have been subject to enforcement will be closed and transferred last.

Single parent charity Gingerbread said it was “strongly opposed” to the plans.

“The government says the 4% collection charge for single parent families, as well as a 20% charge for the paying parent if they won’t pay voluntarily, will act as an incentive to both parents to collaborate and arrange maintenance payments between themselves. However, the 4% charge will only be applied in cases where the Child Maintenance Service itself decides that the non-resident parent is unlikely to pay maintenance, and collection is needed. Gingerbread argues that this means single parent families will be punished for the other parent’s failure to pay.”

Author: Stowe Family Law

Comments(8)

  1. Yvie says:

    As I understand it, there is a grey area at the moment if the father is willing to pay the mother direct, but the mother refuses. It seems to be a little unclear at the moment, whether the father will still be charged the 20%.

  2. JamesB says:

    First we had threat of prison, then we had taking away of passports and driving licenses, then we had naming and shaming, then attachment to earnings orders and the Inland Revenue, now we have

    a 20% charge for the paying parent if they won’t pay voluntarily

    I do wish the Government will change the record. If you have a broad brush approach like this which fails to take into account bad conduct of the pwc and heftily penalises the nrp instead then most would rather live in the gutter than support such a morally bankrupt, destructive to familys, system.

    Also, Ian Duncan Smith and politicians have gone down yet further in my estimation with this :

    1. Because the Tories said in their manifesto and everytime since that everything that they do will be assessed for its impact on families and not done if the effective is negative and encourages single parenthood. Well they failed on this and was political lie.

    2. No input into the policy from the 50% of the people involved, i.e. non resident parents, just from the 50% involved, pwcs who say that its not enough and the nrps should pay more.

    Please change the record, it is stuck.

  3. Luke says:

    JamesB, generally if you’re a man earning a decent salary and you split up with a woman (even if they dump you) the government wants to keep you on the financial hook and redistribute your current and future wealth so that everything financially stays afloat.

    They couldn’t care less about you as long as you are not literally starving (which means you couldn’t earn), you are a means to an end – that’s it.

  4. Paul says:

    A standing principle adopted by this government is to continually widen the definition of what constitutes domestic violence and abuse in order to broaden the appeal of its policy initiatives.

    I’ve already opted out as far as the next election is concerned although I will certainly spoil the ballot paper.

  5. Anthony Esler says:

    The entire system and that includes Govt/Charities concerned with ‘Families/SS etc is about Womens rights…not even Childrens rights (despite everyone mouthing about ‘what is best for children’)- whether it’s SS being only concerned with the mothers needs and not investigating the children-which is why so many kids are dieing from neglect..or whether it’s contact or maintenance: it’s women first; children second; men nowhere- ask Karen Woodall (Centre for Separated Families). I am sick of everyone tiptoeing around the problem: one sign of which is the euphemisms of RP/NRP: What we mean is RP= mothers. NRP= fathers. SAY IT!
    The Family Justice Bill (which was originally meant to bring some equality between mothers and fathers got sunk when ‘Dave’ sacked Tim Loughton (who was doing a great job) and promoted Timson who simply got ‘rolled over’ by Womens Aid/Gingerbread etc.

  6. Jerry says:

    Hello, am on Zero hours contract and a response security officer. My ex and i agreed in court on 28 th June,2013 that i would buy clothes, school uniforms and shoes for my two young children ages 7 and 10 yrs of age. Which i wrote to the CSA and informed them about the outcome but i have been issued with 565.65 a month plus areas of 197.60 pounds. Idid write to CSA on 22th Aug,2013 stating the agreement to which my ex and i have agreed in the courts. Already my ex have violated two contact orders. And now am been bullied to pay all this money to her. I have opened bank accounts fot my two children which i make payements every month as well as a life insurance and they are the full beneficiary of that policy. i live in London and my children live in Chelmsford and i see them every two weeks. Pls i need urgent help as i can’t afford a lawyer. Please help me CSA have sent a letter to my employers to take the money directly from my wages

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Jerry
      I suggest you call Child Maintenance Options for excellent personal advice:-http://www.cmoptions.org/
      It’s free to call or have a web chat.
      Regards
      Marilyn

  7. Luke says:

    I am always amazed by the incompetence of the CSA, clearly they have just ignored his letter. If he falls behind – as seems inevitable on such a zero hours contract – he may get fired, and he will probably not have enough money to live so may not be able to financially or mentally (depression) work anyway.

    So the guy ends up earning nothing and the wife and children then get nothing – well done the CSA…

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