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Child Maintenance Service writes to parents

As many as 50,000 children could benefit from continuing changes to the child maintenance system, the government has claimed.

The government has begun writing to 150,000 parents as part of a three year process in which all remaining Child Support Agency (CSA) cases will be closed and transferred to the new Child Maintenance Service. Currently, 800,000 CSA cases remain active.

The letters will inform parents when their case with the CSA will close and offer advice on what to do next.

The first cases to be closed will be the so-called ‘nil-assessed’ cases. These are the cases where no maintenance has been due so parents may not feel the need to respond to the letter.

However, the government says that under the new, “much more robust” system, some parents may find that they are eligible to receive payment.

Steve Webb, the Child Maintenance Minister, said that the new service would provide parents with “an opportunity to re-consider their child maintenance arrangements”.

He added that any parent who receives one of these letters should “look carefully at the options, as they may be surprised at the support available to them.”

The government has also launched an advertising campaign to raise awareness of the changes.

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. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Andrew says:

    Marilyn, why is “Father responsible for child’s death, court finds” a related post to this?

    That sad case had nothing to do with questions of child maintenance.

  2. David says:

    It was described as “Dismal” by Lord Skelmersdale at 3rd reading of the 2008 child support act that all CSA cases would not be closed until 2013 ! Here we are in late 2014 and the transfer process has only just started , over 3 1/2 years late on a 3 year project plan, once again disgusting behavior from the CSA. The transfer order was changed less than 7 weeks before the case closure regulations were passed into law, meaning long suffering (and fully paid up) CSA scheme 1 cases were bumped way down the transfer order, with no time or opportunity to protest. Nil paying cases, in front of them in the queue, if ever there was a case of discrimination with respect to the peaceful ownership and enjoyment of property, this is it – do the human rights of innocent law abiding separated fathers mean nothing?

    • Kelly says:

      Peaceful law abiding fathers who are both denied access to their children and denied the enjoyment of the money they work so hard for have been the targets of subsequent governments and will continue to be so because they are easy, soft targets. There is a minister for child maintenance, but not for child contact. This should tell you all you need to know about family “justice” in this country.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well said Kelly.

    It will seem to most people that the CSA merely exists to make sure children are not deprived, and this is how it is represented. In a lot of cases, where there is gross inequality in the incomes of parents, they are right to take from the rich and give to the poor. But this doesn’t happen if you are the lower earner and unfortunately male. Rather, you still pay, even though you have the same needs as the other parent.

    The truth is that it is no exaggeration to say that the CSA is a discriminatory, criminal institution that cannot be trusted to be fair. They will misrepresent what you say on the telephone, so only ever agree to correspond in writing. They will falsify information. They have no qualms about slandering you if you are male. In their books, all males have limitless disposable cash and are by default deadbeat and trying to evade their responsibilities. This of course creates a vicious circle because no person in their right mind wants to deal or cooperate with an agency that has already judged them.

    If the general public only knew how the CSA behaved, the agency would have to be dissolved immediately. But like politicians and other unethical organizations, they rely on and flourish in proportion to ignorance.

    The CSA claims to be working on behalf of children. It is not. It works to keep men in their place and keep women in their place. It make domestic slaves of women and work slaves of men. In other words, like many government institutions, it works to protect the status quo and those who stand to benefit from it.

  4. Yvie says:

    They don’t really care about contact – its just lip service. Contact as far as Government is concerned could be something as meaningless as a birthday card once a year. I totally agree that the CSA is a discriminatory, criminal institution that cannot be trusted to be fair. They have no desire to be fair as they are a debt collection agency only, even when no debt exists. Identifying fathers who refuse to maintain their children is beyond their capabilities, so they target fathers who are already contributing to the maintenance their children at a payment scale set by themselves, irrespective of whether fathers are able to pay or not. That they can claim bonuses and can profit from impoverishing one family for the benefit of another without due consideration to the incomes of both, is utterly sickening. The public have no idea how the CSA can humiliate and judge decent fathers. The public assumes that once the CSA is involved it is because fathers are ‘deadbeat dads’ or absent fathers’. In the majority of cases. nothing could be further from the truth. But Government never acknowledges the contribution that the majority of dads are more than willing to make, instead it concentrates on the small proportion of fathers who refuse to pay something towards to upkeep of their children, preferring to feed the media with the measures it intends to take to make these fathers accountable.

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