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‘Family based’ arrangements working well says government

The overwhelming majority of ‘family-based arrangements’ between divorced parents work smoothly, the government has claimed.

‘Family-based arrangements’ are voluntary agreements between parents to pay child maintenance. They contrast with ‘statutory’ arrangements, in which the government intervenes and enforces payment on recalcitrant parents.

According to new figures from the Department for Work and Pensions, 85 per cent of parents with existing family-based arrangements say they have had no problems. The figure is based on a telephone survey of people who reached agreements with their ex-partners between May and July last year, following advice from Child Maintenance Options (CMO).

A total of 55,900 parents contacted CMO during those three months, and 75 per cent (41,800) had reached an agreement by September when the survey was conducted.

Of these, however, only 17 per cent were able to set up voluntary arrangements, however. Another eight per cent of survey participants had already set up a family based arrangement when they contacted CMO.

But of those, 87 per cent said they usually or always received their payments on time, while 93 per cent said they received all the due amount or most of it.

Read more here.


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. Spike Robinson says:

    It’s likely this hugely underestimates the success and prevalence of family based arrangements, since pretty much every case that never comes to the CMS is likely to be a satisfactory “family based arrangement”.

    A reminder that the Family court processes and CMS are both systematically blind to how reasonable couples separate. By definition they only see the pathological cases, where at least one parent is being unreasonable. This gives Family Law participants a very skewed understanding of what is “normal” – normal behaviour, normal values, normal arrangements.

  2. Jo Archer says:

    Err…so that’s 85% of 17%. But I suppose as government ‘successes’ go, that’s way ahead! Or an insult to anyone of average intelligence.

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