Child Maintenance CSA
Child Maintenance CSA
New Child maintenance
If you are unable to agree child maintenance with your former spouse/partner this issue is now dealt with by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), not by the court. The CMS replaces the Child Support Agency (CSA).
Issues relating to child maintenance are complex and we have therefore provided you with a detailed overview of the processes involved.
There are now two main options available to parents when deciding how child maintenance should be dealt with:
These are private agreements reached between both parents about who will provide what for a child.
The most important point to note about family-based arrangements is that it is the parents who decide when and how they will support their child; the CMS does not get involved.
Agreements can cover not only what money is to be paid, but they can also deal with the child’s day to day care and who is to fund the cost of school uniforms, for example.
If separated parents cannot agree a family-based arrangement, or if a family-based arrangement subsequently breaks down, there are other options.
Statutory arrangement (through the CMS)
If parents are unable to reach an agreement direct they can approach the CMS for assistance. This calculates how much and when child maintenance should be paid. It can also collect child maintenance from one parent and pay it to the other.
The service is currently free, but the government has announced that charges for using the service will come into force in spring 2014.
The approach that the CMS will take to the assessment and collection of child support is very different to the approach previously taken by the CSA. The CMS offers two main services:
1. Direct Pay (known as “Maintenance Direct” under the CSA system)
These are financial arrangements that the CMS helps to set up but which parents manage between themselves. The CMS calculates the amount payable but won’t otherwise get involved.
2. Collect & Pay (known as the “Calculation & Collection” service under the CSA system)
These are financial arrangements that the CMS will set up and then manage. The CMS calculates the amount payable and, where necessary, collects the maintenance from one parent and pays it to the other. If payments aren’t made on time, a range of enforcement actions can be taken for collection.
How is child maintenance calculated?
A significant change under the new system is the way in which the amount of child support due is calculated.
Historically, the CSA would assess the amount of child maintenance due by looking at the paying parent’s net income (ie their gross income less tax and national insurance contributions).
The CMS will now look at the paying parent’s gross income using details provided to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) by the paying parent, their employer or accountant. The paying parent’s income will be reviewed annually by the CMS in order to determine whether the amount of child maintenance is still accurate. Any changes will be applied automatically.
For gross income up to and including £800 per week, child maintenance will be payable at the following rates:
- 12% for one child
- 16% for two children
- 19% for three or more children
For gross income of between £800 and £3,000 per week, child maintenance is payable at the following rates:
- 9% for one child
- 12% for two children
- 15% for three children or more
Deductions are applied if there are other children living in the payer’s household (for example, children of a new partner or step-children) and for any nights that the child stays with the payer.
Parents on low incomes or who are in receipt of certain benefits pay a flat rate of child maintenance. This is currently £7 per week.
Where the child spends equal time between both parents, the parents are not required to pay maintenance to each other.
Age of child
The upper age at which children can qualify for child maintenance is their 20th birthday.
Child Maintenance Options (CMO) is a national service that gives free and impartial information and support to help both parents make informed decisions about child maintenance.
It is compulsory for parents who wish to use the CMS to speak to CMO before proceeding with an application.
CMO can be contacted on 0800 988 0988 and at www.cmoptions.org.
"Thank you for your wonderful representation and for your personal interest in the children's and our well being. We could not have expected any more from any lawyer than what your team delivered. I would, without reservation, refer you to any potential client to handle their family law matter."
Mr Hofheimer, Manchester
"I have received nothing but the utmost professional service from all concerned at Pannone."
"Your kindness, Vicki McLynn, and understanding throughout an extremely difficult time helped and meant more to me that you could ever imagine. I will be forever grateful."
Mrs J, Preston
0800 840 4929
122, 402, 403, 404, 407, 405, 408, 406, 409, 410, 411, 412, 413, 414, 416, 417, 418, 92, 441, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 436, 437, 438, 439, 440, 445, 444Weight:14
122, 402, 403, 404, 407, 405, 408, 406, 409, 410, 411, 412, 413, 414, 416, 417, 418, 92, 441, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 436, 437, 438, 439, 440, 445, 444Weight:13
122, 402, 403, 404, 407, 405, 408, 406, 409, 410, 411, 412, 413, 414, 416, 417, 418, 92, 441, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 436, 437, 438, 439, 440, 445, 444Weight:12