If parents do not agree child maintenance, they will soon have to pay fees to the Child Maintenance Service to deal with their case.
The law changed last year and new rules will be introduced later this year. Approximately 50,000 parents using the current scheme are due to receive letters this week confirming the new rules.
So, what do the new rules say?
If an amicable agreement cannot be reached, the paying parent will have to pay a whopping 20% in addition to the maintenance calculated. Also the receiving parent will pay 4% to receive the maintenance, in practical terms a 4% fee will be deducted from their child maintenance.
That is not all! To register with the new scheme, parents will have to pay a £20 registration fee.
So, what happens if the paying parent does not pay?
The Child Maintenance Service will also have enforcement charges which apply if the paying parent does not pay child maintenance in full and on time. These include a £50 fee if the Child Maintenance Service has to take out a ‘regular deduction order’. In other words an order whereby regular payments are taken from wages for example. A £200 fee will be imposed if the Child Maintenance Service has to take out a lump sum deduction order.
How do you avoid having to pay fees or have the child maintenance you receive reduced?
Agree with the other parent how much should be paid. The Child Maintenance Service website has an online calculator to help you – http://www.cmoptions.org/en/calculator/
This is, of course, easier said than done. Many parents cannot agree and some do not communicate with each other. Other parents cannot communicate due to domestic violence or other issues.
The Government say that the new Child Maintenance Service will be quicker than the old CSA scheme. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen.