There are a number of ways of dealing with child maintenance. By far the best way is to have an informal arrangement. There is no requirement to involve the Court, the Child Support Agency (CSA) or the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC). Parents are far better placed making arrangements themselves.
However, if an informal arrangement cannot be agreed, CMEC has jurisdiction and in certain circumstances the Court can make orders.
CMEC generally must deal with child maintenance. However, the Court can make maintenance orders for children in the following circumstances:
The CSA/CMEC has jurisdiction to deal with maintenance for a child aged under 16, and between 16 and 19 if in full-time education. New rules were introduced as a result of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (CMOPA). Child maintenance is now calculated based on the gross weekly income of the non-resident parent before Tax, National Insurance but after deduction of Pension contributions) up to a maximum of £3,000 per week. This scheme currently only applies to new applications and for 2 or more children. If parents do not agree child maintenance, they will also now have to pay fees to the Child Maintenance Service to deal with their case. The law changed last year and new rules were introduced on 30 June 2014. If an amicable agreement cannot be reached, the paying parent will have to pay 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.
To register with the new scheme, parents will have to pay a £20 registration fee. 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. Further details and worked examples can be found at https://www.gov.uk/how-child-maintenance-is-worked-out/how-the-child-maintenance-service-works-out-child-maintenance and http://www.cmoptions.org/index.asp