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Comprehensive changes to the child maintenance system that will see charges introduced for both parents are set to go through parliament. New regulations, due to be debated in the Commons on Monday 3 February 2014 and the Lords on Tuesday 4 February 2014, will lead to the closure of all Child Support Agency (CSA) cases over the next 3 years and fees for parents who need to use the new Child Maintenance Service (CMS).
Under these plans the Government wants separated parents to negotiate their own settlements without using the new Government service.
The Department for Work & Pensions plans to introduce a £20 application fee to access the CMS and get a maintenance calculation. Parents will become liable to a 4% collection charge if the new service has to step in and collect outstanding maintenance from the other parent. Those parents that fail to pay maintenance will be charged an additional collection fee of 20% on top of their children's maintenance which the Government will keep. The Government expects to be collecting £145m per year in fees from both parents.
If they get through parliament this week, the charges are expected to take effect in a few months' time.
For further information and advice on this issue, and other family law issues, please contact us for a free initial consultation on 01992 306 616 or 0207 956 2740 or email us.Back to Law Articles