The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) has recently replaced the Child Support Agency (CSA). Around 90% of CSA cases have been transferred over to the CMS while the remaining 10% have been closed down as they were old cases.
However, 70% of the closed cases still have unpaid arrears attached to them. In fact, there’s almost £4bn of outstanding arrears.
This isn’t solely due to CMS’s failure to collect payments, though. Some parents just aren’t making their child maintenance payments. It would be easy to blame this on fathers, as is often the case in the press, but the lack of payment is happening on both sides.
Read our article on child custody to get up to speed.
Child Maintenance Calculator
So what is causing parents not to pay their child maintenance? Some might simply be unable to afford the payments, while others may not have a full understanding of the process.
With that in mind, Cordell & Cordell has created a Child Maintenance Calculator. It was designed using the government guidelines for child maintenance to ensure that it gives the correct total to the nearest penny. However, it is always advisable to seek the advice of a legal professional. The amount given by the calculator is an estimate and shouldn’t be taken as a final figure.
Unlike the government calculator, this new one is hosted on one page and allows you to minimise your answers to keep your details secure.
Discover what rights men having during divorce.
The Child Maintenance Calculator asks a series of questions to determine how much, if any, child maintenance is due.
The questions included are:
- Your age
- Your gross weekly income (before Tax and National Insurance but after pension contributions have been taken)
- Whether you receive specific benefits
- The number of children you need to pay child maintenance for
- How many other children live in your household
- How many nights a year your children stay with you overnight
Once you answer these questions, the innovative tool will calculate how much child maintenance is due each week, as this is the frequency at which you have to pay it.
Please note that if your circumstances change, for example you receive a pay increase or decrease, you need to let CMS know straight away and recalculate how much child maintenance is due.
About Child Maintenance
Child maintenance is the amount of money that is needed to contribute to your child’s upbringing. It’s paid to the person that takes care of your child on a day-to-day basis.
The amount due depends on whether the child lives with you and how often they stay with you overnight. It is the responsibility of the Non-Resident Parent (NRP) to pay child maintenance for their child.
If you still have a good relationship with your ex-partner, you may be able to arrange child maintenance outside court. This is called a ‘family-based arrangement‘. If you go down this route, ensure that you keep copies of your paperwork in case a dispute ever arises.
If you can’t come to an agreement privately, you can go down the formal route and use the CMS.
Applying For Child Maintenance
Child Maintenance Options (CMO) can help you determine the best option for you and your ex-partner before you submit your application to the CMS.
For example, you might want to go for Direct Pay, which is when the child maintenance is paid directly to the Parent With Care (PWC) on a daily basis.
As the Non-Resident Parent (NRP) you can also elect to pay the child maintenance to the CMS, which will pass it on to the PWC. This is a paid-for service.
Discover how much child maintenance is due using our Child Maintenance Calculator.
Unpaid Child Maintenance
Your child maintenance payments need to be maintained to ensure that your child’s welfare isn’t affected. If you fail to make payments, the CMS has the authority to collect the unpaid funds from you using the following methods:
- Deduct the money owed from your salary, benefits or bank account
- Instruct bailiffs to take your possessions to the value of the money owed
- Revoke your driver’s licence
- Enforce imprisonment
If you need advice on child maintenance, Cordell & Cordell is the partner that you can trust. Get in touch today.