Child support or child maintenance is the financial support paid by a "separated" not necessarily divorced or divorcing parent and is paid to the parent with whom the child resides. It is not arranged as part of the divorce settlement (courts no longer have powers to order any child maintenance or support, except by agreement of the parties) but the Courts will want to be sure that adequate arrangements have been made.
Clough and Willis Family Law Solicitors has two Resolution accredited experts in Family Law and can offer legal advice and information on child support and maintenance.
Child Support Agency and the Child Maintenance Option Service (CSA).
On the 1st August 2012 the CSA resumed from CMEC responsibility in the UK for the calculation, collection and enforcement of child support (did you notice any difference!). The Courts retain jurisdiction in respect of applications for child support concerning stepchildren, fostered children, where the Agency has made the maximum possible assessment and where the absent parent lives outside the UK.
For more information regarding the CSA we recommend you follow the web page links below.
'The Child Maintenance Service' is a new term and being used as a reference to the scheme as a whole, in particular, the new 'gross income scheme' (when it arrives).
The new gross income scheme was expected to be rolled out in October 2012. However it has been delayed and we await a commencement date.
When the new scheme is rolled out, there will be strict admission criteria. However, it is intended that both new and old cases will be operating under the new scheme by 2016 / 2017. There is no option for existing cases to remain under their current schemes.
However, one important change that was introduced in October 2008 is if a parent with care claims benefits they are no longer required to use the Agency and may make their own arrangements with the other parent. However, it is the responsibility of the parent with care to inform Jobcentre Plus/Benefits Agency the maintenance they receive.
Recent changes allow the receiving parent to keep much more of the child support before it affects their welfare benefits, therefore often it will have no effect at all.
The Agency will continue to have the tools and techniques previously available to it including, Deduction from Earnings Orders, Liability Orders, bailiffs, Third Party Debt Orders, charges on property, obtaining orders for sale on property, driving licence disqualification and imprisonment.
However, we believe, the Agency will also retain the new powers given to its predecessor including deduction of maintenance/maintenance arrears from bank accounts without the requirement to apply through the courts;
If you would like to arrange an appointment with Clough and Willis Family Law Solicitors to discuss your rights as a parent in children disputes, please contact us on free phone 0800 083 0815 or contact Lee Marston, firstname.lastname@example.org or Marie Whittaker, email@example.com.