New Child Maintenance Service opens to all new applicants
Roll-out of Service now complete
The new Child Maintenance Service has opened to all new applicants. The government have set up a website “Child Maintenance Options” which provides extensive information relating to child maintenance and includes a very helpful Child Maintenance Calculator.
It is hoped this service will be a significant improvement to the last. However applicants must be clear as to the cost implications for making an application. There is not only an Initial application fee but also administration fee is deducted from the payer and payee thus reducing the actual monies received. The site very much encourages parties to reach their own agreements and Family Mediation is one way of facilitating this process with the benefit of legal Aid.
Over the last year the new Child Maintenance Service has been gradually rolled out, starting with the largest families first. It will eventually replace the Child Support Agency.
The Child Maintenance Service will be available for parents who cannot come to an arrangement between themselves, and is intended to provide a faster, more efficient service than the current CSA schemes.
Department for Work and Pensions Minister Steve Webb said:
“All parents applying for help with child maintenance will get free information and support from Child Maintenance Options first to help them work together. The Child Maintenance Service will be there for those who cannot, and will provide a better service than the current CSA.”
The DWP says that the new Child Maintenance Service, using HM Revenue & Customs data, will be able to process applications and make payments more quickly than the current CSA, preventing the build-up of arrears. It will review the financial circumstances of the parent paying maintenance annually to ensure levels of payment are fair, accurate and up-to-date. For those who choose not to pay, more effective enforcement action will be taken.