Changes to Child Maintenance

New applications for Child Maintenance are now being dealt with by the Child Maintenance Service.  Existing cases using the Child Support Agency will gradually be closed and the parties given the option of using the Child Maintenance Service.

Child maintenance is now payable up to a child’s 20th birthday if they are undertaking full-time non-advanced education.  It is also payable up to a child’s 20th birthday if the child is registered with certain types of government-approved training courses, and child benefit is in payment.  The previous upper age limit was a child’s 19th birthday.

There have also been changes to the calculation.  The CMS will use information from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to access the income of paying parent.  The calculation itself is based upon a percentage of the paying parent’s gross income rather than a percentage of the net income as was previously the case.  If the child stays overnight with the paying parent, the child maintenance payable may be reduced depending upon the number of nights stayed throughout the year.  It is possible to log onto the CMS website and complete an informal calculation which can then be used by the parents to try to agree the level of child maintenance outside of the statutory regime.

It is proposed that fees will be introduced.  Currently the proposals are that the person applying will pay £20; thereafter the person paying the child maintenance will pay 20% on top of the weekly payment and the person receiving child maintenance will have a 4% collection fee deducted from their child maintenance.

For more information, help or advice, contact our specialist Children’s team.

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