The Child Support Agency is being replaced by the Child Maintenance Service. Parents can no longer apply to the CSA and will need to apply to the CMS instead.
As of 30th June 2014 the CSA started the process of closing cases. This is happening gradually and if you use the CSA you should be given six months’ notice of your case closing.
You have the option of applying to the CMS if you need help setting up or collecting maintenance. There is a £20 application fee to use the CMS. You do not have to pay the application fee if you have experienced domestic violence. For the fee you will get;
- The CMS checks the income of your child’s other parent with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
- They then provide you both with a maintenance calculation and a schedule for payments
- You will be given information on how to arrange the payments directly between yourselves
- You can access your child maintenance account online to track the payments
- You will have an annual review – the CMS will check the income of your child’s other parent with HMRC every year to make sure you’re still getting the right amount
- A collections service is available if you are not receiving your payments – but there is an additional charge for this
There will be additional charges if the CMS has to collect money from your child’s other parent and pay it to you. The paying parent will have to pay an additional 20% on top of the usual child maintenance amount, and you will have that child maintenance amount reduced by 4%. If your child’s other parent pays the money directly to you, neither of you will have to pay these additional charges.
If arrears have built up whilst your case was with the CSA, and you choose to use the CMS, the arrears will still stand and can be enforced. This is also the case if you decide to come to a family-based arrangement or your child is now an adult — you are still owed the arrears.
At Jordans we can offer advice and representation in relation to child maintenance. Please call us on 033 03001103 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively fill out the form at the bottom of the screen and we will call you back at your preferred time.