From 25 November 2013, separated parents who cannot agree the question of child maintenance can apply to the new Child Maintenance Service.
The Child Support Agency will no longer take on new cases, but it will still handle existing cases.
The Child Maintenance Service can help parents to work out how much maintenance should be paid. It can also collect the payments for you.
Incentives have been introduced to encourage parents to agree matters between themselves. One key incentive is the charging of a small upfront fee and ongoing collection charges for both parents. This to encourage collaboration between the parents direct.
The new system has been brought in gradually since 10 December 2012. Since July 2013 is has been open to new applicants with two or more children. By the end of September 2013, the Child Maintenance Service had already taken on 7,660 cases.
The Child Maintenance Service is intended to be faster and more efficient than the Child Support Agency that it replaces. The government has been monitoring the scheme and has published statistics detailing how many calls have been answered, how quickly and how many complaints have been received.
If you would like to check how the new scheme applies to your circumstances, an online child maintenance calculator can be accessed here through the gov.uk website.
James Maguire & Co is a specialist firm of Family Law and Divorce Law solicitors based in Wilmslow, Cheshire. We offer legal advice to parties going through a divorce including the financial issues which flow from this and children matters including child maintenance.
We can also advise on Schedule1 Children Act 1989 applications.
We advise clients in the Wilmslow area and also to the surrounding areas of Alderley Edge, Bramhall, Hale, Altrincham, Manchester and the North West. We are also able to act for clients nationally and internationally subject to the jurisdiction of England and Wales. For advice please contact James Maguire by telephone +44 (0) 1625 529456 or by email james.maguire@family-law.