When a family has separated and there are children involved, the absent parent should make regular child maintenance payments to the resident parent.

The child maintenance is worked out on the absent parents income but does also take into account how many nights the child/children spend with the absent parent.

Child Maintenance Payments

There is a UK backlog of more than £3.8billion in uncollected child maintenance payments. The money is owed by non-resident parents and has built up over 23 years. The figures show that approximately 1.2 million people are owed child maintenance.

The Department for Work and Pensions said a new system was dealing with unpaid child maintenance.

The latest figures, revealed by the Victoria Derbyshire programme, show the vast majority of unpaid maintenance money was accumulated under the Child Support Agency. The Child Support Agency was set up in 1993. The system was replaced in 2012 after mistakes were made with assessments and absent parents were not tracked.

However, a further £93m of unpaid child maintenance has already developed under the new Child Maintenance Service system.

When couples split up, they are both still expected to contribute towards the upbringing of their children. If parents can’t agree how much one should pay, a government agency decides on child maintenance (the child maintenance service).

The Child Support Agency was set up in 1993 to ensure that non-resident parents contributed towards the cost of bringing up their children. It has since been replaced with the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).

Child Maintenance Service

CMS was introduced in 2012. Their new IT systems are designed to improve the system AND assesses the parents on a range of measures.

Payments are based on a standard formula, and CMS also collect payments for the receiving parent.

Child maintenance is payable for children who are under the age of 16 (under 20 and in full-time education at A-level stage or below) or if they are under 20 and living with a parent registered for child benefit.

Unpaid child maintenance can be collected by taking money from a paying parent’s earnings or benefits, directly from a parent’s bank or building society, or through court action.

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If you require further advice or assistance please contact the Ringrose Law family Team on 01205 311511.

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