21 years ago, on 5th April 1993, the Child Support Agency was launched. Since then it has attracted endless criticism and now that it is to be brought to an end debt of £3.8 billion will be written off.

Ah but we have a solution – we have a new government body called the Child Maintenance Service. Is it going to be any different?

We do know that applicants to the CMS from 30th June 2014 will be charged a one off application fee of £20 and that charges will be levied at the rate of 4% deducted from child maintenance payments received.

Existing CSA clients will receive a letter from the CSA telling them that the organisation is to be closed and that the CSA will no longer be responsible for current child maintenance payments. The letters are going to be written over a period of 3 years between now and 2017. Most clients will get 6 months notice.

Calamity? Is the CMS really going to be any better than the CSA that has failed so spectacularly? Already the rule book has been rewritten and the very basis for calculating child maintenance has changed from an assessment of net income to that of an assessment based on gross income. There are many other changes that are likely to be controversial.

But there is hope. You don’t have to use the CMS and parents who divorce or separate can agree maintenance payments between themselves. If they divorce they can agree what should be paid and that can be put in a Court Order so both sides know where they stand.

Better to agree than involve a government agency has to be the motto.

CAPTION: Andrew Brooks, Partner and Head of the Family Team

Request a callback

Speak with our dedicated team of experienced experts

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

search Search Blythe Liggins

Search the Blythe Liggins website. You can search for things like; names of our team members and required services. E.g "Family Law" & "Lois Harrison"