Child maintenance support changes will come into effect in 2012 which will dramatically alter the way child support is collected. The objective is to give both parents a financial incentive to make voluntary arrangements.
The options are:-
1 A Family Based Arrangement - parents agree the amount and frequency of payments. This can mean alternatives to monetary payments e.g. child care vouchers.
2 A Minute of Agreement in Scotland or a Consent Order in England and Wales. Both reflect that parents have come to a consensus which is then registered in the Books of Council and Session or ratified by the courts.
3 A Statutory Arrangement - the Child Support Agency calculates an assessment after receiving a request from either the resident or the non-resident parent.
What are the main changes that will affect a non resident parent?
- The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CEMC) will take responsibility for new cases from the end of 2012 and for existing cases from summer 2013.
- The amount payable will be assessed on the non resident parents' gross income, not net income, as at present.
- Contributions will increase as follows:
- If on State benefits to £7 per week.
- If earnings are between £200 - £800 per week, 12%, 16% or 19% of gross income for one, two and three children respectively.
- If earning above £800 per week (capped at ?3,000), an additional 9%, 12% or 15% of the income above that.
If the non resident parent is financially responsible for another child within their household, the rate will be reduced.
- Both parents will now be charged for using the services of the CMEC.
- A 'helpline' called Child Maintenance Options will provide advice to parents and aim to encourage individuals to use options 1 or 2 above.
If an application is made by a resident parent there will be a charge of £20. If maintenance is paid directly to the resident parent (Maintenance Direct), no further charges will apply. If not, there will be a collection charge for both parents. It is anticipated that a non resident parent will pay between 15-20% and a resident parent 7-12%. Enforcement Charges will apply to the non resident parent when administrative measures are required to ensure payment is made.
Our family team (based in Glasgow and Edinburgh) regularly deal with child maintenance and support issues, feel free to get in touch for more information.