30 June 2014
On 30th June, a written Ministerial statement confirmed that charges for use of the Child Maintenance Service are to be introduced in August 2014.
Whilst the drive to encourage greater cooperation between separated parents on maintenance issues is commendable, the use of charges for the statutory maintenance system is a blunt tool. Whilst all parents have an obligation to provide for their children, financially and emotionally, the high level of charges could make things worse for separated families rather than better.
Jerry Karlin, Chair of Families Need Fathers, commented, “A maintenance system needs to provide a platform for sustainable arrangements to be maintained. Charging paying parents an extra 20% if they are experiencing genuine financial problems risks catching them in a vicious cycle of accumulating debts and arrears owed to the Government, rather than helping to support their children.”
“The Child Maintenance Service must display a commitment to signposting paying parents who have problems with debt to specialist financial support services. Using the statutory system simply as a tool to punish the small minority of parents who try to avoid paying maintenance would not be in the best interests of separated families.”
Families Need Fathers has produced updated Factsheets on both the CSA and the Child Maintenance Service to assist parents struggling with child maintenance issues, available free to all FNF members.
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