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FNF Submission on DWP CSA-CMS Consultation


For immediate release                                                                    20 October 2016

Detachment of child support from wider family life impoverishes children and can damage both parents


Families Need Fathers tell Work and Pensions inquiry into child support it is open to them to step beyond the polarised way the discussion on child support has been long entrenched


Current approach provides perverse incentives to minimise time children spend with their non-resident parent


The continued detachment of child support from the wider picture of family life is contributing to the impoverishment of children whose parents live separately and creates a perverse disincentive to meaningful co-operation between the parents.

In its submission to the current select committee on work and pensions inquiry into child maintenance Families Need Fathers – Because Both Parents Matter report the insights drawn from the experiences of more than 800 responses to its recent consultation among members and supporters.

Comments from the biggest ever response to an FNF consultation include:

“I feel worthless as a parent. The only interest in me is that I pay!”

“It almost destroyed me” (many)

“If not for my family the CMS would have made me homeless!”

“I have less than £100 a month for food, petrol etc.” 

“As a result, the children consider me to be stingy”

“the lack of means testing or consideration of circumstances results in callous extraction of finances”

“I earn £20,000 a year my ex earns approx £60,000 I struggle to pay my bills and am denied access [by my ex] to my children. This should be taken into account”

“[the CMS/CSA calculation] has a perverse incentive to for the resident parent to keep contact as low as possible”

“Total mental breakdown. I will never work again”

Jerry Karlin, Chair of Families Need Fathers says: “Our child maintenance system is poorly thought through and (perhaps unintentionally) actively undermines shared parenting. It discourages both parents from working and pushes many into severe hardship and poverty. For the sake of our children, it must be reformed.

It isn't just the moral mark of a civilised society that fatherhood should be respected and supported for the benefit of children after separation and divorce. There are shelves full of research findings that children do better when both parents are involved in their life. The tunnel vision of CMS and its various predecessors has done great damage to our children by polarising the interests of separated parents. Too many dads have been degraded and abused by the blunt instrument of the CMS in its present form.”

FNF notes the content of a separate (unconnected) submission to the Select Committee by Dr Christine Davies setting out how low income Non Resident Parents struggle to pay when their child support payments represent marginal tax rates of 90% or higher - sometimes even above 100%.  In other words, what they are expected to pay can exceed what they earn in certain circumstances. See Dr Davies' submission here.

FNF's complete submission to the select committee containing our consultation findings, including further quotations from respondents can be downloaded here.

FNF - Because Both Parents Matter is a charity that primarily supports non-resident parents (NRPs) – a perspective that tends to be dismissed as special pleading.

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FNF HSSF Kite Mark Award

Families Need Fathers has been awarded the Help and Support for Separated Families Kite Mark which is a new UK government accreditation scheme for organisations offering help to separated families.

Families Need Fathers work with a range of family law professionals, including Family Law Panel


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