I hear the Child Maintenance Service has written to 50,000 single parents currently using the Child Support Agency (CSA) to warn them that if they cannot reach a new voluntary agreement they could face child maintenance charges for using the CSA’s replacement service. The BBC’s report is here.
Child Maintenance Charges – in summary
The new rules mean that if a voluntary arrangement cannot be reached then:
- The paying parent will have a 20% charge added to the maintenance payment;
- The receiving parent will pay a 4% charge to receive the child maintenance;
- All parents will be charged a fee of £20 for registering with the new service.
Voluntary Agreements for child maintenance
Obviously, it is best to agree the level of child maintenance and to avoid having to face a child maintenance charge. All this does is reduce the value of the payment that is meant to be benefiting the children. This is a form of indiscriminate taxation as far as I can see it.
One of the problems with expecting parents to reach agreement between themselves is that the government has been slow to provide the necessary information and the appropriate tools. If you are a parent who has received such a letter or you are recently separated and unsure about how to agree child maintenance then have a look at the Child Maintenance Options site. BUT IF YOU FIND THEIR CHILD MAINTENANCE CALCULATOR UNHELPFUL THEN HAVE A LOOK AT MY CHILD MAINTENANCE CALCULATOR INSTEAD. I think you will find it a lot more useful and the calculation produces a PDF which you can print out for your ex or email to them instead.