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« Running and cycling to support FNF Scotland | Main | Civil law reform - seeking a better family court system »
Wednesday
Jul042012

Shared parenting recognised at last in child support

Parents will no longer have to pay child maintenance when they share the care of their children equally, once changes to the UK child support system come into force.

The Government's response to consultation on draft child support regulations was published this week.

In the announcement, Maria Miller MP stated "A widely resented Child Support Agency rule is to be scrapped. This rule required some parents to pay maintenance even though they share the care of their children on a 50-50 basis. In future no maintenance will need to be paid where care is shared exactly equally."

The changes confirmed in the Response also include:

Removing students from the nil rate;

A caseworker, in the absence of an agreement by the parents or acceptable evidence of a pattern of shared care, can assume a level of one night’s shared care on the part of the non-resident parent where the fact that there will be shared care is not in doubt but parents cannot agree on the actual amount;

The rates for relevant other children will be reduced to 11% for one child, 14% for 2 children and 16% for t3 or more children;

The flat rate when a non-resident parent receives a specified benefit or has weekly income of under £100 will be set at £10 when the new scheme is open to all new applicants

The Government intends to increase the default maintenance rates (when there is insufficient information about a non-resident parent’s circumstances to make a full calculation) to £39 for one child, £51 for two children and £64 for three or more children.

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Reader Comments (15)

Hi

Does anyone know when the law regarding no maintenance being payable when care is shared exactly equally is coming into force? i am still waiting as i have this situation - I pay a huge amount of CM to a woman who earns a great salary and i still split all costs 50% and have my own clothes, school uniform etc yet she only has him 2 weeks of the month!

thanks

Steve

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

+1 to what Steve says, I am also in this situation. The law has been written but is not yet in force.

May 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpj

I have 3 children (slightly over) half the time but am considered the non-resident parent for 2 of them (grrrr!) and the primary carer for one. I have paid the correct amount every month since first being contacted by the CSA. Unsurprisingly, I have not had a single penny from my ex-wife in the 4 years since I contacted the CSA as the primary carer. In response to my ex-wife's (fishing expedition) claim that my income had gone up (which it hasnt) the CSA called me last week. I asked them when the new rules regarding equally shared parenting would come in and they told me it will only be brought in for NEW CASES. If this is correct, it is clearly unfair, and I have contacted my MP about it. I would strongly urge anyone else in my position to do the same. Its the only way to change it.

July 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEDDIE

I don't think the CSA know what is true, as when I contacted the CSA a nod they said it was being brought in for those with 4 kids (to trial the system)' then for three kids, two kids etc etc and they did not think they would get through the backlog until early 2014. I would ring back in a few months and speak to a different advisor as I felt that they hadn't been totally trained in this since there are so few of us in this position.

Of course write to MP as surely unfair that for the sake of a few months you could've paying 7.5% or zero!

July 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

If the day-to-day care of a child is exactly equal between a paying parent and a receiving parent (previously known as non-resident and resident parent), the paying parent does not have to pay any child maintenance for that child, under the new child maintenance service rules. (See link below, middle of page 29)

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/85746/how-we-work-out-child-maintenance.pdf

This rule is part of the new child maintenance service guidance, so would apply to all claims going through this service (not CSA)

From 29 July 2013 the Child Maintenance Service will be taking new claims from people who have two children or more, and the children have the same parents. This means that if you are in this group and have your children 50/50, your claim would go through the Child Maintenance Service, and you would not have to pay maintenance.

The CSA will eventually close, and is being replaced with the Child Maintenance Service. This means that over the next few years, everyone using the CSA will have their cases closed, and will have to choose whether to use the Child Maintenance Service instead (as opposed your own personal arrangement)

Once the new system appears to be working well, it will be open to all new claimants. This is expected to be around the end of 2013.

August 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFrankiW

Yes, FrankiW is spot on. In all new cases no maintenance is payable where care is shared equally. However, following the intervention of my MP I got to speak to someone very senior at CSA who told me that it would only be applicable to new cases operated under the new system and there were NO PLANS to move cases from the old system to the new. I raised this with the MP's assistant and was told that it is because the main carer is used to receiving the maintenance and may now be reliant upon it. So, being used to getting futher into debt each month, I am meeting the MP next week and will update when I know more.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEddie

Eddie- did you get anywhere with your mp?

September 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Yes it was very positive. I am waiting for a written response and will update when I receive it.

October 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEddie

Great. I am actually paying under a court order which set out various elects of the divorce but the child maintenance element was based on the CSA calculation at the time. I know that the CSA override any court order that has been in place for over 12 months (mine is 3 years old). I do not want to go for this override until the CSA are certain of the correct payment. Also am worried that the ex is also "used" to the money - she bought a far bigger house than she could afford alone as she uses the monthly money to pay the mortgage rather than spend on my son. She goes on holiday by herself on the weeks that I have him, for example, saying she can't afford to take him in school holidays! Of course we are not allowed to dictate what the money is spent on!

October 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Any news on this? I heard that from 25th November everyone is on new rules. Haven't called them yet tho.

Thanks

Steve

November 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

After several letters from my MP to Steve Webb the minister in charge, it appears there is going to be no priority to those on equally shared care. The first reason given was because it would place too onerous a burden on the IT System, however, when my MP pointed out that there are not large numbers in this catagory, the reason changed to 'there will be some winners and some losers so it wouldnt be fair to prioritise on the basis of parental choice'. I don't know why they trumpeted correcting this anomoly in the first place.
Priority will first be given to the cases with nil assessment and secondly those with a positive assessment but enforcement action being taken.
My understanding is that ALL new cases and All existing cases linked to a new case, are now to be dealt with under the new rules.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEddie

I have a 50/50 shared agreement for my 2 children and have challenged the CSA regarding their administration of these varying regulations (surely this cant be right?) I am advised that I am still required to pay despite this being in direct contravention of their assertions as detailed in the document discussed above. I have been advised that had my case started after 29 July 2013 then I would not need to pay, however as my case was set up only days before then my case falls under the 'old' regulations!! This denotes an unacceptable disparity and date-based lottery which is quite simply an injustice. I was never asked which regulations I would like my case to fall under, nor was I informed about the impending changes. Worryingly - there is no date available when the 'old' regulations cease. I also enquired about setting up an account requesting payment from my ex, alas this was not a viable course of action. I am taking my complaint to a CSA director, I would prefer to refrain from scaling Westminster dressed as a superhero.........however - this charade is deeply unfair.

January 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterR Lewis

I have stopped payments to the ex as we now have a letter from the CMS saying that we don't have to pay, bass on the new rules, and should sort out a family based arrangement (ie agree to split actual costs of the child equally) We deliberately waited until the new rules were in force which as you say is a joke as it has taken 18 months to implement. Of course as expected since I stopped payments, the proverbial manure has hot the fan and the ex is taking me to court for non payment of the court order (which the CMS overrides as it is over 12 months old). She does not believe that the new rules apply to her! However I am confident that the court will back us up.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Steve, did YOU make the application then? You are right, it is a joke. Its taken 18 months so far, and now they are telling me it will be another 3 or 4 years! Good luck, I hope it works out for you.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEddie

Yes, as we had a court order and were not under the CMS. So I rang up and opened a case in December giving my details, so if she tries to open a case she is referred to mine which says I'm not liable to pay anything. It was a huge graft tho as the usual people on the phones were totally clueless and kept giving me different information, but I persisted and persisted until I got through to someone who finally agreed that I was right! I asked for it in writing and I now have an extremely valuable letter which I will produce in court. Keep persisting and call your MP.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

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