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Entries in maintenance (3)

Thursday
Aug022012

Scottish MP suggests minutes of agreement the answer for child support

Sheila Gilmore MP  Edinburgh MP Sheila Gilmore's suggestion that Scottish Minutes of Agreement could be useful throughout the whole of the UK met with support during a recent House of Commons debate on child support (from column 107WH)

In Scotland separating parents can enter into a minute of agreement which is registered with the court.  This is enforceable for a year, and prevents either party form seeking maintenance through a child support assessment.

Sheila suggested that this procedure could be applied n the rest of the UK, and that agreements could last for longer than one year.

The Commons debate came as we await final details of the new child maintenance scheme.  One change took place at the start of August, when the Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission was 're-absorbed'into the Department of Work and Pensions.

Many more changes to come, including a decision on the name of the new maintenance service - how about calling it the Child Support Agency?

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.

Sunday
Jul102011

Select committee reports on child maintenance reform

The Work and Pensions select committee has issued their report on the Government's proposals for reform of child maintenance

Families Need Fathers is concerned that the Work and Pensions Committee’s recommendations would risk demonizing parents paying child maintenance. The report seems to presume that where there are difficulties with the arrangement and collection of maintenance payments, the responsibility for this will lay solely with the parent living apart from the children. (FNF response to the committee report.)

The original proposals completely ignored Scottish aspects of child maintenance.  The select committee report includes written evidence from John Fotheringham of Fyfe Ireland Solicitors regarding the lack of Scottish input into the Green Paper, raising questions about how the proposed gateway would work in Scotland and suggesting that the 12 month rule regarding registered minutes of agreement should be extended to five years.