End of CSA by 2017
Child maintenance arrangements through the Child Support Agency (CSA) will end between now and 2017.
It is likely that you will or you have received a letter from the CSA stating that the maintenance arrangement is ending and a date for your last payment. This is of course a worrying time to say the least. There are essentially now two options open to you:
- Contact your ex partner and make an arrangement yourselves.
- If this does not work then contact the new Child Maintenance Service (CMS)who can make a new arrangement for you all.
Child Maintenance Service
The obvious questions are who do you contact and how do you set this up. The first call you need to make is to the Child Maintenance Options (CMO). Do not contact the CMS directly at this stage as they will simply tell you they cannot assist.
CMO can be contacted on weekdays between 8am to 8pm and on Saturdays from 9am to 4pm. Their number being 0800 083 5130.
Child Maintenance Service Powers
They will be able to discuss your particular position and outline the options open to you. They will also provide you with a reference number which you will need when dealing with the CMS. There is now a fee for this service which is £20 although this is not payable if you are under 19 years of age, a victim of domestic abuse or if you reside in Northern Ireland. The CMS will have the power to approach the paying parent’s employer, bank, government organisations such as the Job Centre for the information they need to set up the new arrangement.
In terms of timescales you can expect the process to be set up within a month. Of course this is dependent on how quickly the information can be gathered from both parties.
The quicker the call is made and the process is commenced the less of a gap there is likely to be between you receiving your often funds from the paying parent.
Problems will arise, however, if you cannot agree between yourselves as to how to proceed. Proceeding along the route that the CMS will collect and pay child maintenance to the receiving parent will mean a deduction of 24% of what you have historically received. This is broken down as the paying parent having to pay an additional 20% and the receiving parent losing 4%. The objective behind this is to force parents to co-operate. The problem will be that what, as is often the case, that you just cannot get on.
In that scenario both parents will lose financially.