For those who receive child maintenance, this money is important now more than ever with the current pandemic, however for those paying child maintenance, this can lead to stress of having to find money to pay this support.
The Child Maintenance Service are part of the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) and are responsible for most welfare benefits. It has been reported that there has been an increase in benefit claims, including child maintenance, which inevitably puts strain on the resources within the Welfare Benefits system. This also given that a lot of agencies are working on reduced staffing levels.
There has to been a formal assessment by the Child Maintenance Service not just parties using their online calculator for the assessment to be enforceable. This involves a payment of a £20 fee. Child Maintenance will be calculated from the date the Child Maintenance Service writes to the non-resident parent.
If the resident parent has an open file with the Child Maintenance Service and child maintenance stops, then the Child Maintenance Service can be instructed to pursue arrears, if the arrangement with the service is “Collect and Pay.” This means that money is collected at source from the non-residents employer. It should be noted there is a 4% fee for this service.
As a non-resident party it is important that if you do have a change in financial circumstances i.e: you lose your job or have reduced income, you must inform the Child Maintenance Service if there is an open case with them to stop arrears accruing.
It is more difficult for those who are self-employed as the Child Maintenance Service look at current income, most recent tax returns often won’t show a downturn in income. There is of course the option to have 2020 accounts up to April drawn up and send these to the Child Maintenance Service for re calculation.
Should you require and further advice or assistance with regards to the above, please contact Rachael Wood, head of our MLP Law family department on 0161 926 9969.