New enforcement fees for people using the Child Maintenance Service Collect and Pay system came into effect on 11th August this year.
The new charges apply to every Child Maintenance Service Collect and Pay case, where a parent with care has asked the Child Maintenance Service for help collecting maintenance from a paying parent who has failed to make contributions towards their child’s upbringing.
The charges are calculated as 4% deducted from the child maintenance payment received by the parent with care, and 20% added to the child maintenance liability for the non-resident parent.
Family law organisation Resolution has expressed concern that these charges will hit vulnerable families the hardest.
“These charges will have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable families. No one chooses to use the Child Maintenance Service’s enforcement option if they can come to their own agreement, and penalising the parent with care for needing support to access the money they need to bring up their child is unfair – 4% of each payment could mean a lot to a family that is struggling.” explained Stephen Lawson, Resolution family lawyer and member of its Child Maintenance Committee.
“The 20% additional charges for the paying parent are also disproportionate and may have a huge impact on the finances for hardworking paying parents,” he added. “Couples who separate often find it difficult to financially manage with two households, and for some this extra fee may be straw that breaks the camel’s back."
"Many of the people using the Collect and Pay Service are on low incomes and these additional fees will impact on the amount received by the ultimate beneficiary – the child,” he concluded.
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