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Launch of New Child Maintenance Service

A new Child Maintenance Service was launched this week (30 June 2014). The new system is design to provide greater support and encouragement for separated families to reach an agreement on child maintenance payments in order to allow more time and resources to be dedicated to the most extreme cases.

Parents will now be able to choose whether they use the Direct-Pay option - where payments are made directly between the parents - or use the Collect and pay option, where the money is collected by the state and paid to the other parent. There will be an ongoing charge for the Collect and Pay option as of August 2014, in order to encourage families to co-operate and preserve the resources of the service. There will be no on-going charge for those who can co-operate, choosing to use Direct-Pay.

When using Direct-Pay, the Child Maintenance Service will work out an amount for parents to pay and will provide guidance on how to set up regular payments. The CMS will only intervene if payments are missed.

Alternatively, under the Collect and Pay option, the payments are collected and paid by the state. The paying parent will pay a 20% surcharge on the amount to be paid and the receiving parent will pay 4% of the amount received.

Government research has shown that around half of parents currently using the old system, could co-operate to come to family based arrangements with sufficient support for doing so. This would allow the new Child Maintenance Service more time and resources for focus on the most difficult cases, providing families in this situation a more efficient service.

Minister for Work and Pensions, Steve Webb said: “The new system is helping more couples to work together to ensure the best outcomes for their children. We know that children do better when parents work together, even after separation, and I am very encouraged that the new child maintenance system is already making this a reality for thousands of families.”

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