We reported in February that the Child Support Agency’s successor agency, the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC), controversially intends in 2012 to run a new scheme that will prompt parents to pay application fees and collection charges to pay and receive child maintenance from their former partner.
Once more the charity Gingerbread has commented on the proposals and a recent survey conducted by them suggests that almost three-quarters of those parents simply could not set up private arrangements. Just under half (46%) of single parents who currently using the Child Support Agency (CSA) would not be able to afford to pay the new fees proposed by the new scheme.
The findings therefore seem to contradict the Government’s assumption that paying fees or reaching private arrangements between separated couples is realistic for the majority of the population. Indeed Gingerbread’s Chief Executive, Fiona Weir has commented:
“This shows the devastating impact that charging could have on the amount of child maintenance that will get through to children. If these findings were to be replicated across the whole CSA caseload, that could mean nearly 300,000 single parent families would go without child maintenance.
“Ever since these proposals were announced, single parents have been in touch with us in their droves to tell us the hardship they will face if they can no longer get child maintenance. We urge the Government to scrap these proposals.”
Barnardo’s have allied themselves with Gingerbread in an attempt to seek that the Government reconsiders its proposals for fear of the impact on the poorest who would be most affected by the new regime. Barnardo’s themselves have carried out a survey that suggests many parents do not use the current child maintenance system, and that various problems such as abusive or missing partners are often the cause of this.
At Stephens Scown LLP we have a wealth of experience in dealing with all aspects of family work, including children matters and divorce. Stephens Scown has offices in Exeter, Truro and St Austell. Its family team are top ranked in Devon and Cornwall and advises clients on a wide range of family law including matrimonial and partner issues including separation, divorce and civil partnerships, domestic violence, family finance and child access.
Ed Bidder is a paralegal in the Stephens Scown Family team. Stephens Scown has offices in Exeter, Truro and St Austell. Its family team advises clients on a wide range of family law including matrimonial and partner issues including separation, divorce and civil partnerships, family finance and child access.