Local Solicitor highlights changes to Child Maintenance

Local Solicitor highlights changes to Child Maintenance from Whatley Weston & Fox

By: Whatley Weston & Fox  25/10/2012
Keywords: family law, Family Law Solicitor, worcester solicitor

October 2012 sees a new child maintenance formula being phased in at the CSA, with a view to all cases falling under the new formula from early 2014.

It is hoped that, by using gross income instead of net income, it will be easier to establish self-employed income, as tax returns and information submitted to HM Revenue & Customs can be used,. The changes should also make it more difficult for parents seeking to minimise their assessable income to reduce their child maintenance liability.

The new formula will be applied in 2 parts, one for the first £800 of gross weekly income (12% for one child, 16% for 2 children and 19% for three or more) and the second for any gross weekly income over £800 (9% for one child, 12% for two children and 15% for three or more). There will continue to be reductions in maintenance if the paying parent is financially responsible for other children, is a step parent to other children in his/her household or to take account of overnight stays.

There will also be a charge for using the CSA to assess and collect child maintenance, whereas at the moment this is free. The charge is likely to come in once the new formula is being applied to all cases and has caused some controversy with some critics saying that charges may not be affordable for all parents and will see money effectively taken from the children it was meant to support.

Existing cases will not be affected until late 2013 but when they are it will mean that all parents currently paying through the CSA will be given an opportunity to establish a direct payment to the other parent, failing which a fresh application will have to be made to the CSA. Critics of this part of the scheme have suggested that this may allow perpetrators of domestic violence to manipulate or financially control their ex-partners,  changing the dates of payment or missing payments with the only other option for the victim to be to apply to the CSA and be charged.

Louise Chipchase, Head of Family Law at local firm Whatley Weston & Fox says: “The move to use gross income figures is likely to help with accurate assessment and enforcement of child maintenance but the proposed charges may, for many, be an obstacle to obtaining a more secure financial future for their children, which ironically is exactly what the child maintenance scheme is supposed to achieve. We shall wait with interest to see how it all works in practice.”

For more information on this, or any other, family law issue please contact Louise Chipchase on 01905 731 731 or at .

Keywords: family law, Family Law Solicitor, worcester solicitor

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