Child Maintenance: How to apply for self-service
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Child Maintenance is commonly described as an “arrangement between a person and the other parent of their child”. This is usually necessary when parents have split up, and one parent is primarily responsible for raising a child. The person who receives the Child Maintenance payment is usually the parent who has the main day-to-day care of the child.
The paying parent, then, is the individual who does not have the main care of the child concerned.
While in most cases parents can come to a suitable arrangement themselves, there are unfortunately instances where a paying parent attempts to avoid their responsibilities.
This was the situation faced by one single mother who had not received any child support for three years.
The mother of two had been without financial support for her children, with the father refusing to pay or engage with the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).
This was despite repeated efforts to work together to get the money through to the mother and her children.
As a result, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) issued a lump sum deduction order on one of the father’s bank accounts which contained over £59,000.
The CMS then took action and were able to secure a £12,000 payout for the mother concerned.
The mother in this case expressed her happiness at the issue being finally resolved.
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She said: “My boys and I are absolutely thrilled with the outcome.
“After so many years of receiving nothing, it was like winning a lottery to receive this amount of money. I couldn’t believe it until the funds were in my bank account.
“The money will be very helpful now as my boys are older and it costs more to look after them.
“I will be able to put some money into their bank accounts to manage their own finances.”
Child Maintenance can be paid in a number of ways, the Government has explained.
While a particularly popular arrangement is between parents, some may choose for the payment to come directly from the paying parent’s earnings as arranged with their employer.
It can also be paid by reducing the paying parent’s benefit, or through Direct Debit.
The Child Maintenance Service, however, will take action, as in this case, if Child Maintenance is not paid.
They can levy a number of enforcement charges to encourage the paying parent to meet their responsibilities.
The Government explains the CMS takes action immediately if the paying parent usually pays through them.
However, if the paying parent uses the CMS to calculate the payment, but pays directly, then the receiving parent needs to ask the service for help.
Baroness Stedman-Scott, DWP Minister, commented on the matter.
She said: “I know most parents will do all they can to make sure their children get the best start in life.
“But there are a small number of parents who try to shamelessly sidestep their responsibilities – and this is where the CMS step in.
“The CMS will always try to work with parents to get money to children, but some efforts fall on deaf ears.
“In cases like this, we work tirelessly to get children the financial support they deserve.”
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