Child Maintenance: How to apply for self-service
Child Maintenance is outlined by the government as “an arrangement between one person and the other parent of their child”. This usually occurs when parents are separated, with one parent primarily looking after the child. The receiving parent of Child Maintenance is the individual who has main day-to-day care of the child, with the paying parent not having main care.
Usually, this is a formally arranged agreement which can be set up in a number of ways, but the paying parent must provide the correct sum at regular intervals.
Unfortunately, though, there have been some instances where a paying parent has avoided their responsibilities, leaving the other individual with a higher financial burden.
This was the case for one single mum, who did not receive payments from her child’s absent father, due to his claim he had no income.
However, the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) took action on the matter, pursuing the issue further.
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Investigators discovered the father lived in an expensive home, and had £175,000 in the bank.
They then took steps to pursue the man through the courts to progress the case further.
Ultimately, the child’s mother ended up securing an £80,000 payment in Child Maintenance.
The single mum expressed her delight at finally receiving the payment.
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She said: “This is a life-changing sum of money – I had almost given up on ever receiving anything.”
In many instances, parents who are no longer together will be able to sort out financial support for a child between themselves.
This is where the Child Maintenance Service will step back, only providing support if absolutely necessary.
However, the CMS has highlighted instances such as these where one paying parent is avoiding their financial responsibilities.
At this point, the organisation will step in to provide help and ensure payments are being offered.
The government website explains: “The Child Maintenance Service will take action immediately if they paying parent pays through them.
“If the paying parent used the Child Maintenance Service to calculate child maintenance but pays directly, the receiving parent needs to ask the service to take action.”
Therefore, parents who are in a difficult circumstances, encountering non-payment are encouraged to take action on the matter.
They can contact the CMS to gain the support they need for the issue to be progressed further.
It has also explained there are enforcement charges appropriate when there is a non-payment issue.
These can vary, for instance, a deduction from earnings request or order at £50, and a liability order with an accompanying charge of £300.
Baroness Stedman-Scott, DWP Minister, commented on the matter, and the work of the CMS to help parents.
She said: “Every child deserves the best possible start in life.
“Parents who ignore their responsibilities are failing their children.
“The vast majority do the right thing and pay their way, but our message to anyone who doesn’t is clear – our investigators will track you down and make sure you cough up.”
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