Changes in the system for dealing with child maintenance claims will soon be fully implemented, with cases currently dealt with by the Child Support Agency being transferred to the Child Maintenance Service.
As part of this arrangement, a new formula has been created for calculating the maintenance payable in respect of dependent children. This came into effect in October 2012.
Where the gross income of the paying party is less than £800 per week, the amount payable will normally be calculated as follows:
- 1 child – 12 per cent of gross income;
- 2 children – 16 per cent of gross income; or
- 3 or more children – 19 per cent of gross income.
Where the gross income of the paying party is more than £800 per week, the excess over £800 will normally be payable as maintenance as follows:
- 1 child – 9 per cent;
- 2 children – 12 per cent; or
- 3 or more children – 15 per cent.
Special rules apply where the income of the payer is below £200 per week or above £3,000 per week and also where the child or children stay with the paying parent for one night per week or more on average. The sum payable is also reduced if the paying parent has other dependent children living with them.
The changes also provide for an annual review of the child maintenance arrangements and improved procedures for the collection of arrears of maintenance payments.