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What are Child Maintenance Service fees?

Tags: child maintenance, money, CMS, CSA
Content Types: Tips and Advice

On June 30 2014, new child maintenance regulations came into force. Read on to find out about the new Child Maintenance Service (CMS) fees.

Application fees

Under the new regulations, separated or separating parents who apply to the CMS will need to pay a £20 application fee to calculate how much child maintenance is payable.

You do NOT have to pay an application fee if you are:

  • A victim of domestic abuse
  • Under the age of 19
  • Living in Northern Ireland

Once you know the amount to be paid you have two choices:

1. Direct Pay

Where you manage payments between yourselves.

2. Collect & Pay

With a Collect & Pay arrangement, the CMS will collect payments from the paying parent and pass them on to the receiving parent. Both parents will have to pay collection fees.

These are:

  • an additional 20% collection fee for paying parents on top of their usual child maintenance amount, and
  • a 4% collection fee for receiving parents deducted from their usual child maintenance amount.

With Collect & Pay the Child Maintenance Service will manage the maintenance payments and can take enforcement action if the paying parent doesn’t keep up with regular payments. The paying parent may have to pay enforcement charges if this happens.

Missed payments

If child maintenance isn’t paid, then the ‘paying’ parent will be faced with enforcement charges.

The following charges may be applied:

  • £300 Liability order
  • £200 Lump sum deduction order
  • £50 Regular deduction order
  • £50 deduction from earnings request or order

The CMS can take money owed directly from the paying parent’s earnings by contacting his or her employer, the CMS can also take the money from a bank or building society account.

In some cases, they may take the paying parent to court. This may result in the CMS sending bailiffs, forcing the sale of a property, or may even result with the parent being sent to prison.

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