New child maintenance service to benefit separated parents

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a new self-service facility to enable separated parents to calculate, pay and collect statutory child maintenance online.

The new Child Maintenance Service (CMS) has replaced the Child Support Agency (CSA) and will help parents to collect online child maintenance payments from their former partner if they are not able to agree payments between themselves.

Under the new scheme parents are encouraged to resolve disputes relating to children outside of court by attempting to come to a ‘family-based arrangement’ before being granted access to the service.

The system will also help parents administer their own child maintenance arrangements by allowing users to calculate how much child maintenance should be paid, access payments, update details and send enquiries to the CMS online.

The new service also promotes the financial responsibility parents have to their children by penalising a parent when a payment is missed. These enforcement charges for non-payment range from £50 to £300 and were introduced on June 30, 2014 alongside an application fee of £20.

With effect from August 11, 2014 separated parents who make use of the Collect and Pay service are also liable for collection fees:

  • The paying parent is liable to pay an additional fee of 20 per cent of the child maintenance payment.
  • The receiving parent must pay 4 per cent of the child maintenance that is collected.

For more information about child maintenance or to discuss any aspect of family law, contact Louise Daniel on  or 01706 213356.