Changes to Child Maintenance

The child support system has changed a number of times since it was first introduced, with many more changes ahead.

Most of us are familiar with the Child Support Agency or CSA. Recent changes to the formula used by the CSA to calculate child maintenance have made payments much easier to work out and many people now favour a do-it-yourself approach - cutting out the CSA altogether.

Further changes will be introduced in stages:

1) The CSA is changing its name:

The CSA will gradually close all its existing cases and transfer them to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). New applications by separated parents will be made to the CMS.

2) The way child maintenance is calculated is changing:

At present, child maintenance is based on 15%, 20% or 25% of net income reduced by the number of nights, on average, children stay with the absent parent. The new formula is that the absent parent (with whom the children do not live most of the time) will pay an amount based on the number of children and calculated by reference to their gross income and not net income. For those with one child, they will pay a basic rate of 12% of gross income, two children a basic rate of 16% of gross income and for those with three or more children, a basic rate of 19% of gross income.

3)The CSA/CMS will be able to contact HMRC directly to obtain information relating to PAYE or tax returns:

The hope is that this will significantly reduce administration costs in trying to obtain information about the absent parent who does not want to co-operate.

4) The Government will try to persuade as many people as possible not to use the CMS and to enter into their own arrangements:

You will now be required to persuade the CMS of the reasons why you cannot come to an agreement with the other parent and you will also be expected to contribute financially towards the cost of the service.

Please contact Emsleys' Family Law team on 0113 201 4900 or email for more information.

The latest figures released by the Office information.

Gabbie  Clasper

Written by

Gabbie Clasper

Head of Family Law

Gabbie has over 20 years’ experience in family law. She has expert knowledge in complex issues including financial aspects following divorce; pre and post-nuptial agreements; cases with an international element; and civil partnerships. Gabbie is regularly instructed by clients based across the country and abroad. She...

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