Parents risk fees if they fail to agree on child support

Separated parents will be hit by charges if they cannot come to an agreement over child support for their children under a new system coming into force today.

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Minister: Child Support Agency 'not fit for purpose'

The Government is phasing out the Child Support Agency (CSA) as it is "not fit for purpose", Work and Pensions minister Steve Webb has said.

"The old CSA was just not fit for purpose - it spent £503 million in one year to transfer £1.1bn of maintenance and left more than 50% of children living in separated families with no effective financial arrangement in place at all," Mr Webb said.

Steve Webb was critical of the Child Support Agency's performance. Credit: David Jones/PA Wire/Press Association Images

He said the new Child Maintenance System (CMS) would encourage separated parents to agree together on how to provide for their children.

Under the new regime, parents who fail to come up with an agreement face fees for using the CMS, while there are also charges for absent parents who try to avoid paying maintenance.

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£300 fine for late child maintenance payments

Parents who have to be pursued through the courts or have child maintenance payments deducted from their wages will risk a charge of £300 under a new child support system that comes into force today.

Parents will also face fees if they cannot come to an amicable arrangement on supporting their children financially.

The new system means the Child Support Agency (CSA) will be phased out over the next three years and replaced with the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).

Letters have already been sent to 50,000 parents in England, Scotland and Wales earlier this year warning them of the changes.

Parents risk fees if they fail to agree on child support

Separated parents will be hit by charges if they cannot come to an agreement over child support for their children under a new system coming into force today.

Parents who turn to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to collect and pay settlements will face hefty fees.

The parent not living full-time with their children will face a 20% surcharge on top of their support payment, while the other parent faces losing 4% of the money they would normally receive.

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