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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.

Rise in the number of over-60s getting divorced

There has been a jump in the number of people over the age of 60 getting divorced. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show:

  • The number of men aged 60 and over granted divorces reached 9,500 in 2011, a 73% rise from 1991
  • There was a similar trend in the number of older women getting divorced, 5,800 in 2011, a sharp rise from 3,200 in 1991

The rise is partly down to an increase in the number of over-60s living in England and Wales. The figures are the second highest on record. The highest was in 1972 after the Divorce Reform Act came into effect, making it easier for couples to separate.

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