In figures produced recently by the Department of Work and Pensions, the number of open cases handled by Child Maintenance Services (CMS) has dropped from 75,000 in June 2020, to 71,700 in September 2020. The reduction however is not unusual. The number of cases handled by CMS has continued to reduce drastically since 2018. The drop is attributable to a number of case closures following compliance with the CMS arrears strategy. At the same time, the number of individuals undertaking payments via the Direct Pay Scheme is increasing. The Direct Pay Scheme is where parents, who have been advised of the amount of child support they should pay to their child, will make those payments on a voluntary basis.

The alternative to this can be quite costly because the CMS charges both parents to collect the child support payments. If a parent is reluctant to pay, then the Child Maintenance Service may have to become involved, thereby resulting in the CMS charging the parent receiving the monies a set-up fee of £20 as well as a collection fee of 4%.on the amount paid. The paying parent is also required to pay an additional 20% on the amount payable. This acts as encouragement to parents in reaching their own agreements.

Any parents, whether looking to receive child maintenance, or pay child maintenance should consult the Child Maintenance website:

The website enables you to calculate how much should be paid.

Factors such as frequency of contact, overnight stays and a change in income can impact on the level of maintenance that should be paid. If you are unsure, you should seek proper advice at the earliest opportunity.