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THE CSA

The Child Support Act came into being in April 1993 on an operational basis.

From that point on, with respect to all disputes concerning children and all previous cases held within the Court, jurisdiction was then assumed by the Child Support Agency (CSA). In 1995 in order to make the Agency more "humane" the then Government decided to introduce a Departures system in order that allowances could be given for an in the following circumstances: Clean break capital settlements when divorced, prior to April 1993;

Travel to work costs;

Travel to see the child(ren);

Assets over and above £10,000;

Diversion of income by either parent concerning the formula;

Lifestyle by either parent concerning the calculation of the formula.

Even with these modifications, the Act was still considered to be over complicated, burden some and failing parents generally.

To this end in 1997, the incoming Government decided that it would investigate the institution of a simpler system, which today, is slowly, but surely coming into force.
By this we mean that the non-resident parent will pay a percentage of his/her income, subject to the number of children being as follows;

15% for one child,

20% for two children and

25% for three children.

There will be allowances for shared care and these are generally simpler and cruder than the previous system though likely to be more effective for more parents. Further we are looking at allowances for 100% of all pension contributions but it is to be stressed that within this new formula, there will be no allowances for housing costs, Council Tax as in the previous formula.

Further, liability for payment will have not ceased until the non-resident parent earns over £2,000 per week net pay, which for three children produces an assessment of £26,000 per annum.

Parents who are in receipt of any benefit other than Income Support or no benefits will be able to opt out of the Child Support system and come to a private agreement.

Though it is to be stressed that this agreement will last only for twelve months and then subject to a two months negotiation period, may result in it being operative for a further period or at the behest of one or other of the parents a return to Child Support Law and jurisdiction.

Last but not least, there are appeals built into this new formula called Variations. In some areas this is a mixture and continuation of the previous Departures and in some areas it is further restricted and brings in new rules concerning allowances that may be given within this new formula for one side or the other.

It is not until we reach this level of action within the formula that we see it becoming nearly as complicated and onerous in terms of its application as the previous formula.

The above is for information purposes only.

CHILD SUPPORT REDESIGN

INTRODUCTION

1. Equal moral and financial responsibility must be a tenant of any new system.

2. Children are a responsibility to both parents and not simply a key to state benefits, a tenant, which also must be worked into the new system.

3. We must not castigate one group of parents over another ie breakdowns of marriage and relationships are 50/50 males/females fault.

4. Any system must not incentives the use of the benefits system of one parent over the other.

5. Any political statement ie "more money for more children" must always work within an equal responsible framework for both parents for the benefit of their child/ren.

6. Responsibilities and not rights must be discussed and worked into the system.

When we look back at the 1991 Act et al, we can see that it was complicated legislatively and hard to administer in practice.
It had too many get outs and loopholes, and was an unfair system across the country. By this I mean that it had a harder effect in the South in many ways that the North of the country. It disadvantaged single fathers living with parents and it bore no incentive for mothers to co-operate with it.

It successor, the new CS2 system of a flat percentage of 15%, 20% and 25% for 1, 2 or 3 children does not help the situation either.
It has created a North/South divide in its effectiveness and acceptance.

Professional comments from solicitors and accountants dictate that, yes it is easier to understand but why do mother's circumstances not get taken into account?
Why does it only pay a poor £10 premium for mother's co-operation when on Income Support?

All of this is tied up with poor computer performance and poor staff training and performance, ie to few to do too much! So by definition, without any more in-depth examination, the old systems have failed.

Should any new system set up a whole new infrastructure for help and advice to help separating parents or should we again "cobble" up a mixture of say CAB, NCOPF, CPAG, Law Society to fulfil this role.

Well this system has worked better in some areas than others and cannot be said to have worked "satisfactorily".
These organisations are already over worked. As most people consult a solicitor then design packs and booklets for solicitors to use and also for CAB, all libraries, job centre plus. Involve more stakeholders in this role.

COMPARISONS

The Canadian Benefits Agency, mothers have to wait six months before they get any additional state benefits. Why then do we in this country not reform our benefits agency to this system? Further now, in this country, more fathers are now classed as single parents. So why do we not play for a level playing field for child support and benefits?

The Australian CSA wants to reform all the CSA and the benefits agency and marital law which includes reducing the maximum cap that they charge, as they now know that mothers are simply manipulating the benefits agency including the CSA in order that they can get benefits and a mortgage paid and live off the state and their Ex partners etc to their advantage.
This is not what is wanted in Australia and they want to consider a change. Why do we not do the same????

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT THE DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS website and

www.childsupportlaws.co.uk


NEWS UPDATE - APRIL 2010

With effect from today 19.04.10 the Agency is under the Umbrella of the Commission.  By this it is meant as the Child Maintenance & Enforcement Commission.
 
It is envisaged that with effect from 2011 it will begin to take on cases under the new rules. (ie. individuals will
pay 10,15,20 per cent of Gross pay for 1,2,3 or more children in the assessment unit)
 
This may be changed by a new incoming government. However we will still have to contend with three systems.
The old Rules, New Rules and now the Commission Rules!
Why, well it is because the system cannot cope with a 'one' hit change, so we are still stuck with CSCS, CS2 and now 'Commission' rules along with two creaking computer systems.
 
This all makes for another potential inequality disaster as well as a hardware disaster.


NEWS UPDATE - DECEMBER 2012

The NEW SYSTEM went live on a trial basis on 10 Dec.  All working on gross pay on historic tax returns @ 12% for the first child. 
The new age that parents will have to pay for children is now 20 years old


NEWS UPDATE - DECEMBER 2013

PS CMS live now for all new applications and Dudley CSAC live for all CSCS and CS2 cases while Plymouth CSA runs CMS and Bolton, Edinburgh, and Newcastle runs clerical cases! There is also a new appeals process from 28 10 13 so that all appeals must be put through a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice by a new CSO and then a Mandatory Notice is issued so that the appeal can then proceed! This will double the staff that is needed and this is now why staff will not issue a refusal to review as a change of circumstances!
How do we think that we can get on with CMS with the following security questions;- 1)A 7 digit security number 2)A pass word 3)A memorable name 4)A memorable place 5)A singer/memorable band 6)A first school name 7)A 12 digit ID No This is far more than the DSS and other government organisations ask, so where does this leave us? Also why would staff ask for 'A friend or a member of family that they can call now so that a debt can be paid off on a credit/debit card'? They do and is it legal?
 
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