The Child Support Agency has never exactly been a success and certainly not found on the favourites list of any lawyer or indeed most parents.
It has suffered from bad publicity from the very beginning and has never really been successful except in the simplest of cases. Most of us lawyers yearned for the days when we were able to deal with child maintenance through the courts, or indeed in any way other than the CSA.
Finally the Government has listened to public and professional opinion and has announced plans to abolish the existing CSA and replace it with a new agency from December this year. It is likely to be 2014 though before the new agency is up and running.
The new Child Maintenance Service (CMS) will be designed to encourage voluntary child maintenance arrangements between parents, via a so-called Family Based Arrangement.
If parents fail to reach agreement, however, the CMS will charge a fee for the introduction of a compulsory arrangement. Reports suggest that this fee will be deducted from the maintenance obtained.
Whether this will work better remains to be seen – the full details are not yet available. Check back for updates in due course.
For further information, please contact a member of our Family team on 01625 442100.