Child Maintenance Changes: an update on their impact

In August we blogged about the changes to child maintenance system with the introduction of the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) which came into effect in June. Four months on, the lone parent charity Gingerbread has highlighted the impact these changes are having on single parent families.

Citing figures from the government, Gingerbread shows that there has been a 38% drop in the number of applications to the CMS, equivalent to some 3,700 families. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had predicted there would be a 12% fall in applications as a result of the changes, with more parents coming to 'family-based agreements' and using family mediation services; however the apparent 38% drop is far higher than predicted.

Whilst Gingerbread states it is not yet clear what has caused the drop, they cite the new fees being charged as a potential barrier to applicants, though they stress more information is needed on the numbers who begin using the service and then go on to make their own arrangements.

Currently, only two-fifths of single parent families receive maintenance from the other parent. Lone parents or those going through separation or divorce can find mediation helpful in coming to arrangements about maintenance payments as well as a raft of other issues. You might also want to visit our post on the CMS for further information.

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