The vast majority of separated parents using the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) are managing child support payments themselves, new research shows.
The CMS, launched in 2012, is designed to support separated families to come to their own financial arrangements.
As part of a 30-month review into the impact of charging by CMS, the research found that almost seven out of 10 parents (68 per cent) with a Direct Pay arrangement – meaning that the non-resident parent is paying their child maintenance directly to the receiving parents rather than via the CMS – had their arrangement in place three months after receiving their child maintenance calculation from the CMS.
A year after setting up their arrangement, 62 per cent of parents using the Direct Pay service still had that arrangement in place, while 19 per cent had moved to another type of maintenance arrangement.
Meanwhile, more than half (56 per cent) of parents who made an enquiry into the CMS and then did not proceed with an application, or closed an application, said they intended setting up an alternative arrangement with their ex-partner, known as a family-based arrangement.
Nine out of 10 of those family-based arrangements were financial, in which 86 per cent were described as “effective”.
Parents who cannot manage their child maintenance payments on Direct Pay can use the CMS’s Collect and Pay service. The CMS has powers to enforce payments for example by deducting payments from the paying parent’s earnings or benefits.
Caroline Nokes, Welfare Delivery Minister, said: “We know children grow up to have better health, emotional well-being and educational attainment if their parents, whether together or separated, have a positive relationship. All children deserve the best start in life and that’s why the Child Maintenance Service is designed to help separated parents to work together, where possible, to make an arrangement to support their children, and our early research suggests most are able to do this.”