Child maintenance is regular reliable financial support that helps towards a child’s living costs. The Government introduced application fees, collection fees and enforcement charges in 2014 for parents using the Child Maintenance Service.
Families are now encouraged to make family-based arrangements as they are quicker and easier to arrange without involvement of the CSA (Child Support Agency), The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) or the courts.
Family-based arrangements are child maintenance arrangements which parents have agreed between themselves.
More than half a million children in Great Britain benefit from this type of child maintenance arrangement.
Many parents think this type of arrangement is a better option for them and their children because it allows flexibility in what a family based arrangement contains and no-one else has to get involved.
However parents can struggle to work out the amount of support required, and it can be determined by looking at the guidelines set by the CMS. This is a guideline only, and parents can agree between themselves to pay more, or less, depending on need and ability to pay the amount agreed. This is where mediation can help parents look beyond a set formula, and come up with a creative and amicable arrangement that suits their own family circumstances.