Assessment fee for a child maintenance calculation to be abolished
When separated parents cannot agree how much financial support should be paid from one to the other for the benefit of the children, they can use an online calculator on the GOV.UK website or go to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) and ask for a formal assessment to be carried out. Since the creation of the CMS in 2012 formal assessments have carried an application fee of £20.
The fee is payable even if a subsequent maintenance calculation is not made. The current legislation allows the application fee to be waived if the applicant has been a victim of domestic violence or abuse, or where they are aged under 19. There are no other scenarios where the fee may be waived, and reimbursement is only possible when any relevant qualifying child dies after an application has been made, and before a maintenance assessment is in place.
Now the Child Support (Management of Payments and Arrears and Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2024 (S.I. 2024 No. 87) seeks to change this and abolish the £20 application fee. It is hoped that abolishing the application fee will remove a barrier to accessing the CMS, and ensure that those wishing to use the Service are not excluded from the CMS due to financial constraints.
The new Regulation has been laid before Parliament and will come into force on 26 February 2024.
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