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Divorce has become the norm of the day. 3 out of every five marriages end in divorce. The sad fact is that most of these homes have children involved in the mess. While some ex-couples can come together and agree on how to parent their children, most of them can’t. As such, they need some sort of mediator to bring order into that homestead.
It is important to note that all parents are responsible for their children even after a divorce. This means that both parents have to contribute towards the upkeep of the children. If the parents cannot agree on who gets custody and how much will be paid by the other partner, Child Support Agency as well as Child Maintenance Services take over the situation. You can call CSA Contact Number to get started.
CSA CONTACT NUMBER
After a divorce, it is essential to work out the options for child maintenance. Three common arrangements can work well in cases of child support. These are as follows:
FAMILY BASED CHILD MAINTENANCE
This is an arrangement where both parents agree on who should pay for maintenance, how much and when the payments get paid. It is the quickest and easiest arrangement, and the parents can easily adapt to circumstance changes.
This arrangement, however, is not legally binding. This means that if the paying parent refuses to honour the agreement, the receiving parent cannot go to court to force the other to pay. However, the receiving parent is at liberty to pursue other legally enforceable child maintenance options. You can call the Child Support Agency for more information on the options available to you.
THE GOVERNMENT CHILD MAINTENANCE SCHEMES
These are statutory schemes established to ensure that both parents take financial responsibility for raising their children. There are three basic regulatory schemes established by law.
- The 2012 Scheme for new applications from couples unable to make a family-based agreement
- CSA 1993 Scheme which manages child maintenance cases opened before March 3rd, 1993
- The 2003 Scheme which manages all child maintenance cases began on or after March 3rd, 1993
These arrangements are legally binding and enforceable by law.
COURT ORDERS FOR CHILD MAINTENANCE
While the child maintenance services process for new applications for UK residents and workers, a court order can be used to deal with a new application if;
- The paying partner is a UK non-resident
- If the amount that CSA can allocate is considerably lower than the actual expenses especially when dealing with situations such as additional costs of raising a special needs child
- The paying parent earns a high income, and so the maintenance should be equally high, but the CSA cannot grant it
The court order option needs legal advice to implement. For starters, you need to specify whether you were legally married, living together or in a civil union to address the issues appropriately.
WHAT IS THE CHILD SUPPORT AGENCY?
This is a government agency that manages child maintenance schemes that were developed to ensure that both parents are financially responsible for their children. The CSA ensures that non-resident parents also pay towards the expenses of the children’s upkeep. CSA manages the statutory 1993 and 2003 child maintenance schemes but is currently closed to new applications. Child Maintenance Services is the body that regulates the statutory 2012 system as well as handles all new claims.
Before you fill in any application, call the CSA contact number for more information. By the end of the conversation, you will know what your child maintenance options are, how to fill an application as well as the supporting documents you need to attach to the application.
You can have the Child Maintenance Options help you in making the application. The agent will give you a reference number that you can use to trace your application once forwarded to Child Maintenance Services. Be sure to call Child Support Agency contact number to follow up on your application.
WHO CAN CONTACT CHILD MAINTENANCE SERVICES FOR ASSISTANCE?
Any of the following can request statutory child maintenance options;
- A person that is in charge of the daily care of a child/children
- A person or parent without the primary responsibility of the regular care of a child/children
- Any child over the age of 12 (must be living in Scotland)
The person in charge of the regular responsibility of the child is called the receiving parent while the one who does not take regular care of the child is called the paying parent.
HOW TO CONTACT THE CHILD SUPPORT AGENCY
The easiest way to reach the CSA for any queries on child maintenance options is by phone.
|DESCRIPTION||CSA CONTACT NUMBER|
|CSA contact number for new applications|
|CSA contact number for existing applications|
|CSA National helpline|
|CSA Falkirk (Scotland & North East England)|
|CSA Belfast (East England)|
|CSA Birkenhead (North West England)|
|CSA Dudley (The Midlands)|
|CSA Hastings (South East England)|
|CSA Plymouth (South West England)|
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR CHILD MAINTENANCE ARRANGEMENT?
There are a few categories of people who are entitled to child maintenance services and can be assisted by using the CSA contact number. These categories include:
- The person or parent applying for the support has the main responsibility of the day to day care of the children and lives in the UK
- The parent who is expected to pay the child support lives in the UK or works for the UK civil service, armed forces or any UK based company
- There is no active court order filed before 2003, or the court order filed after April 2003 was set up at least a year before the application is submitted
- The child mentioned in the application is under 16 years, or up to 20 years if proven a dependant in full-time education/training and currently receiving Child Benefits
Previous regulations allowed dependants of up to 19 years. This was later revised to 20 years in 2012 to harmonise the age limits with those of Child Benefits. This change is effective across all statutory child maintenance schemes.
The children, as well as the receiving parents, should live in the UK. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Children who are under long-term hospitalised care or are in boarding school qualify for child maintenance. The requirements, however, differ for the 1993 and 2003 schemes.
FEES APPLICABLE TO THE 2012 CHILD MAINTENANCE SCHEME
As previously mentioned, any new application submitted under the statutory 2012 Child Maintenance Scheme. You can call the CSA contact number for new applications. Kindly note that CSA is no longer taking new applications and Child Maintenance Services will address your query under the 2012 Scheme.
APPLICATION FEES UNDER THE 2012 CHILD MAINTENANCE SCHEME
The government has introduced charges for new applications under the 2012 Scheme. These costs are meant to encourage parents to make family-based arrangements. The amount payable in child support is made through Direct Pay. The fees levied are as follows;
- Application fees – these apply to Scotland, England, and Wales
- Collection fees for using Direct Pay – active from August 11th 2014
- Enforcement charges
The parent making the application is required to pay £20 in application charges. Note that the applications are not processed until the amount is paid.
The application fee, however, is waived for the following people.
- Any applicant under 19 years
- Any applicant who is a victim of abuse or domestic violence and has filed a report in any recognisable institution such as the police or other organisations dealing with domestic violence
Both parents are required to pay collection charges for using the CMS Collect and Pay services. This is how the costs work;
- A paying parent pays 20% of each payment surrendered in child support
- A receiving parent pays 4% of each payment paid in child support
The CSA, based on the circumstances, sets a specific amount paid periodically. The paying parent pays to CMS, and the agency remits the amount to the other parent. Collection charges do not apply if the parents use Direct Pay.
These charges differ depending on the enforcement actions required. An action is taken when payments are missed or paid in half. In some circumstances, the enforcement charges are waived. Here are the situations that may occasion a waiver;
- The paying parent makes payments from two or more deductions if with more than one employer
- If the paying parent regularly makes payments from more than one bank account
- The paying parent has changed jobs (employer) or bank account
- If the amount to be collected has altered
- A liability order application is unsuccessful
- The paying partner has successfully challenged an earnings order or a lump sum or regular deductions order
- If the parent who pays decides to pay child support from their salary
- The paying parent works for the Armed Forces, and a deduction request is made
HOW TO AVOID CHARGES AND FEES
Application and collection charges can be easily avoided by working out a family-based child maintenance arrangement. Alternatively, if you do need the services of CMS or CSA, use Direct Pay as opposed to Collect and Pay services to avoid the collection fees.
Do you have any queries? Call the CSA Contact Number and ask away. Talk with professionals and get assistance in making an application or follow-up.