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Divorce & Family Law Help
The Child Support Agency
Seeking child maintenance can be difficult for some parents. It is difficult to get the parent who is supposed to pay the maintenance to do so and, at the same time, bills are due and food needs to be put on the table. When you are in a financially rough position, the Child Support Agency may be able to help you.
The Child Support Agency is a section of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This agency was put into place to help parents get the maintenance they need from the non-resident parent of the child or children who qualify for the maintenance. This agency was set up to obtain maintenance for children whose parents are receiving government benefits, such as Jobseekers Allowance or Income Support, but can help anyone who applies for their services.
When you apply, the Child Support Agency will determine how much maintenance is owed based on the non-resident parentís income, other children that may be living in the non-resident parentís home, and any other circumstances that might factor into the amount that is owed by the non-resident parent each week. For those non-residential parents whose income is greater than £200 per week, the payment amount will likely be 15% for one child, 20% for two children, or 25% for 3 or more children who qualify to receive maintenance. This percentage will be based on the non-resident parentís net weekly income and will be reduced by 15% if there is another child living in the non-resident parentís home, 20% if there are two children living in the non-resident parentís home, or 25% if there are three or more children living in the non-resident parentís home.
There is also a reduced rate for those non-resident parents who make between £100 and £200 per week. In this instance, the non-resident parent will pay £5 per week for the first £100 he or she brings home, plus a percentage for anything extra between £100 and £200. This rate is once again reduced slightly if there are other children living in the non-resident parentís home.
For those non-resident parents who make less than £100 per week or that are on government assistance (Income Support, Jobseekerís Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, etc.) they are only required to pay £5 per week no matter how many qualifying children are living with the other parent. Furthermore, if the non-residential parent is in college full-time, between the ages of 16 to 19 and in school full-time, are a prisoner, or are living in a residential care or nursing home in which they need help paying the fees, then these persons are not required to pay any maintenance at all for children that are not living with them. This can be difficult for those who need it most, such as very young mothers whose childrenís fathers would more than likely fall into one of these categories.
Once it is determined how much maintenance the non-residential parent should be required to pay, the Child Support Agency will actually go a step further to collect the money themselves and pay it to the parent who has custody of the child or children. This way they know that the amount is being paid every week by the non-resident parent. This can be a relief for many parents with care of the child or children who have spent years trying to receive what little maintenance they could from the other party. For these parents, although the Child Support Agency may not be able to collect much from the other parent if he or she is low income, having this help available to receive any amount each and every week is a blessing.