CMS Advice

Expert Legal Advice on Day to Day Shared Care, Child Maintenance Appeals, Case Management Child Maintenance Arrears

Advice Voucher

Durham Legal Services


Established in 1996, Durham Legal Services has always specialised in child support casework, tribunals and advice. However, we know sometimes people think we won’t deal with them because they are too far away, so we’re changing our name to be more accessible to everyone and to reflect the ongoing changes to how child maintenance works. Rest assured, we still fully understand each of the three child support schemes and help clients all over the UK. Of course, we're here to help both sides, offering experienced assistance from our qualified lawyers.

Our Story.

In 1990 Mike Smith left the British Army due to family seperation and in July of that year he found himself becoming a single parent of four children.  Because of his experiences as a single parent, Mike went on to study Law at Durham University in 1993 completing his LLB in 1996. As part of his time at Durham, Mike worked within the charity sector helping people to deal with the newly formed Child Support Agency. In 1996 Durham Legal Services opened its first office in Seaham, Co Durham.  With the introduction of the World Wide Web, DLS began to expand country wide. Due to expansion the company moved to its present office in Consett, Co Durham in 2003.

Through DLS, Mike has always looked for ways to help families going through the trauma of breakup and 2004 saw the introduction of Evidence-Tracker. The system is a secure online programme designed to allow estranged couples to avoid acrimonious outbursts which can emotionally scar their children. The password-controlled system allows couples to log all contact arrangements in a virtual diary and they comment on any problems which arise. Because nothing can be removed, it provides a warts-and-all record of contacts and confrontations. Evidence-Tracker prompts couples to analyse behaviour and think more carefully about what they say and do. We believe Evidence-Tracker resulted in the new social policy that saw the introduction of the 2012 Child Maintenance Scheme and encouragement of separated familes to enter Family-Based Agreements. 

Following the success of Evidence-Tracker and the introduction of the Child Maintenance Service, Mike and his team introduced Privare Agreement a second online system which help and encouraged parents to reach a private agreement.  The system helps parents to calculate the correct maintenance payment without using the Statutory CMS and identified the savings from having no collection fees. The same system is currently used by the Child Maintenance Service with its own calculator. Private Agreement was one of the first companies to be awarded the Government Kite Mark for its work in Supporting Separated Families. DLS continues to grow with its help and support for seperated families through its work in the area of a legal defernition of Day to Day Care.

As a long-standing professional organisation dedicated only to child support work, our staff don’t offer free advice then use it to scare you into becoming a client by making your problem sound more difficult than it is. Instead, our expertise in this area of law is based on good, sound, legal practice away from the bias of the unregulated chat rooms and campaign groups.

We have a low cost, high quality confidential advice line giving you real legal advice so if you just need some help to get back on track, we’re happy to do that for you. Of course, we also offer a full range of other flexible legal support so can represent you at your Tribunal or take on your full case management, whatever you need. All of this is for a value for money fixed fee so no more never ending hourly charges.

Our areas of specialist expertise include:

  • Liability Orders
  • Arrears
  • Deduction from Earnings Orders
  • Bailiff and enforcement action
  • Money is owed to you
  • Other queries

Whatever your child support problem, we can help you solve it efficiently, effectively and economically. Where others have failed, we try to help.

Durham Legal Services UK Ltd is a private legal firm and has no connection to the Child Support Agency or CMS. Our advice service is completely confidential.

Contact us today.

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CSA Testimonials

Without doubt I have the most awkward ex partner any man could ever have, you name it I have been accused of doing it. I meet a new partner and things went from bad to worse with my ex taking me to 3 different appeals.

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Why DLS?

We are confident not only about the advice we offer but the standard of that advice. Durham Legal Services has represented people with child support problems for the last twenty years. We know we can help you if you have a real CSA problem.

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Make a call today

Our years of experience in child support legislation are available to you. Read More Book your call with a member of our legal team and we can explain what your options are and give you practical help and information. All consultations are strictly confidential.

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