CMS Advice

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

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Frequently Asked Questions about the Child Maintenance Service.


Where can I find a CMS Calculator

If you need a CMS calculator we suggest you use our very own footprint Calculator app. It will cost you £0.99p but it gives you a complete breakdown of the payment and allows you to email the other parent with the result. This is the first step towards a private agreement.

Where can I get advice about Child Maintenance

Child Maintenance Legislation is very complex and you should only seek qualified legal advice. Durham Legal Services are experts in CMS Law, so why not speak to us.

Where can I get free advice

Sadly in England and Wales you cannot get legal aid for child maintenance matters. Free legal advice is almost impossible to find. All major organisations dealing with child maintenance problems charge a fee however here at DLS we offer a legal fee guarantee.

At what age does Child Maintenance stop ?

The governing factor which determines when child maintenance stops is the existence of a qualified child. A qualifying child is a child who is under the age of 20 in full time none advanced education. The definition of education is complex and now with Covid-19 the issue is even more complex. Legal advice should be sort.

How can I stop any charges

Charges are only applicable on CS3 and again you will only pay a surcharge fee if you fail to make your regular maintenance. If you have arrears prior to moving to the new scheme you will be given a chance to put an arrangement in place that allows you to pay direct to the PWC. The reason for this is all old arrears owed to the SOS (Sec of State) will be recovered before old PWC arrears.

Shared Care

Under CS3 if you have 50/50 shared care no child maintenance payments are due.

What can I do if the paying parent is hiding their income

Under CS3 income details come direct from HMRC. The Child Maintenance Service are required in law to accept that income. If you suspect that the paying parent is hiding income you will need legal advice on your options.

What if the paying parents lifestyle is inconsistent with their declared income

Under CS3 you can nolonger apply for a Variation Order on this ground. If you feel that the paying parents lifestyle is inconsistent with their declared income you will need legal advice on your options.

I have CSA arrears what can I do?

CSA arrears come in two forms, current and historic.  In many cases historic arrears can be challenged via a full independent arrears investigation.  Sadly the CSA are unable in law to carry out any arrears investigation as it would represent a conflict of interest with the other parent.  Because of this rule it falls to the individual to arrange any investigation.   With our sound knowledge of CSA legislation arrears investigations are one of our most popular services.


What are the grounds for a Variation Order?  

A  Variation Order is an application to the CSA to have certain things added to or taken into account against an existing child support calculation. The grounds are as follows:-
Special Expenses   (NRP only *)
Costs of maintaining contact with a QC child. You can not apply if you have a shared care allowance in your assessment already. *
Costs of a long term illness or disability of a relevant other child.  This is the cost after any monies received from any benefit have been deducted. *
Prior debts incurred before the couple separated  ie a car loan.  But you still need to be paying it off and it still needs to be benefiting the PWC or the QC.*
Boarding school fees for a QC *
Costs from paying a mortgage on the home of the PWC and QC.  The NRP must have no legal rights to the property. *

The following three heading are used to increase a maintenance calculation.

Assets over £65k
Income not taken into account and diversion of income.
Lifestyle inconsistent with declared income

As with any Child Support legislation there are rules governing variation orders so you will need to seek legal advice about how they apply along with all of the exemptions.

Will my Variation Order transfer to CS3

All existing Variation Orders or Departure Directions will be cancelled once your CS1 or CS2 case is closed. They will not transfer on to any new CS3 case that is opened. Asset and Lifestyle Variations will no longer be available.







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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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