From the end of 2013, anyone applying to the Child Support Agency (“CSA”) will be subject to the new rules. The aim is for existing cases to be transferred over, which may take until 2017.
The CSA will now deal directly with HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) to find out the gross annual income of the Non-Resident Parent (“NRP”) and then apply the following bands*:-
• Gross weekly income up to £800
o 1 child = 12%
o 2 children = 16%
o 3+ children = 19%
• NRP gross weekly income from £800 to £3,000
o 1 child = 9%
o 2 children = 12%
o 3 children = 15%
• NRP gross weekly income over £3,000
o Anything above this amount will be ignored by the CSA and a separate application to the Court may be necessary. Please contact us if this is the case.
• NRP gross weekly income is less than £200
o reduced or nil rates apply.
*Please note that the payment bands and the rules of the new regime may be subject to change.
The CSA will take into account any other children of the NRP and apply a discount depending on the amount of other children.
The discount for the number of nights spent by the child with the NRP per year still applies. There is one notable change; if the care of the child is shared equally, no child maintenance will be paid.
Another notable change is that a parent can only apply for a variation of the amount payable if there has been a 25% or more change in income or there is a significant change in circumstances. The CSA will now undertake annual reviews of the gross annual income of the NRP using HMRC tax information.
In addition, the eligibility of a child for child maintenance has been extended from less than 19 years to less than 20 years of age. The child must remain eligible for Child Benefit. This applies to all cases and is already in effect.
If you are unsure about child maintenance or are having difficulties in reaching an agreement, please contact us and make an appointment with Kath Hill, Allan Devine or myself. We will assess your circumstances and be pleased to advise you.
If you would like information about other legal services we offer, please complete our online enquiry form at www.swinburnemaddison.co.uk.