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Posted 24 June 2016

Shocking discovery of the current state of child maintenance

In a new report ‘Missing Maintenance’ published by Gingerbread, the leading charity working with single parent families, comes the shocking discovery of the current state of child maintenance:

  • A total of £3,708m in child maintenance arrears is outstanding within CSA;
  • More than £739m in CSA arrears is currently owed to parents;
  • Less than half of eligible families receive child maintenance;
  • An estimated 70 per cent of closed CSA cases are expected to have outstanding arrears;
  • £52.5m is owed under the new Child Maintenance Service; and
  • In 2014/15, the CMS collected just 53% of maintenance charged via its collection service.

Not only is it alarming to read that millions of pounds of child maintenance isn’t collected, but the government estimates that only around 12% of this amount is ever likely to be recovered. This raises concerns regarding the welfare of children who will lose out because of this failure. Unfortunately, it appears that the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) which  replaces the Child Support Agency (CSA) is in danger of failing the children that it aims to protect and provide for.

Gingerbread are campaigning for the government to allocate some of its millions of pounds of collection fees, charged to parents that use the new CMS, to focus on an improved debt collection service.

Amy Dyer in the Family Team at Tozers comments:

“The report from Gingerbread highlights the unacceptable state of affairs in both the old and new child maintenance systems and, in raising awareness of this issue, we hope that revisions to the system will avoid the situation deteriorating and ensure that children do not grow up in poverty.

We encourage parties to negotiate private agreements directly between themselves regarding the provision and payment of child maintenance in order to avoid conflict and the administrative costs of having to use the CMS.

In the event that you would like to book a free initial appointment to discuss issues relating to the care of children following a relationship breakdown please do not hesitate to contact one of the Family Team. To book a free meeting please call 01392 207020 or email

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