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Changes to the way parents handle their child maintenance payments come into force today with the replacement of the Child Support Agency with the Child Maintenance Service.

Parents are being encouraged to deal with each other amicably and direct or face charges under the new regime.

if parents cannot agree or the paying parent refuses to pay, the CMS will take on a case for a £20 application fee.

If the CMS are successful in collecting the maintenance, the paying parent will have to pay a fee of 20% of the monthly payment and the receiving parent 4% of the amount received.

The idea is to encourage parents to agree their payments and to incentivise non payers to make payments to avoid the charges.

The Minister responsible for the new CMS, Steve Webb said he wanted the Government to collect as few charges as possible, which would mean they have done their job in encouraging parents to settle.

of course, the court still has a role to play if divorcing parents are in agreement, as the court can make a child maintenance order in an agreed consent order, which can then be enforced by the family court in the event of non payment.

This post was written by Mark Keenan. Editor of the Divorce Online Blog and Managing Director of Online Legal Service Ltd. Mark has been writing about divorce and related subjects for over 20+ years and is an expert in legal marketing.

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