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Over half of separated families have child maintenance agreement in place, study reveals

More than half of separated families in Britain have a child maintenance agreement in place, official statistics have revealed.

The research, published by the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP), highlights the effectiveness of the new child maintenance system introduced in 2012, following the closure of the Child Support Agency (CSA).

What is a child maintenance arrangement?

In family law, there are two types of child maintenance arrangement: statutory and non-statutory.

Statutory child maintenance arrangements are those which have been arranged with the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), while non-statutory arrangements include all other arrangements, such as voluntary financial arrangements which involve direct monetary or payments in kind.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is usually only used when parents have been unable to make a private arrangement about how their child’s living costs will be paid.

How many child maintenance arrangements are there in Britain?

According to the report, 2.4 million separated families – including 3.6 million children – lived in Great Britain in the financial year ending 2020.

Just over half (56 per cent) of these families had a child maintenance arrangement in place. Approximately 89 per cent of partners receiving payments – known as Parents With Care – were female under the age of 50.

Correspondingly, over 86 per cent of parents not receiving payments – known as Non-Resident Parents – were male and under the age of 50.

How do child maintenance payments help families?

The report reveals that child maintenance payments reduced the number of children living in low-income households annually. Over the 12 months recorded, Parents With Care received a total of £2.3 billion annually through the CMS.

Likewise, three per cent of Parents With Care moved out of the lowest 20 per cent of the income distribution due to receiving child maintenance payments, while four per cent of Non-Resident Parents moved out of the highest 20 per cent of the income distribution.

For help and advice with related matters, please get in touch with our expert family law and mediation team today.

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Peter Burden

Peter Burden

Associate Director and Head of the Family Department at Mander Hadley Solicitors
I am experienced in all areas of family law, including divorce, financial remedy claims, disputes over children, separation agreements, cohabitation disputes, pre and post nuptial agreements, living together agreements, non-molestation orders and occupation orders.

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