Child Maintenance Options
Parents now have the opportunity to make their own child support arrangements which can form a Family Based Arrangement. Parents who are considering an application to the Statutory Scheme, must first have a Gateway Conversation with CMOptions 0800 988 0988.
CMOPTIONS are an information service only. They will NOT provide you with advice.
Family Based Arrangement (FBA)
- These are informal arrangements made between parents with no involvement from outside sources.
- They can be written or verbal
- They can promote good parenting as parents work together to decide what is best for them and their children.
- FBA’s can cover all elements of raising your children, and not restricted to monetary arrangements.
- They can be flexible, and change as and when necessary.
- They incur no cost and are easy to set up.
Consent Orders or Minutes of Agreement
- Consent Orders are formal agreements made by parents and approved by the court.
- Consent orders are only applicable in England and Wales. In Scotland, arrangements can be registered as a Minute of Agreement in Books of Council and Sessions
- Consent Orders and Minutes of Agreement are both legally binding and can be enforced by the courts if defaulted.
- These are often arranged during divorce and separation proceedings.
- Although legally binding, a Consent Order or Minute of Agreement will only prevent an application to Child Maintenance Service (CMS) for the first 12 months. After 12 months, either parent can apply to CMS.
Statutory Scheme – CMS
- If a Family Based Arrangement or Consent Order/Minute of Agreement is not appropriate, or has broken down parents will need to apply to the Statutory Scheme managed by Child Maintenance Service.
- The applicant parent will need to speak to CMOptions before an application to CMS can be made.
- An application fee will be charged (currently £20), and a reference number provided.
- CMS will calculate maintenance based on information provided by HMRC.
- The default method of payment will be Direct Pay, for which no charges are applied.
- Child Maintenance is reviewed annually.