For the Paying Parent/NRP
Non Resident Parents (NRP), or Paying Parents as known under Child Maintenance Service, are the parents deemedliable to pay child maintenance. Non Resident Parents are often vilified in the media for not financially supporting their children, but statistics show that only a minority of NRPs fail to pay child maintenance.
Sadly, it is often the compliant NRPs that are subjected to unfair processing, incorrect calculations and debts created through no fault of their own, whilst non compliant NRPs are often left to evade the system.
Some basic guidelines for the Paying Parent/NRP to consider:
- Always keep a record of all communication you have with CSA/CMS, in particular secure details of the case officer and ask that the details of your conversation is recorded in their Freetex log.
- If you write to them, be sure to send letters recorded or registered post and keep copies of the letter together with the postage receipt.
- Do not allow too much time to pass in between contact whilst waiting for matters to be resolved. Aim to call them every 2 weeks for a progress report until your matter has been finalised.
- If your caseworker fails to provide you with an appropriate responses, be prepared to escalate the query through the complaints process. Details of the complaints procedure can be found here. Involving your MP is always worthwhile when raising the matter through complaints.
- As an NRP you are legally obliged to report certain changes, including any change of address. Other details may be mandatory to report depending on the scheme that you are assessed under..
- Changes to maintenance cannot be made retrospectively. If there are changes that will benefit you, you must report them immediately. Verification of the change must be submitted to CSA/CMS in order for the recalculation to proceed.
- Under CS3, a change in income will only proceed if the change in income is greater than 25%
- Disputed paternity must be raised at the initial point of contact. You must comply with DNA testing in order for the paternity issue to be decided. Failure to take the test will result in maintenance being calculated on "Presumed Parentage"
- Any calculation, or refusal to calculate maintenance that is disputed, must be referred to the Mandatory Reconsideration process within 30 days of the decision being notified to you. Without asking for the Mandatory Reconsideration you cannot take your case to a Tribunal.
- The calculation of maintenance is governed by legislation. Unless the information used is incorrect, the amount calculated will be legally due irrespective of any financial hardship you may suffer as a result.
- There are certain other additional costs that can be considered under the variation/departure scheme.
- CSA or CMS may enforce debts as they believe are due. The onus remains on you to demonstrate, with evidence, that the debt is not valid.
There are many danger zones for a Paying Parent/NRP and gaining information from work colleagues, friends and even some solicitors can be detrimental. If you have issues or concerns with a CSA or CMS decision, seek appropriate sound advice from our trained specialists. Join Now