New CSA fee announced
January 31, 2011
The Child Support Agency will introduce a new fee for couples who wish to use it to settle child maintenance disputes, it has been announced.
The fee of £100 is to be used to discourage parents from using the Child Support Agency as the default option for sorting out child maintenance issues, instead encouraging them to sort out their differences on their own.
The decision was largely made because the government believed the previous system created greater conflict between parents, since it meant often child maintenance payments would be sorted out while tensions between parents remain high. The Department for Work and Pensions claims that 1.5 million children have been left as part of families who have no real form of financial aid arranged. This issue was the source of criticism in the past, although some charities have raised concerns that charging this fee could mean that less well-off parents may choose to avoid seeking help, which would therefore put them in a disadvantageous position.
The government has also said that parents will be given extra support to help them make arrangements on their own before CSA intervention is needed, and although the fee for most will be £100; it could be reduced to as little as £20 for those in severe financial difficulties.
Further criticisms have been made about the fact that this fee may end up mostly being picked up by single mothers, who struggle enough as it is. It is universally agreed that the system did indeed need changed, but only time will tell whether the new methods are effective or not.