The Child Support Agency is about to change its rules again. There are now three separate systems of child support, all running in parallel and this is likely to cause a great deal of confusion amongst the users of the system and amongst non specialist lawyers, at least until the system is unified under the new CS3 system which should happen no later than 2017.
Cases which began between April 1993 and March 2003 are under the CS1 scheme which we used to call “the old rules”. This is a very complex system involving the collection of information from both parties in the application of a complicated formula. Cases which began after 2003 until now are under the CS2 system which we used to call “the new rules”. These cases are calculated on the familiar formula of 15, 20 and 25% depending on the number of children and the percentage is applied to the payer’s net income subject to some sophistications for higher earners and those with capital assets. There are special rules also in relation to the self employed and others who are to some extent in control of the income which they pay themselves at any given time.
The CS3 system will begin to apply to most new cases before the end of 2013 and will be brought in for a large number of new cases even before that. That will bring in a different set of percentages which will apply to the payer’s gross income rather than his net. There will be new and powerful enforcement measures available to the CSA which will in due course change its name to CMS (the Child Maintenance Service). It will still be possible to reach agreement between parties without using the CSA / CMS system at all but specialist advice is required in order to protect the interests of each person involved, especially including the children.
Child support is usually dealt with as part of an overall negotiated settlement known as a separation agreement or postnuptial agreement including all financial claims, property rights and child issues.
Contact: Cath Karlin, Partner firstname.lastname@example.org / Lesley Gordon, Partner email@example.com / Call 0131 222 2959 or T. 0141 225 4848