Child Maintenance Shake-Up

Posted by on Oct 29, 2014 in News

The Department for Work and Pensions has announced that single and separated parents who have previously received no maintenance from their former partner could start receiving payments for the first time.

As part of the three year process of closing all existing Child Support Agency (CSA) cases, the Department will be writing to parents with details of when their case is due to close and advice about the next steps they should take.

The process is beginning with cases previously labelled “nil-assessed” – those where no maintenance is due from the non-resident parent.  Parents in these cases will be invited to consider their options in recognition that circumstances may have changed since the initial assessment was made and increased accuracy of data used in the new statutory child maintenance system.

Child Maintenance Minister, Steve Webb MP has stated that parents ‘may be surprised at the support available to them’ and those who receive a letter from the CSA are urged to consider their options carefully.

Further information is available for Child Maintenance Shake Up.

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Presumption of Continued Parental Involvement

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in News

Section 11 of the Children and Families Act 2014 introduces a presumption of ‘continued parental involvement’ and will come into force on 22nd October 2014.

In line with the principle enshrined in the Children Act 1989 that a child’s welfare must be of paramount consideration in the court’s decision making process, section 11 of the 2014 Act requires the court to commence proceedings with the presumption that the involvement of both parents in a child’s life ‘will further the child’s welfare’ unless there is evidence to suggest that involvement of a particular parent would put the child at risk of harm.

Section 11 defines involvement as ‘involvement of some kind, either direct or indirect’ and does not amount to a presumption that children’s time should be equally divided between parents.

It is also important to note that when enforced section 11 will not apply to proceedings commenced but not disposed of before 22 October 2014.

The full text is available online for the Children and Families Act 2014 and for the s.11 of the Act.

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