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Child Maintenance Advice
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Frequently Asked Questions about the Child Support Agency.


How can I pay less or receive more Child Support

We have moved to a new responsive website click here Child Maintenance Advice

7 out of 10 current maintenance calculations are incorrect because the information they are based upon is out of date.  This results in millions of pounds of under and over payments each year.

 All Child Support payments are based on income and certain other factors like the number of children in both households and shared care.  Below are other circumstances that affect payments.  The best way to check your current payment is have us do a professional assessment check.

When the youngest child reaches 12, 14, then 16   (CSA1)  
The PWC has a new child with a second NRP (CSA1)
A Departure Direction against high housing costs (PWC and NRP)
The PWC or NRP has a new partner (CSA1)
Contact Costs
Travel to work costs
Incorrect benefit rates due to outdated assessment (CSA1
The PWC has an increase in their income (CSA1)
Housing Costs (CSA1)
Pension Payments
Paying debts for the PWC
Court Order for maintenance for other children


I have CSA arrears what can I do?

CSA arrears come in two forms, current and historic.  In many cases historic arrears can be challenged via a full independent arrears investigation.  Sadly the CSA are unable in law to carry out any arrears investigation as it would represent a conflict of interest with the other parent.  Because of this rule it falls to the individual to arrange any investigation.   With our sound knowledge of CSA legislation arrears investigations are one of our most popular services.


Where can I find a CSA calculator

If you need a CSA calculator we suggest you use our footprint CSA Calculator app it will cost you 99.p the CMS calculation will cost you £20.00


Where can I get advice about Child Support

Child Support Legislation is very complex and you should only seek qualified legal advice.   Many people seek advice from internet groups however you need to be very careful as often advice differs from one site to another depending on the sites  own agenda.   Our agenda is simple it’s to give you the right legal advice. 


Where can I get free advice

If you have a low income and live in Scotland you could qualify for Legal Aid.  Sadly in England and Wales you cannot get legal aid for child support matters.  Free legal advice is almost impossible to find.  All major organisations dealing with child support problems charge a fee however here at DLS we offer a legal fee guarantee.  Please see our home page for details.  


At what age does CSA stop ?

The governing factor which determines when child maintenance stops is the existence of a qualified child.   A qualifying child is a child who is under the age of 20 in full time none advanced education, who does not live full time with one of their natural parents.


Shared Care

Under CS1 you need to have your child a min of 104 nights over a 12 month period to qualify for shared care. Under CS2 you qualify after 52 nights.


What can I do if the paying parent is hiding their income

Under CS1 and CS2 you can apply for a variation order if you suspect that the NRP is hiding income you will need legal advice on your options.


What if the paying parents lifestyle is inconsistent with their declared income

Under CS1 and CS2 you can apply for a Variation Order on this ground. If you feel that the NRP's lifestyle is inconsistent with their declared income again you will need legal advice on your options.


When will my case close

The CSA are now closing CSA cases with a nil liability.  All nil case notification letters should be issued by 18 Oct 2014.  Please like our Facebook page to receive information on other case closure dates. You can sign up to the Durham Legal Service Facebook here


How can I stop charges

Charges are only applicable on CS3 and again you will only pay a surcharge fee if you fail to make your regular maintenance.  If you have arrears prior to moving to the new scheme you will be given a chance to put an arrangement in place that allows you to pay direct to the PWC.   The reason for this is all old arrears owed to the SOS (Sec of State) will be recovered before old PWC arrears.


What are the grounds for a Variation Order?  

A  Variation Order is an application to the CSA to have certain things added to or taken into account against an existing child support calculation. The grounds are as follows:-
Special Expenses   (NRP only *)
Costs of maintaining contact with a QC child. You can not apply if you have a shared care allowance in your assessment already. *
Costs of a long term illness or disability of a relevant other child.  This is the cost after any monies received from any benefit have been deducted. *
Prior debts incurred before the couple separated  ie a car loan.  But you still need to be paying it off and it still needs to be benefiting the PWC or the QC.*
Boarding school fees for a QC *
Costs from paying a mortgage on the home of the PWC and QC.  The NRP must have no legal rights to the property. *

The following three heading are used to increase a maintenance calculation.

Assets over £65k
Income not taken into account and diversion of income.
Lifestyle inconsistent with declared income

As with any Child Support legislation there are rules governing variation orders so you will need to seek legal advice about how they apply along with all of the exemptions.


Will my Variation Order transfer to CS3

All existing Variation Orders or Departure Directions will be cancelled once your CS1 or CS2 case is closed. They will not transfer on to any new CS3 case that is opened. Asset and Lifestyle Variations will no longer be available.


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CSA Testimonials

I write this testimonial as the mother of a son who took his own life because of life’s pressures, including those placed upon him from the Child Support Agency.  I was not asked to write it but we feel we need to tell our story in order to help others.

Mr & Mrs S Moody, London

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We are confident not only about the advice we offer but the standard of that advice. Durham Legal Services has represented people with child support problems for the last twenty years. We know we can help you if you have a real CSA problem.


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