back to article DWP will make feuding parents pay

The Department for Work and Pensions has indicated that estranged parents using its statutory service for child maintenance will be subject to charges. The plan is included in a consultation document on the future of the system, which outlines the priorities for the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission as it replaces …


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  1. ysth


    Seems like this will only encourage the parent in a weaker financial position to take a deal worse for them than they would otherwise have reached.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hit the nail right on the head there

      Also no surprises if one of the partners votes Tory or has friends within the party, that they come off better then they otherwise would.

      Seems its the CSA all over again, taking money from kids.....whats next, return of the workhouse to "encourage people not to be poor"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Funnily enough...

      ... I thought it would encourage the opposite. If this fee isn't monthly, then I can see the parent in the weaker financial position, being happy to pay the £125 in order to secure a higher statutory payment. If the CSA get involved, the "losing" parent can expect to have 33% of their calculated disposable income transferred to the other parent. The "sort it out between yourselves" system tends to result in smaller payments than the statutory system.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      To me, this sounds like ..


    4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Encouraging

      Yes, but then they could sue the other party for the loss. Marvellous! Just what the child of separated parents needs.

      Clearly someone has been looking at the "cash up front and let the lawyers slug it out in court" model that we know and love from the world of patents.

  2. TRT Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Roll on...

    Yet more hardship, woe, doom etc. The government has an incredibly poor track record of IT launches.

  3. Naughtyhorse

    This is the first real example of the public sector charging for services

    says a spokesdroid, who presumably has perfect teeth and eyesight

  4. Velv

    !Circular Reference

    So now the parents can argue over who is going to pay the fee?

  5. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Judgement of Solomon

    Maybe the DWP should brush off its bible to learn how to resolve parental disputes regarding children?

    As it is, surely the fees they wring out of stubborn parents will just be added to the list for the divorce settlement. So no matter who initially pays the fees, the ultimate cost will be borne by the partner who "loses" the financial part of the divorce - with a huge multiplier added by each sides lawyers.

  6. Nick G

    Ooh Good!

    Another government IT project - they always work, right?

    Also, didn't the CSA etc tend to ignore private settlements & impose their own levies?

  7. Tigra 07

    This is a bad idea and i'll prove it...

    So suppose a woman, divorced now and angry her husband cheated wants a higher amount of child support than he wants to pay.

    Now he gets a bill on top of all his child support because his ex wanted an unreasonable amount?

    This system looks ripe for abuse

    1. Elmer Phud

      On the other hand

      It might be useful for those mums who have just been left by one of those 'real men' who are happy to produce kids but have no intention of accepting any responsibility other than proving their sperm works.

      Then they usually have the cheek to dress up in stupid costumes and bleat about 'no access'.

      1. David Neil
        Thumb Down

        I'll bite

        I don't suppose you have ever met someone in the position of being told that they cannot have any access to their child and not having the finances to pursue it through the courts?

        Just because some people are a waste of kidneys doesn't mean all estranged fathers are dead beats.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Naughtyhorse

      losing party....

      you are suggesting the child pays????

      theenk of the cheeeeeedlren etc etc etc

  9. Simon B

    Try getting parents to pay not punish those trying to GET money

    The problem isn't with private arrangements, it's with estranged parents NOT PAYING! and the 'CSA' doing very little, mostly nothing to get this money.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Pete 2

    Great, anything else you want them to sort out? The DWP are not there to police parental disputes. Let them sort it out themselves.

  11. Ally J

    What if you've agreed to go by what the CSA judges to be fair?

    I mean, they're meant to be impartial and competent at this sort of thing. It's not necessarily a sign of a conflict if a couple go to them.

    And will this be a recurring charge? If so - and assuming couples have the option to make their own arrangements - how will the experts at the CSA be able to be sure the correct amount is being paid if they need to assess one or other partner's income?

  12. Anonymous Coward


    The woman will get the better deal. No question asked. I mean, if my ex-wife, whom decided that she preferred another woman (!) to me, whom once alone got struck off being a foster parent for lack of care, whom couldn't get our daughter to school more than 10% of the time and had social services around every week could drag out the divorce for a year, retain custody, and involve the CSA despite my trying to come to an arrangement and despite her ending up with less money because of it, if she can get all that, then how can I possibly believe that the bloke, however saintly, will ever be better off with these changes?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      that word does not mean whom you think it means

      see title

    2. Fred 24

      Deja vu

      Your post is a bit too similar to my situation. Those who try to do the right thing only seem to get punished. Beware the dangers of getting involved with 'lipstick princesses'!

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. French Tickler

    Oh joy.....

    A whole new set of people to talk to on the phone that will judge you as evil purely because you are male.

    I have enough of that with the CSA as it is.......

    To be honest there is no 'fair' way of doing this, if like me you have an ex with a desire for mopney, you will will always end being re-evaluated year after year until you have nothing left.

    New software, same mindset.

  14. YumDogfood

    All the young dudes.

    Your children are your life... then they get ripped away from you. The balance has been swinging from one end to the other with bugger all attempt at a fair middle ground so far. Sod that for a game of soldiers.

    So, to all you young male geeks: Don't get married. Seriously, don't do it. Really, I mean it. Take it from the old farts in front line: BAD IDEA! Be selfish, after all, " you're worth it." ;-)

  15. Fred 24

    Get to know...

    Your local mental health team.

    The reality is if your an unmarried british straight poor man YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS ... you'll find lots of 'talking shops' that will try to stop you screaming with frustration, but even the toughest soul will crack. Just dont ask where i am now....

  16. G Fan

    Re: This is the first real example of the public sector charging for services

    ... apart, of course, from the public sector charging for the cost of providing you with a driving licence, passport, dental check-up, use of a car on a public highway, changing any record in various government departments (e.g. the Land Registry) and all the other real examples of the public sector applying direct charges for their services.

  17. Frank Bitterlich

    Child Maintenance?

    Ich you pay for this child maintenance thing, are you entitled to free upgrades to your child, then?

  18. Mike Smith

    Testing window

    "There will also be a testing window before the scheme is launched."

    Ah, so the CSA system wasn't a total waste of money, then. UK plc had at least learnt that software can, just occasionally, have the odd little bug in it. Who'd have thought it?

  19. Anonymous Coward

    not exactly new news

    This was first bought out when CMEC was first coming to life as the costs of running the CSA and its first two failed IT projects got seriously out of hand.

    It was originally suggested the NRP would pay but that went south when it was pointed out that the rate of re assessment demands was generally driven by the mother and those who like to use the CSA as a weapon can demand many assessments in a year (there is in law no limit) hence the change to make the applicant pay.

    I had hoped that with a change in government we would see some effort put into further making the family court system work and start to bring the errant PWC's who ignore court orders to book but I guess its not politically expedient to do that, we have to pay for our kids, but if we win in the courts to be allowed to see them, well thats another matter.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    OT, but "customers"

    please don't use that word, when referring to people who are using a government service.

    Unless they can choose another provider of their own free will, that is.

    I am not a "customer" of Birmingham City (careful how you say it) Council. If I was, I would choose to spent my council tax with a council that had a clue.

  21. James 100


    I think the idea here is that the parents CAN in fact choose to use another service - either reach an agreement between themselves (like my parents did, all those years ago when divorce just involved lawyers, not billion pound failed IT projects and bureaucrats as well), or get other arbitration, instead of running to the government. The CSA does have enforcement powers - but then, so do courts, if the parents reach an agreement without CSA involvement, and that only falls down when the useless waste of skin runs off to another jurisdiction to marry his own cousin, safely out of reach of any court order.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Christ on a bike, the comments are full of loonies - if I was a woman, I'd divorce you.

    And you've passed your genes on.

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