Sweeping changes to the Child Support System will come into effect.
The changes to the system have been introduced as part of a radical overhaul of the system aimed at making parents more responsible for child maintenance.
Under the new proposals the maintenance calculation will be based on the non-resident parent’s gross income rather than the net income. There will also be a different rate for any portion of income which is taxed at a higher level.
The changes mean that on the first £800 per week of the non-resident’s gross income, they will pay 12 per cent for one child, 16 per cent for two children and 19 per cent for three or more children.
On the proportion of gross weekly income exceeding £800 per week, they will pay nine per cent for one child, 11 per cent for two children and 16 per cent for three or more children.
There will still be a provision for a deduction for shared care where it will be presumed that there is shared care for one night per week.
Further changes include parents now being required to pay a fee for a maintenance calculation, however this may be waived if the applicant has been the victim of domestic violence.
The changes will initially apply to those with four or more children, however next year they will be extended to all cases where there are two or more children before being rolled-out to apply to all new cases.
Lynne Sturrock, a family law specialist at Thorntons, said: “This is the start of the whole scale changes to the child support system which have been waiting in the wings for a long time and which will radically change the whole system.
“The emphasis is to try and encourage parents to come to their own arrangements with regards to maintenance.
“However we shall have to wait to see whether these changes improve a system that has been subject of a lot of criticism over the years.”
Lynne Sturrock is a Solicitor in our specialist Family Law team. If you have further questions about child support or maintenance please contact Lynne on 03330 430150 or any member of the Family Law team.