On Monday 11 August, the Child Maintenance Service introduced collection fees for clients with Collect & Pay cases. With Collect & Pay, the Child Maintenance Service works out a child maintenance amount, collects it from the paying parent and then passes it on to the receiving parent.
• Paying parents will pay a 20% fee on top of each regular child maintenance payment.
• Receiving parents will have a 4% fee deducted from each regular child maintenance payment.
Collection fees are in addition to application fees and enforcement charges, which were introduced on 30 June 2014.
How to avoid collection fees
You can avoid collection fees by using Direct Pay. With Direct Pay, the Child Maintenance Service works out a child maintenance amount and then parents arrange payment of that amount between themselves. A Direct Pay arrangement is still legally binding, and the Child Maintenance Service can step in payments are not made.
There are no collection fees with Direct Pay. But you will still have to pay an application fee, and enforcement charges can still be applied if the paying parent doesn’t pay.
The best way to avoid any fees or charges is to make a family-based arrangement – where you sort out child maintenance with your child’s other parent. A family-based arrangement isn’t legally binding, but many parents find it the most flexible way to support their children after separation as no one else needs to get involved and you both decide what’s best for your child.
Help with sorting out child maintenance
We know that reaching agreement with your child’s other parent can be hard – which is why Child Maintenance Options are here to help. Our tools, guides and information can help you have those difficult conversations, and our child maintenance calculator can give you a starting point for your negotiations. And, if you decide a family-based arrangement isn’t right for you, we can talk you through your other options too.