Child Support Guidelines
The Child Support Agency (CSA) is a part of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission and provides support and information to lone parent families wishing to make a claim for maintenance payments from an absent or non resident parent. Recent figures estimate around 780,000 children are benefiting from child maintenance payments, and requests for child support continue to grow.
How To Request AssistanceThe CSA offers an accessible service which enables parents with care to request maintenance assistance. This information can be accessed online, by telephone or by filling in an application form. Within a month the CSA will begin gathering the required information from the non resident parent – details of income and circumstances. If the parent with care is unable to provide contact details for the absent parent, the CSA will begin the tracing process. This may delay the processing of the application. Within 12 weeks the CSA aims to be able to make an accurate decision on the application.
Following GuidelinesProviding accurate, up-to-date information relating to a claim enables CSA staff to assess an application more easily. Without this information the correct amount of maintenance payment cannot be worked out and processed. By following the application checklist a parent with care can ensure they are providing required information to ease the process along.
In return the CSA has the responsibility to maintain accurate records, process information in an acceptable period of time, to collect maintenance payments from a non resident parent and to distribute the payment to the parent with care.
The guidelines are set out on the CSA’s website and help answer any questions and concerns parents may have about making a maintenance claim. Information available also covers areas concerning tracing, maintenance calculation and dealing with disputes. The website also provides useful information regarding changes in child maintenance, as well as Child Maintenance Options which may offer a more convenient way of arranging child support maintenance payments to be made privately.
CSA ActivitiesThe Child Support Agency contacts parents – with care and non-resident – in order to discuss the amount of child maintenance that is to be paid. The agency works to strict guidelines and this administration process requires the input of accurate information at all times. Once a maintenance claim has been accepted and processed the collection of funds will be arranged.
Any changes to circumstances must be reported to the CSA by the parent with care, as these changes may affect maintenance support payments.
The CSA also regularly deals with the courts, in order to enforce payment of maintenance, whether through direct employer payment or the sale of the non resident parent’s property.