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The Child Maintenance Service

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is responsible for statutory child maintenance cases under the current scheme, known was the 2012 scheme, where child maintenance is calculated on the basis of a non-resident parent’s (or “paying parent’s”) gross weekly income.

The Child Support Agency (CSA) continues to deal with legacy cases (which are now closed to new applicants), namely those under the 2003 scheme – where child maintenance was calculated as a percentage of a non-resident parent’s net weekly income – and the original, and more complex, 1993 scheme.

Fees and charges

The current child maintenance scheme introduced charges, including a £20 charge for applying to the scheme which applies to almost all applicants including those case had been managed by the CSA. However, the application charge does not apply to those who have been subject to domestic violence or abuse, or any applicant aged 18 years or under.

More information on the fees and charges can be found in the Library briefing paper on this topic.


There was a total arrears balance of £4 billion at March 2016 from the 1993 and 2003 scheme cases, and the DWP assesses that it will not collect £3 billion of these arrears according to the NAO’s March 2017 report, Child maintenance: closing cases and managing arrears on the 1993 and 2003 schemes.

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