SINGLE parents are owed nearly half a billion pounds in unpaid child maintenance, new figures reveal.
An estimated £440 million is owed through Collect and Pay and £40million via Direct Pay, according to the National Audit Office.
Families that separate must arrange payments if they have childrenCredit: Getty – Contributor
Regardless of living arrangements, parents in the UK legally have to support their children financially.
Often, this means that one parent – usually the non-resident parent – will have to pay child maintenance to the other.
They still have to pay, even if they never see their children.
An estimated 3.6 million children from 2.4 million families live with only one parent.
The proportion of families without a child maintenance arrangement in place reached 44% in 2019-20, up from 25% nearly a decade ago.
Payments can be arranged privately, but if your ex is refusing to pay, or not paying what they should be, you can arrange payments through the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).
Around 800,000 are covered by a child maintenance arrangement through the CMS and last year it collected a record £1billion.
Payments through the CMS are made in tow ways: via Collect and Pay or Direct Pay.
Collect Pay is when the CMS calculate, collect and pass on the payment and there’s a fee for this on top.
CMS can also make deductions if one parent fails to make a payment, which comes with an extra charge.
The parent living with the child and getting the payment also pays a fee.
Direct Pay is where the CMS calculates the amount but payments are arranged directly with parents and there are no fees involved.
A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pension (DWP) said: “The CMS puts children first – in the last 12 months a record £1 billion was collected and arranged through the service.
“Child maintenance payments help lift around 120,000 children out of poverty each year.
“More than a third of separated parents make their own arrangements without any government support which is better for families and the taxpayer, allowing CMS to focus on supporting parents where that arrangement wouldn’t work or those who won’t pay.”
Am I eligible for child maintenance and how much could I get?
If you’ve split up with the parent of your child, you will be eligible for child maintenance.
The exact amount will vary depending on a number of factors including how much the non-resident parent earns, how many kids you have and how many nights a week they look after them.
If both parents split childcare evenly with the same number of overnights, then no child maintenance will be paid through …….