Taxing Parents Who Won’t Agree to a Child Support Amount

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Child Support on Sunday, June 1, 2014.

If parents can’t agree to a divorce figure in Britain, the paying parent will have a 20% fee added to their child support and the payee will pay 4%. Oh, and it costs about $35 up front to register. What is happening in the UK?

As the BBC reports, thousands of letters are to be sent to single parents in Britain informing them of changes to their child support. The government wants parents to agree on child support “amicably” or pay the state.

Under the old British system, many single parents used the Child Support Agency (CSA) to sort out maintenance payments but it will soon be abolished.

A government spokesman said the old CSA was using an IT system that was “totally inadequate and notoriously riddled with defects”, and as such it was costing £74 million per annum to run in operating costs alone.

The CSA “took responsibility away from parents, encouraging conflict and hostility at huge expense to the taxpayer“.

So, the British are trying to improve service by encouraging people to come to voluntary arrangements, and if that is not possible – and the new statutory service is used – then both parents will have to pay.

The problems with the new system are easy to see. Most parents are able to agree in private to a child support calculation. However many other parents can’t unless a state agency steps in to find and use coercive methods to get parents to pay.

“We’re very concerned that closing CSA cases and bringing in charges may deter some parents from making new child maintenance agreements or pressure single parents into unstable arrangements, and children will lose out on vital support.”

There is no question that our state child support enforcement agencies do a tremendous job of getting parents to support their children. Is shifting some of the costs of enforcement on to both parents the wave of the future? We former colonists will have to keep watching the motherland to see.

The BBC article on the new child support system is available here.