Description of the reformed system
Index: the reformed child support system
A bit of history of child support

The reform process
The timetable for the reforms
The basics of the new formula
The effect of benefits & tax credits
Penalties and default liabilities
How partners are handled in the reformed system
Presuming and establishing paternity
Variations (the new name for departures)
Quick history of the programme to reform the CSA
The stages of the reform to the CSA legislation
Summary of the changes in the reformed system
Commencement dates - 2000 Act - sections, links to the text & dates
Home & weblog
Blog archive & site history
Site map & search

Index: the reformed child support system

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By now, most people affected by the CSA know that it is being reformed, and a new scheme is being introduced. Many of these people know that it is something to do with paying 15% or 20% or 25% of income depending on how many children there are. Few people know a lot more than that.

I am publishing articles here that step-by-step describe the new scheme. My aim is to help people understand how they will be affected, and when this will be. I am not trying to turn everyone into experts, able to quote the laws, and able to quote statistics. People who want that level of detail will find it elsewhere on my web site.

Page Abstract
A bit of history of child support This gives a quick overview from the Finer Report ("The Report of the Committee on One Parent Families" 1974), through the 1991 and 1995 Acts, to now.
The reform process The Labour Party said that it would reform the child support system if it won the 1997 general election. It won, and immediately started the reform process. The result was the 2000 Child Support, Pensions, and Social Security Act. Here is what happened.
The timetable for the reforms

The "Child Support, Pensions, and Social Security Act 2000" has about 3 dozen sections in it that define changes to the way the CSA works. Although most people think of the reforms as a new, simplified, formula, they are far more than this. About one third of the child support sections of the Act came into operation during 2001, mainly during January and April.

The basics of the new formula The new formula isn't quite as simple as it is often made out to be, but there are very few things that are taken into account. Here are the basics.
The effect of benefits & tax credits The reformed child support system mostly treats benefits and tax credits in a similar way to the existing system, with a few very important exceptions. The important exceptions are described here.
Penalties and default liabilities Changes in the 2000 Child Support, Pensions And Social Security Act include penalties, new punishments, and changes to what happens before the CSA has sufficient information. Here is an overview.
How partners are handled in the reformed system

(This page is not yet complete).

The reformed system is far less intrusive about what is needs to know about partners of the NRP. This summarises the few cases where they are taken into account. (Partners of the PWC are ignored).

Presuming and establishing paternity

Some important changes have been made to paternity issues, especially those bringing England & Wales into line with Scotland. On the whole child support responsibility is based on biological parenthood, but there are exceptions.

Variations (the new name for departures)

(This page is not yet complete).

The aim is to have have fewer variations per year than there are departures per year at the moment.

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Other simple introductions

The CSA itself: CSA home page | CSA questions & answers | Child Support Reforms Information Service | Child Support Reform

Durham Legal Services: DLS home page | "The New Child Support, Pensions & Social Security Act 2000".

Page last updated: 17 January, 2004 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2003