Description of the reformed system
Timetable for sections of the Act
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. (The other half of the Act is not about child support). Although most people think of the reforms as a new, simplified, formula, they are far more than this. (The new formula is the biggest change).
About one third of the child support sections of the Act came into operation during 2001, mainly during January and April. (One section of the Act came in during 2000). These include:
- Change of terminology (for example, "non resident parent" replaced "absent parent").
- Disqualification from driving for persistent avoidance of payment as an intermediate penalty before prison.
- Penalties for lying or for not supplying information when able to do so.
- New powers for inspectors that gives them a more permanent status.
- Bringing England and Wales into line with Scotland for "presumed parentage", so that a father who was married to the mother while she was pregnant can be taken to be the father unless countered by a DNA test.
- The jurisdiction of the CSA extended to non-resident parents working abroad for UK organisations.
- Some minor changes concerning appeals, etc.
(Separate articles will describe these in more detail).
Timetable for the new formula itself
Switching to the new system
The timetable for the new formula is complicated, and a key date has not yet been defined. In summary:
There is currently no published date for starting the new formula. Guesses include November 2002 up to mid-2003. (Existing cases need to be stopped for 6 months before they could restart as new cases).
Existing cases will be converted to the new formula using a "conversion date" that has not been announced. It may be during 2004, but could be earlier or later. All existing cases will be converted to the new formula on or soon after that date, at their next payment. People will be told 2 months before that date what the new amount will be.
Phasing-in to the new amount
Where there is a significant difference (up or down) between the existing amount and the new formula, the new payment will be "phased in" over up to 5 years, with the first change taking place at the time of conversion. The amount paid per week will be changed every year, and if there still a difference after 5 years, the new formula amount will become payable.
The "phasing in" amount, by which the weekly payment is changed every year, depends on the non resident parent's net income per week:
- If the income is at most £100, the amount is £2.50.
- If the income is between £100 and £400, the amount is £5.00.
- If the income is at least £400, the amount is £10.
These dates are mostly dictated by "Commencement Orders":
|Page last updated: 17 December, 2003||© Copyright Barry Pearson 2003|