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History of child support in the UK

This page is being evolved as part of a long-term project. I ask anyone with useful material to get in touch at: .

The territories concerned

Given the dates, it is tricky to present a linear history. Scotland has continued with a different style of family law even since it became part of the Kingdom of Great Britain. Northern Ireland also retains some distinct features. Here is a brief reminder of the evolution of the United Kingdom (although "united" may be a stretch):

Pre-1542 England conquered Ireland in the 12th Century. England annexed Wales in 1284 (Statute of Rhuddlan). Scotland was independent.
1542 England and Wales formally united in the Acts of Union of 1536 and 1542.
1707 Scotland, England & Wales formally united in the Act of Union of 1707, under central government covering all of Great Britain.
1801 Great Britain and Ireland formally united under central government in the 1800 Act of Union.
1921 Most of Ireland became independent, leaving the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Post-1997 Some powers have been devolved to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Child support primary legislation is not devolved.


This page is not intended to establish what the law on child maintenance / child support was at any point in time. It does not attempt to list all relevent laws and revocations of laws. Instead, the purpose of this page is to show the evolution of laws governing child maintenance / child support, revealing methods & styles over about 4 centuries. It attempts to illustrate how we got to where we are, in stages that have their basis in the past.

In summary, for at least 4 centuries it has been the responsibility of fathers, in various circumstances, to provide maintenance for their children. At first, it was mainly concerned with illegitimate children - but that was simply because divorce was effectively non-existent for much of the time, so married fathers has a responsibility within the marriage. Typically, the aim has been to reduce the burden on those who would otherwise have to provide for the children. Initially, this was the parishes, later (especially after the National Assistance Act 1948) it was "the state". At first, the father would be required to reimburse the community. Then, later, he could be required to pay the mother (or sometimes third parties) directly.

When? What? Information
England & Wales

A comment on divorce: The initial laws here (typically the "Poor Laws") often concerned "bastard" children. This was not simply discrimination against the children of divorced parents - divorce was initially virtually non-existent, then gradually became available, as indicated below in cells in this colour. (Some marriage laws are also identified in cells in the same colour). There is no doubt that divorces have been increasing in the UK (and before that, England) for centuries before the 21st Century. Henry VIII pretty well started the Church of England for the purpose! For most of that time, this was driven by men. They took over their wives' assets on marriage, and they could get custody of the children afterwards. (And they were the ones making the laws, and sitting in Parliament, which was often where the divorce was confirmed). For much of the time, women, especially mother's groups, tended to resist easier divorce. Jenkinson 2. Stone.


Act For Setting of the Poor on Work, and for the Avoiding of Idleness
18 Elizabeth 1, C. 3

This formed the basis of English bastardy law. Its purpose was to punish the mother and reputed father of a bastard child, and also provide for the better relief of every parish. "By an act of 1576 (18 Elizabeth C. 3), it was ordered that bastards should be supported by their putative fathers, though bastardy orders in the quarter sessions date from before this date. If the genitor could be found, then he was put under very great pressure to accept responsibility and to maintain the child". Macfarlane.
(1598 to 1948) The Poor Laws
Higginbotham, Snow
The original emphasis of the poor laws is that parishes would rescue destitute people, then could claim from relatives. The money paid reimbursed the parishes, it didn't go to the poor person.


Act For the Relief of the Poor
(39 Elizabeth 1, c.3)
Consolidated and extended previous acts and provided the first complete code of poor relief.

An Acte for the Reliefe of the Poore

(The "old" Poor Law. Consolidated previous legislation into one law.
43 Elizabeth 1, ch.2).

Transcription © 2001 Peter Higginbotham:
"VII. And be it further enacted, That the Father and Grandfather, and the Mother and Grandmother, and the Children of every poor, old, blind, lame, and impotent Person or other poor Person not able to work, being of a sufficient Ability, shall, at their own Charges, relieve and maintain every such poor Person in that Manner, and according to that Rate, as by the Justices of Peace of that County where such sufficient Persons dwell, or the greater Number of them, at their General Quarter Sessions shall be assessed; upon Pain that every one them shall forfeit twenty Shillings for every Month, which they shall fail therein."

1609 (To be supplied. Reign of James 1). An Act enabled the mother of any child chargeable or likely to become chargeable to the parish to secure the apprehension, and even the imprisonment, of the father until he should indemnify the parish. See: BASTARD at LoveToKnow.
1670 The first parliamentary divorce Between John Manners, Lord Roos, and Lady Anne Pierpont, which created a precedent for parliamentary divorces on the grounds of the wife's adultery.
1718 5 George, ch. 8 (To be supplied - this apparently amended the 1601 "old" poor law).

An Act for amending the Laws relating to the Settlement, Imployment, and Relief of the Poor.
Knatchbull's Act or the Workhouse Test Act
(9 Geo. I c.7)

Sir Edward Knatchbull's Act enabled workhouses to be set up by parishes or groups of parishes, and the workhouse test was introduced, whereby the workhouse - a place of asylum for the poor - would serve as a deterrent: relief and would be available only to those willing to submit to its rigorous regime. The decade after Act saw the formalisation of rules for the regulation of bastardy. See the following item.

(An additional timeline for workhouses is at Pearson).

1732 - 1733 Changes in the responsibility for illegitimate children "In 1732-3, a woman pregnant with a bastard was required to declare the fact and to name the father. In 1733, the putative father became responsible for maintaining his illegitimate child; failing to do so could result in gaol. The parish would then support the mother and child, until the father agreed to do so, whereupon he would reimburse the parish - although this rarely happened." Peter Higginbotham.
Also: "Any person after 24 June 1733 charged on oath with being the father of a bastard child shall be apprehended and committed to gaol until he gives security to indemnify the parish from expense".

Lord Hardwicke's Act
(Start of "modern" marriages)

Act "for the better preventing of Clendestine Marriages". This Act formalised marriages - publication of banns & use of licenses.
1777 "Lord Mansfield's Rule"
(aka "presumption of paternity")
Lord Mansfield, Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, 1756-1788, was the dominant judicial force behind the development of English common law at this time. His rule states: "the declarations of husband and wife cannot be admitted to bastardize a child born after marriage". (Note that this was 80 years before the start of "modern divorces").
1832 - 1834

Poor Law Commission (1832)
Poor Law Commissioners' Report of 1834 (March)

The commission (appointed by Earl Grey, Prime Minister) conducted extensive investigation into the operation of the poor laws. The report influenced the 1834 "new" Poor Law:
"The Commissioners thought that poor men were at the mercy of blackmail and perjury by unscrupulous women.... The bastardy clauses of the Act of 1834 were in line with the opinions of the Poor Law Commissioners. The laws which had enabled a mother to charge a putative father before the magistrates were repealed". Finer.

An Act for the Amendment and better Administration of the Laws relating to the Poor in England and Wales

(The "new" Poor Law.
4 & 5 William IV, c. 76)

Removed poor relief ("outdoor relief") from the able-bodied. A Bastardy Clause Act made all illegitimate children the sole responsibility of their mothers until they were 16 years old. If mothers of bastard children were unable to support themselves and their offspring, they would have to enter the workhouse; the putative father became free of any legal responsibility for his illegitimate offspring. Not only did this remove the not infrequent problem of disputed fatherhood, but it was envisaged that the measure would discourage women from entering into profligate relationships.
Transcription © 2001 Peter Higginbotham:
"72. And be it enacted, That when Any Child shall hereafter be born a Bastard, and shall by reason of the Inability of the Mother of such Child to provide for its Maintenance become chargeable to any Parish, the Overseers or Guardians of such Parish, or the Guardians of any Union in which such Parish may be situate, may, if they think proper, after diligent Inquiry as to the Father of such Child, apply to the next General Quarter Sessions of the Peace within the Jurisdiction of which such Parish or Union shall be situate, after such Child shall have become chargeable, for an Order upon the Person whom they shall charge with being the putative Father of such Child to reimburse such Parish or Union for its Maintenance and Support..."

1837-07-01 (Civil Registration of Marriages) Civil Registration started in England and Wales 1st July 1837. The country was divided into registration districts, which were each controlled by the Superintendent Registrar. All the districts were under the control of the Registrar General. (Stone says 1836 - perhaps that was the date of the Act).
1844 - 1845

Poor Law Amendment Act 1844
Bastardy Act of 1845
(7&8 Vic. c.101)

Took bastary procedings out of the poor law authorities and turned then into a civil matter between parents. Finer.
Enabled an unmarried mother to apply to the Petty Sessions for an affiliation order against the father for maintenance of the mother and child, regardless of whether she was in receipt of poor relief. This was probably in recognition that the 1834 Act had not reduced illegitimacy (by making it harder for mothers to claim maintenance), but in fact increased it (by enabling men to avoid some of the responsibility for their actions).


Matrimonial Causes Act 1857

(Start of "modern" divorces)

Introduced a Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, to replace parliamentary divorces. (Not Ireland). This took over the jurisdiction for matrimonial affairs from the church courts and was empowered to deal with child custody, maintenance and alimony. Appeal was to the House of Lords. Divorce was only available in London, so largely unavailable except to well-off people. The earliest Divorce Acts contained express provisions to ensure that the divorced wife should not be left in a state of destitution. However, all other obligations regarding the maintenance of children arose under the poor law legislation. Finer. Stone.

Poor Law Amendment Act 1868
(31 and 32 Vict., c. 122).

Restored to the parish the power to recover from the the putative father the cost of maintenance of a bastard child by providing that, where a woman who had obtained an order against the father of her child herself became a charge of the parish, the justices might order payments to be made to the relieving officer. Finer.
1870 Wages Attachment (Abolition) Act 1870 Up to now, there had been occasional attempts under the poor laws to use attachment. This Act protected pay packets. Finer.
The power was restored in the Maintenance Orders Act 1958 (below).
1873 Bastardy Laws Amendment Act 1873 "5. Guardians may recover cost of relief of bastard child . . . - when a bastard child becomes chargeable to a union or parish, the guardians may apply to two justices having jurisdiction in the union or parish, in petty sessions, and thereupon such justices may summon the man alleged to be the father of the child to appear before any two justices having the like jurisdiction, to show cause why an order should not be made upon him to contribute towards the relief of the child..." Snow 1 .
1878 Matrimonial Causes Act 1878 This gave magistrates courts power to grant a separation order, with maintenance, to a wife (in certain aggrevated circumstances), and to grant her legal custody of the children under the age of 10. This, almost casually, created another jurisdiction for the consequences of separation - magistrates courts (or "police courts"). From now on, having both higher courts and magistrates courts would complicate English separation & maintenance law (until the Child Support Agency took over much of their jurisdiction). Finer.
1880 or so (Maintenance practice) By about the 1880s, the maintenance jurisdiction in divorce had come to be exercised to the following very broad effect: the guilty wife, as under the old parliamentary practice, would have some modicum awarded to her; the innocent wife, as under the old ecclesiastical practice, would be granted a proportion, almost always one thrd, of the joint income, and in addition, an amount in respect of any children committed to her custody. Finer.
1882 Married Women's Property Act 1882 Enabled women to keep property they brought into a marriage. (Note - it was already possible to do so by means of settlement arrangements using trustees).
1886 - 1895

Married Women (Maintenance in Case of Desertion) Act (1886)
Summary Jurisdiction (Married Women) Act (1895)

Gave mothers the right to apply to a magistrates' court for a separation and maintenance order where there was wilful neglect to provide reasonable maintenance for her or her infant children whom her husband was 'legally liable to maintain'.
1891 The Custody of Children Act 1891  
1908 Children Act 1908 Gave local authorities new powers to keep poor children out of the workhouse. "82. Contributions by parents. - (1) Where a court orders a child to be sent to a certified day industrial school, the court shall also order the parent of the child, or other person liable to maintain him, to contribute to his industrial training and meals in the school such sum as is named in the order, not exceeding such sum as may be declared by Order in Council to represent approximately the average cost of industrial training and meals in day industrial schools..." Snow 1.
1909 Report of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws  
1914 Court collecting office Up to now, women using the courts (rather than poor laws) had to take their own steps to enforce maintenance orders. Finer.
World War 1 (1914 - 1918)
There was a surge of divorces immediately post-war, partly a result of the long separation caused by mass-mobilisation. Rash war-marriages, war trauma, war injuries, adultery by wives, etc. Stone.
1920 Married Woman (Maintenance) Act 1920 Enabled a wife to apply separately for children under 16 up to 10 shillings (half a pound Sterling!) a week. Finer.
1920 Maintenance Orders (Facilities for enforcement) Act 1920 This enabled maintenance orders made in England and Wales and Ireland to be enforced in such parts of His Majesty's Dominions overseas as had provided by legislation reciprocal provisions enabling such enforcement, and enforcement of overseas orders mutatis mutandis. It did not apply to orders made in Scotland. Snow 1.

This section will be developed.

In the meantime, here are some key dates and Acts.

Scottish family & children law is significantly different from that of the rest of the UK, and differences still exist even in the latest child support legislation. Scotland had "useful" divorces centuries before England (without causing large-scale marriage-breakdown).
In Scots Law, aliment is maintenance or support claimed by one person from another, especially money paid by one spouse to another when a couple is separated but not divorced.
1579 An Act of the Scottish Parliament "For Punischment of Strang and Idle Beggars, and Reliefe of the Pure and Impotent" "... laid the basis of the system of poor relief in Scotland that was to continue for the next three centuries. Amongst its provisions were for each parish to make a list of its own poor..., "that the aged, impotent, and pure people, suld have ludgeing and abiding places", and to enable "heritors" or land-owners to take the children of beggars into unpaid service until they were eighteen, in the case of girls, or twenty-four, for boys". Peter Higginbotham.
1672   "An act of 1672 ordered magistrates to erect "correction houses" or workhouses in which beggars could be detained and made to work". Peter Higginbotham.
1844 Poor Law inquiry (Scotland). Report from Her Majesty's Commissioners, 1844. Vol. XX, 80p. (Sessional no. 557) "The Commissioners found that in Scotland the people entitled to parochial relief were those either wholly or partially disabled by age or infirmity and unable to maintain themselves, this included children. Exceptions to this were illegitimate children, who the parish often refused to assist, leaving the mother to fend for herself as a warning to others of the consequences of immorality".
1845 An Act for "The Amendment and better Administration of the Laws Relating to the relief of the Poor in Scotland"
(8 & 9 Vic. c.83).

This differed from the English "new" Poor Law of 1834, although there were similarities. Responsibility for Poor Relief was taken from the Parishes of the Kirk of Scotland, and vested in new Parochial Boards, whose territories largely coincided with the old parishes. This Act made some effort to increase Scottish poor relief. The Scottish law provided for relief only in cases of disability.

Wives of the unemployed could obtain no relief unless deserted, a provision which encouraged the breakup of destitute families. Out-door relief was given to able-bodied women with more than one illegitimate child.

19th Century   Actions for aliment (the support or maintenance of the spouse and or children), were heard in sheriff courts. NAS.
1907 Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1907 The sheriff courts also heard cases of separation and aliment, adherence and aliment, and custody of children. NAS.
1909 "Royal Commission on the Poor laws and Relief of Distress: report on Scotland" Includes: "In the relief of unmarried mothers a distinction should be made between a woman of good character with her first child, weak minded women and women of loose character. The first should have institutional treatment away form the poorhouse, the second should be dealt with in accordance with the recommendations of the Commission on the Feebleminded, and the third be liable to compulsory detention". Poor Laws Scotland
1991 onwards Scottish variants of child support law Scottish courts, such as sheriff's courts, are still used for some purposes, such as some punishments under the child support laws. The regulations for this are in "Acts of Sederunt", listed on this web site under "Internet links for Scottish Statutory Instruments" (both for the 1991/1995 Acts and the 2000 Act).
United Kingdom (of Great Britain & Northern Ireland) from 1921
As divorce got easier, it was opened up to more people - the "middle classes" and (horror!) the "working classes". Why did mothers start to get custody? The law was still biased somewhat towards custody for fathers (until the final change in the Guardianship Act 1973). But mothers were getting custody long before that. I think the answer is simple - in most of the sort of families by then able to get divorced, the tradition was for the father to work and the mother to care for the children. So after separation, the obvious answer was to continue that. He was probably working long hours (and there was little useful childcare), and she was less likely to get an adequate job. The courts reflected the realities of family & working life.
1923 Matrimonial Causes Act 1923 Equalisation of divorce criteria between men and women. Jenkinson 2. Stone.
1927 Poor Law Act 1927 The husband was added as a liable relative by section 41 of the Poor Law Act 1927. Snow 1 .
1934 National Assistance Board The provision of relief for the unemployed (later called 'public assistance') by the National Assistance Board.
1942 Report: "Social Insurance and Allied Services" The Beveridge report (Sir William Beveridge). Formed the basis (although with modifications) for the UK's social security system from the National Assistance Act 1948 onwards. This was unable to decide how support for separated and divorced mothers & children should be handled. Finer.
World War 2 (1939 - 1945)

Just as after World War 1, there was a surge of divorces after Word war 2, and probably for similar reasons, including war-time adultery by wives. Stone.
After World War 2, one thing that happened was more focus on "the welfare state", and eventually better state support for lone mothers. Another was that women had got used to working during WW2, and didn't just go back to not working afterwards. So families often had a working mother, although normally far less well paid (although this didn't start with this war, of course). The trend for mother-custody still appeared to make sense, although not as clear as before. And the cost to the state was increasing.

1942 "The Beveridge Report" The future of welfare was laid out by Sir William Beveridge in The Beveridge Report. This led to the National Assistance Act 1948.

National Assistance Act 1948

Section 29 repealed the Poor Laws. (But in practice divorced, deserted or separated wives and unmarried mothers remained throughout dependent on the poor law or its substitutes in the event of their receiving no support from their husbands).
Section 42 stated that for the purposes of the Act, (a) a man shall be liable to maintain his wife and his children, and (b) a woman shall be liable to maintain her husband and her children. A woman's children included her illegitimate children and a man's children included any children of whom he had been adjudged to be the putative father. (This is a narrower set of people compared with the poor laws).
Section 43 provided for recovery proceedings by the National Assistance Board from persons liable to maintain under section 42. Finer. Snow 1.
1957 Affiliation Proceedings Act 1957

"The procedure to be followed under that Act was in substance the same as that set out in section 1 of the Poor Law Amendment Act 1844: a complaint under oath by the mother of the child, corroborated in some material particular, made within twelve months after the birth of the child, unless the man alleged to be the father had paid money for the child's maintenance during that period, in which case the mother's application could be made at any time thereafter." Snow 1.

1958 Maintenance Orders Act 1958 Applied to all courts. Among other things, allowed attachment of earnings, in an attempt to find an alternative to prison. Finer.
1969 The Divorce Reform Act 1969

Established that divorce was on the basis of irretrievable breakdown, evidence by one of: desertion, adultery, separation with consent, separation without concent, or unreasonable behaviour. (This was not "no fault divorce", which doesn't exist in the UK). (Later consolidated into the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973). Opposed (inter alia) by the Married Women's Association, the Mother's Union, and the Family Law Association, typically on the grounds that it would give men an easy way to trade in their wives for younger models. Stone.

1966 Ministry of Social Security Act 1966 Transfered functions from the National Assistance Board to the Supplementary Benefits Commission. Hence the "liability to maintain" of the National Assistance Act 1948, which had its roots in the poor laws, continued.
1969-11-06 Appointment of the "Committee for One-Parent Families". This is the Finer Committee (chair, Sir Morris Finer). Clearly, one-parent families were already a cause for concern, despite somewhat restricted divorce laws up to this year and even beyond (see above). Finer.
1972 Affiliation Proceedings (Amendment) Act 1972 Amended the Affiliation Proceedings Act 1957 to allow the complaint to be within three years after the child's birth. Snow 1.
1972 Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1972 Modifications to the Maintenance Orders (Facilities for enforcement) Act 1920. It now applied to orders made in Scotland
1973 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 Consolidated the Divorce Reform Act 1969.
1973 Guardianship Act 1973 Up to now, authority over a legitimate child lay with the father alone, and it was not until this Act that mothers had authority over children which they could exercise independently. Under the Guardianship Act 1973, the mother had during her lifetime all rights exclusively and the father merely had a right to apply to the court for an order granting him custody or access.
1974 (July) Report of the "Committee for One-Parent Families".

The Finer Report. 910 pages in 2 volumes! Finer.
It proposed using an administrative agency for the calculation and transfer of child maintenance from one parent to the other. Although nothing immediately happened, the proposal was similar in many ways to the eventual CSA.


United Nations Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance

Accession by UK.
1980-03-01 Hague Convention #23 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions Relating to Maintenance Obligations Entry into force in UK.
1986 Social Security Act 1986 Sections 24 – 26: mandate that both men and women are liable to maintain their children to the age of 19, even if they are divorced, separated or the child was illegitimate. When income support is claimed by or on behalf of a person who another person is liable to maintain, section 24 enables a magistrates' court, on a complaint by the Secretary of State, to order the liable person to pay such sum as it considers appropriate. Snow 2.
(Later Acts reinforced this principle).
1986-05-07 United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Entry into force.
There is nothing explicit about child support, but Article 5(b) probably comes closest:
"To ensure that family education includes a proper understanding of maternity as a social function and the recognition of the common responsibility of men and women in the upbringing and development of their children, it being understood that the interest of the children is the primordial consideration in all cases."

1989 Social Security Act 1989 Section 5: "Liability of parents to maintain children under the age of nineteen in respect of whom income support is paid".
Mandates that fathers were liable to maintain any children of whom he is the father, and that both men and women were liable to maintain any children of whom the man or the woman is the father or mother, regardless of their marital status or relationship.
1990 Social Security Act 1990 Section 8: this amended the Social Security Act 1986 as identified above. Snow 2.
The UK's "modern" Child Support system
By the late 1980s welfare was seen by the anti-socialist Thatcher government (and taxpayers!) to be out of control. Getting fathers to pay more, and the state to pay less, appeared to be an answer. The courts were simply supporting the traditional view - they assumed that the state would support lone mothers, so awarded relatively small (and unpredictable) amounts. The Liable Relatives staff negotiated, and on the whole didn't award large amounts. So the government wanted to take control from both of them. Hence the 1991 Act and the CSA. Since the 1960s cohabitation was increasingly seen to be an acceptable alternative to marriage (with masses of disapproval at first, of course!)
1990 Seventh Report Social Security Advisory Committee Specifically, the Committee noted that, while the number of lone parents claiming benefits was increasing, "over the same period the amount of maintenance paid by non-custodial parents has been static". They also noted: "Many possible options are now being considered to resolve the problem of parents who default in paying maintenance."
1990 (October) White Paper "Children Come First"
ISBN 0-10-112642-5
This was the policy statement preceding the Child Support Act 1991 and hence the CSA:
"The present system of maintenance is unnecessarily fragmented, uncertain in its results, slow and ineffective. It is based largely on discretion. The system is operated through the ... courts ... and the ... Department of Social Security. The cumulative effect is uncertainty and inconsistent decisions about how much maintenance should be paid."
Alphabetical list of organisations commenting on "Children Come First".
1991 Child Support Act 1991 This was the Act that established the CSA. Jenkinson 1.
1992 Social Security Administration Act 1992 The public law liabilities, carried over from the old Poor Law, are defined by section 78(6): "(a) a man shall be liable to maintain his wife and any children of whom he is the father; (b) a woman shall be liable to maintain her husband and any children of whom she is the mother".
1992-01-15 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Entry into force in UK. Article 27 part 4 mandates child maintenance / support: "States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to secure the recovery of maintenance for the child from the parents or other persons having financial responsibility for the child, both within the State Party and from abroad. In particular, where the person having financial responsibility for the child lives in a State different from that of the child, States Parties shall promote the accession to international agreements or the conclusion of such agreements, as well as the making of other appropriate arrangements."
1993-04-05 CSA begins operation. Part of the logic of using an agency was that it needed to be cheap per-case, because it was known that most cases didn't involve well off people, so there would often only be relatively small amounts of money.
Most CSA cases came from long term cohabitations or marriages, and still do. The divorce rate (whether per year or per married couple) fell since the CSA was created in 1993, until 2001. And since it rarely provides an incentive to wives to divorce, and provides a disincentive to husbands to divorce, the CSA MAY (but possible not) have contributed.
1995 Child Support Act 1995 This introduced significant reforms to the CSA, including "departures". Jenkinson 1 .
1995 - 1996 1995 Act commences The Child Support Act 1995 commences section by section.
One problem is that the courts haven't caught up with the new realities of family & working life. They appear still to be working to the old model. Hence such extreme cases as a man who had been a "househusband" before divorce failing to get residence of the children afterwards. This needs to be sorted out, and is a "hotter" issue than CSA reform. There are demonstrations outside judges houses, etc.
1997 onward Child support reform process The child support reform process has its own page linking to all stages of the process:
The stages of the reform to the CSA legislation


Finer: The Finer Report - Report of the Committee for One-Parent Families.
Command paper Cmnd 5629 & 5629-I
ISBN 0-10-156290-X & ISBN 0-10-156291-8

Higginbotham: The Workhouse and Poor Laws

Jenkinson 1: Child Support: A Comparison of the Old and New Approaches
Susan Grace Jenkinson LL.M, 10th May 2001

Jenkinson 2: The history of the co-respondent ....
Susan Grace Jenkinson LL.M, May 2001
Dissertation submitted for an LL.M degree at Staffordshire University

Macfarlane: Illegitimacy and illegitimates in English history. (PDF)
Alan Macfarlane, copyright 2002
From: Peter Laslett, Karla Oosterveen and Richard M.Smith (eds.), Bastardy and its Comparative History (Arnold, 1980)

NAS: National Archives of Scotland

Pearson: Timeline - Poor Laws, Workhouses, and Social Support

Poor Laws Scotland
Royal Commission on the Poor laws and Relief of Distress: report on Scotland

Snow 1: The Liability to Maintain and the Child Support Act: A Reference Paper
Peter Snow LLB (Hons.), November 1998

Snow 2: The Child Support Act And The Filius Nullius: The Illegitimate Child
Peter Snow LLB (Hons.), November 1994

Stone: Road To Divorce - England 1530-1987
Lawrence Stone, ISBN 0-19-822651-9

Father's Manifesto
Adultery Law in England

Page last updated: 7 August, 2005 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2003