A man stand inside a marble circular maze

Where has everyone gone?

Latest statistics published today suggest that people may not be getting over extra hurdles put between them and challenging their statutory child maintenance calculation to appeal.

Under the newest ‘gross income’ formula of statutory child maintenance, if a parent disagrees with the basis of a calculation provided to them, if they want to appeal it to a tribunal where evidence will be heard and decided upon by a judge, they must first request a Mandatory Reconsideration from the Child Maintenance Service.

The technical point is that it is the Mandatory Reconsideration which is the decision that can then be appealed against. Without it you cannot appeal a child maintenance calculation.

The real concern here is that it is often the parents who struggle to receive any maintenance at all for the children on a voluntary basis from the other parent who turn to the Child Maintenance Service perhaps as a last resort; the calculation issued does not appear to take all of the paying parent’s income in to account or that income is manipulated to reduce the calculation and needs to be challenged.  The applying parent must then request the Mandatory Reconsideration before going any further.

The key point to know apart from requesting the Mandatory Reconsideration is that you must do so within 28 days from the date of the calculation which you do not agree.  If you miss this deadline you lose the ability to appeal.

Whilst numbers of child maintenance appeals were falling over recent years, the latest statistics are quite startling; they have more than halved in the last year (1,650) compared to the previous year (3,525), and are a just a quarter of the number of appeals only 4 years ago (6,510).*  (There is in fact some overlap in the latest statistics and are even worse if pro-rated for the last year at just 1,025 cases).

Far from people resolving their differences, the concern is that many parents simply give up when they miss the new hurdle of the Mandatory Reconsideration or struggle to get a Mandatory Reconsideration from the Child Maintenance Service (which cannot be refused).

If you are struggling to deal with this stage of your child maintenance decision and need help to go further do get in touch to discuss your case.

*Statistics published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-support-agency-quarterly-summary-of-statistics-december-2014