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I recently wrote on my family law blog about a rather pertinent tale from a 1916 edition of the Bucks Advertiser and Aylesbury News*. It referred to a letter which had been written by a young man Leonard Kempster, to his beau, Gladys, stating 'I have absolutely made up my mind that I will always be true to you'. She took the young man at his word, but he did not follow through, preferring to 'remain in single blessedness', which resulted in an unwed mother, and a child with unmarried parents. Mr Kempster was ordered to pay five shillings per week by the bench at Stony Stratford towards the upkeep of his child until the age of fourteen years, and £35 for his breach of promise.
Almost one hundred years later, the state continues to endeavour to ensure that children are adequately supported financially by parents, although these days it is to the age of 20 rather than 14. The current government has a 'child maintenance arrears and enforcement strategy' as part of their policy of improving payment of child maintenance. This policy, which has been named Preparing for the future, tackling the past included the production of a consultation paper this time last year, Supported separated families; securing children's futures, which is definitely worth a read. This clarifies the government's vision on where the issue of child maintenance is going.
We are all aware of the government’s push for budget saving, and never more so than in the area of state enforced child maintenance. The Child Support Agency is going to be phased out over the next three years, and the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is being phased in. This exercise is not simply a case of re-branding: the government hopes that the changes it is making will reduce the cost of the operation from the £428 million it took to run in 2011/12 to £174 million by 2018/19. Such a dramatic reduction in running cost is not going to come without an impact on the consumer.
As we already know, the amount of child maintenance that is going to be paid by the parent who is not the main carer of the child i
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