New Child Support Regulations

Regulations governing the new child support scheme have now been published.

The Child Support Maintenance Calculation Regulations 2012 were made on the 20th October and 'come into force in relation to a particular case on the day on which paragraph 2 of Schedule 4 to the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (calculation by reference to gross weekly income) comes into force in relation to that type of case' (reg 1).

Other than commencement. Part 1 of the Regulations provides for general matters including interpretation and the rules for rounding of calculations and service of documents.

Part 2 provides for applications for child support maintenance, including the priority rules where more than one application is made in relation to the same child.

Part 3 deals with decision making. Chapter 1 sets out the general rules for setting the effective date for a maintenance calculation. Chapter 2 sets out the general rules relating to revision of decisions in accordance with section 16 of the 1991 Act. Chapter 3 sets out the circumstances in which a maintenance calculation may be adjusted by a supersession decision and the dates from which such decisions have effect. Chapter 4 provides for the updating of the gross weekly income figure on which a calculation has been based (basically every 12 months). Chapter 5 sets out the requirement to notify decisions. Chapter 6 and the Schedule set out some miscellaneous matters in relation to appeals.

Part 4 contains provisions relating to the rules for calculation of child support maintenance, supplementing Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the 1991 Act. Chapter 1 contains the rules for calculating the non-resident parent’s gross weekly income by reference to information provided by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs for the latest available tax year. Chapter 2 sets out the rates of child support maintenance, Chapter 3 deals with default maintenance decisions and Chapter 4 covers special cases, including provision for determining which parent is the non-resident parent where the care of a child is shared (reg 50).

Part 5 provides for the variation of the rules for calculating child support maintenance. These include provision for reducing the amount payable where the non-resident parent has special expenses or increasing the amount payable if the non-resident parent has sources of income not otherwise taken into account or diverts income to another person or for another purpose.

Part 6 provides for the interpretation of various terms in the 1991 Act.

The Child Support Maintenance (Changes to Basic Rate Calculation and Minimum Amount of Liability) Regulations 2012 have also been published. These Regulations modify the provisions in Schedule 1 to the Child Support Act 1991 relating to the calculation of the basic rate of maintenance and the minimum amount of liability where the non-resident parent is party to another maintenance arrangement.