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Maintenance matters

We are calling for a fairer child maintenance system that puts children first as part of our Maintenance Matters campaign. One of our key concerns is Child Maintenance Service (CMS) loopholes that allow paying parents to avoid accurate payments based on their true income. Over 130 of you took action and emailed the Minister about how this issue affects your child maintenance payments, but still, the government has not committed to addressing this significant problem.

We argue that the DWP should have a comprehensive strategy to combat evasion and avoidance to ensure children do not go without.

Help us keep the pressure on the government by sharing the campaign.

Financial resources not taken into account with maintenance calculations

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Our latest report ‘Children deserve more’ highlights the struggles many single parents face in their fight to get their ex-partner’s true financial resources taken into account for child maintenance. It shows how the current rules make it too easy for some parents to minimise how much they pay – especially when they’re self-employed or have other income. The CMS also makes it as difficult as possible for parents to uncover the truth and get a fair hearing.

  • It’s made me an ace private investigator against my nature. I’ve turned up all the evidence – jobs, company directorships, director’s loans, payslips, spending, assets – everything you can think of. I turned the spotlight on the loopholes he used to claim he had no earnings despite having a job, and built up a stack of evidence as thick as your arm.

Read the executive summary.

Read the full report.

Maintenance matters calls for:

A fairer charging system

  • Single parents on low incomes shouldn’t have to pay the £20 application fee
  • The 4% collection charge should be scrapped
  • Domestic abuse survivors should be given an option to be fast-tracked to ‘Collect & Pay and to be exempt from collection charges

Zero tolerance on non payment

  • The CMS must ensure maintenance is paid in full and on time, and take prompt enforcement action to deter non-payment
  • The government cannot walk away from the task of collecting unpaid maintenance debts from CSA and CMS cases
  • Avoidance of maintenance should be treated in the same way as tax avoidance. The government should work with HMRC to close loopholes that allow parents to avoid payments or to pay less than they should


See our advice and information about child maintenance.

If you're a parent who has experienced domestic abuse, please read our advice about using the child maintenance system safely.