Children deserve more: challenging child maintenance avoidance

Published on 9 July 2017


In-depth case studies illustrating the loopholes that allow child maintenance avoidance – where paying parents are able to minimise the amount of child support they’re requested to pay. The report shows how rules – and the way that they’re implemented – under the Child Support Agency and Child Maintenance Service mean that some parents are paying sums which bear little relation to their actual wealth.

The report recommends:

  • Better income data sharing between the CMS and HMRC
  • Reinstated anti-evasion safeguards
  • Proper support for parents to challenge their calculation
  • A joint DWP/HMRC review of the role of HMRC when determining child maintenance
  • Better co-ordination with the family courts.

Key findings

  • Reforms under the CMS mean the system is cheap to administer, but fail children
  • Parents are left in the dark about their options, meaning many give up on a fair assessment
  • The DWP passes the buck to HMRC, which means there is often limited investigation into paying parents’ finances
  • Reforms under the CMS, which abolished some grounds to challenge child maintenance calculations, mean it is even harder to get a fair assessment.

Senior Policy Officer, Janet Allbeson, discussing the findings of 'Children deserve more.'