Child Support Changes from Net to Gross Income
14 August 2013 by Simon Osborn
Changes to the way in which child support is calculated are being made faster than expected. They were first announced by the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008, and it was thought that they would not come into effect for some time yet. However, for families with 4 or more children, they were brought into force in December 2012, and now, from 29 July 2013 they apply to families with 2 or 3 children, provided those children have the same parents.
It is not known when the change will be made for single child families, and it is right to say that an existing assessment will continue on the old net income basis. These changes only apply to new applications. There are, of course, exceptions!
The scheme was relatively easy to work out, when based upon 15% for one child, 20% for 2 children or 25% for 3 or more children, based upon actual net income. Now it is a sliding scale calculation, based upon the non-resident parent’s gross income, and is (as before) adjusted where that parent has other children in their household, and also according to the number of nights in which the relevant children stay with that parent. Other “departures” can apply in complicated cases.
The gross income applies to income of all types, including some state benefits, but is reduced by pension contributions.
The precise calculations are too complicated to set out here, but the Child Maintenance Options website provides a calculator and guidance at: www.cmoptions.org