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Get the right Child Maintenance Assessment - Durham Legal Services Case Management Service.

Why people use our Case Management Service to get the correct Child Maintenance payment

The 2012 Child Maintenance Service is a fully automated service - put simply, it has been designed to cut out human interaction. The idea is an application is made and a button is pressed which asks HMRC how much you earn. HMRC tells a computer which calculates the weekly payment. The amount is automatically printed onto a letterhead, a robot licks the envelope, it pops through your door and 12 months later the whole operation is repeated as a annual review. That's how it is meant to work.

How it really works.

Without warning you get an assessment through the post. It's using income from two years ago or from your last employer. It does not include your shared care, your pension payments or all the children that live with you.  You make at least ten calls to try and resolve the issue, taking 20 minutes each time just to get the phone answered. You speak to ten different people who all promise you they will deal with your problems and send out a new assessment. Nothing arrives except notification that you are now being put on collect and pay which will include collection fees.  

You make a telephone call and speak to another person and this time the CMS attitude has changed. Firstly they have no record of your issues, so it's now too late to report any changes, they refuse to remove the collection fees and now they start to threaten you with other enforcement action. You come off the telephone feel either criminal or suicidal.  You get a text from the other parent demanding you pay the incorrect amount along with the collection fee or you won't see the children. It's a mess, it's going downhill fast, you don't know where to go or what to do to get someone to take ownership of your case.

Why no one will take ownership.

Unlike the old Child Support Agency the Child Maintenance Service doesn't use specialist purpose built administrative centres like Falkirk, Hastings, Plymouth, Dudley and Belfast. There is no large network of Case Workers. There are several different departments, for instance Complaints, Mandatory Reconsideration, Financial Investigation, CSA Legacies and Appeals but getting access to the right department is in itself a challenge. The staffing levels for these Departments is very low and they struggle with the workloads so the knock on effect is a very poor service which can spiral out of control.

Durham Legal Services - Case Management.

People often search on the internet "how to reduce child maintenance payments" and we are often asked the same question so we have a standard answer.  "Not only do you have a legal responsibility to pay the correct amount of Child Maintenance you also have a moral duty to provide for your children." We stand by this but we do place an emphasis on "Correct Amount" and this is where our Case Management Service can save you money, time and effort.

So how does Case Management Work?

Their are three golden R's.  Right Regulation, Right Reconsideration and Right Route.

Right Regulation - Because we understand all Child Maintenance Legislation and monitor new legislation as it is introduced we are able to apply the best rule for our case management clients. Rules around self-employment and carry forward losses is a very good example. Retained Profit is often used and again there are strict rules about what can be used and what can't be used.

Right Reconsideration - Once the CMS make a decision it can only be challenged via a Mandatory Reconsideration.  It is critical to get the right challenge in as there are statutory time limits. If you miss the time limit or ask for the wrong Mandatory Reconsideration you could be left with a large amount of unnecessary arrears, or a Variation Order that will carry forward to your next assessment.

Right Route - Perhaps the most important R, the right route.  Dealing with the right department means your reported change will get dealt with. As part of our case management process, if we begin to experience delay we escalate  your case to the next level which could be either Senior CMS staff or direct to Her Majesties Courts and Tribunal Service. 


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Without doubt I have the most awkward ex partner any man could ever have, you name it I have been accused of doing it. I meet a new partner and things went from bad to worse with my ex taking me to 3 different appeals.

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