CMS Advice

Legal Advice on all Child Maintenance Service Matters

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Frequently Asked Questions


1. I'm in London and you're in Durham / I live abroad, can you help me?

Based in Consett, Co Durham we have assisted thousands of paying and receiving parents throughout the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland with shared care and day to day care child maintenance problems. We are totally independent and not connected in any way to either the Child Support Agency or the Child Maintenance Service. Consultations are available by telephone or virtual attendance.

2. My hearing is next week, can you help me?

We'll do our best and should be able to but if you know you have a hearing coming up, it is always better to give us as much time as you can

3. How much does it cost?

Our fee is £140 for up to an hour telephone or virtual face to face (e.g. Zoom) payable in advance. If you need assistance with something we haven’t covered, please call 01207 693966 and we’ll see how we can help.

4. I don't get on with the other parent - how will this affect my shared care case

Separation can be acrimonious but when parents do separate from each other they should not separate from their children. Parliament has recognised this fact by introducing Regulation 50 effectively saying that two parents can co-parent. It can be difficult if the other parent is uncooperative or adversarial but once Regulation 50 is in place we have seen cases where it has eased those tensions. 

5. I am a high earner, how does Regulation 50 affect me

Regulation 50 may result in you not being liable under the statutory system but you may be liable under the Childrens' Act. This is where a sensible family based agreement which is fair and provides for the children should be looked at and this could mitigate action under Childrens' Act

6. Is it worth getting represented?

As we've said throughout the website, we believe there is a bias, either conscious or otherwise which needs to be called out and it takes experience to be able to do that successfully. That makes getting proper advice, guidance and support something you should look at. The younger the children, the more worthwhile it is. 

7. Do I need to go to my hearing?

Yes you should. But in these days of video and telephone hearings, it is much easier to attend and we'll help you through.

8. I need to complete an appeal application form, can you do that for me?

We can but please discuss this during your consultation as with some guidance you may feel able to complete this for yourself. 

9. I would like a face to face meeting, can I have one?

Yes, you can but it will be charged as a minimum two hour appointment

10. Will I still need to send lots of stuff to the Tribunal?

Directions will still need to be complied with and it will always be in your interest to supply evidence to support your appeal.

11. How do I know I can trust a company I've found on the internet?

a) We're not ringing you up at 8:30pm telling you we're a new Government initiative - you're free to call us or not.

b) If we wanted to run a scam company there are many easier ways to do it than going to University to take a law degree and learning twenty years' of child support legislation.

c) Look up Upper Tribunal decision GR vs CMEC 2011 UKUT 101 AAT which now gives us the legal definition of a person with care - that's our Mike Smith in there.

12. Will you help with a private agreement?

There are many specialist mediation services who can assist but we don't otherwise get involved because we firmly believe that if an agreement is going to work then the two people involved are the best ones to sort it out. 

13. Where can I find a CMS Calculator

If you need a CMS calculator, we suggest you use our Footprint CMA Calculator app at a cost of £0.99p.

14. Where can I get free advice

If you have a low income and live in Scotland you could qualify for Legal Aid. In England and Wales you cannot get legal aid for child maintenance matters. Free legal advice is almost impossible to find. All major organisations dealing with child maintenance problems charge a fee. Please see our home page for details.

15. At what age does Child Maintenance stop ?

The governing factor which determines when child maintenance stops is the existence of a qualified child. A qualifying child is a child who is under the age of 20 in full time non-advanced education, who does not live full time with one of their natural parents.

16. Shared Care and day to day care

We are shared care and day to day care specialists - that is what we do. The circumstances around 50/50 shared care and day to day care need to be looked at carefully and there is no quick answer we can give here, however much of the rest of our website is dedicated to shared care and day to day care issues. 

Thank you for looking. We are Durham Legal Services, the UK's leading independent provider of Child Maintenance Shared Care and Day to Day Care Advice.  CLICK HERE  or call 01207 693966 to organise your consultation


Child Maintenance Service Advice

CSA Testimonials

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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Why DLS?

We are confident not only about the advice we offer but the standard of that advice. Durham Legal Services has represented people with child support problems for the last twenty years. We know we can help you if you have a real CSA problem.

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