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The Most Recent Reforms to the Child Maintenance System are Good News for Fathers but not Mothers - Essay Example

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The most recent reforms to the child maintenance system are good news for fathers but not mothers. Introduction The UK government's proposed child maintenance reforms was published in January 2011 as a green paper titled, 'Strengthening families, promoting parental responsibility: the future of child maintenance'.1 The reforms were proposed on the assumption that in divorces, the support given by government to decide upon the maintenance to be given, has a tendency to deepen the conflict between the divorcing parents.2 3 4It was declared in the green paper that “ the child maintenance system needs to be re-balanced towards supporting parents to work collaboratively rather than entering conf…
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Download file to see previous pages 100 to be paid by the applicant. A total application charge for parents on benefits in the range of ?50 with ?20 of this paid upfront and the remainder paid in installments. The installments for the application only become payable where maintenance is in payment. Therefore a parent on benefit who applies will never pay more than the upfront charge if no maintenance is received from the application. A charge of ?20-25 for the calculation only service to be paid by the applicant. A collection surcharge (on top of maintenance to be paid) of between 15% and 20% to be paid by the non-resident parent. A collection deduction charge (retained from maintenance collected for the parent with care) of between 7% and 12%. A charge on the non-resident parent when enforcement measures (e.g. an order of sale for property) need to be used because of non-compliance. An application charge for the calculation only service.7 This reform is criticized by many because its impact is to be primarily on mothers,8 In most of the cases, it would be the women who apply for a maintenance as they would be the care-giving parent.9 1011It is so because “fathers on the whole do not negotiate full-time work with daily responsibility for child care, especially very young children, either during or after marriage.”12 A study by Atkinson and Mckay concluded that non-resident parents had no wish to share parental responsibility.13 The DWP Equality Impact Assessment for the Green Paper has observed “that 95% of parents with care are women, and a similar proportion of non-resident parents are men...”14 It is officially calculated,”the full cost of an application is likely to be around ?200. 15 The women in Britain mostly work in “part-time, low paid, (and) insecure jobs...”16 17 The single mothers have to schedule their working hours so as to undertake child care also.18 19 Mostly, this is why “ women poverty begins with divorce...”20 The new reforms are sure to put more financial burden on such women, who are already under-privileged. Here, it is important also to note that there is a proven connection “between poverty and single parenthood.”21 Power equations and maintenance Under the new provisions, if both the parents agree upon a maintenance amount under family agreement, they need not go to the government service provider.22 The power to take such a decision rests equally with the “parent with care” and the “non-resident parent.”23 If a non-resident parent decides to “pay by maintenance direct”, that is, not through government agency, then he/she can do so.24 The non-resident parent most often being the father, this might be a convenient decision for him, as he could avoid government action on non-payment. A Relationship Separation and Child Support Study carried out by a group of researchers showed that it was mainly the non-resident pa ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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