All current CSA assessments will be closed by 2017 and fresh applications will require to be made to the CMS, if necessary thereafter by parties currently using the CSA.
The CSA did not charge for the service they provided and for the moment the CMS are not charging either. The expectation is however, that once the CMS is fully operational, that charges will be introduced. There will be an initial application fee of £20 to use the service. If parties do not cooperate and the CMS have to collect money from one party to pay to the other then the paying party will have to pay an additional 20% on top of the usual child maintenance amount. The payee party will receive a sum of maintenance due to them reduced by 4% in that event. If maintenance is paid directly between the parents then these fees don’t apply.
The hope seems to be that parties will be able to reach a family based arrangement directly between themselves. Incentivising non resident parents to pay can be no bad thing but whether this works in practice remains to be seen.
The position with child support has always been that parties can agree arrangements for support between themselves and as they see fit. Where agreement is reached on child support that is usually recorded in a Minute of Agreement. It is worthwhile remembering that Minutes of Agreement can be departed from after a period of 12 months after which time either parent can make an application to the CSA and now to the CMS. Often this option gives parties comfort in reaching direct agreement.
I wonder whether charging parties to use the CMS will undermine this comfort! Either way, it certainly looks like cooperation makes the best financial sense!