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Fix the Child Maintenance Service campaign

For years we have seen on Mumsnet the difficulty and frustrations that parents - usually mothers - have experienced when trying to get the payments they are entitled to from their ex-partners via the Child Maintenance Service. 

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Oct 27, 2021

CMS holding

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is a source of frustration to many users.

One of our tweets on the issue, during COVID in April 2020, was shared hundreds of times.

CMS tweet

In June 2020 Mumsnet joined forces with Gingerbread and the Good Law Project to support a legal case against the DWP, as part of a campaign to fix the Child Maintenance Service.

The campaign to #FixtheCMS supports four women who have issued a Letter Before Claim to notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of their intention to seek judicial review due to the failure by the CMS to collect child maintenance payments from their children’s non-resident parent, leaving them and their children in financial difficulty and, in some cases, in poverty.

Our survey of 1,357 parents, between 6 August and 24 August 2020 found that 86% say the CMS has allowed their ex to financially control or abuse them post-separation. Other findings include:

  • 83% say they will likely never receive what they are owed in arrears. 
  • 73% described their experience of the CMS as ‘negative’
  • 72% say using the CMS has made their mental health and wellbeing worse.

The survey also revealed that 93% of parents believe that those who regularly avoid paying child maintenance should face more serious penalties, such as confiscation of passports and driving licences, or lump sum deductions (a single payment directly from the non-resident parent’s bank account.