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Recent research published by the NatCen Social Research has found that the British public believes the Government should set and enforce child maintenance payments, and should require higher payments than are currently set by the CSA guidelines:

Vines Legal have addressed the issue in previous articles and blog posts about child maintenance and have covered both sides of the story, but there is always new debate about the legislation surrounding child maintenance with the majority of people in this survey expressing they think fathers should be made to pay more maintenance than current specification.

Key facts from the research include:

  • 60% say that the law should set a minimum amount for child maintenance, rather than leaving it to parents to decide.
  • Only 20% agree that the law should never force fathers who are not living with their children to pay child maintenance, compared with 59% who disagree.
  • Parents who have lived apart from their children are a little less likely than others to favour government involvement, still more of them support the government setting (45%)

The last four decades have seen a tripling in the proportion of single parent households, from 8% in 1971 to 21% in 2011 (Office for National Statistics, 2013). About one in three British children have experienced parental separation.

Teresa Williams, Director of Social Research and Policy, Nuffield Foundation said:

"Public opinion is particularly relevant in this instance both because such a large proportion of 'the public' are directly affected by child maintenance, and because the planned reforms to the child maintenance system will put more of the decision-making into their hands."

The full report can be found here.

By Claire Clark on 18 Jul 2013, 12:49 PM

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