The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is to scrap the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) application fee from 26 February 2024.

Anyone with children under 16 (or under 20 if they are still in full-time education) can use the government’s CMS to arrange child maintenance payments if a financial arrangement cannot be made by the child’s parents between themselves.

Up to now, anyone applying to use the CMS must pay a £20 application fee. Only victims of domestic violence and assault are currently eligible for the CMS fee to be waived.

Under the new rules, from Monday 26 February, everyone applying to use the CMS will be exempt from the fee.

While this will be welcome news for parents, the DWP is urging anyone wishing to use the CMS not to put off making a CMS application until the application fee is scrapped. This is because it is not possible to backdate child maintenance or to claim for arrears that predate the CMS application. Doing so will also delay the date that payments will start, which is typically 12 weeks from the date of application.

The government has also advised that from 26 February, it is to wipe any existing arrears in unpaid child maintenance worth £7 or less.

As Editor of Lawble, Gill helps business and individuals become better informed about their legal rights. Gill is a content specialist in the fields of law, tax and human resources.