This is the latest edition of the Child Poverty Action Group's excellent Child Support Handbook. It comes completely updated as at April 1997 and incorporates the changes made to the child support system over the proceeding year, in particular changes to appeals, the new maintenance bonus for income support claimants, new complaints procedures and changes over the good cause and benefit penalty issue. All the key elements of the formula are well covered in an incredible amount of detail and there are chapters on the five key stages involved in calculating maintenance; the maintenance requirement, exempt income, assessable income, proposed maintenance and the protected income calculation. There is also a very useful step by step calculation sheet included so that readers can substitute their own figures and work out individual assessments. The interface between CSA formula and shared parenting / shared residence is given a separate chapter and is concise and explained in all its glorious complexity.
The handbook is a must for anyone going to a Child Support Appeal Tribunal or considering challenging a DEO in the Magistrates Court. The review and appeals procedures are clearly dealt with at all stages of the process. The chapter on enforcement and collection includes a model application to the magistrates court to appeal a DEO and again explains procedure.
At £9.95 this is a bargain for anyone doing business with the CSA. If the CPAG handbook is combined with one of the standard legal texts on child maintenance such as Roger Bird's Child Maintenance - the new law or Jacobs and Douglas, Child Support - the legislation, readers would be as well or better informed than the average child support officer. After buying the Child Support Handbook and your legal text consider sending a donation of a fiver off and subscribe to NACSA NEWS c/o PO Box 3159, Fishermead, Milton Keynes MK6 2YB.
Arthur Baker, June 1997