Disputing Decisions

If you believe a child maintenance decision is wrong, and wish to challenge it, you must follow the correct legal process and within the required legal timeframe. Failure to follow the correct steps may prevent the revision of any incorrect decision.

If you receive a decision and believe it to be wrong, you must request a Mandatory Reconsideration within one month of the decision being notified to you.

A Mandatory Reconsideration can be made in writing, verbally or by using the options available in the various elements of the payment calculation page on your CMS online account. The Mandatory Reconsideration request can only apply against a child maintenance “decision.” A decision includes:
  • Accepting a maintenance application or refusal to accept an application.
  • A maintenance calculation or refusal to make a calculation.
  • A variation decision or refusal to make a variation decision.

We are experts in Only one Mandatory Reconsideration process can take place against a decision, so if one parent raises a dispute, the other parent is automatically invited to submit any disputes they may have too.

Once all disputes are received, the decision is reviewed by the CMS and a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice is issued to both parties. The Mandatory Reconsideration Notice will either
  • Change the original decision.
  • Refuse to change the original decision.
There are different rules if a parent is disputing paternity. Contact us for more information on disputing paternity

It is the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice that carries the right of appeal. If either party remains unhappy about the decision, they must file an application to HM Courts and Tribunal Service within one month of the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice being issued. It is important that you seek advice before proceeding with your appeal.

There are no rights of appeal against debt or pay schedules, although some measures of enforcement can be appealed, such as a DEO or Deduction Order. However, this does not provide a “day in court” and the court is restricted to what it is allowed to consider. Read more about enforcement actions here.

If you need to dispute a child maintenance decision, or have raised disputes but have been unsuccessful, why not take advantage of our Preliminary Consultation service to allow us to review the circumstance and provide tailored advice and guidance for the Mandatory Reconsideration process, and stages of appeal with HM Courts and Tribunals.

Contact Us

If you need help with any Child Maintenance Service decision or threats of legal enforcement against child maintenance arrears, contact us now.