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Child maintenance: how much should the state require fathers to pay when families separate?

Date:26 SEP 2013
Caroline Bryson Bryson Purdon Social Research
Ira Mark Ellman Arizona State University
Stephen McKay University of Lincoln
Joanna Miles University of Cambridge

Millions of British households are eligible to receive child maintenance from non-resident parents but fewer than one-third receive payments regularly and two-thirds receive nothing. Many would not be in poverty if they regularly received the appropriate maintenance payments. The Government nonetheless plans to reduce the state's role in setting amounts and enforcing their payment. This article reports on a comprehensive study of the British public's views on these issues in which 3 248 randomly chosen members of the British public were asked to state in pounds the amount of child maintenance they believed the law should require the father to pay for each of a series of families in different financial and family circumstances. The study found the public believes  (1) the...

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