A groundbreaking online advice clinic has attracted more than 50,000 visitors in less than five months.
The popular parenting website Netmums.com has teamed up with Child Maintenance Options, the free impartial information and support service, to help users of the Netmums Separation Advice clinic with their issues.
Expert consultant Sarah from Child Maintenance Options has already answered questions from more than 150 parents.
Some of the most popular issues Sarah has been asked about include; setting up a family-based maintenance arrangement outside of the Child Support Agency (CSA), how much parents should pay; and how to secure maintenance from an ‘ex’ who is abroad or in prison.
Janet Wojtkow, Director of Child Maintenance Options, said:
The success of the clinic is reflected in the number of Netmums users who have gone on to call our helpline or download our family-based maintenance arrangement forms. Recourse to the state service –currently provided by the CSA – can so often be avoided when parents have the right help and support. The Government is committed to developing co-ordinated support services like these to help parents overcome the difficult issues they face when separating.
Child Maintenance Options is one of a number of organisations taking part in the separation clinic, which also features National Family Mediation, and Citizens Advice Bureau.
Sally Russell, Director of Netmums, said:
When a relationship breaks down disputes over the provision for children can become incredibly difficult. It’s wonderful that mums and dads can now come to Netmums to get direct advice from the experts at Child Maintenance Options. With thousands using the forums every week, our online community has the power to provide very real and practical support to families.
Sarah is now also offering help to members of DadTalk.co.uk.
- Sarah will not be able to answer specific questions on individual CSA cases but can talk callers through their choices, promoting the benefits of family based arrangements or, where these are not possible or appropriate, the other ways of arranging maintenance.
- The Child Maintenance Options service covers England, Scotland and Wales. The service is free, confidential and impartial. It can be accessed either by phone (0800 988 0988) or online ( www.cmoptions.org).