Growing up I was rather unaware of single parent families, my parents were still married as were all my friends parents so it wasn’t until my late teens that I became aware of any variation from this. It was a new friend I had made – one who joined the school later in the school years after moving to the area with her Mum which made me realise that not everyone’s home situations were the same. This is a conversation I have had with Paul a few times and he was also the same – we did go to the same school however he was a year above me. All his friends parents were married too so he also knew no different.
Fast forward to my children being in school and they are fully aware of the different home situations around them. They both have friends who live with their Mum’s only, they also have a few friends who live with Dad and his girlfriend. We have Cousins who are raising children alone and friends at school who live with two Mum’s. There are posters up around the children’s school showing the diversity of families and teaching children about them – I think this is great for children to learn from such a young age.
Whether you are a one or two parent family, raising children can be very expensive. The initial costs of all the equipment such as a cot, pushchair, car seats, baby listener, high chair all add up and of course you have the baby formula if you aren’t breast feeding and nappies as well as all the clothes which they seem to grow out of in next to no time. Did you know that a baby of 6 months old uses around 248 nappies per month which depending on the brand you buy can cost around £438 per year – you can find out other costs depending on your child’s age by using the Cost of raising a child slider from PayPlan.
For a child aged 4 the average school uniform costs £251 a year and an average family will
spend £200 per child on toys at Christmas.
Despite the huge costs of raising children over a fifth of single parents in the UK (21.4%) are not receiving child maintenance payments even though they are entitled to them and a further 58% admit they do not know if they are entitled to a statutory arrangement or not.
This means that single parents could be missing out on £2132 a year which is based on the basic weekly rate of £41 which can be claimed for child maintenance.
The figures come from a survey taken by PayPlan recently. The survey contained 10 questions which asked single parents about their experiences with the child maintenance system and their understanding of the process.
With responses such as “It’s not worth the hassle” and “The process doesn’t work” it is easy to see why many aren’t receiving the money they are actually entitled to for their children and some continue to struggle on alone without the help.
To help simplify the child maintenance process PayPlan have created a resource hub full of useful resources to help single parents navigate the arrangements.
The resource hub contains four key tools which are designed to educate parents on the different payments available and help navigate them through the process. It includes:
The Child Maintenance Process – This is a straight forward downloadable guide about how the process works, explaining the details of both family and statutory arrangements.
Child Maintenance Calculator – A tool to help you decide which arrangement is best suited for your circumstances.
The Cost of Raising a Child – A fun piece to help understand the costs associated with raising a child.
Child Maintenance Research Report – This is a document filled with further research findings from the survey on Child Maintenance
You can take a look at the resource hub here. Hopefully these tools will help you to find out if you are entitled to maintenance payments and to help you understand the whole process in-depth.
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