The breakdown of marriage or cohabitation in families with children means, in most countries, a high risk of financial problems for the parent with whom the children continue to live. Debate about the financial problems of lone parents has often been directed towards finding solutions in the route to employment or improved social security benefits. The aim of the research reported in this volume is to contribute to the UK policy debate by providing perspectives from selected European countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK). The report looks at the child maintenance regime in each country - the overall system under which parents meet their financial liabilities in respect of children with whom they do not live.
Drawing on information provided by national informants, the study compares the different structural and administrative components of the 10 European child maintenance regimes, explains the different perspectives on the financial obligations of parents who do not live with their children, discusses why child maintenance regimes have developed in different ways, and looks at some of the effects of the regimes for families and governments. The author then looks not just at what works well, in what circumstances (and at the lessons that might inform the development of child support policy in the UK), but considers whether understanding what has not worked well might also help the UK avoid making further mistakes in the task of reconstructing a child support policy.