If your relationship has ended, and you have children, then you may find you have questions regarding the financial support you are entitled to from the non-resident parent. Our Family Law Team can provide you with help and advice regarding issues around child maintenance.
What is child maintenance?
Child maintenance is paid to the parent principally caring for a child or children, although parents that share care equally may still be liable to receive some maintenance payments from their ex-partner in some circumstances.
There are a number of ways child maintenance can be obtained. These include:
- A government-arranged scheme via the Child Maintenance Service (formerly known as the CSA)
- A family-based maintenance agreement
Although it is generally not a viable option to use the services of a family law solicitor to handle negotiations with the Child Maintenance Service, one of our expert solicitors can provide you with the advice and guidance on the right direction to take with child maintenance issues.
How is child maintenance calculated?
You can use an online child maintenance calculator to work out approximate sums of child maintenance that will be due, and that would be awarded by the Child Maintenance Service if they were to become involved. This also provides useful guidance to parents trying to reach agreements directly.
Government operated child maintenance schemes are enforceable agreements, so if payments are not made, the maintenance can be deducted directly from wage payments made by employers.
If you opt for a family-based child maintenance agreement, we can help you negotiate the best possible payments. These are only legally binding in certain circumstances, and after one year either party can ask the Child Maintenance Service to undertake an assessment.
In the UK, the courts do not have jurisdiction to award child maintenance, except in very limited circumstances.
When does child maintenance stop?
Child maintenance may stop when a child is over the age of 18, or later if they remain in full-time education or training. In general, child maintenance is only payable when the parent caring for the child is in receipt of Child Benefit. When a child reaches 18, financial support for training or education becomes their own right to enforce against the other parent.
What do I do if my ex-partner and I can't agree child maintenance?
Most people try to reach agreement between them about child maintenance to be paid. If this cannot be agreed, then the government run schemes can set up a payment arrangement on your behalf.