Caring Child

Child Maintenance

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Child Maintenance Advisors 

If you’re going through a divorce or separation, we know that your biggest concern will be your children.

 

Our child maintenance advisors can help you agree how much you or your former partner should pay going forward, change the terms of an existing agreement, or help if maintenance payments have stopped.

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The Ways Of Maintenance

Child maintenance is paid by the parent who the child does not live with for the majority of the time. There are three ways that child maintenance can be agreed:

  • Agreeing maintenance payments directly with your former partner – also known as a “family-based arrangement”, this is usually the cheapest and quickest way to agree on child maintenance.

  • The Child Maintenance Service – a government scheme that calculates the maintenance payment for you. However, you will have to pay some charges and financial penalties if the Child Maintenance Service is forced to get involved in your case.

  • Court Order – the court has the power to set maintenance payments. This is usually the case when the paying parent has a high income and/or lives abroad.

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What's More To It?

Generally speaking, child maintenance is paid until your child reaches 16 (or 20 if they continue in full time education). If you or your former partner’s circumstances change, then you are able to change the terms of your agreement.

Our child maintenance advisors take a no-nonsense approach to agreeing arrangements for children following a relationship breakdown. We are known for being a paralegal service in protecting our clients’ interests, but also for being honest about your chances of achieving what you want. Our advisors often help people who have received bad advice from another law firm, or whose corner has not been fought. 

Child support or child maintenance is financial support that helps towards a child’s everyday living costs. Payment is made by the absent parent to the parent, caregiver or guardian, with whom the children mainly live.

In family law, child support is not arranged as part of a divorce as such but the Court will want to be assured that arrangements regarding where the child will live and arrangements for continued parental involvement with both parents have been made.

The Courts no longer have powers to order the payment of child maintenance – instead this was handed over to the Child Support Agency (CSA), now known as the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).

Child Maintenance Legal Consultants

Financial support for your child
 

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Child support or child maintenance is financial support that helps towards a child’s everyday living costs. Payment is made by the absent parent to the parent, caregiver or guardian, with whom the children mainly live.

 

In family law, child support is not arranged as part of a divorce as such but the Court will want to be assured that arrangements regarding where the child will live and arrangements for continued parental involvement with both parents have been made.

 

The Courts no longer have powers to order the payment of child maintenance – instead this was handed over to the Child Support Agency (CSA), now known as the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).

 

The role of the Child Maintenance Service (CMS)
 

The Child Maintenance Service deals with maintenance for children in most circumstances. This means that lawyers cannot help very much if the CMS has already made an assessment and the payer refuses to pay or if the payee or payer think the figure the CMS have decided upon is wrong.

 

At this point the responsibility rests with the CMS to take action, by hearing a form of informal appeal or by taking the non-payer to Court to make them pay by, for example, asking the Court to make an Attachment of Earnings Order so that the money is stopped out of their wages each week.

 

There are restrictions on what the CMS can deal with. They cannot for example deal with maintenance for children over 16 years of age (or under 20 if they are in approved education or training).

 

Where a parent who should be making payments is living abroad, the CMS can, in theory, enforce payment by i) getting a Court order and ii) getting it enforced by local law enforcement authorities. They can send orders to all EU states, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some others but so far as we are aware, they actually never do this because it costs them too much money.  You can personally apply to the court for a maintenance order in these circumstances.

 

You can avoid relying on the CMS by making an agreement with the other parent. Ideally you should have child maintenance looked at and sorted out at the same time as spousal maintenance as part of agreeing your divorce settlement.

If you are considering divorce or separation you should take advice from an experienced family lawyer to ensure you understand your rights and obligations and to help you reach an agreement to avoid having to rely on the CMS.

 

How much financial support will the children get?


The amount of financial support an absent parent should contribute for the welfare of any children varies widely as it is reliant on so many different factors. These include income, assets, age of the child, levels of savings, pension contributions, any special health needs the child has and any additional support already being given to support the home where the child lives.

 

For specific amounts you must either reach an agreement between both parties amicably, often with the help of your divorce advisor, or else rely on the CMS to sort out the case for you.

 

If you are considering divorce or separation you should take advice from an experienced family lawyer to ensure you understand your rights and obligations and to help you reach an agreement to avoid having to rely on the CMS.

Help with the CMS

 

NACSA helps parents and families who are experiencing difficulties with the CMS.

If you’d like to talk to us about your situation, please contact us to arrange a consultation with one of our child maintenance paralegal. You can call us on 01227 913852 or contact us online and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Book an Appointment

To book an appointment with one of our expert advisers please click the box below to schedule a 45 minute video call via Zoom.