Legal advice for Child Maintenance after a separation
Child Maintenance is one of many factors that can become contentious following a separation resulting in tension between parents if not dealt with appropriately. This can undermine the success of future discussions on contact arrangements for children and other financial matters which may require to be resolved.
Obtaining legal advice from an experienced family law solicitor at the outset can greatly assist in overcoming uncertainty for both parents. Addressing child maintenance early can ensure both parents feel reassured their children will be financially secure.
In the UK, child maintenance is the term given to describe a financial obligation owed from one parent to the other parent in order to assist with paying for a child's or children's day to day living costs.
We are here to help
If you are experiencing difficulties reaching an agreement with your ex-partner/spouse in relation to child maintenance, you should consider speaking with an experienced family solicitor. Simply complete our online enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch.
Accredited Child Law Specialist
Amanda is highly experienced in child law matters and has attained accreditation from the Law Society of Scotland in this area. Amanda is a trained Childline Volunteer Counsellor. She has recently obtained the COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills, which she finds invaluable in delivering legal services with empathy and understanding. She is also a member of CALM and the Family Law Association.
How is Child Maintenance calculated?
The level of child maintenance is determined on a number of factors including:
- The number of children the parties have.
- The gross income of the paying parent per week or whether they are in receipt of benefits
- Whether the paying parent has any other children living with them.
- The amount of nights each year the paying parent has their child staying with them.
How long is statutory Child Maintenance payable?
Child Maintenance is legally payable for a child until they reach the age of sixteen if they go into full-time employment or up to the age of 20 if they continue in full-time education up to A-Level/Higher/Advanced Higher or equivalent. Child maintenance can also stop if the child stops being eligible for child benefit, the parent being paid stops being the child's main carer, the parent being paid doesn’t want child maintenance any longer, either parent dies or the payable parent is assessed as nil rate due to being a student or a prisoner.
What happens if I don't pay child maintenance?
In the event the paying parent fails to pay, arrears would usually begin accruing on unpaid child maintenance. In the event that the paying parent refuses to cooperate with the Child Maintenance Service, the Child Maintenance Service is able to contact HM Revenue & Customs to determine their gross income or whether they receive benefits. CMS apply five different rates/categories depending on the parent's gross income and the weekly amount payable. The rates cover all scenarios including where income is unknown or not provided, and up to an income of £3,000 or more per week. £3,000 per week is the upper limit based on the Child Maintenance Service formula. If the paying parent's income is in excess of £3,000, the receiving parent can apply to the courts for extra child maintenance.