Child maintenance is regular money paid by the person with whom the children do not live to the parent with they do. There is a legal obligation for Child Support. It is payable when parents live in separate households whether they were married or not. The obligation is between the parents.
The claim for Child maintenance can be made by the parent receiving Child Benefit.
Standard Child Maintenance
For the most part the financial matters involving children relate to the weekly or monthly amounts which an absent parent may pay in relation to the child. It is a payment to a parent for the benefit of the children.
The standard payment for the maintenance of children is a matter which is administered by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). Child maintenance is no longer a matter dealt within the court process (save in limited circumstances).
The CMS are keen to encourage parents to resolve and agree the amount to be paid by child maintenance. If it cannot be agreed then an application can be made to the CMS for an assessment to be made for the amount to be paid.
The paying parent.
If you are the paying parent you can apply to the CMS to take into account when Special expenses which you have to pay out. This could take into account:-
- The costs of fuel, train or bus fares and overnight accommodation if a return journey is not practical for seeing a child.
- Debts which were run up whilst you and your partner were together.
- Additional costs of looking after a disabled child in your household.
- Boarding school fees.
- Some of the payment of mortgage, loan or insurance policy on the property where your child lives.
The parent getting maintenance.
If you are the parent receiving maintenance you might ask the CMS to take into account additional income in the paying party’s hands. This could take into account:-
- Unearned income which the paying party receives such as from rental income, interest on saving and investments.
- Diverted income which the paying party is giving to someone else.
- Diverted income which is diverted by way of failing to take dividends from a company.
- Diverting income diverted by making excessive pension contributions.
- Any additional earned income for example by one off jobs.
If you believe that one of there are grounds under one of the above, then you can apply for a variation as the paying party to pay less or as the receiving party to get more.
Additional claims outside of the Child Maintenance Service.
There are circumstances where the CMS does not have jurisdiction over the maintenance payable. There are also circumstances where the court can be asked provide pump sums to make financial provision for children.
The court retains jurisdiction:-
- To make an order for maintenance to cover private school fees.
- An order for a child for maintenance for a child at university.
- An order against a parent where the parent is not resident in the UK.
- An order for “top up” maintenance” where the paying parent earns an income above the CMS threshold.
- An order to cover expenses for a disabled child.
- An agreed limited term order in divorce proceedings.
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