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Child Maintenance Payments Following Separation

Who is eligible for child maintenance payments following separation?

Separation often results in one parent being responsible for the majority of the everyday care of the children. A common result of this is that they also end up being responsible for the everyday costs. Child maintenance is financial support paid by the parent who does not have day-to-day care of the children. It can be paid to the other parent, the child or a grandparent, or other guardian.

Child support payments are usually agreed between the parents or through the Child Support Agency or Child Maintenance Service.

Family-based arrangements

An agreement between parents is a fast and simple way to agree child support. It also allows greater flexibility as it can be paid in different ways, such as:

  • Lump sums at significant point in the child's life
  • Regular payment to a saving account or trust for the child
  • Education costs: uniforms, equipment, school fees or tutors
  • Paying bills or rent

If a regular set amount is preferable; the child maintenance calculator provides an estimate of what the government think a reasonable amount is based on your circumstances.

A family law solicitor will be able to help you negotiate and arrange child support made in this way.

Child Support Agency and Child Maintenance Service

To apply for statutory child maintenance you should contact your local CSA office. These governmental organisations determine child maintenance based primarily on the following:

  • Income of the paying parent
  • The number of children involved
  • The amount of overnight contact that parent has with those children

The Child Maintenance Service will have largely replaced the Child Support Agency by 2014. It has only recently become available to families with two or more children. The Child Maintenance Service is aiming for a more collaborative approach by encouraging parents to make direct payments.

Child maintenance and support can be a complex area. The advice of a solicitor can be invaluable in the early stages or if you are looking to appeal the maintenance calculation of the CSA or CMS. Further complications can arise where the location of a parent is not known or if they are based abroad.

If you need any advice about child maintenance payments contact TC Young's experienced family law team.

Written by : Lynne Collingham

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