Most parents are able to agree how much maintenance should be paid from one parent to the other. If the figure agreed is part of an overall divorce settlement, it can be included within the Financial Court Order linked to the divorce proceedings. As time goes on and circumstances change most parents will be able to agree between themselves appropriate changes to the child maintenance paid.
What if we can’t agree?
If you can’t agree how much should be paid or one parent is refusing to pay any maintenance a claim can be made to the Child Maintenance Service. As a result of recent rule changes, the Child Maintenance Service can now make a charge to parents for using its services. If you need help from the Child Maintenance Service they will encourage you to use their “direct pay” scheme. The Service will work out for you how much the other parent should pay and will then give you some advice as to how to arrange payment between yourselves rather than using the Service to collect the money.
If the direct pay scheme does not work for you the Service will help collect the money from one parent and pay it to the other. There will be an ongoing fee for this service which is based on a percentage of the assessed maintenance figure.
How is child maintenance calculated?
The Child Maintenance Service look at the parents gross income (less pension contributions) and the parent then needs to pay a percentage of that gross income based upon the number of children the payment relates to, the number of nights the children stay with the paying parent and whether the paying parent has any other children in their home.
Most parents who are able to agree a figure find it helpful to use the guidelines set out by the Child Maintenance Service.
For further information and advice please contact a member of our Family Law Team