Child Maintenance is financial support that the parent without the day to day care of the children pays to the parent with care of the children.
The amount of maintenance to be paid is, unfortunately, often an area of contention between parents. However there are many separated families who are able to resolve child maintenance arrangements between them and these are known as family based arrangements.
If parents are unable to agree the amount of maintenance to be paid then the government agency the Child Support Agency (CSA) can be requested to become involved. The CSA will then calculate the level of maintenance that is to be paid.
The most common question that separating parents have is how much maintenance should be paid. In very general terms the parent without care will pay the parent with care the following:
- 15% of their net income for 1 child
- 20% of their net income for 2 children
- 25% of their net income for 3 or more children.
However it is important to be aware that this is subject to some deductions. For example if the parent without care has the children to stay overnight on a regular basis the liability will be reduced accordingly.
If the parent without care has a particularly high income then it is possible for the parent with care to apply to court for a ‘top up’ order to try and obtain a higher level of maintenance.
The Child Support Agency
The Child Support Agency has strong powers to ensure that maintenance is paid which has resulted in it becoming more successful over the years in obtaining maintenance from parents reluctant to pay. These including obtaining orders from the court to deduct maintenance from a party’s wages before they are paid.
The CSA is in the process of phasing in a new service – Child Maintenance System – which will take several years to be fully implemented. This new system places more emphasis on encouraging parents to make their own arrangments with help from mediation services and financial incentives. It remains to be seen whether this will be successful or not.
If parents are divorcing it is possible to include the arrangements of child maintenance within a consent order which details the financial agreement between divorcing couples. However the majority of couples will use the CSA assessment basis to reach an agreement in any event.
We can assist you if you require some assistance with liaising with the CSA should you feel that you need some help in this regard.
International Child Maintenance
Furthermore, we are also able to offer assistance with the international aspects of child maintenance in relation to ascertaining the correct procedures in the particular country in which the child resides. In particular, we have a Polish speaking solicitor who can assist fully with any concerns containing a Polish element.
If you do have a query please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the family team who will be happy to assist you.
Get in touch
If you would like to know more about how our tailored services can best suit your needs, do not hesitate to get in touch. Although based in Greater Manchester, we can provide high-quality legal assistance to those who need it around the UK. Call us today on 0161 928 3848, or fill in the online contact form.