Child Maintenance Agreements

When a relationship breaks down, one of the most difficult things can be working out how to best take care of any children. Making financial provisions can be one of the hardest things to organise. While some families are able to put in place a family-based arrangement to amicably decide who should pay what, for other's it's not that simple.

However, Forbes Solicitors understand that everything needs to be settled in the child's best interest and so our expert children's law solicitors will handle your case with sympathy and understanding to ensure you get the best outcome for your child.

Child maintenance obligations

As a parent, you are legally obliged to financially support your child.

You may be able to apply to the Child Maintenance Service (formerly the Child Support Agency or CSA) if you are a:

  • Parent care
  • Non-resident parent
  • Grandparent or guardian who requires Child Maintenance

The parent (or guardian) with care is the parent with whom the child lives and who is responsible for their day-to-day care. The non-resident parent is the parent that the child does not normally live with, and is the parent paying child support.

Arranging financial support

Most parents will be able to resolve child support issues by speaking to the Child Maintenance Service. Even if they are not formally asking the Child Maintenance Service to calculate child support, they will be usually able to use their formulae to work out an appropriate amount for the paying parent to agree to. Agreements can be incorporated where appropriate into financial orders made within divorce.

There are, however, some scenarios where the Child Maintenance Service cannot help and where parents may need to apply to the Courts, such as:

  • Families where either the child or parents ordinarily do not live in the UK.
  • Families where the non-resident (paying) parent's net income is annually more than £104,000.
  • Families where a child/children has special needs.
  • Families where the children are past secondary education.

In these scenarios, the Court is able to look at and decide on what level of regular financial support is appropriate to be paid by the non-resident parent. In these cases, the Court will be guided by the Child Maintenance Service's formulae but will not be bound by them.

Paying for a child's education

In addition to regular financial support, the Court is also able to take into consideration other kinds of financial provision such as contributions towards private school fees. Since these are not covered by the Child Maintenance Service, there would need to be an application to Court if parents disagreed over who should pay them.

Specialised Court applications

In the case of some families, there may be circumstances which make it necessary to look at other, more specialised forms of child financial support. Again, these are claims that cannot be handled by the Child Maintenance Service and so need to be put before a Court. They might include security against the paying parent making regular payments, capital sums, transfer or property or the provision of a home and are usually appropriate where one parent has considerably greater financial resources than the other.

Future financial support arrangements

It is not just the past and present circumstances of a family that the court needs to take into account, they also need to look at potential future circumstances when coming to a decision regarding financial support. Points it must consider include:

  • The parents' income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which they have or are likely to have in the foreseeable future.
  • The parents' financial obligations, responsibilities and needs which they have or are likely to have in the foreseeable future.
  • The financial needs of the child.
  • The income, earning capacity and other financial resources of the child.
  • Any physical or mental disabilities they child may have.
  • How the child was being - or was expected to be - educated.

How can we help?

Forbes Solicitors are able to help you deal with child maintenance queries by helping with Child Maintenance Service calculations, liaising with them and challenging decisions about the level of maintenance agreed. We can also help to negotiate the level of maintenance outside of the Child Maintenance Service's remit.

The specialist children's law team at Forbes have the expert legal knowledge required to help you ensure the best financial arrangement for your child and will always keep their best interests at heart. Contact us today on 0800 689 1058 or make an enquiry online.

11 Jan 2019



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