Family Law

Who Can Claim Child Maintenance?

4 MAR 2020

Child maintenance payments are usually regular monthly payments made by one parent to the other, after parents separate, to provide financial support for the child (or children) who does not live with them.

The parent who is receiving child benefit can claim child maintenance payments. The amount of those payments can be agreed or calculated by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), previously called the Child Support Agency. They can also be ordered by the court on divorce where this is agreed or in specific circumstances. A court order prevents an application being made to the CMS for 12 months after the order is made.

Applications can be made to the Child Maintenance Service where there is a disagreement and no court order unless a child’s day-to-day care is shared equally, when the CMS will not carry out an assessment. This is a question of fact and involves an assessment of parenting tasks and responsibilities, not only the counting of days and nights.

The CMS will make an assessment based upon the paying parent’s income before tax. This assessment does not take into account the recipient parent’s income.
It is also important to note that the Child Maintenance Service does not assess the payment of child maintenance for children who remain in full-time education after secondary school. Our specialist family lawyers can advise you about the ways in which this can be resolved by agreement or by applying to the court.
For further advice about child maintenance please contact our specialist family lawyers Nicola Codd & Barbara Richardson for advice tailored to your circumstances.

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