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Child Maintenance

Making child maintenance arrangements can be one of the most important and tumultuous aspects of a divorce or separation. 

 

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Child Maintenance Service

Making child maintenance arrangements can be one of the most important and tumultuous aspects of a divorce or separation.

 

Child maintenance disputes can cause a lot of stress, and can drag divorce proceedings on much longer than you might have anticipated.

 

To ensure that you can create the right arrangements for you, or if you’re unsure how to approach child maintenance, it’s worthwhile seeking advice from experienced family law solicitors.

 

At NWL family Law Solicitors, we can guide you through the entire process, providing dedicated advice specific to your circumstances.

 

If you’re unable to reach a maintenance agreement with your ex — either together or through mediation — then you may have to obtain a consent order. To do so, you will need arrange this through a solicitor. The knowledgeable child maintenance solicitors at NWL will be able to help you with this.

 

The amount of child maintenance will differ based on a wide range of factors. If you’re planning to reach an amicable agreement with your ex and would like some initial advice on how these factors might affect your maintenance agreement, it will be helpful to arrange a fixed-fee consultation with our friendly team.

 

Located conveniently for clients in Harrow and London, Goodwins Family Law Solicitors have worked on many divorce cases involving child maintenance disputes, and we’re always happy to advise.

 

We have an excellent reputation and high client satisfaction rate, working tirelessly to ensure you achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.

 

View our detailed child maintenance guide for more information about what is involved in the process.

The role of the Child Maintenance Service (CMS)

The Child Maintenance Service deals with maintenance for children in most circumstances. This means that lawyers cannot help very much if the CMS has already made an assessment and the payer refuses to pay or if the payee or payer think the figure the CMS have decided upon is wrong.

 

At this point the responsibility rests with the CMS to take action, by hearing a form of informal appeal or by taking the non-payer to Court to make them pay by, for example, asking the Court to make an Attachment of Earnings Order so that the money is stopped out of their wages each week.

 

There are restrictions on what the CMS can deal with. They cannot for example deal with maintenance for children over 16 years of age (or under 20 if they are in approved education or training).

 

Where a parent who should be making payments is living abroad, the CMS can, in theory, enforce payment by i) getting a Court order and ii) getting it enforced by local law enforcement authorities. They can send orders to all EU states, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some others but so far as we are aware, they actually never do this because it costs them too much money.  You can personally apply to the court for a maintenance order in these circumstances.

 

Unfortunately most people find it uneconomic to try to tackle difficulties with the CMS using lawyers. Instead we recommend contacting NACSA which specialises in providing advice, support and information.

 

You can avoid relying in the CMS by making an agreement with the other parent. Ideally you should have child maintenance looked at and sorted out at the same time as spousal maintenance as part of agreeing your divorce settlement.

 

If you are considering divorce or separation you should take advice from an experienced family lawyer to ensure you understand your rights and obligations and to help you reach an agreement to avoid having to rely on the CMS.

How much financial support will the children get?

The amount of financial support an absent parent should contribute for the welfare of any children varies widely as it is reliant on so many different factors. These include income, assets, age of the child, levels of savings, pension contributions, any special health needs the child has and any additional support already being given to support the home where the child lives.

 

For specific amounts you must either reach an agreement between both parties amicably, often with the help of your divorce solicitor, or else rely on the CMS to sort out the case for you.