Child Maintenance Solicitors Berkhamsted, Amersham & Beaconsfield

What is child maintenance?

Child maintenance sometimes referred to as child support is financial assistance that helps towards a child’s everyday living costs. Payment is made by the absent parent to the parent, caregiver or guardian, with whom the child mainly lives. The definition of a child is someone who is under the age of 16, or under the age of 20 if they are in full time approved education.

What expenses are covered by child maintenance?

Child maintenance covers the cost of the everyday care of the child, such as food, clothes, and housing expenses. Expenses such as school fees, school trips, uniforms and extra-curricular activities do not fall under child maintenance, as they are not classed as basic needs. It is not unreasonable for those additional costs to be contributed to on top of child maintenance.  There is currently no law in place that states the primary carer must provide evidence of spending child maintenance solely on everyday living expenses for the child. 

How is child maintenance calculated?

There are several factors that need to be considered by the Child Maintenance Service when calculating child maintenance payments. The calculation is based on the following factors:

  • Your age
  • Your weekly gross income
  • Any benefits you receive
  • How many children you are paying child maintenance for
  • How many children live in your household
  • How many times a year the children stay overnight with you 

How can I make arrangements for child maintenance?

There are three different ways to arrange child maintenance. You may wish to arrange maintenance voluntarily with your ex-partner, this is usually referred to as a ‘family-based arrangement’.  You can also have the maintenance calculated and collected under a government scheme using the Child Maintenance Service. The final option for arranging child maintenance comes through the use of the courts, whereby you can have arrangements for maintenance stipulated in a court order.

Is there a maximum level of income that the Child Maintenance Service will access?

If your income exceeds £3,000 (gross) per week, the Child Maintenance Service will provide you with the maximum assessment. This means that even if your income is greater, the Child Maintenance Service cannot request you to pay more. However, an application can be made to the court for extra maintenance payments, this is usually referred to as a ‘top-up’.

Do I have to pay child maintenance if I care for my child equally?

You are not required to pay child maintenance if you share care equally.  

What happens if I do not pay child maintenance?

If you fail to make the child maintenance payments, the Child Maintenance Service has the authority to collect the unpaid funds from you using the following methods:

  • Deduct the money owed from your salary, benefits, or bank account
  • Instruct bailiffs to take your possessions to the value of the money owed
  • Revoke your driver’s license
  • Enforce imprisonment

Is child maintenance dependent on contact?

Regardless of whether a parent has contact with the child, they will still be legally responsible to pay child maintenance. Parents have a legal responsibility to financially support their children following separation.  

Do I have to pay tax on child maintenance payments? 

Tax relief is not available on child maintenance payments. If you are receiving child maintenance from an ex-partner, then these payments will not count towards income tax.

For more information on child maintenance please call Breakthrough Family Law on 01494 328848 for a free initial consultation.

Contact our Child Maintenance Solicitors Beaconsfield, Berkhamsted, Chesham, Harrow and Chorleywood

Our experienced child arrangement lawyers, assisting in Beaconsfield, Berkhamsted, Chesham, Harrow and Chorleywood, offer a specialist service to get the best possible result for you. We strive to take the tension out of stressful and emotional situations by advising on appropriate strategies for dealing with outcomes for children, in the hope of avoiding costly court proceedings and enabling children to be settled into a happy routine and structure once the parents have ended their relationship. If you need advice on child arrangements following the breakdown of your relationship, contact us today on 01494 328848 or Make An Online Enquiry to arrange an appointment with one of our team.

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