Dawn Pennell, of Capron & Helliwell solicitors, considers less well-known facts about child maintenance
Parties may enter into a maintenance agreement with one another if they reach an agreement on what should be paid for child maintenance and in such circumstances, there is no need to involve the Child Maintenance Service. However, a maintenance agreement will not prevent either party making an application to the Child Maintenance Service for a maintenance calculation to be assessed.
All children in full-time non-advanced education are now eligible for child maintenance up to the age of 20.
Applications to the Child Maintenance Service incur a charge of £20 unless the applicant is under the age of 18 or is a victim of domestic abuse.
Following an Assessment, if child maintenance remains unpaid, a 20% collection fee on top of the usual child maintenance amount is charged to the paying parent and a 4% collection fee is deducted from the usual child maintenance amount for the receiving parent.
A maintenance calculation may only be reassessed annually unless the income variation is 25% or more or in cases involving long term illness or redundancy.
A Court can still deal with maintenance for children in limited circumstances.
The Child Maintenance Service deals with a huge number of claims and, according to the Department for Work and Pensions, 706,700 children were covered by Child Maintenance Service arrangements at the end of June 2019. At that same date it was managing 488,300 arrangements for 458,100 paying parents. This is a thirteen per cent increase in the number of arrangements since the end of June 2018.
No connection is made between whether the paying parent is having contact with the child and the amount of maintenance save to the extent that care may be shared between the parents. Maintenance will be payable even if the paying parent has no contact with the child.
Although unusual a step parent may be liable to pay child maintenance for a child of their former spouse who was treated by them, during the marriage, as a child of the family.
At Capron & Helliwell we have experience of advising clients about child maintenance matters and, because everyone’s circumstances are unique, it is always best to seek legal advice.
Dawn Pennell is a Chartered Legal Executive and Collaborative Lawyer dealing with family law matters at Capron & Helliwell. Capron & Helliwell offer a fixed fee first appointment for family law matters - please contact Dawn Pennell on 01692-581231 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article aims to supply general information but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek specific advice. This article was written on 31st October 2019 and the law may change following this date.