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How to reduce child maintenance payments?


As specialist divorce solicitors, we are often asked how to reduce child maintenance payments.

In this insight, we will help you to discover how to reduce child maintenance payments and in what circumstances this may be appropriate.

 

What is child maintenance?

Before looking at how to reduce child maintenance payments, it is important to define exactly what child maintenance is and why it exists.

When two parents separate, the parent who is not the main day-to-day carer of the child may have to pay towards the cost of the other parent looking after the child. This is called child maintenance.

Both parents are responsible for financially supporting their child. Child maintenance exists to ensure that this happens.

how to reduce child maintenance payments

 

How is child maintenance calculated?

In order to discover how to reduce child maintenance payments, it’s necessary to go back and find out how child maintenance is calculated initially. The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) usually follows 6 ‘steps’ to work out how much child maintenance should be paid every week.

These 6 ‘steps’ are as follows:

  1. What is the gross yearly income of the paying parent and does the paying parent receive any benefits?
  2. Does anything affect this income (pension payments, for example)?
  3. After calculating the gross weekly income using the steps above, one of 5 rates will be applied. For example, if the gross weekly income is below £7, the rate will be nil. If it is between £100.01 to £199.99, a reduced rate will be applied and the weekly amount will be calculated using a formula. A rates table is available on the government’s website.
  4. If the paying parent already pays child maintenance for another child (or children), this will be taken into account.
  5. The weekly amount of child maintenance is calculated using the information from steps 1-4.
  6. If the child stays overnight with the parent paying child maintenance, the CMS will make a deduction to reflect this.

 

How to reduce child maintenance payments

The amount of child maintenance to be paid is reviewed on an annual basis.

You may be looking at how to reduce child maintenance payments due to a change in your circumstances.

As the paying parent, there are some changes about which you are legally required to tell the CMS. For example, you must tell the CMS if you become self-employed or if you start (or stop) receiving benefits. If you do not provide the right information to the CMS, you could be fined up to £1,000.

A reduction in child maintenance payments usually comes about due to a change of circumstances, such as a job loss. In instances such as this, it is essential to get in touch with the CMS, inform them of your change of circumstances and discuss how to reduce child maintenance payments to reflect these changes.

Of course, not all child maintenance payments go through the CMS. Some parents come to family-based arrangements, without involving anyone else.

What’s more, if the gross weekly income of the paying parent is more than £3,000, the day-to-day carer of the child could go to court to ask for additional child maintenance.

An appointment with a solicitor to discuss how to reduce child maintenance payments is advised if either of these scenarios applies to you.

 

How can our expert divorce solicitors help you to reduce child maintenance payments?

Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to how to reduce child maintenance payments, including:

 

Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on divorce

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email mail@austinkemp.co.uk.

Our expert family law solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP

Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL

Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

Please contact us for more details.

23rd October 2019

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