In this insight, we will help you to discover how to reduce child maintenance payments and in what circumstances this may be appropriate.
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.
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:
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.
Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to how to reduce child maintenance payments, including:
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