Financial provision for children is very crucial, particularly in cases of separation, divorce, or where there has been a breakdown of a relationship.
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When both parents provide financial support for their children, it ensures they receive adequate support, which includes: health, education, and general upkeep.
Read on to learn the legal definition of “child maintenance,” its significance, and the avenues that exist in England and Wales.
Child support, which is given to the parent with whom the child spends the majority of their time, is money given to one parent for the benefit of the other. Child maintenance is also referred to as “child support,” and it is mostly paid periodically.
Various factors affect the amount to be paid, such as the number of children involved, the income, living expenses of both parents, and the number of nights the child spends with each parent.
The payment is made either directly to the parent or to government agencies responsible for distributing and collecting child support. The payment is made regularly, either weekly or monthly.
Child maintenance is very important for a child’s well-being and cannot be underestimated. By ensuring that the parent with care receives financial support, child maintenance enables them to fulfil their child’s requirements without facing excessive financial difficulties.
It is also essential to ensure both parents take responsibility for the upbringing of their children, regardless of their living conditions. It also ensures that child poverty is reduced, as the support received goes towards the necessities for a child, including food, clothing, and shelter.
When both parents take an active role in bringing up their child, this promotes a positive co-parenting relationship and is also important for the child’s emotional well-being as they feel more secure and loved when both parents take the responsibility to bring them up.
There are different legal options available to help secure child maintenance in England and Wales. The most common options include:
This involves both parents agreeing on the amount and frequency of the child maintenance payments. They are very straightforward, and payments are made directly to the parent with care.
Private arrangements can be formal or informal, depending on the level of trust between the parents. Informal arrangements are not legally binding, but if the parents are on good communication terms, that might work for ensuring the child’s needs are met.
Formal arrangements can be enforceable by law by drafting a voluntary agreement or a consent order, which is then approved by the court. It obliges non-resident parents to pay the maintenance, and if they fail to do so, legal action may be taken against them.
This is a free service that is available to anyone who needs help securing child maintenance funds. The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is a government agency responsible for collecting and distributing child maintenance payments.
Using the income of the parent who doesn’t live with the child and other relevant factors, the appropriate amount of child maintenance that must be paid can be determined by the child maintenance service.
Child support obligations must continue until the child reaches the age of 16. However, if the child is in “approved education or training,” the payment may continue until the age of 20. Having the right legal representation can ensure that both parties don’t hide money they should provide for child support.
Subsequently, the money could be carefully taken out of the non-resident parent’s bank account or pay cheque before being given to them. The CMS can also enforce payment if the non-resident parent fails to pay, including taking legal action and deducting the payment from their benefits.
When parents cannot agree on payments through the CMS or using a private agreement, the parent with care can seek a court order for the upkeep of the child.
This entails requesting a maintenance order from the tribunal. This is allowed by Schedule 1 of the Children Act of 1989. When maintenance orders have been applied, it sets out the amount and frequency of child maintenance payable by the non-resident parent.
The court employs the CMS formula, which remains in use, to determine child support payments. This formula calculates the amount based on a percentage of the weekly gross salary of the paying parent, which ranges from £200 to £3,000 per week. The amount for two kids is 16 percent, while the cost for one child is 12 percent.
Courts can also make temporary orders before the final decision is reached. When making maintenance orders, the courts consider various factors, including the income and living expenses of both parents, the number of children in question, and the child’s necessities.
The non-resident parent has a legal responsibility to pay the amount stated in the maintenance order. Failure to comply can lead to legal action being taken against them. Furthermore, the court may issue enforcement orders, compelling the non-resident parent to pay any remaining child maintenance or face legal penalties.
The court can issue various orders, including for periodic payments, property transfers or settlements, and lump sums. Periodical payments are only made when the Child Maintenance Service has no jurisdiction and must end with the death of the paying parent or if the applicant and respondent parent live together for at least six months.
A property It is possible to get a transfer or settlement order for the benefit of the child, which must be returned to the paying parent when the child reaches adulthood, typically at the age of 21. A parent with care can apply for lump sums.
Lump sums are used to cover expenses like furnishing a child’s room, transportation, or a computer that are not expected to be reimbursed by the paying parent. The paying parent is entitled to prove that the lump sum was used for the benefit of the child, particularly if it was intended to be used for household expenses.
Children with disabilities may require extra care and incur additional expenses, such as medical treatment, therapy, assistive equipment, and home modifications. The non-resident parent is obligated to contribute to these costs, and the amount of child maintenance payable may be modified to reflect this.
Additionally, the parent providing care may be eligible for disability-related benefits or tax credits to supplement their income. It is recommended to seek legal guidance to ensure that all potential financial aid options are considered.
When calculating child maintenance for a child with disabilities, there are several additional factors to consider, such as:
It is essential to consider these factors, to ensure a reasonable amount of child maintenance is paid.
So, you might be wondering why you need assistance from the legal experts at Austin Kemp. Ordinarily, divorce proceedings and court hearings may take up to one year for a final decision to be made. During such proceedings, any parent can be overwhelmed as they try to juggle the tough decisions and find the best ways forward.
Austin Kemp can ensure that you receive expert and experienced assistance throughout your child maintenance claim. Reach out to Austin Kemp Solicitors for help that will ensure you get a fair divorce settlement as well as sound financial provision for children.Get In Touch
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