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Child Law and Custody

Financial Provision for Children

When there are children involved in the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership, the court’s primary considerations are their welfare and needs. If one parent is taking the majority of the responsibility for the childcare, then the other parent must make payments towards the upkeep of the children. At Austin Kemp, we specialise in issues relating to child maintenance and financial provision for children.

Read our guide to divorce and children for even more information.

What happens if a parent doesn’t pay child maintenance?

If your ex-partner is refusing to pay child maintenance, then you can force them to do so. How you go about doing this depends on whether your child maintenance was included in your final order during your divorce, or whether you obtained your child maintenance through either the Child Support Agency or the Child Maintenance Service.

View our insights from our legal experts and find answers to commonly asked questions in our legal library for more information.

Child maintenance enforcement

If you obtained your order through court, and it is less than 12 months old, then you are able to enforce this order through court. However, if the order is more than 12 months old, then you’ll need to apply to the Child Support Agency or Child Maintenance Service. One of these agencies (which one you use will depend on a number of factors, including how many children you have) will assess the non-paying partner, and the amount of child maintenance originally decided in court is replaced by this assessment. Next, the Child Support Agency or Child Maintenance Service will enforce the child maintenance for you.

We’ve worked in child maintenance enforcement for years, and possess the knowledge and expertise to get you the result you want.

Variation of child financial provision

The Child Support Agency or Child Maintenance service calculates the amount of child support that a parent pays. The parent with the majority of childcare can apply for a larger amount of child maintenance than that calculated if the other parent has substantial assets or wealth. A larger amount of child maintenance can also be agreed during the divorce or civil partnership dissolution proceedings.

Sometimes, circumstances can change. The main carer who is receiving the child maintenance may need a larger amount of money, or the non-resident parent may no longer be able to pay the amount originally decided. If this is the case, then it is possible to vary the child maintenance.

Can all child financial orders be varied?

It is important to note that some child financial orders cannot be varied. These include lump sum orders, which aren’t paid in instalments, and transfer of property orders. Child financial provision orders that can be varied include orders that are larger than the normal Child Support Agency (or Child Maintenance Service) calculations, These include school fee orders and lump sum payments that are payable in instalments.

How long do variations of child financial provisions take?

A variation of a child financial order can be a relatively quick process if the initial negotiations are successful. Alternatively, it can take much longer if we need to take it to court.

Austin Kemp can help, whether you need us to argue your case in court or you just want advice as to the likelihood of your case standing up in court. We act quickly and effectively to make sure you get a fair and just outcome.

Why choose Austin Kemp?

We are family law experts, who specialise in divorce and separation and complex financial settlements. View our client success stories and read our client testimonials for more real-life examples of our quality performance and service. Read our story and contact our family solicitors for help with your case.

Specialists in child maintenance

Austin Kemp has a team of expert child maintenance solicitors who specialise in the enforcement of child maintenance orders. Many of our clients are high net worth individuals who have investments and assets not just in the United Kingdom, but all over the world. If you wish to enforce a child maintenance order, we are experienced in the court systems of both England and Wales. We also have experience working in court systems abroad, and are able to advise you of the best way to proceed. 

Alternatively, if you have been told that you’ve failed to comply with your child maintenance order, we can advise you of your options. If this is the case, it’s imperative that you seek independent legal advice with specialist solicitors such as Austin Kemp as soon as possible in order to best protect your assets and your freedom.

If your child maintenance order is under 12 months old and your previous partner will not cooperate, there are various enforcement methods available to you. These include a charging order (attempting to attach a charge against land), attachment of earnings (money can be deducted from the payer’s salary), a third-party debt order (attempting to seize money), warrants of possession or execution (seize goods or secure possession of premises) or petitioning for the debtor’s bankruptcy.

If the non-paying parent’s assets and wealth, or indeed themselves, are outside of the jurisdiction, then these methods will change. Austin Kemp are experienced in dealing with enforcement orders when the party who is not cooperating is outside of the jurisdiction, and can guide you through the process either in courts in England and Wales, or abroad.

The Child Support Agency will soon be replaced by the Child Maintenance Service. Both have different ways of calculating support, and which one you use will depend on a number of factors. Both of these agencies will enforce your child maintenance order on your behalf if it was undertaken through them. View more reasons why you should choose Austin Kemp.

Our child maintenance solicitors can help with financial provision variations

Our specialist solicitors are able to negotiate a variation of your child maintenance order with the other party’s solicitors on your behalf, whether you are the main carer or the non-resident parent. We are experienced in negotiating with the other party’s solicitors in order to avoid lengthy court battles. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, we have the necessary expertise to take your case to court. We particularly specialise in advising high net worth individuals, or ex-partners of high net worth individuals, who have assets and investments on an international scale.

We’ve had countless successful cases working with both parties – those looking to increase maintenance and those against the increase. If the main carer is bringing an unjust claim of child maintenance against you, we provide you with independent, expert legal advice to make sure your case has the best chance of standing up in court.

Contact us for child financial provision advice

It’s imperative that you seek legal advice as soon as possible if your previous partner is not complying with the child maintenance order or you yourself have been accused of failing to comply with the order. Austin Kemp has a vast range of experience in this highly complex and changing area of law. Find local family solicitors today.

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