Lead Forensics
Prettys Solicitors Ipswich

Family law

Child Maintenance

Prettys Solicitors of Ipswich and Chelmsford have extensive experience in arranging child maintenance agreements, and a family law solicitor from our team can advise you on these issues. Here are some of the questions which are most often asked.

We are separating; should my partner pay maintenance for our child?

S/he should, subject to how much income s/he has and dependent on the pattern of shared care, if your partner is the biological or adoptive parent of the child.  The nature of your relationship (i.e. marriage, living together, civil partnership) is irrelevant.

Can we agree child maintenance between us?

Yes.  If you can both agree a figure that works for the two of you there is no need to involve anyone else.  It might be a sensible idea to record the payments, for example, paying by standing order so that there is a clear record of what has been paid and when in case there should be a dispute in the future.

We can agree child maintenance but what is a reasonable sum?

The online calculator at https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-child-maintenance is a helpful free resource as a guide for parents who wish to check what amount is payable.  You will need to know the paying parent’s gross salary.

We cannot agree a figure; what should I do?

Consider our Talking Works discussive approach to resolving matters. Additionally, the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) replaces the Child Support Agency (CSA) and is the government’s child maintenance service for assessing, collecting and paying out child maintenance payments.  The role of the CMS is to make sure that parents who live apart from their children contribute towards their children’s upkeep. 

When does child maintenance start?

Child maintenance becomes payable as soon as you and your partner are living in separate households, unless you agree to start it earlier whilst arranging separate living. 

Is there a charge to use CMS?

The CMS charges a 20% collection fee to paying parents to use its facility and 4% collection fee to parents with care.  If parents are able to agree between them therefore there is a cost benefit to each. 

I am paying child maintenance and my new partner has children who live with us; is this taken into account?

The CMS will take into account arrangements where children live in your home, whether they are your partner’s children, or children you have subsequently had with a new partner.

I have children in more than one family; how is this allocated?

The CMS will apply one payment to the absent parent and divide it between the different families if you do not live with either family.

Do my overnight stays with my child get taken into account?

Credit can be applied to the paying parent’s payment depending on whether the child averages one, two or three overnight stays per week, which in turn reduces the amount of money received by the parent with care.

What should I do now?

If you want advice from a lawyer with expertise in separation agreements, get in touch with Prettys to speak to a family law solicitor from our team. We work with clients in Ipswich, Suffolk, Chelmsford, Essex and across East Anglia.

Call the Family Team on 01473 232121, click here to request a call back or e-mail us here.

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