Child maintenance is a key issue for many parents who are getting divorced or separating, as it relates to financial support towards a child’s everyday living costs, after two parents have separated.
Understandably this is a key concern for parents who are getting divorced or separating, as the welfare of their children is paramount and can stir up many emotions.
Child maintenance helps to cover important day to day costs for children such as food, clothing, housing costs, and other essentials.
It usually takes the form of regular amounts of money being paid to the parent who cares for the child most of the time. It is designed to make sure both parents contribute to the child’s upbringing when they live apart.
Under the laws relating to child support, the court is not able to make an order for child maintenance other than by consent (agreement). So, if the parent’s divorce or separation is amicable, and communication between the two parents is good, then some parents should be able to agree a sum for maintenance between themselves.
However, court orders by consent made as a result of a divorce are only binding for one year, after which point either parent can apply to have the amount reassessed by the Child Maintenance Service.
In the event that the relationship between the two parents has broken down and agreement can’t be reached about child maintenance (for example how much will be paid and how) a family law solicitor specialising in this area of law should be consulted.
How is Child Maintenance Calculated?
Child maintenance is calculated using a formula determined by the Child Maintenance Service and is based on numerous factors including:
- a percentage of the non-resident parent’s income, depending on the number of children they have to support
- the number of nights per week, averaged over a year, that the child or children stay with the paying parent, and
- the number of children the paying parent has in their own household or if they are paying child support to more than one other parent
However, there are many variables that will determine how much should be paid and so parents who are getting divorced or separating (together with their family law solicitors) are encouraged to use an online calculator to work out the correct figure.
Child Maintenance Calculator
Family Law Partners created their own Child Maintenance Calculator because its family law experts felt there were problems with the Government’s own tool.
The Family Law Partners calculator helps parents who are separating or divorcing to work out their child maintenance calculation. It has the following features:
- Easy-capture, easy share – you can share the calculation easily with your co-parent
- More accurate- it asks for more information that the CMS calculator and therefore gives a more accurate calculation for both parents
- PDF export – you can send the calculation directly to your own inbox, as well as to a third party such as your family lawyer or mediator
- Mobile and tablet-friendly – unlike the CMS calculator, it can be used across multiple devices