When facing divorce from a partner, finances can become a massive concern, especially when you have children involved.
Child maintenance comes into play when one of the children’s parents no longer lives with them.
Arranging child maintenance between you and your ex can improve your child’s overall wellbeing and keep the family relationships in a positive communicative space. That’s why it’s important to get a good grasp on what child maintenance is and how to arrange it.
What is Child Maintenance?
Child maintenance is the regular financial support that helps with day-to-day costs involved with raising children. If your child is under the age of 18 and if they are in full time education lower than A-Level, they are eligible to receive child maintenance.
Both parents, divorced or separated, are legally responsible for the financial costs of their child. You’ll be wanting your child’s lifestyle and general welfare to continue even with the change in circumstance.
What are the different arrangements for child maintenance?
There are three types of arrangement you can choose from. Your circumstance will ultimately determine which option you go with.
A family arrangement is where the two parties agree on a maintenance arrangement privately outside of the court or a CMS (Child Maintenance Service). It is legal to discuss and agree on an arrangement outside of the court but we always recommend having the agreement put into writing so that both parties are clear of the expectations of the maintenance arrangement and so there are no grey areas.
A consent order means a court has ruled the maintenance agreement. A consent order is reached by submitting this form with help from your solicitor. Your solicitor can assist you with filling it correctly. Both parents will have to agree on an amount of maintenance which is fair and justified against the amount of earnings on both sides.
If you’d like advice on how this figure is worked out, get in touch and we’ll discuss what a fair amount should look like for you and your child.
Both parties will have to consent to the amount so seeking legal advice at this stage could be of great benefit. Speak to one of our highly experienced lawyers at Bromfield today.
Can I write my own consent order?
For the Judge to grant your order, you must have the consent order professionally drafted up by a solicitor. However, you can file a consent order on your own.
Filing a consent order is essentially submitting the initial application. Granting the order means the court has agreed with the application and the consent order must be carried out.
How much does a consent order cost?
There are some legal fees you’ll have to foot if you are submitting the consent order. These are
- Form submission/ Court fees (£53 approx)
- Solicitors (can cost anywhere between £700-£2000 approx)
- Mediators (registered mediators can cost between £100-£170)
Child Maintenance Service
CMS’s are private companies who assist parents without a consent order or family arrangement in place. Child maintenance services also lend themselves to helping those who are struggling to fulfil their agreement or those who are not compliant.
Fees for using the services of Child Maintenance Service vary depending on the service and provider you use.
CMS’s offer payment arrangements such as ‘direct pay’ and ‘collect and pay’ on your behalf.
How much child maintenance should I get?
Knowing how much you and your child are entitled to in child maintenance should be at the top of your priority list. Seeking the help and advice of a qualified solicitor could help illuminate any confusion over what you’re entitled to.
As a standard rate we can see the percentage a parent is expected to pay per child here-
- One child = 12% of your gross weekly income
- Two children = 16% of your gross weekly income
- Three or more children = 19% of your gross weekly income
Check out the .gov child maintenance calculator to get a more accurate look at the amount either you or your ex partner should pay.
My ex isn’t paying child maintenance
You may have taken all the right steps to arrange your consent order for your child’s maintenance with your ex partner but now they won’t or aren’t able to reach the payments. Here are the steps to take to Enforce an Order
- Consult your solicitor. We’re here to help when arrangements aren’t met and Bromfield will make sure your situation is being dealt with.
- Report the breach. Fill in form C79 to start the application for the court to enforce the child arrangements order.
- Send to the nearest court to you that deals with cases involving children.
- The cost of submitting this form is £232
We are proud to offer affordable legal advice and assistance. We appreciate that everyone has different financial situations and fixed fee options are available. Contact us by email or call us on either Nuneaton: 024 7638 2343 or Warwick: 01926 702 702