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Child maintenance

If the paying parent's income is less than £3,000 per week, then it is unlikely that the family court will have the power to make a child maintenance order, at least not without the consent of both you and the child’s other parent.

You can either reach agreement with the other parent on the amount of maintenance to be paid on a voluntary basis or we can prepare a deed of child maintenance for you if you would like the agreement to be more formal. You can complete the online child maintenance calculator from GOV.UK to find out what amount you might be required to pay if the Child Maintenance Service were to carry out an assessment.

The Child Maintenance Service took over responsibility from the Child Support Agency from November 2013 and its formula is different. One of five rates will be applied, based on the gross weekly income of the paying parent:

Gross weekly income

Rate

Below £7
Nil
£7 – £100, or if paying parent gets benefits
Flat
£100.01 – £199.99
Reduced
£200 – £800
Basic
£800.01 – £3,000
Basic plus

Most assessments will fall within the basic rate where gross annual incomes are between £10,400 and £41,600.  A basic plus rate will apply to additional income.

The amount of gross weekly income to be paid is now:

12% for one child

16% for two children

19% for three or more children

Gross income is defined as the paying parent’s annual income before income tax and national insurance deductions but after occupational or personal pension scheme contributions have been deducted, converted into a weekly figure.  The CMS uses the latest information held by HMRC in its calculations.

The same shared care principles apply as with the Child Support Agency, as follows:

Number of nights per annum

Reduction in child maintenance

52 – 103 nights
1/7th
104 – 155
2/7ths
156 – 174
3/7ths
More than 175 nights
half (50%) plus an extra £7 a week reduction for each child in this band

 Fees and charges

On 30 June 2014, the Child Maintenance Service introduced a one-off fee of £20 to apply for an assessment.

If you use direct pay, there will not be any further fees unless you need to apply for enforcement for non-payment.

If you use the collect and pay service, the CMS will charge an additional 20% of the assessment to the paying parent and will deduct 4% from the assessment due to the receiving parent.  For example, if the assessment is £100 per week, the absent parent pays £120 and the parent with care receives £96.  The CMS retains £24 as their collect and pay charges.

The above is just a brief overview of the child maintenance calculation.  There are other factors which can be taken into account, such as if the paying parent has other dependent children in his/her care or is paying maintenance to a different parent for another child.  You may also want the CMS to consider additional income such as from dividends, interest on savings/investments or diversions of income.

If you have any queries regarding child maintenance issues or would like a Deed of Child Maintenance preparing, please contact us.

 

 

 

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