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A guide to child maintenance

Need help with child maintenance? Have an ex-partner refusing to pay? Graysons’ family law solicitors in Sheffield & Chesterfield answer your questions.

Last updated on May 20th, 2021 at 08:42 pm

What is child maintenance in the UK?

Child maintenance, sometimes referred to as child support, is designed to help cover the costs of raising a child when parents divorce. Payments are made by one parent to the parent who is the primary carer of the child to help with everyday living costs. Sorting out child maintenance payments, and agreeing on how much should be paid when can be stressful and time-consuming, especially at what is already likely to be an emotional and difficult time. 

At Graysons  our team of family law solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield can help you make child maintenance arrangements that are fair and reasonable for all parties concerned. They can also help change the terms of an existing child maintenance agreement, or help if your ex-partner refuses to make child maintenance payments. Our team of family law solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield will always work with your best interests in mind. Here, our experienced child maintenance solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield answer some of the most frequently asked questions about child maintenance. 

Who is entitled to child maintenance? 

The person who is the primary carer of a child is entitled to child maintenance. Usually, the primary carer is a parent, however, it can also include other family members, such as grandparents, or guardians. If you are a parent and do not live with your child, then you will need to pay child maintenance to your child’s primary carer. The payments are designed to cover everyday living costs for your child and can be arranged directly between parents. If you are trying to arrange a child maintenance payment, or wish to challenge your child maintenance payments, then you should seek the advice of an experienced child maintenance solicitor, such as Graysons’ family law solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield. 

How much child maintenance should I get?

The amount of child maintenance you will get will depend on the income of the parent who is making the payments. As well as income, several other factors will also be taken into consideration, including whether the paying parent is paying maintenance for any other children and how many children you have. Payments which are calculated by the Child Maintenance Service are set at 12 percent of the payee’s gross weekly income for one child, 16 percent of the payee’s weekly income for two children, and 19 percent of the payee’s gross weekly income for three or more children. Parents are free to make their own financial arrangements, typically known as a family based arrangement, for child maintenance. However, if they cannot agree, or an ex-partner refuses to make child maintenance payments, you will need to contact a child maintenance solicitor, such as Graysons’ team of child maintenance solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield, who will ensure regular payments are put in place and your best interests are protected. 

What should child maintenance payments be used for? 

Child maintenance payments are designed to cover everyday living expenses for the child. For example, this includes food, housing, and clothing. There is currently no law in place that states the primary carer must provide evidence of spending child maintenance solely on everyday living expenses for the child. If you are paying child maintenance and are concerned that it is not being spent on your child, or children, you should contact an experienced child maintenance solicitor. 

How do I start a child maintenance claim?

Your first step to establishing regular child maintenance payments is to try to make a family based arrangement with your ex-partner. If you are unable to come to an agreement, then you should contact a family law solicitor, such as the expert child maintenance solicitors at Graysons. 

How long do I have to pay child maintenance for? 

Child maintenance payments usually stop when children reach the age of 16. However, if the child is in full-time approved education, it may stay in place until they reach the age of 20. Other factors can also impact when child maintenance payments stop, including if a parent dies, if the parent that receives the child maintenance payments stops being the primary carer, or if there is a change in the  financial circumstances of the parent who makes the payments. If child custody arrangements change, or you are making payments and your finances change, a child maintenance solicitor, such as the team of family law experts at Graysons will be able to advise accordingly. 

My ex-partner refuses to pay me child maintenance, what should I do? 

If your ex-partner refuses to make child maintenance payments, you could contact a solicitor to help arrange child maintenance payments, such as Graysons’ team of family law solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield. A child maintenance solicitor will be able to offer expert guidance, while also giving you another line of communication with your ex-partner. If need be, they will be able to apply to the courts to put a child arrangement order in place. 

What is a child arrangement order?

A child arrangement order is a court order that states who the child (or children) should live with and what child maintenance should be paid. A child arrangement order is a last resort when parents cannot reach an agreement, either by themselves, or through mediation by an experienced child maintenance solicitor. If you need help with a child arrangement order, then contact Graysons’ team of family law solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield. A family law solicitor will be able to expertly guide you through the legal process and help ensure the very best outcome. 

Can I pay child maintenance direct to my child? 

Ordinarily child maintenance is paid directly to the primary carer. However, if you have a family based arrangement, you can make child maintenance payments directly to your child, but only if both parties agree. 

Do I have to pay tax on child maintenance? 

Tax relief is not available on child maintenance payments. If you are receiving child maintenance from an ex-partner, then these payments will not count towards income tax.

How can Graysons child maintenance solicitor in Sheffield help me?

Graysons’ experienced team of child maintenance solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield can help in all areas of child maintenance, whether you need help negotiating child maintenance with your ex-partner, wish to re-negotiate the terms of an existing child arrangement order, or need help as an ex-partner is refusing to make child maintenance payments. We will work with you to ensure the very best outcome. Contact our child maintenance solicitors today. 

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