Payment of child maintenance is important for parents who have responsibility for the day-to-day living costs of a child. The payments will help to provide food, clothing and accommodation as well as extra items such as trips and extracurricular activities. It can also help a parent who does not have the major caring role to stay involved in their child’s life.
At Braddon & Snow, our family team can advise you on the amount of child maintenance you may be entitled to receive or need to pay. We can also discuss other options with you, such as the payment of a lump sum for your child.
We are friendly and approachable and will be happy to help you deal with child maintenance issues so that you can put the right financial support in place for your family.
Our services in respect of child maintenance payments include the following:
- Discussing your situation and what you may be entitled to receive or required to pay
- Advising you and negotiating on your behalf to reach a private agreement over child maintenance payments
- Applications to the court for a consent order to make a private child maintenance agreement legally binding
- Advice in respect of using the Child Maintenance Service to arrange and collect maintenance
- Application to the court for child maintenance payments
- Advice on dealing with non-payment of child maintenance
We offer an initial appointment for £75 plus VAT so that you can outline your case and ask us any questions you may have. We can also give you an estimate of the likely costs.
We deal with all family issues during divorce and separation. For more information, see our services relating to children.
We have offices in Hoddesdon and Broxbourne and represent clients across Hertfordshire as well as further afield, including overseas. We can deal with communication in the way that best suits you, including via email and videoconferencing where this is preferred.
To speak to expert child maintenance lawyers, please feel free to get in touch:
For more information about our family law services, see divorce, separation and finances.
How we help you get the right child maintenance for your family
We will discuss your family and financial situation with you so that we can advise you as to what you can expect. Where possible, we will assist you in reaching an agreement with your child’s other parent. We can negotiate with their child support solicitors to see if a resolution can be found and, where necessary, support you through the mediation process.
Our family law principal is a member of Resolution, a family law group committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes. We always work to remove conflict and acrimony from the legal process, which is particularly important in cases involving children.
We will work with you to try and resolve issues in a constructive, non-confrontational way. As well as avoiding a relationship from deteriorating, this is also generally a quicker and more cost-effective way of dealing with matters.
If your case goes to court, we will ensure that a strong case is prepared on your behalf and that you have expert representation. We have wide experience in the area of child maintenance law and will provide the guidance and support that you need throughout.
Our child maintenance pricing
Fixed fee child maintenance
We may be able to take on certain aspects of your case on a fixed fee basis, for example, applying to the court for a consent order to make an agreement legally binding. This will give you some certainty as to the costs involved.
Hourly rates for child maintenance advice and representation
For other work, our solicitors who deal in child maintenance will charge an agreed hourly rate, providing you with an estimate of the likely costs. We will keep you updated as to expenditure so that you stay in control.
Child maintenance FAQs
Who can claim child maintenance?
The parent with the main everyday caring role for a child can claim child maintenance from the other parent when that parent does not live with the family.
Where a child’s main care is provided by someone who is not their parent, for example, a grandparent or guardian, they are also entitled to claim child maintenance from the child’s parent.
Child maintenance, also referred to as child support, can be claimed from a biological or adoptive parent, where that parent does not live with the child as part of their family.
How is child maintenance decided?
Child maintenance can be decided upon in three different ways.
The first method is a mutual agreement between the parents. The courts generally prefer that parents deal with issues relating to their children between themselves without the need for a hearing. Your solicitor will be able to suggest the level of payment that is reasonable and negotiate with your child’s other parent or their legal representative to reach a settlement.
The second way is through the government’s Child Maintenance Service (CMS). You can ask the service to work out how much child maintenance you should receive and then make arrangements with your child’s other parent for these to be paid to you. There is a fee for using this service. You can also ask the CMS to deal with payments through their ‘collect and pay’ service, for which there is a charge.
The final option is applying to the courts for an order for child maintenance. This option can be used where the other parent does not live in the UK or where their income exceeds £3,000 per week, and you wish to obtain more maintenance than you could through the CMS, which places a cap on the amount you can receive. You may also need to use the courts if you need extra money for your child, for example, because they have a disability or you need money for their education.
What can child maintenance cover?
Child maintenance is intended to cover a child’s reasonable everyday needs such as housing, food and clothes. Both parents have a financial obligation to the child, to pay for care, expenses and upbringing, in accordance with their means.
The CMS work out how much maintenance should be paid by a parent by looking at their annual gross income and applying one of four rates. Some of the parent’s other outgoings are taken into consideration, such as any other children they support and pension contributions they are making. The number of children is also taken into account, as is the number of nights the child or children spend with the parent who will be making the maintenance payments.
How long is child maintenance paid for?
Child maintenance is usually paid until a child is 16 or until they are 20 if they are in school or college full-time studying for A-levels or equivalent exams.
Can child maintenance be increased or decreased?
The CMS reviews a paying parent’s income and benefits each year to check whether there should be any change in the amount paid.
If you have made a private agreement between you and your child’s other parent, it is open to you to renegotiate this.
What can you do if a parent does not pay child maintenance?
If you have made private arrangements with your child’s other parent, you should try to discuss the situation with them and establish the reason for non-payment. If they continue to refuse to pay, you will need to ask the CMS to arrange child maintenance payments for you. They will not collect arrears, but if you advise them that your private agreement has failed, they will be able to deal with future payments.
If you dealt with maintenance payments through the CMS, you should advise them of the arrears. Your child’s other parent will be asked to pay all the money that is owed. If payment is still not made, the CMS can deal with payment by way of the Collect and Pay service.
You should make sure you keep the CMS up to date with what is happening and chase them regularly to ensure your case is dealt with.
Speak with our child maintenance solicitors in Hoddesdon & Broxbourne
For a friendly, informal discussion and child maintenance advice, please get in touch: