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Making private arrangements for child maintenance

May 19, 2016  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

child based divorce

Child maintenance is the regular payment of financial support to a child or children’s primary caregiver (eg: the parent or guardian they live with for the majority of the time) by the non-residential caregiver. Some parents negotiate child maintenance through the family courts as part of a financial settlement, or use the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to claim statutory child maintenance when communication between parents is difficult. However, it’s also possible to arrange child maintenance privately between you and your ex, with the professional guidance of a family law solicitor.

Making private arrangements for child maintenance will require trust, cooperation and collaboration – which is why it is extremely helpful to have the objective support of a solicitor to help you to find a beneficial solution that’s right for your circumstances. If you’re using mediation or collaborative family law as a method of separation, it’s a good idea to include child maintenance in the process rather than having to sort it out afterwards.

The first step to arranging child maintenance privately is to work out what financial assistance your children will need while they are dependents. The needs of a toddler will vary vastly from the needs of a teen, for example. On a basic level, maintenance is likely to include support for the main caregiver in terms of rent or mortgage payments, contributions to bills and the cost of food, clothes and other necessities. You may also wish to include childcare costs, travel costs, or a contingency fund for school trips and personal items.

The amount the non-resident parent pays can be calculated according to their income and assets, the requirements and ages of the children, and the amount of time each parent spends with the children.  Privately-arranged child maintenance might consist of a lump sum, a regular payment, or a percentage of income. Each individual case will need careful and personalised consideration, which is why having a solicitor’s assistance is so valuable.

Once you have agreed on an amount and schedule for child maintenance, have your agreement put in writing and signed by both parties. While a private arrangement like this will not be legally binding, having the details set out in a signed document will provide evidence of your intentions should you need to seek further legal action at a later date. It’s also a good idea to revisit and revise the agreement every year, or following any major changes to your circumstances, as your children’s needs will alter as they grow.

For further guidance on arranging private child maintenance, get in touch with your family law solicitor, or visit the Child Maintenance Options website for more information. You can also use the Child Maintenance Calculator to determine how much you might be expected to pay/receive. Or speak to a family law solicitor at Frances Lindsay & Co for more information on separation, mediation and divorce.

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