Breaking up is a hard and emotional experience, not just for the parties separating, but also for most vulnerable people involved in the relationship: the children. How do we go about securing arrangements for those that we care about the most? And how can we ensure that parents maintain a healthy relationship with their children, despite them separating or divorcing?

In the chaos of a break-up, establishing regular contact and payments for children is often brushed aside, decided on a whimsical basis or agreed informally between the parents. However, over time, private arrangements are easily forgotten or manipulated, until contact and payments reduce to being spasmodic before ceasing altogether. According to findings in a government survey, a third of applications to the Statutory Child Maintenance Service were done so after private arrangements broke down.

Protecting your children should be at the forefront of our minds and to do this, solid maintenance arrangements must be made. But what help is there for ex-partner parents?

The government has invested £20 million on a Child Maintenance Service that will replace the Child Support Agency, providing efficient calculations for child maintenance and monitor required payments. This new and improved service will bring positive changes that, according to the minister, will encourage families to ‘communicate better, work together and support their children’.

One change involves the ‘Gross Income Regime’, whereby non-resident parents earning less than £800 per week must pay 12% to 19% of their total income as child maintenance, depending on the number of children, whilst those earning up to £3,000 per week pay 9%-15% of their income. This amount is reviewed annually and based on the non-resident parent’s historic income by relying on self-assessment tax returns or information provided to the HMRC, therefore hopefully encouraging more realistic and manageable child maintenance payments.

There is also a ‘top-up award’ applicable to non-resident parents earning over £156,000 gross, and an increase of a child’s age limit for maintenance to 20 years old. This system also enables payments to be deducted automatically from the non-resident parent’s salary if they have made infrequent or erratic payments, thus ensuring that the child in need receives their financial requirements on a consistent and regular basis.

Whilst the new service is largely considered to be an improvement to the legal structure of child maintenance, certain changes are questionable and could potentially make it more difficult for resident parents to get the maintenance due. Such changes include an upfront fee of £20 to apply to the service, a 4% charge by the service for every payment collected and an extra 20% added on to the total amount for payments that have been deemed ‘unlikely to be paid’.

According to the work and pensions Minister, Steve Webb, the charges are designed to encourage families to ‘come to their own flexible arrangements for children’, rather than relying on legal services and structures to make decisions for them. But are such financial service charges, joining fees and add-ons only withholding funds from children?

The government’s idea of allowing couples to make arrangements between themselves with no legal supervision or structure is somewhat optimistic in the light of experience referred to earlier.

If one parent is not living up his or her financial responsibilities for their child, it seems odd that the other parent should, quite literally, have to pay the consequences.

 

Got a question? Ask us now…

Kindly complete the form below to send an enquiry. Your message will be sent to one of our solicitors. Discretion is guaranteed.

Your Information

  • Consider including information such as: the name of your spouse (if relevant), the country you live in, the background to your problem.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Over 2000 FREE
consultations and counting…

Our free consultation can help you more clearly understand the legal issues relating your case and what your options are to move forward.

Request your free consultation

Or send us an enquiry

I had a 30-minute consultation with Samantha Jago where she clearly explained all my options and followed up with a detailed email of notes. I would highly recommend if you need help to clarify where you stand and getting options for how you move forward.

Jun 2024   Katherine Davey

I recently had a one hour pro bono consultation with Samantha Jago. I was really blown away by how much she was able to digest in such a short period of time and even more so by the report which I received shortly after.

Apr 2024   S DF

I had applied for a free consultation and I was contacted in a very short timeframe. Thank you so much for the insightful and thorough consultation, Kevin Danagher. You made me feel at ease and you provided clear expectations with the initial info I had provided... I have now a much better understanding on my query.

Feb 2024   Sonia Accardi

We had a very useful first consultation with Amber Matheson today. Amber took the time to understand our (somewhat complicated) set-up, and offered good, understandable advice on next steps. She followed up with a very thorough email clarifying what we had discussed. Highly recommended.

Feb 2024   Lucie

Lovely friendly experience. All questions were answered so that I understood completely.

Dec 2023   Ali Catlin

Very balanced, fair and pragmatic advice. Thoroughly recommend!!

Nov 2023   James Elliott

Henry graciously provided his time for a consultation. I found him to be highly knowledgeable, empathetic and he provided excellent advice which put my mind at ease. Would highly recommend Henry and his firm.

Oct 2023   Allan Ang

Henry Brookman went above and beyond during the free consultation, and even overran the allocated time. He provided invaluable professional advice in a courteous manner. I recommend his firm without reservation.

Sep 2023   Mario Ignatov

I only had my initial free review with Amelia yet I already feel much more strengthened in my legal and financial position. I am currently reflecting on the steps I want to take to negotiate my desired outcome of the financial settlement but, when I am ready to use the services of a lawyer, Amelia is definitely the top on my list.

Sep 2023   Nahid Toubia

I had a zoom consultation with Lauren Moir and she was incredible. Very patient, insightful and reassuring. She also advised me based on my previous conversations with another firm and also clarified various positions I am in. Highly recommend.

Aug 2023   Gary Hawes

I was very impressed with the friendly, helpful and professional service offered by Brookman Solicitors. The generous advice and knowledge offered during the initial free consultation has enabled us to have a much better understanding of our case and plan a way forward.

Jul 2023   Peter Jackson

I had a first consultation with Kevin, who very diligently and professionally provided an exhaustive overview of the divorce process and the best approach for my specific case.

Jul 2023   Giulia Matteo

Great service and excellent advice at the initial consultation. I would certainly recommend and use in the future.

Jul 2023   Tom James

Google Reviews
Ask A Question

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Enquire Now

Or call us on +44 (0)20 7430 8470