When child maintenance payments are disputed

Date: December 4th, 2015 - Written by: Brookman Solicitors

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Brookman appeared in The Independent on Sunday recently, discussing a number of issues surrounding non-payment of child maintenance.

“There are a number of reasons why a non-resident party may not maintain regular payments”, explains associate partner, Aziz Malik. “These can range from the knowledge that the resident parent is perfectly able to cope financially without them, to the misconception that if they don’t see the children, then they don’t have to pay”.

Normally, the non-resident parent is expected to pay around 15 percent of their net salary for the welfare of one child, rising by five percent for each additional child. This can of course cause problems when that parent is self-employed and so is not guaranteed a regular income.

So long as both parents are resident in the UK, either one can apply to the Child Maintenance Service if a mutual agreement cannot be reached. It will then be up to the CMS to calculate what it feels to be a fair monthly amount and if necessary, secure regular payments by way of an attachment of earnings. Unfortunately, parents must be made aware that the CMS will also take its own share for its efforts.

Although the majority of non-resident parents recognise and uphold their financial responsibility, Brookman has experienced any number of excuses over the years, from bankruptcy to living abroad and thus being excluded from English family law. In every instance however, the court rightly considers the welfare of a child to be paramount and will take measures to ensure that he or she is financially cared for, regardless of the outcome. Arguments regarding what happened during the marriage or partnership, who was to blame for its breakdown and whether or not the non-resident parent regularly sees the child or children in question do not have any bearing on the financial welfare of the minor.

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