When two individuals have a child, the law recognises that they must share financial responsibility for the child. Child maintenance refers to support payments that one parent makes to the other to help pay for the everyday living expenses that a child has. These payments are made by the parent who does not reside with the child to the parent responsible for providing daily care. The parent the child lives with is often called the resident parent while the parent who makes payments is commonly referred to as the non-resident parent.
Parents have the option of creating a private arrangement or going through the Child Support Agency (CSA). The CSA is usually a better option when parents have trouble communicating with each other or the non-resident parent is refusing to share in any of the financial costs of raising their child. For separated parents who get along well, want to keep things friendly, flexible and simple private agreements can work well.
The amount of maintenance that will have to be paid by the non-resident parent is calculated by reviewing a number of factors. The income of the resident and non-resident parent will factor into coming up with a reasonable payment amount. The non-resident parent will also have to consider their own costs of living expenses such as food and rent. If there are other children that the non-resident parent is required to pay for, this will also factor into the total. Also the number of nights per year spent by the children with the non-resident parent will be taken into account. The cost of private school tuition, clothing, food, treatment for a physical disability and other cost of living expenses for the child are also going to be considered.
Child maintenance is usually paid until a child turns 18 or the end of their full time tertiary education, whichever is later. Parents can arrange these payments to be paid once a week, once every two-weeks or once a month. Arrangements can be periodically reviewed and updated as needed.
For help with any divorce matters, please contact Neil Remnant on 01234 858000 (Bedford) or 01438 346032 (Stevenage).