Family Law Guide

Guide to child financial provision upon marriage breakdown

Guide to child financial provision upon marriage breakdown

In the event of married parties separating and leaving the majority of the responsibility of childcare with one parent, the other parent is required to make regular financial provision towards the maintenances of the children.  As part of the financial arrangements upon divorce the court’s first consideration will be to the welfare and needs of any children of the family.  The parent with whom the children do not ordinarily live is required to pay.

Generally, where there are proceedings to determine the finances upon divorce, the court will deal with child maintenance at the same time.  This is particularly the case when it is put forward as appropriate that the less wealthy party should receive child maintenance over and above the minimum level required in view of the other’s wealth, and in some of the nuances to the most basic scenario such as provision of funding for private school fees, extended educational provision through tertiary education and provision for adult children with special needs.

Less usually, the parent with care will make an application for an assessment to the Child Support Agency (CSA), soon to be replaced by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). However neither of these organisations will have jurisdiction to make such an assessment where the non resident partner is resident abroad.

The CSA base their standard calculations on the non-resident parent’s net income whereas the CMS base their calculations on the non-resident parent’s gross income. The parent who claims the child benefit will generally be considered to be the primary carer and can contact the CSA or CMS to make a claim.  Which body deals with your case will depend on how many children you have and when you make your claim.  Eventually all claims will be handled by the CMS.  Both bodies have the ability to recover the money on your behalf by taking the payments directly out of the other parent’s income if necessary.

The CSA and CMS calculate the very minimum level of maintenance to be paid by the non-resident parent to the parent with care of a child. A child for the purposes of child maintenance is someone aged under 16, or under 19 and in full-time secondary education.  The CSA or CMS will also apply a discount to the paying parent’s liability depending on how many nights of the week they have overnight contact.

If you are interested in discussing child financial provision upon marriage breakdown please see How Vardags can help with child financial provision upon marriage breakdown.