Introduction to child financial provision upon relationship breakdown for unmarried couples
In the event of 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 maintenance of the children. As unmarried couples do not have the same legal obligations to one another as their married counterparts, in the vast majority of cases the separation of their financial affairs is more straightforward. They do not have the same opportunity as divorcing couples to assess the financial needs of the children. We suggest that unmarried parents also review our guide to finances upon breakdown of cohabitation. It is common that the parents will come to an informal agreement between themselves regarding child maintenance. This is frequently based around the standard calculations that the Child Support Agency (‘CSA’) carries out. The CSA is in the process of being replaced by the Child Maintenance Service (‘CMS’). The CSA base their standard calculations on the non-resident parent’s net income, whereas the CMS will base their calculations on the non-resident parent’s gross income. If parents are unable to come to an agreement, and both reside within the jurisdiction of England and Wales, then the main carer can contact the CSA or the CMS who will administer the payment of child maintenance. The body that 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. In the event that either parent lives outside the jurisdiction then the main carer will not be able to apply to the CSA/CMS, and the court will instead have jurisdiction to deal with the issue of child maintenance. For more details please see our guide to child financial provision upon relationship breakdown for unmarried couples.
How Vardags can help with child financial provision upon relationship breakdown for unmarried couples
We are often approached by clients who find themselves in financial difficulty after their separation, in particular following the withdrawal of financial support from their wealthier partner. Whilst there is a minimum level of financial provision that must be made by a non-resident parent for the benefit of children under CSA and CMS regulations, this is the most basic level of provision. Typically, our services are required to argue the extent to which 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. Generally, where the parties are married and there are proceedings to determine the finances, the child maintenance will be dealt with by the court as part of those proceedings. We have a great deal of experience in this area and in getting the very best deal for our clients.
We obtained the highest ever level of interim child maintenance for a client in a recent case, at a level of many hundreds of thousands of pounds per year. We are also experienced in defending unreasonable and unjustified claims against our clients in order to reach a sensible, rather than opportunistic, level of financial provision for children. Therefore, whether you require our expert advice and/or representation as to what will constitute a reasonable and realistic level of financial support or wish to make a claim for such support, we are ready to act at the shortest of notice. We can also act on an emergency basis where the most time critical of issues arise or more usually within the negotiations and court process of divorce, civil partnership dissolution or cohabitation breakdown.
The first step is to arrange a meeting with one of our solicitors. Therefore, please call us on 020 7404 9390 or email us to make an appointment to come and see us.