Family Solicitor Bristol
Most couples that are looking to get divorced appreciate that they will need to reach an agreement on a range of financial issues. When there are children in the marriage, one of the more important matters to decide will be whether Child Support needs to be provided, and if so, how much.
Child Support is often called Child Maintenance and it’s a way to ensure that the non-custodial parent makes a financial contribution to the upbringing of their children, so that the children are not placed at a financial disadvantage because of the divorce. Child Maintenance is not dependant on any other agreement regarding the non-custodial parent’s Contact with their children, and even those parents who don’t see their children at all could still be required to pay Child Support.
Although it is preferable that the parents voluntarily agree on a level of Child Maintenance when they deal with the other financial arrangements that are part of a divorce, if an agreement can’t be reached it might be necessary for the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC) to get involved. Formerly known as the Child Support Agency (CSA), CMEC is responsible for ensuring that the level of Child Maintenance is appropriate, and that it’s being paid.
Child Maintenance will need to be paid until the child leaves full-time education, or they turn 17, whichever occurs last. For couples with young children this could mean that one parent will need to pay Child Support for a number of years. Therefore, if the parents reach a voluntary agreement about Child Maintenance, it should be an appropriate amount that can be sustained over the long term; and if the amount is decided by CMEC it needs to be fair and reasonable. If you are struggling with a Child Maintenance issue and need help from a Family Solicitor, Bristol Family Lawyers from our firm can provide advice and assistance.
How Child Maintenance is Calculated
There are many factors which determine the amount of Child Maintenance that will need to be paid. The number and age of the children, as well as any special requirements they may have, are taken into consideration, as is the financial standing of each parent, including their current assets, savings, income, and the financial support that is already being provided to the custodial household. If you want a more accurate assessment of the Child Maintenance amount you might be required to pay, click the link and visit the Government’s Child Maintenance Calculator, or get in touch with a Family Solicitor, Bristol Family Solicitors at our offices will be happy to help.
Review and Modification
If parents divorce when their children are still quite young, the initial amount of Child Support that’s agreed may need to be reviewed and modified at some point in the future. Parents income levels will no doubt change over time, as will the needs of the children as they grow up, and the costs associated with meeting these needs. In these circumstances, a modification may be needed. This is usually the case if the change in circumstances would mean an increase or decrease in the Child Maintenance amount of 10% or more.
In many cases changes to the Child Maintenance agreement can be made voluntarily by the parents, but in some cases the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission might need to get involved. If the non-custodial parent is required to pay Child Maintenance for a number of years, the original agreement may be reviewed and modified a number of times. If you need assistance from a Family Solicitor, Bristol Family Lawyers at our offices can provide advice about reviewing an existing Child Maintenance agreement.
Child Support Disputes
If you have been unable to reach a voluntary agreement with your former spouse about the amount of Child Support, and the matter is now being handled by CMEC, the non resident parent can sometimes feel as though what they ‘re expected to pay is too much; and the parent with care may feel as though they are not receiving enough.
Whether you feel that you can’t afford the Child Maintenance payments you ‘re expected to make, or that the money you ‘re receiving isn’t enough, the organisation that provides advice and information about CMEC and the Child Custody Act is called the National Association for Child Support Action (NACSA). Click the link for more details about NACSA, or talk to a Family Solicitor – Bristol Family Solicitors from our firm can provide all the advice and information you need about Child Maintenance.
Child Support can be a difficult issue to resolve, and you need to make sure you receive the best advice from a Family Solicitor. Bristol Family Solicitors at our offices can provide the necessary assistance within your budget.