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Child Support Law and Parental Responsibility

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 7 Dec 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Parental Responsibilities Law Child

Parental responsibility refers to the rights and privileges that unite the relationship between a parent and their child. This can also apply to any significant adult that plays an influential part in the child’s life.

EU Law And Parents

The European Union (EU) recognises the importance of Family Law and has rules on the jurisdiction of the enforcement of parental responsibility. This enforcement is recognised by uniform procedure that ensures the courts in the child’s resident state has the jurisdiction to rule on parental responsibility.

As part of the EU’s policies parental responsibility ensures the child has the right to maintain contact with both parents, regardless of where they live within the EU member states. The enforcement of access rights also seeks to prevent child abduction within the European Union.

Parental Responsibility In The UK

Under English law parents are responsible for upholding all the duties, powers, rights, authority and responsibilities in relation to their child. If the mother and father are married, at the time of the child’s birth, they share parental responsibility. However, if the parents are unmarried parental responsibility is given to the child’s mother, unless the child is the subject of an Adoption Order.

A civil partner can acquire parental responsibility, provided the other partner is in agreement with this arrangement. Parental responsibility must also be put in writing, in the case of a step-parent. A legal guardian may also be responsible along with someone who has a residence order stating that the child must live with them.

Parents And Child Support

Parental responsibility extends to providing a comfortable environment in which a child can be supported through childhood. Providing suitable shelter, clothing, food and educational items is also the parent’s duty.

In the case of families that are separated by divorce, legal separation or lone parents with absent fathers providing assistance, the form of a maintenance payment can help reduce the financial pressures of child-rearing.

Separated parents are legally duty bound to ensure their child, or children, are properly looked after. Parents with care, of the child, may experience difficulties in financially supporting the child on their own. Child support laws in the UK therefore obligate a non resident parent to pay a periodic amount of maintenance in order to provide financial assistance for the child in their home environment.

The Child Support Agency (CSA) and Child Maintenence Service (CMS) provides parents with care with a maintenance collection and distribution service that also assists with tracing absent parents.

In practice sharing parental responsibility means that adults must put the child’s interests first in any situation. A parental responsible person must do what is reasonable in any circumstance for the purpose of safeguarding the child’s welfare. This also means promoting and maintaining a safe, welcoming environment for the child to live in.

Shared Responsibilities

Sharing parental responsibilities requires that both parents consult on matters of importance that concern their child, regardless of their own relationship with each other. Understanding that the child’s welfare comes first is of paramount importance.

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Steve - Your Question:
A friend of mine has just discovered he has a 19 year old daughter. He has never paid any child maintenance. What happens in a situation like this?

Our Response:
If the mother has never claimed child maintenance from him via CSA/CMS, then nothing will happen with regards to a retrospective child maintenance claim, unless of course your friend knew a claim was made and tried to avoid it. With regards to current circumstances, the mother may be able to claim if the daughter is in full-time government approved education not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week, then maintenance payments can be claimed until the child finishes the course or until they turn 20.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Dec-17 @ 3:27 PM
A friend of mine has just discovered he has a 19 year old daughter. He has never paid any child maintenance. What happens in a situation like this?
Steve - 7-Dec-17 @ 9:47 AM
MOL - Your Question:
Hi my partners has a 3 year old son he has never been aloud to see as the mother of the son won't allow him, he isn't on the birth certificate or has my partners last name. But csa demand he pays child maintenance. The mother of the child has also said on a number of times that my partner isn't the childs father, but child maintenance only seem interested in getting money off my partner and not getting this sorted. Is there anything we can do?

Our Response:
If your partner's ex has named him as the father, then he is deemed by law to be responsible towards the financial upkeep of his child, regardless of whether he sees his child or not. If he feels he may not be the father of the child, he would have to challenge this by requesting a DNA test is done, please see link here. CMS may or may not insist he continues to pay child maintenance until the test results are confirmed. However, if he chooses not to, then he may have to pay arrears if the test shows he is the father. Access to see his child is a different issue. If he wishes to apply and his ex will not allow him to see his child, or resolve a dispute via mediation, then he can apply to court, for access and parental responsibility (if he chooses). As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Nov-17 @ 12:55 PM
hi my partners has a 3 year old son he has never been aloud to see as the mother of the son won't allow him, he isn't on the birth certificate or has my partners last name. But csa demand he pays child maintenance. The mother of the child has also said on a number of times that my partner isn't the childs father, but child maintenance only seem interested in getting money off my partner and not getting this sorted. Is there anything we can do?
MOL - 17-Nov-17 @ 11:47 AM
Dbritton - Your Question:
I have received a letter from CSA informing me that my legal responsibility to them has finished.Am I still obligated by law to pay the mother any payments.

Our Response:
Much depends upon how old your child is and whether you are deemed still responsible for paying child maintenance. Every parent has the basic responsibility to provide for their child up until the age of 16, when they are legally allowed to leave school and get a job. After this age, it depends what your child chooses to do. If they continue in full-time non-advanced education, not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week, then your maintenance payments will continue until your child finishes the course or until they turn 20. If you are still responsible for paying for your child, you and the other parent can either agree a family-based arrangement or apply cia CMS, which has taken over from CSA, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Nov-17 @ 11:02 AM
I have received a letter from CSA informing me that my legal responsibility to them has finished. Am I still obligated by law to pay the mother any payments.
Dbritton - 16-Nov-17 @ 2:15 PM
El - Your Question:
My sons father has been absent since his first birthday no contact off him whatsoever in 2years he claims not to work to not be able to pay child maintenance but I know he works and claims not to to avoid paying tax and for 2 other children he's fathered also he is with a girl that caused alot of trouble for me and my kids for a year after he walked out so contact would be a no after this as she is dangerous could I have parental responsibility removed from him as he will not pay and does not want contact.

Our Response:
Only in very rare cases will a court rule to remove parental responsibility and only a court can decide. As a rule, because your ex doesn't have contact or doesn't pay is not a good enough reason. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.Therefore, you would have to seek legal advice to see whether you have a case to answer.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Nov-17 @ 3:56 PM
My sons father has been absent since his first birthday no contact off him whatsoever in 2years he claims not to work to not be able to pay child maintenance but I know he works and claims not to to avoid paying tax and for 2 other children he's fathered also he is with a girl that caused alot of trouble for me and my kids for a year after he walked out so contact would be a no after this as she is dangerous could I have parental responsibility removed from him as he will not pay and does not want contact.
El - 11-Nov-17 @ 8:18 PM
My partner has 2 children that he has not seen for 8 years as their mother has stopped him having contact. He has just received a letter from social services to say that their mums new husband wants to adopt them both and change their names. My partner currently pays a large sum of money each month through child maintenance. If he went ahead with the adoption would he still continue to pay maintenance?
AnnaD - 10-Nov-17 @ 5:42 PM
Lou - Your Question:
My 17 year old daughter has left the family home which she shared with me and her Step Dad and siblings. We are distraught at what has happened but it seems we have no legal powers to intervene to get her back home so she is safe and well. She is at risk of getting chucked off her College course as she never shows up and her Dad (who she has gone to live with) doesn't have her best interests at heart and letting her run riot, what she is doing is horrifying to us and very distressing. As she was born in 2000 and me and her Dad were never married, is it true I don't have to pay child maintenance to him? My train of thought is he won't pay to keep her, never has, so if he can't claim money off us he may send her back home? This may provide us some leverage, I can't seem to get clarification anywhere. Thank you

Our Response:
If your daughter is living with your ex and you are earning a wage and paying tax via HMRC, then your ex would be eligible to claim child maintenance.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Nov-17 @ 3:59 PM
My 17 year old daughter has left the family home which she shared with me and her Step Dad and siblings. We are distraught at what has happened but it seems we have no legal powers to intervene to get her back home so she is safe and well. She is at risk of getting chucked off her College course as she never shows up and her Dad (who she has gone to live with) doesn't have her best interests at heart and letting her run riot, what she is doing is horrifying to us and very distressing. As she was born in 2000 and me and her Dad were never married, is it true I don't have to pay child maintenance to him? My train of thought is he won't pay to keep her, never has, so if he can't claim money off us he may send her back home? This may provide us some leverage, I can't seem to get clarification anywhere. Thank you
Lou - 2-Nov-17 @ 9:26 AM
Claire - Your Question:
I am currently 30 weeks pregnant and my child's father left me 3 days after I told him I was pregnant. I haven't heard from him since. I have tried to contact him numerous times but have been ignored. I was wondering where I stand on claiming child support once the baby is born, as I'm not sure if I will be entitled to it because he won't be on the baby's birth certificate.

Our Response:
Regardless of whether the father is registered on the birth certificate, you can still claim child maintenance. The father of your child, by law, has to help financially support your child, please see link here, which should tell you all you need to know.
ChildSupportLaws - 31-Oct-17 @ 1:55 PM
I am currently 30 weeks pregnant and my child's father left me 3 days after I told him I was pregnant. I haven't heard from him since. I have tried to contact him numerous times but have been ignored . I was wondering where I stand on claiming child support once the baby is born, as I'm not sure if I will be entitled to it because he won't be on the baby's birth certificate.
Claire - 27-Oct-17 @ 12:41 PM
Lee - Your Question:
I am a British woman and I married a British man in Zimbabwe and we have two children. We got divorced and he stopped paying maintenance and forced us to leave Zimbabwe. He remains in Zimbabwe. I am now working in the UK and my two children are in boarding school in South Africa. I am getting deeper into debt to maintain my children. How can I get maintenance?

Our Response:
The Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit helps to register and enforce child maintenance orders internationally. Please the gov.uk link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Oct-17 @ 2:00 PM
Father of my child has parental responsibility he does not take any interest in my child . He also has children in Europe that he supposedly pays maintenance for although I do not know if he pays it yet he said he did but then his ex agreed that he could just buy them things if they need it. how does that affect the claim as the other country takes money into account after tax and NI but I know here it is taken on gross payso How is it decideed the amount of maintenance received for my child and do the children get equal amount of money.
Anon - 1-Oct-17 @ 9:41 PM
I am a British woman and I married a British man in Zimbabwe and we have two children. We got divorced and he stopped paying maintenance and forced us to leave Zimbabwe. He remains in Zimbabwe. I am now working in the UK and my two children are in boarding school in South Africa. I am getting deeper into debt to maintain my children. How can I get maintenance?
Lee - 29-Sep-17 @ 10:14 PM
I have a foster child an it's goin through court however the father ignored the child for first year of his life then was given contact an for nearly another year he's had little to do with him but court keep giving him more chances to walk into child's life every couple months which is upsetting the child
davey - 28-Sep-17 @ 3:01 PM
Annonomus- Your Question:
My partners childs (My un-official stepdaughter) father Is a convicted pedofile (currently in prison until Nov 2018)And we are trying to apply to have his parental responsibility rights removed. What is the best way to do this and How likely are we to succeed?

Our Response:
You would have to refer the matter through the courts for the courts to decide what it thinks is in the best interests of the child.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Sep-17 @ 12:13 PM
My partners childs (My un-official stepdaughter) father Is a convicted pedofile (currently in prison until Nov 2018) And we are trying to apply to have his parental responsibility rights removed. What is the best way to do this and How likely are we to succeed?
Annonomus - 11-Sep-17 @ 11:52 PM
Daisnanc - Your Question:
My daughter's father left us when she was 14 months old. He started a new life in Australia and has since got married. He has always paid 200 a month for his daughter. Throughout his absent years he has had next to none contact 2 days over Xmas and then limited Skype time (if and when he chooses) he has no contact with me what so ever any contact she has with him is through her paternal grandmother. The last 4 years he has refused to pay any more money for her i.e nursery fees swimming lessons birthday party's school uniforms. I simply get he doesn't want to. I was looking for some advice in regards to proceeding forward with csa and how this works with him being in Australia. I know he is paying bear minimal as he has a well paid job in Australia. Also he denied having children on his visa application. Tired of him dictating to me what he wants when I've been raising out daughter for 5 years single handely.

Our Response:
The Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit helps to register and enforce child maintenance orders internationally. You can speak directly to REMO via the link here. You can also see the list of REMO countries here.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Sep-17 @ 4:46 PM
tina - Your Question:
My twins father has not seen them for almost 9months. Hes been told by the police to go through the courts for access. Hes been abusive to the mother, and subsquently a harrassment case is ongoing I want to see if I can apply to remove his parental rights. I was subject to sexual and emotional abuse whilst I was in a relationship, hes not a healthy role model, and slates me everytime my kids were with him. Last visit which was 9months ago he told my 10 year old girl he was goner throw me through a window, which caused my girl to be very distressed. Any advice given would be very appreciated

Our Response:
Only in extreme circumstances will a court take away the non-resident parent's parental responsibility. If your ex takes the matter to court, Cafcass will get involved and write a report.It’s their job to interview both parents in the case, as well as the children, and any others who might be needed, which could mean social workers, medical professionals, or even relatives. From the interviews they conduct, the reporter will determine two things: whether there should be contact allowed, and, if so, how much. It’s a measure of how important the Cafcass recommendation is that the court will almost invariably adhere to it.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Sep-17 @ 12:12 PM
My daughter's father left us when she was 14 months old. He started a new life in Australia and has since got married. He has always paid 200 a month for his daughter. Throughout his absent years he has had next to none contact 2 days over Xmas and then limited Skype time (if and when he chooses) he has no contact with me what so ever any contact she has with him is through her paternal grandmother. The last 4 years he has refused to pay any more money for her i.e nursery fees swimming lessons birthday party's school uniforms. I simply get he doesn't want to. I was looking for some advice in regards to proceeding forward with csa and how this works with him being in Australia. I know he is paying bear minimal as he has a well paid job in Australia. Also he denied having children on his visa application. Tired of him dictating to me what he wants when I've been raising out daughter for 5 years single handely.
Daisnanc - 11-Sep-17 @ 12:04 AM
My twins father has not seen them for almost 9months. Hes been told by the police to go through the courts for access. Hes been abusive to the mother, and subsquently a harrassment case is ongoingi want to see if i can apply to remove his parental rights. I was subject to sexual and emotional abuse whilst i was in a relationship, hes not a healthy role model, and slates me everytime my kids were with him. Last visit which was 9months ago he told my 10 year old girl he was goner throw me through a window, which caused my girl to be very distressed. Any advice given would be very appreciated
tina - 10-Sep-17 @ 8:58 AM
kt - Your Question:
If the father of your child has remarried and had a baby with them and is now the stay at home dad and his wife goes to work - can I claim child support from them as technically he has chosen to give up work and care for their child?

Our Response:
If your ex has chosen to be the stay-at-home parent of his child and is not earning a wage, then you will be unable to make a claim from him directly (unless he has an income - including benefits). However, you cannot make a claim from his partner ( as the main earner), as she does not have parental responsibility of your child.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Sep-17 @ 12:27 PM
If the father of your child has remarried and had a baby with them and is now the stay at home dad and his wife goes to work - can I claim child support from them as technically he has chosen to give up work and care for their child?
kt - 31-Aug-17 @ 7:06 PM
Mo - Your Question:
My sons name is not on his baby's birth certificate his x partner put father unknown s why does my son have to pay child support he's not allowed to see her and has been paying child support for 5 years can he stop paying because of the above reasons Thankyou all this his heartb Thankyou

Our Response:
Child access and child maintenance are not dependent upon each other and are completely separate issues. If your son's mother named your son as the child's father (regardless whether he is named on the birth certificate), then by law your son is repsonsible (as his son's biological father) to pay child maintenance to his ex towards his son's day-to-day care, regardless of whether he sees him or not. If your son wishes to gain access to his son and his ex refuses, then it is up to the courts to decide whether your son should see his child or not (if your son chooses to apply to court). This takes the decision making process out of the mother's hands. The court will decide what it thinks is in the child's best interests.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Aug-17 @ 1:50 PM
My sons name is not on his baby's birth certificate his x partner put father unknown s why does my son have to pay child supporthe's not allowed to see her and has been paying child support for 5 years can he stop paying because of the above reasonsThankyou all this his heartb Thankyou
Mo - 10-Aug-17 @ 2:01 AM
Bjo - Your Question:
My sons dad just got in contact he hasnt seen him from he was a new born (hes 9 now) offered to help with child care payments and wants contact but lives in another country! What rights does he have? I dont want him taking my son out of the country.hes not on the birth certificate and chose not to have any contact all these years

Our Response:
Your son's dad has no rights if he hasn't seen him in a while and it is unlikely a court would allow him to take your son out of the country without your consent. You can either discuss between you whether your son's dad should have any specific level of contact, or allow your son's father to apply for mediation or through the court process if he chooses (he would have to apply for parental responsibility too if he wanted any specific rights). If that happens, first and foremost the court will always decide what it thinks is in the best interests of your son.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Aug-17 @ 2:42 PM
My sons dad just got in contact he hasnt seen him from he was a new born (hes 9 now)offered to help with child care payments and wants contact but lives in another country! What rights does he have? I dont want him taking my son out of the country..hes not on the birth certificate and chose not to have any contact all these years
Bjo - 6-Aug-17 @ 1:44 AM
Tony - Your Question:
Hi I'm a dad and I've been paying maintenance, I had a private arrangement with the ex, but in December asked the csa to take the money because I wouldn't go back. This woman has destroyed my life and destroyed my kids! Social services are involved the kids hate me because the mum makes up so much about me! She recently told them that she's dieing of cancer at the same time as telling them I'm having a baby! She's taken away parental rights and it's been over a year since seeing them. I'm getting to the point of giving up! But is there anything I can do about the maintenance as she doesn't spent on the kids it's about her drinking getting tattoos and spending on her!! What can I do? And please don't say go to court because I can't afford it!

Our Response:
By law you are responsible for paying child maintenance to your ex for your children, regardless of whether you see your children or not. Your ex does not have to justify what she spends the money on. I'm afraid to say, your only option is to take the matter to court if you wish to seek access to your children. If you cannot afford the court fees, you can self litigate. Litigants in person must be treated equally before the law and have equal access to justice. Judges have a duty to ensure a fair trial by giving them due assistance to achieve this. I cannot comment on your ex's behaviour. If you go to court, the judge is only interested in what it thinks is in the best interests of your children and will make decisions based upon this.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Jul-17 @ 2:58 PM
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