Home > Child Support & Family > Child Support vs Contact With the Child

Child Support vs Contact With the Child

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 10 Dec 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Parent Maintenance Welfare Parent

Maintaining regular contact with a child, after separation or divorce, is an important part of parenting. Not only does it enforce the right of children to have contact with each parent, but it also provides emotional and financial support.

For some parents however, if the breakdown of their relationship is less than amicable regular contact may not be a suitable consideration. In these instances, supporting a child, by paying maintenance towards the costs of their upbringing, is an option that some separated families may have to face.

Eye To Eye Contact

Face-to-face contact between a non resident parent and a child is generally encouraged. This contact supports the child emotionally and physically, as well as contributing financially to the cost of raising the child. Regular contact, whether through shared care, joint custody or an alternative private arrangement between the child’s parents, provides a healthy environment for the child to grow and develop in.

Regular contact however, does not provide as much opportunity to explore parenting as regular overnight stays.

Staying overnight with a non resident parent allows the child to continue to maintain the same level of emotional stability as they may have had before the separation.

From a parent’s perspective overnight stays enable the parent to maintain and support the child’s welfare, and will also reduce the cost of maintenance payments they will be expected to contribute.

Supporting The Child

Explaining the separation to the child, at the level they will be able to understand, enables the child to cope with the changes more easily. Unless there is a reason why it is unsafe, children should have contact with both parents. Maintaining attachment bonds to a mother and father is an important part of the child’s development, and should therefore be encouraged.

Avoiding parental conflict, particularly in the child’s presence, helps the child settle into the new parenting arrangement. Maintaining good, open communication will also enable the parents to cooperate with childcare arrangements etc. Creating new routines with each parent will also be useful in the child’s emotional development.

Financial Responsibilities

A non-resident parent will be expected to financially contribute towards the expense of raising their child. This child support payment, which can be privately agreed or calculated, collected and distributed by the Child Support Agency and Child Maintenance Service can be used to pay for school fees, clothing, food, shelter and extracurricular activities the child may be involved in.

Maintenance payments are periodically paid to the parent with care – whether this is the child’s mother or father – until the child finishes full-time education.

If a non resident parent is also able to provide physical and emotional support, by sharing parenting responsibilities, the cost of maintenance they will be expected to pay will be reduced accordingly. Maintenance payable is calculated after examining the income and living circumstances of both parents.

If a private agreement cannot be made between the parents the parent with care can seek assistance from the the Child Maintenance Options with regards to child support collection through Child Maintenance Service.

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My son is 8 & 1/2 years old I have recently admitted to mental health hospital for 5 months after reported to police of drug dealers activities and I was being accused of too anxious to call the police.I was discharged from hospital two weeks ago. During last 5 months in hospital my ex husband didn’t bring my son to see meat all in hospital in 5 months. My ex husband have move my son to Cornwall from my home colchester to live with his mother and father last 5 months and he is now refusing to move my son back home to me to live with me in Colchester. He also refused to let my son stay more than 3.5 days with overnight staying at my home for school half term Christmas holidays while school have 14 days holidays.Ie. I should have my son for 7 days share with my ex husband.Did my ex have a say to not let me see my son like that? He now also say he is arranging child arrangement court order for my son regarding the share custody of my son. Child arrangement court order 2 years ago when I first separated from my ex husband was I have my son Monday to friday morning and my ex husband have my son saturday Sunday and Friday night .There is a shared Xmas court order two years ago. Can you please advise me regarding what I can entitle to my son for Christmas holidays? in this circumstances just discharged from mental health hospital with bipola disorder diagnosis. Also do I need a lawyer to represent me in court regarding child arrangement order?Because I have been in mental health hospital for 5 months previously.Just in case my ex husband try to get full custody of my son? How can I get the judge to give me a fair court order ie. equally shared custody for my son’s best interests? Will I loss my son because I have admitted in mental health hospital for 5 months? I am now being discharged from hospital and my home treatment has discharged me and care coordinator also said I am doing very well to my ex husband but he ignored
Desperate mum - 10-Dec-17 @ 1:49 PM
Wrote on here sometime ago about CSA. My case has gone over to CMS now where a Direct Payment has been agreed. However CSA upon closing my case hit me with an arrears bill of £12,000. This is what happened (I was paying through a DEO) Jan-Mar 2009 CSA take 3 payments from my wage. However about the same time a debt I had after splitting from my ex was supposed to come to my wage also for £20 a month. April onwards in 2009 I noticed £21 coming off my wage under (court order) assumed it had all gone through and somewhere I've not noticed CSA on my wage and got it in my head it was already coming off before I got paid. So Forgetting the last 3 payments I made to CSA Jan-Mar 2009 I carried on as normal Skipping to 2017. I get a letter from CSA to say it was changing to CMS and as above sort it all with CMS until I got the final letter from CSA with a huge bill. Calling work I found out that the £21 a month was CSA and this debt I was in they didn't know about. calling the local courts the debt was returned as unable to recover and eventually wiped. Calling CSA they made a huge screw up. they couldn't explain why it went down to £21 a month. They also said that the yearly statements and other letters they send out has never happened and my ex as not recieved any letters either over the course of 8 years nobody has picked up on this and she couldn't give me an explanation at all. She said she hasn't seen anything like it before. but then followed it up with well you'll have to pay back the arrears either way so it doesn't matter just pay back as much as you can afford each month to try and get it down. She also said she would leave a note on the system for the likes of CMS to see it. Will I have a case to ask that these arrears be cleared because they have made a HUGE mistake and is it something that could be challenged because they have put me in financial hardship where as if I had been paying the right amount these arrears would never have accumulated? If I do have to pay have I been given the right advice that I can pay what I can afford each month till it's eventually cleared? thanks
Billybear - 22-Oct-17 @ 1:53 AM
Rose77 - Your Question:
My partner has a 13 year old son who he is desperate to see. His mother and he divorced 10 years ago and over the years contact has become less and less and we now never see her. There was never a court order in place as initially contact was regular. My partner has always made attempts to see him and has made regular maintenance payments but his son's mother now maintains that his son does not want to see him at all. Does he have any legal rights to see him if this is true and against his son's wishes?

Our Response:
I think your partner needs to find out why his son does not wish to see him before he goes to the expense of taking the matter to court. Mediation would be the first course of action. Plus, court would only allow your partner to apply once mediation has been considered and/or attempted. If your partner's ex refuses to attend mediation, then court would be his next option. 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. As the son is 13, his preferences/opinions will be taken into consideration when making a decision. However, this does not mean the court will uphold them, the court will always decide what 'it' thinks is in the child's best interests.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Oct-17 @ 12:21 PM
My partner has a 13 year old son who he is desperate to see. His mother and he divorced 10 years ago and over the years contact has become less and less and we now never see her. There was never a court order in place as initially contact was regular. My partner has always made attempts to see him and has made regular maintenance payments but his son's mother now maintains that his son does not want to see him at all. Does he have any legal rights to see him if this is true and against his son's wishes?
Rose77 - 19-Oct-17 @ 7:11 PM
I hope you can help. I have a court order since 2014, prohibiting my ex-husband from making contact with the children until they are 16. I am not aware of his whereabouts. since 2014 Can I get a court order to grant me sole custody so I don't need his permission for things such as holidays or location move to another area or country?
monie - 11-Oct-17 @ 1:27 PM
nigeb- Your Question:
My daughter is 13 and is living with her new partner. they have recently got married. We have a private agreement in place and I pay support to my ex for my daughter every month. My daughters relationship with her mum is not always great , but I have put that down to teenage years. My ex has been off work for several months and is suffering from some sort of depression as she has been told she will have to leave her job due to a medical condition. My daughter tells me about bust ups and her mum walking out on them. This has happened several times and I know It affects my daughter. I try to be positive with her, but I know my ex is very self centred. this has come to a head when my daughter rang me and said her mum had walked out and said she no longer wanted to be part of the family. My daughter past her mum in the street and she ignored her when she spoke to her. Her new partner ended up contacting the Police and registering her as missing- the Police where even searching for her with a helicopter. All of this has affected my daughter. her mum has come home , but is said to be in a "fragile state" I am very concerned for my daughter living in this environment. Although her new partner is very level headed and runs a successful business , the current situation does not make for a good environment for my daughter. I have just moved in with my new partner who is supportive and has a good relationship with my daughter and says she is happy for my daughter to move in - this is not something that would be excepted by my ex and due to her current state of fragility not something I can speak to her about. the other concern is upheaval for my daughter from her school. She had to change school and leave her friends behind when we split and I don't want to do this to her again, as she is happy at her school and is doing well.

Our Response:
The one plus is that your daughter is now age-13 and can communicate. Therefore, I think in this instance the situation needs to be played by ear, so to speak. Your daughter has you as a back-up family if she needs, so this will help. Talking to your ex, your ex's partner and your daughter is your best option, as well as trying to be supportive. If you have parental responsibility, you have equal rights to care for your child, so offering your home as a bolt-hole is an answer. But trying to work it around her schooling may be something you would have to discuss. It's a situation that doesn't need courts, it may need mediation (if you and your ex cannot agree). Asking your daughter directly what she wishes you to do to help, will help. However, if she is happy at her school and with her friends then being an on-call supportive dad is your best course of action unless the situation becomes unsustainable. In which case you may have to step in and take control.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Sep-17 @ 10:10 AM
My daughter is 13 and is living with her new partner. they have recently got married. We have a private agreement in place and I pay support to my ex for my daughter every month. My daughters relationship with her mum is not always great , but I have put that down to teenage years. My ex has been off work for several months and is suffering from some sort of depression as she has been told she will have to leave her job due to a medical condition. My daughter tells me about bust ups and her mum walking out on them. This has happened several times and I know It affects my daughter. I try to be positive with her, but I know my ex is very self centred. this has come to a head when my daughter rang me and said her mum had walked out and said she no longer wanted to be part of the family. My daughter past her mum in the street and she ignored her when she spoke to her. Her new partner ended up contacting the Police and registering her as missing- the Police where even searching for her with a helicopter. All of this has affected my daughter. her mum has come home , but is said to be in a "fragile state" I am very concerned for my daughter living in this environment. Although her new partner is very level headed and runs a successful business , the current situation does not make for a good environment for my daughter. I have just moved in with my new partner who is supportive and has a good relationship with my daughter and says she is happy for my daughter to move in - this is not something that would be excepted by my ex and due to her current state of fragility not something I can speak to her about. the other concern is upheaval for my daughter from her school . She had to change school and leave her friends behind when we split and I don't want to do this to her again, as she is happy at her school and is doing well.
nigeb - 25-Sep-17 @ 4:07 AM
ma davies - Your Question:
I moved with my son (15 ) to the USA in July 2016 at which time the CSA stopped collecting maintenance payments from my ex husband. He would not agree to a private arrangement so I have been without any financial help since that time. I was told by the CSA that I could enforce their decision through REMO by contacting my local child support agency in America. I did this when we arrived but to date have hit a brick wall. I am now being told that the CSA maintenance order is not enforceable via REMO and that I need a court order. I cannot obtain an order in the UK as I am domicile in the USA and the local agency do not think I am able to get an order locally. Feel totally let down by the system. Why were the CSA put in place if the orders are not enforceable. Can you help???

Our Response:
You don't say 'why' REMO says the order is not enforceable, as the USA is on the list of REMO countries. This makes it difficult to further advise.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Sep-17 @ 4:40 PM
I moved with my son (15 ) to the USA in July 2016 at which time the CSA stopped collecting maintenance payments from my ex husband.He would not agree to a private arrangement so I have been without any financial help since that time.I was told by the CSA that I could enforce their decision through REMO by contacting my local child support agency in America. I did this when we arrived but to date have hit a brick wall.I am now being told that the CSA maintenance order is not enforceable via REMO and that I need a court order.I cannot obtain an order in the UK as I am domicile in the USA and the local agency do not think I am able to get an order locally.Feel totally let down by the system.Why were the CSA put in place if the orders are not enforceable.Can you help???
ma davies - 9-Sep-17 @ 9:42 PM
I have been marriage to my husband for 20 years we have one child a daughter aged 16 years. My husband left us when our daughter was just 5 years until she was 10 years . He then returned and begged we tried again at our marriage in Australia where he had been working from the last year- we are both from the UK.We sold up and moved to Sydney. Four years later he walked out on us again. At this time my mother was dying and my father had a heart attack - back in the UK .My daughter and myself returned to the UK alone. No job, no home, no support. My husband had left us. So we set up a new life. We both do not wish to have my husband in our lives now. I recently received via email divorce paper work from my husband in Sydney. Do I need to provide any address/ school details regarding our daughter/ myself. He will only cause us upset. As we wish to get on with our lives without him. I am willing to divorce him, but do not wish him to be part of our new lives nor my daughters. Now my daughter is over 16 years can we have a say in this? How do we stand.? Any thoughts please?
AJ - 26-Jul-17 @ 11:50 AM
BaBa - Your Question:
Until recently I've had a relatively good relationship with my ex and he's paid maintenance etc without too many problems and I've involved him as much as I can in the upbringing of our two children. When we separated, he chose to move to 150 miles away from the children, meaning weekly visits impossible and he can only see them everyother weekend for 1 night at a time, due to his work. He insists on taking the kids to his home 150 miles away, despite them hating the 2 hour trip and being taken away from their home environment, friends, and ultimately me. My first question is, if the kids don't want to go (aged 7 & 9) can I say that they're not going? My second question is, can he make me take the kids to him on the 2 nights a month he has them, or pay him petrol money in order for him to do the trip, as he is now insisting on this? For the record, we are now divorced, and he chose to move away and stay away - even finding a new job in this time period in the new location rather than moving back to be in the same town as his children. Any advice much appreciated as I hate to see the kids so unhappy.

Our Response:
Any child arrangements should be negotiated between the both of you. The time when issues become complicated is where neither of you can agree. There is no right or wrong answers to organising access, it should revolve around what you both think is in the best interests of your children. Yes, you can stop your ex from seeing the children and taking them home. However, he would be either have to suggest mediation in order to try and resolve the issues between you, and then if you refuse mediation, or cannot agree a solution via mediation, the your ex would be able to take the matter to court. Once the court decides, there is no negotiation and both parents would have to stick to the order. Therefore, yes you can make your stand against your ex. However, is it best to be able to try to find an amicable solution rather than have it possibly taken to court.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Feb-17 @ 11:33 AM
Until recently I've had a relatively good relationship with my ex and he's paid maintenance etc without too many problems and I've involved him as much as I can in the upbringing of our two children.When we separated, he chose to move to 150 miles away from the children, meaning weekly visits impossible and he can only see them everyother weekend for 1 night at a time, due to his work.He insists on taking the kids to his home 150 miles away, despite them hating the 2 hour trip and being taken away from their home environment, friends, and ultimately me. My first question is, if the kids don't want to go (aged 7 & 9) can I say that they're not going? My second question is, can he make me take the kids to him on the 2 nights a month he has them, or pay him petrol money in order for him to do the trip, as he is now insisting on this? For the record, we are now divorced, and he chose to move away and stay away - even finding a new job in this time period in the new location rather than moving back to be in the same town as his children. Any advice much appreciated as I hate to see the kids so unhappy.
BaBa - 2-Feb-17 @ 1:15 PM
@LouLou - I have included a leaflet about how child maintenenance is worked out here. You will find that your own child will be taken into consideration once born, with regards to what he pays. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Mar-15 @ 12:23 PM
Hi, I have been married for 3 years and my husband has 2 children with 2 different women.Their relationships are mostly amicable and we have the children almost every other weekend, never at christmas or for their birthdays.He has been paying each of them £200 a month which is £400 out of his salary. We are now expecting our own child and I think he needs to reduce what he is paying the others as when I look at the finances, he is contributing only £30 a month to this child's welfare. Am I being unreasonable to ask him to do this?
LouLou - 20-Mar-15 @ 11:20 PM
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