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Court Procedures for Obtaining Child Support

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 21 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
Court Parent With Care Non Resident

The way in which child support is assessed, calculated, collected and distributed to parents with care varies around the world.

In the UK legal intervention is not always required as some parents are able to commit to a private agreement, regarding the paying of regular maintenance. Recognising parental responsibility is generally sufficient to ensure child support payments are made periodically by the non-resident parent. However, in some cases legal intervention is the only option.

The First Step

Before being able to seek court assistance, in collecting maintenance payments from a non-resident parent, the parent with care must attempt to collect child maintenance from the absent parent. Making an application for child support, through the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is usually the last resort for parents who are unable to trace non-resident parents who are not interested in making a financial commitment to their child’s upbringing. Or where the non-resident parent is consistently unreliable with financial support.

Having applied to the CMS parents with care will have to wait whilst the agency collates information, regarding income and living circumstances of the non-resident parent. The whole process will take a number of weeks, and if the non-resident parent must be traced this will increase the waiting period considerably.

Court Procedures

When a couple divorce, child maintenance arrangements are usually determined as part of the divorce settlement, which may also include alimony and visitation agreements. If a parent with care requires help from the courts, in order to secure maintenance from a non-resident parent, there are certain procedures to follow.

The parent with care, or a legal representative, must appear at the local magistrate court in order to file an application for the establishment of child support. The identifying information they provide must include details of both parents, and documents must all be produced to prove parentage of the child or children.

Receiving A Court Summons

Once the non resident parent has been located a process server will issue them a court summons. This summons states that the absent parent is being sued for child support. The non-resident parent must then attend a mandatory court hearing to explain why they have failed to comply and to determine responsibility for the payment of child support.

In some cases establishment of paternity is also required. If DNA testing is required, in contested cases, the child’s birth certificate may be amended after proof of paternity. After all relevant questions are answered, to the courts satisfaction, the court will order the non-resident parent to make periodic child support payments, including outstanding arrears.

The Best Possible Solution

Shared care is generally acknowledged as being in the best interests of the child or children, after divorce or separation. This requires the child to split their time between both parents and households. Having legal custody of a child gives the parent with care the right to make decisions over the child’s welfare, education and health.

Acknowledging some form of parental responsibility – by paying maintenance – enables the non-resident parent to also maintain an interest in their child’s life.

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CSA gave me no support and basically told me to forget it! They missed opportunity to do an attachment of earnings more than once. I have been promised the world if I transfer onto the new system however this has consisted of a 13 week period "that they will not backdate" so there goes another 3 months free to the NRP who has chosen to avade the CSA. There are no consequences at all for not paying child support if you work cash in hand. CSA will tell you there is nothing they can do they are "not private investigators" no one enforces the child maintance laws
LC100 - 10-Sep-15 @ 10:24 PM
@Bobbys - if you feel you have been unfairly treated, you can complain to the CSA via the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-Jun-15 @ 1:00 PM
After a year and a half someone has made a claim I'm a father to her baby I only found out by il opening up my wage slip to find out that out of £1031 I deducted £811.63 from CSA in big capital letters I have now been on the phone to them 5-7 times a day for the past two and a half months trying to sort it been fobbed off every time the mother is denying I'm the father and a DNA test yet there goin to take over £4000 off me for apparently what I own more to the point it's come to my attention that at a cost of £422 a month she actually only would get £50 odd pound as the Csa get the rest!!! WTF! I thought I was paying for the child not a service?!! And more to the point I've read over the gov web site and the Csa web site AND consulted a solicitor, the way they have gone about it a DNA has not been done I got no court order! And apparently they have been trying to contact me for over a year at an address I have not lived at and ringing me on a number thatnis not mine they said they applied for the detachment of earnings order as they couldn't get hold of me.....well you won't if I'm a marine and been fighting a war for the last 11 years!!!! The absolute cheek of it. They are a joke and need to be diapause a thale fact any woman could ring up and name a man a father and then they can help there selves to your bank account is absoloutly disgusting.
Bobbys - 20-Jun-15 @ 7:31 PM
why should aNRP who becomes unemployed - in this case the mum, have to pay a parent with care for a 18 yr old son who she never sees because the dad has alienated him, and the Dad earns 50k plus as a university lecturer in Lincoln , 100 miles away from the mum. The fact that contact is not linked to CSA payments stinks!! and the government should do a rake through of this CSA and the variations that exist instead under the present ruls the parent with care earning 50k can persue the unemployed mum just because "HE CAN" and is spiteful - nothing to do with fairness or needing the money. The parent with care and his teenage son have had 19k from the mum before she became unemployed - where is the justice ?
JJ - 11-Aug-14 @ 8:19 PM
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