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Maintenance: Separation and Divorce

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 15 Feb 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Parent Children Child Obligation

If a couple separate or divorce there will be many things to consider. These will include how they divide their possessions, what to do with their home, shared finances and other equally important matters. If there are children, within the relationship, maintenance and child support will also become a consideration.

Responsibilities And Obligations

It is a parent’s responsibility and obligation to provide financial support for their children. This is accepted in the form of Child Support, which is paid to the parent the child will continue to live with. This could also be paid to other family members, grandparents or a legal guardian, if this is who the child or children live with.

Child Support payments are made to allow the parent with care to have sufficient funds to cover the costs of raising a child, and should be used to pay for educational and extracurricular activities, clothing, shelter and food.

Shared Care

The parent who retains full-time responsibility for a child, is known as the parent with care and is entitled to receive maintenance from the parent who lives elsewhere. In some cases custody of the child is shared, and the child divides their time between both parents equally. Shared care is usually considered to be the best option for the child, as they will regularly get to benefit from spending time with each parent.

By sharing care and parental responsibilities the 'with care' parents are also agreeing to contribute financially to the costs of the child’s expenses. However, the father will still be expected to pay maintenance to the child’s mother, although the amount payable will be considerably less than if he had limited contact with the child.

Maintenance Payment Limit

Maintenance is calculated by assessing the income of both parents. After pension contributions are deducted maintenance payments are worked out as being 15% of the net sum for one child, 20% for two children and 25% for three or more children. Children from a second family with be treated in the same way, and the number of children will be taken into account when payable maintenance is calculated.

The non resident parent is obligated to pay maintenance towards the cost of their child, until the child reaches the age of 19.

Court Orders

The court can issue orders for a number of different financial reasons.This includes maintenance payments to a former partner, maintenance for children, the provision of a lump sum to a partner and/or children, a property adjustment or transfer of property, or a claim on the other’s person’s pension.

After filing divorce proceedings the man or woman can file a financial claim application. These forms are filled in by both individuals at the same time, and an appointment is then made with the court. Once evidence has been filed a decision is reached in court. The court decides financial issues by examining evidence, the income and earning capacity of both individuals, other financial resources and responsibilities, the standard of living and the contribution each person makes to the welfare of the children.

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DS - Your Question:
My husband has been paying maintenance for his 2 children for the last 14 years, he has not missed any payments and was advised when things changed to the CMO he had to pay via collect and pay, he disagreed and they allowed him to pay half and half. Yesterday he received a letter advising he can now pay all of it via direct pay as he had not defaulted. The same day he had a letter advising him he has £650 arrears, he was also advised that he should be paying £385 per month, he actually pays £450 a month and has done for years! how could he amass arrears ? and surely if they make the calculation based on his HMRC yearly why are they now saying he is in arrears?

Our Response:
I cannot predict why CMS have decided that your husband is in arrears. His only option would be to have this matter investigated, please see the link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Feb-18 @ 11:21 AM
My husband has been paying maintenance for his2 childrenfor the last 14 years, he has not missed any payments and was advised when things changed to the CMO he had to pay via collect and pay, he disagreed and they allowed him to pay half and half. Yesterday he received a letter advising he can now pay all of it via direct pay as he had not defaulted. The same day he had a letter advising him he has £650 arrears, he was also advised that he should be paying £385 per month, he actually pays £450 a month and has done for years! how could he amass arrears ? and surely if they make the calculation based on his HMRC yearly why are they now saying he is in arrears?
DS - 15-Feb-18 @ 6:37 PM
HarryMc - Your Question:
My ex will willingly move out but the she will have to be rehoused by the state in another private or social housing rent where she will again make a housing benefit claim, but what is the sense in her uprooting the children after only just moving to my property. We were told by the council that the claim would be ok and we were transparent with them, they paid one weeks rent the decided they were not paying any more. She would never have moved in knowing a benefit claim wouldn’t be accepted

Our Response:
Unfortunately, we cannot answer your question as it would be up to the appeal panel to decide. We can only offer basic generic advice, not specific case-based advice.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Jan-18 @ 9:08 AM
My ex will willingly move out but the she will have to be rehoused by the state in another private or social housing rent where she will again make a housing benefit claim, but what is the sense in her uprooting the children after only just moving to my property. We were told by the council that the claim would be ok and we were transparent with them, they paid one weeks rent the decided they were not paying any more.She would never have moved in knowing a benefit claim wouldn’t be accepted
HarryMc - 25-Jan-18 @ 4:23 PM
Flip side- Your Question:
Hi, my husband and I have seperated, we have 2 young kids. My husbands shifts allow for him to watch them during the days whilst I’m at work.He is now fighting for 50/50 custody.My question is , will the courts see because he works shifts that he is able to have more overnights, will I be punished because I work 4 days per week. My ex seems to think a court will side with him. Will I be punished for needing to work to provide a home for my kids?

Our Response:
Neither parent will be 'punished'. As a rule, unless there is a valid reason for wishing to change the current arrangement, a court will always opt for continuity and stability of your child. 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 - 25-Jan-18 @ 2:45 PM
@HarryMc - you'll have a job on your hands if you wish to evict your ex as because they are your children. If she decides she wants to play awkward, it would be a matter for the courts, and because they are your kids, the court may expect you to house them for free. This is a tricky one!
MattH - 25-Jan-18 @ 12:41 PM
I separated with my ex who I have 2 children with.We separated amicably 6 years since.We had a property together and I have a property that I owned(mortgaged).When we split I gave my ex a lump sum of cash and she moved out of the house.We then arranged a maintenance amount which I have paid every week since.Recently the house I owned previously became available to rent so I suggested she moved in with my two children and her younger child to another man.I have since marriedand have a 2 year old.The council were told before she moved in of our situation and paid the first weeks rent then sent us a letter saying housing benefit cannot be paid as I am responsible for housing my children even though she claimed housing benefit in previous house she gave up.We are currently appealing against the decision.
HarryMc - 24-Jan-18 @ 6:35 PM
Hi, my husband and I have seperated, we have 2 young kids. My husbands shifts allow for him to watch them during the days whilst I’m at work. He is now fighting for 50/50 custody. My question is , will the courts see because he works shifts that he is able to have more overnights, will I be punished because I work 4 days per week. My ex seems to think a court will side with him. Will I be punished for needing to work to provide a home for my kids?
Flip side - 23-Jan-18 @ 9:03 PM
Moggy - Your Question:
Hi for many years I have pursued the child support agency in retrieving not only maintenance from my X husband but asked over 8 years ago for the balance to which he owes. I have called the Agency on many occasions only to be promised a phone call and letters to which I never received until August 2017, to which I've not heard anything since. During the years I have been very co-operative and given them my X Husbands address when he has changed his address, but they still failed on every level to not only contact me but to pursue the maintenance owing, and it doesn't matter what the amount is, it is pure principle that this has gone on for many years and my youngest is now 29 years old. I would be grateful of any advice you would like to give me as this is rather frustrating when I hear nothing for 6+ years then out of the blue I receive 3 letters with the final arrears which I feel are incorrect, then nothing after once again. Over the years it has cost me not only in time but also financially only for it to be a complete waste of my finances and efforts.

Our Response:
Your only recourse would be to complain, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 23-Jan-18 @ 2:47 PM
Hi for many years I have pursued the child support agency in retrieving not only maintenance from my X husband but asked over 8 years ago for the balance to which he owes.I have called the Agency on many occasions only to be promised a phone call and letters to which I never received until August 2017, to which I've not heard anything since.During the years I have been very co-operative and given them my X Husbands address when he has changed his address, but they still failed on every level to not only contact me but to pursue the maintenance owing, and it doesn't matter what the amount is, it is pure principle that this has gone on for many years and my youngest is now 29 years old.I would be grateful of any advice you would like to give me as this is rather frustrating when I hear nothing for 6+ years then out of the blue I receive 3 letters with the final arrears which I feel are incorrect, then nothing after once again.Over the years it has cost me not only in time but also financially only for it to be a complete waste of my finances and efforts.
Moggy - 22-Jan-18 @ 10:37 PM
Hi for many years I have pursued the child support agency in retrieving not only maintenance from my X husband but asked over 8 years ago for the balance to which he owes.I have called the Agency on many occasions only to be promised a phone call and letters to which I never received until August 2017, to which I've not heard anything since.During the years I have been very co-operative and given them my X Husbands address when he has changed his address, but they still failed on every level to not only contact me but to pursue the maintenance owing, and it doesn't matter what the amount is, it is pure principle that this has gone on for many years and my youngest is now 29 years old.I would be grateful of any advice you would like to give me as this is rather frustrating when I hear nothing for 6+ years then out of the blue I receive 3 letters with the final arrears which I feel are incorrect, then nothing after once again.Over the years it has cost me not only in time but also financially only for it to be a complete waste of my finances and efforts.
Moggy - 22-Jan-18 @ 9:24 PM
SooH - Your Question:
My nephew is divorcing. He has one child born during the marriage. His wife has two children from a previous relationship who have lived with them too. Will he have to pay maintenance for them too?

Our Response:
Your nephew is only responsible for paying child maintenance for his biological child. The biological father of the other two children would be deemed responsible for paying towards their day-to-day care.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Jan-18 @ 2:13 PM
My nephew is divorcing. He has one child born during the marriage. His wife has two children from a previous relationship who have lived with them too. Will he have to pay maintenance for them too?
SooH - 9-Jan-18 @ 3:56 PM
My parents divorced in the 1980s and, because both parents wanted to keep us, social workers then asked us children to choose which parent we’d like to live with. Heartbreaking then and now. Would this be illegal now after the Children Act?
swainwright - 8-Jan-18 @ 2:02 PM
My ex partner has 2 children with his ex wife and 1 with me he currently pays her £330 a month for the 2 with his ex. Would I be entitled to a third of this since we are not living together?
Peanut - 28-Dec-17 @ 3:53 PM
Dominate - Your Question:
HiI am a full-time mother of 3 our youngest is 2/eldest 7 and the house is mortgaged under both names.If we were to separate/divorce what would I be entitled to? I'm worried as I haven't been out to work for 7 years and I'm petrified of losing everything.Thanks

Our Response:
You don't say whether you are married or not, which makes it more difficult to answer your question. However, the CAB link here , should help.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Dec-17 @ 3:49 PM
Sandy77 - Your Question:
My husband has left me and I’ve been contacted with his ex. he was suppose to pay maintenance to his other children. She has informed me that me ex lied to the csa and said he wasn’t living in the country when he was on a monthly on/off rotate. If I contact the csa with this information what will happen. He now will not pay me maintenance for our children.

Our Response:
We cannot anticipate what will happen, other than CMS will look into any claims. Child maintenance calculations are based upon the non-resident parent's (your husband) earnings and the tax he pays via HMRC.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Dec-17 @ 2:34 PM
My husband has left me and I’ve been contacted with his ex.... he was suppose to pay maintenance to his other children. She has informed me that me ex lied to the csa and said he wasn’t living in the country when he was on a monthly on/off rotate. If I contact the csa with this information what will happen. He now will not pay me maintenance for our children .
Sandy77 - 27-Nov-17 @ 9:55 PM
Hi I am a full-time mother of 3 our youngest is 2/eldest 7 and the house is mortgaged under both names. If we were to separate/divorce what would I be entitled to? I'm worried as I haven't been out to work for 7 years and I'm petrified of losing everything. Thanks
Dominate - 26-Nov-17 @ 1:01 AM
Hi. Myself and husband are divorcing. We have 3 children. Is he still liable to pay towards the mortgage? TIA
Confused80 - 24-Nov-17 @ 7:01 PM
hi i wanted to ask in regards to child support.my parents got divorced so many years ago but we all still lived under the same roof for many years,my parents lived together for 46 years and and divorced by year when i was about 14 now im 29.my dad always paid half the thing and gave mom cash.now my mother has sued him for child support in an effort to destroy him.he is now owing 250.000 in debt of child support.he is 60 years old.we want to fight this so he can be free.what is can be done as me and my sibling are prof that he has alwaysbeen there and my mother is eating money for free. please help
rj - 17-Nov-17 @ 2:59 PM
I'm currently getting divorced have one daughter who is 4 I'm on low income and my ex is on a higher income than me he pays child maintenance of 30.00 a month my daughter goes to pre school 3 days a week does my ex have to pay nursery fees
Sarah Jane - 11-Nov-17 @ 3:59 PM
Help Needed - Your Question:
I have 3 children with my estranged partner. I know and understand that I have to pay maintenance, however she has a few properties and her money is tied up in these pproperties. Will.this be taken into account that she has a rather large income in relation to my child.maintemamce payments.?

Our Response:
No. Child maintenance payments are solely based on the earnings of the non-resident parent. The primary carer's income is not taken into consideration. Child maintenance is more or less based upon the proportion of your wage that you would allocate towards bringing up your child and catering for their day-to-day needs, if you were still living under the same roof.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Nov-17 @ 1:48 PM
I have 3 children with my estranged partner. I know and understand that i have to pay maintenance, however she has a few properties and her money is tied up in these pproperties. Will.this be taken into account that she has a rather large income in relation to my child.maintemamce payments.?
Help Needed - 8-Nov-17 @ 8:56 PM
Hi, I have separated from my daughters dad. We are currently still living under the same roof. Am I right in thinking that I can start to ask for maintenance, due to me paying for everything for our daughter and also being the main parent?
Jan1991 - 26-Oct-17 @ 8:15 PM
In 2012 I was contacted by DWP /CSA,knew nothing about it, then in 2016 £300 per pay cycle is taken from my wages, then in 2016 arears takes £400 per pay week.I never met these people, I could not maintain my job, What can I do ? Totally sick of this situation
Rickvan - 20-Oct-17 @ 11:37 AM
Kevin - Your Question:
I have 3 children with my first wife and I pay £270 a month maintenance arranged by the cma. I am now divorcing my second wife and we have 1 child together. How do I work out child support as the calculator does not have the option of 2 ex wives

Our Response:
For one child, you’ll pay 12% of your gross weekly income, for two children, you’ll pay 16% of your gross weekly income and for three or more children, you’ll pay 19% of your gross weekly income. The money should be divided evenly to account for each child.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Oct-17 @ 2:21 PM
I have 3 children with my first wife and I pay £270 a month maintenance arranged by the cma. I am now divorcing my second wife and we have 1 child together. How do I work out child support as the calculator does not have the option of 2 ex wives
Kevin - 15-Oct-17 @ 6:13 PM
Iddzy - Your Question:
I have been with my partner for 6 years and we have a nearly 1 year old daughter. We live in a rented house that is only in my partners name and he pays the rent. I have been working as a Teaching assistant but I am now a full-time student in my last year of my teaching degree. The relationship isn't working for me anymore, and I feel there is a lot of damaging emotional abuse going on between us that I don't want my daughter around. The only reason I havnt left is because I do not feel financially dependent to support myself and my daughter on my own while I am only in receipt of student finance. From previous conversations hes made it clear he would make things hard work if I did leave. My question is what obligations doesnhe have to uphold as we are only in a co-habiting partnership ?

Our Response:
Your partner would be obliged to pay child maintenance to help you support your child if you decide to leave. Dependent upon your other circumstances, you may be able to claim other benefits as a single parent, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Oct-17 @ 3:16 PM
I have been with my partner for 6 years and we have a nearly 1 year old daughter. We live in a rented house that is only in my partners name and he pays the rent. I have been working as a Teaching assistant but I am now a full-time student in my last year of my teaching degree. The relationship isn't working for me anymore, and i feel there is a lot of damaging emotional abuse going on between us that I don't want my daughter around. The only reason I havnt left is because I do not feel financially dependent to support myself and my daughter on my own while I am only in receipt of student finance. From previous conversations hes made it clear he would make things hard work if i did leave. My question is what obligations doesnhe have to uphold as we are only in a co-habiting partnership ?
Iddzy - 7-Oct-17 @ 8:46 AM
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