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Maintenance: Separation and Divorce

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 6 Apr 2017 | 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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singledad - Your Question:
Me and my wife have split up and I have sole custody of out daughter, my ex wife is payinng child maintenance but insists that I have to her spousal maintenance.is this true? or is she being awkward?many thankssingle dad

Our Response:
Unless a court orders spousal maintenenance via a court order, then you do not have to pay this.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Apr-17 @ 2:39 PM
Me and my wife have split up and i have sole custody of out daughter, my ex wife is payinng child maintenance but insists that i have to her spousal maintenance. is this true? or is she being awkward? many thanks single dad
singledad - 6-Apr-17 @ 11:55 AM
A friend is going through the process of separating from her husband, (she is Scottish and her husband Irish) they were married in Kenya and now live in East Asia due to his work. This is getting messy as he is refusing to give her any financial assistance. They have one 9 year old child together who will be staying with the mum. Although he has a well paid job and considerable savings my friend is unable to access them. All the accounts as are UK based with a property in London rented out but under his name (it was previously the marital home) which my friendhas financially contributed to the mortgage when she was working and living in London with him and paid for extensive refurbishment as well. If she has to apply to a UK Court to force him to pay would she be better raising an action in England or Scotland where she intends to relocate to?
bev896 - 16-Mar-17 @ 9:36 AM
Lol275 - Your Question:
Hi can anyone help I'm seperated from husband for the last 2 years , been together 36 years , should he be paying me maintenance , also have a son who he never pays for. now hes saying he wants us of the marital home which is in my name , he moved out , can he do this

Our Response:
Your ex would be liable to pay child maintenance if your children are under 18. It is also unlikely a court would force you to move out of your home if your children are under 18 and in full-time education. If your children are over-18, then regardless of whether the house is in your name, your ex would be entitled to claim if you bought the house together when married and/or due to the length of your marriage. You may wish to seek legal advice.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Mar-17 @ 11:30 AM
Hi can anyone help I'm seperated from husband for the last 2 years , been together 36 years , should he be paying me maintenance , also have a son who he never pays for .. now hes saying he wants us of the marital home which is in my name , he moved out , can he do this
Lol275 - 5-Mar-17 @ 11:27 AM
Hi. Im in the starting process of leaving my wife. We've been together for 10 years but we haven't been happy for a while and we don't want to effect our son in the long run by staying together. I would like joint custody which i thing my wife had agreed on but at the moment i work nights so i can only have my son 2 nights a week. But by working nights it helps us both out by my wife not having to pick our son up from school and worrying about paying for child care and plus i get to see my son everyday. I will be feeding him his dinner and getting him ready for bed most nights then either drop him off on the way to work or he will be picked up. So i will have him at least 3 hours everyday. My concern is i will have clothes, food and things for us to do and bath things but at the moment my wife is saying that i will have to pay full maintaince money even though i have him as much as i do and feed him etc but i don't think i can afford that. Does the CSA take inconsidertion that i have him everyday and feed him everyday or is it solely done on where he sleeps
Nelson - 25-Feb-17 @ 10:50 AM
MY HUSBAND AND I ARE NOW SEPERATED FOR 6 YEARS, IS HE STILL RESPONSIBLE TO LOOK AFTER ME FINANCIALY?
GERDA - 17-Feb-17 @ 11:55 AM
Jon - Your Question:
My ex wife and I divorced 4 years ago, the kids stay with us both 50/50 (they actually spend more time with me as I pick them up from school every day, even on days they are staying with her) it's an agreement that has worked well for us both. The only issue is money. I pay £100 a week maintenance, as worked out using the online calculator, but why? She is already getting the child benefit plus my £400 per month. I also pay for their extra curricular activities and we split the cost of school trips. Am I being taken advantage of? And what is to stop me being the 'resident parent' and thus getting maintenance from her?

Our Response:
If your agreement if family based, then parents usually decide between themselves what is an appropriate amount. The online calculator assesses child maintenance on the non-resident parent's earnings. Really it is down to who funds the children in their day-to-day lives, whether it is clothes, lunches, bus fairs, pocket money etc, it all adds up. Even if parents share their care, the one who has the majority of the care will be the one who is entitled to child maintenance. If the shared care is entirely equal, it is the person who is in receipt of child benefits who can apply to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). You can see more via the link here and here. With shared care there is no black and white answer, child maintenance is either agreed by parents or left to the CMS to decide. If you want to make a change to how child maintenence is paid for you to receive it instead of your ex, and your ex does not agree, then you would have to apply to court to become the primary carer. The court will always decide what it think is in the best interests of your children, and unless there is a good reason for them to change the arrangement, then it is unlikely they will.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Feb-17 @ 10:36 AM
My ex wife and I divorced 4 years ago, the kids stay with us both 50/50 (they actually spend more time with me as I pick them up from school every day, even on days they are staying with her) it's an agreement that has worked well for us both. The only issue is money. I pay £100 a week maintenance, as worked out using the online calculator, but why? She is already getting the child benefit plus my £400 per month. I also pay for their extra curricular activities and we split the cost of school trips. Am I being taken advantage of? And what is to stop me being the 'resident parent' and thus getting maintenance from her?
Jon - 13-Feb-17 @ 7:16 AM
My husband and I are separated. I have yet to file for divorce. I have had a look at child maintenance payment calculation on the website and this only gives me £500. My husband has left me in a lot of debt under name . Basically he is a gambling addict and used lies and deceit to get money off me. Because of these outgoings, £500 a month will not cover living and childcare costs.
Sheena - 11-Feb-17 @ 9:10 PM
Hi, i was just wondering if my ex ahould pay me maintenance, i am the primary carer for our 2 daughters and i am currently in the process of taking him to court as we have a joint tenency and he wont leave and its umbearable living with him. If i applied for maintenance would i get it if we still live together?
Becca.S - 23-Jan-17 @ 6:07 PM
Just to add. We have agreed to the shared care through mediation. The care is 50/50. I said to him your claiming benefits for having them full-time and its not the case, I should be getting atleast half? He says that I shouldnt and if that was the case why arent I giving him half my wages and that I should be paying him maintenance?
Lou - 19-Jan-17 @ 2:40 PM
Me and my ex have shared care of our 2 children. I have them a Thursday afternoon until a Sunday afternoon every week and he the rest. He claims all the benefits for both of the children and is not giving me any regular money. I was advised with shared care you can claim for one child each but he wont let me. I work, he doesnt. Would be grateful of any advise of my options?
Lou - 19-Jan-17 @ 2:32 PM
Nijj72 - Your Question:
Hi. my partner divorced her ex husband 12 years ago, she has a 14 year old son by him. When she divorced, she signed an agreement drawn up by a solicitor, which stipulated how much child maintenance her ex husband would pay. The amount agreed is well below that which would be awarded by government schemes. Is this a legal agreement? Or does U.K. Law override it? Her ex earns approx 17000 per month and pays 80 pounds per week. Could he be made to pay more by the CMS or the court? Thanks is for any advice.

Our Response:
Yes, he could be made to pay more. A solicitor's agreement drawn up years ago will not have taken into account inflation etc. Therefore, your partner could ask for the agreement to be reconsidered taking into account the rate of inflation/changes in financial circumstances etc and this could be carried out by a mediatior or solicitor. Or she can contact CMS directly for more information. Your partner can also calculate how much her ex should be paying via the CMS link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Jan-17 @ 12:55 PM
Hi.. my partner divorced her ex husband 12 years ago, she has a 14 year old son by him. When she divorced, she signed an agreement drawn up by a solicitor, which stipulated how much child maintenance her ex husband would pay. The amount agreed is well below that which would be awarded by government schemes. Is this a legal agreement? Or does U.K. Law override it? Her ex earns approx 17000 per month and pays 80 pounds per week. Could he be made to pay more by the CMS or the court? Thanks is for any advice.
Nijj72 - 16-Jan-17 @ 7:10 PM
I have two children one stays with me and doesnt see or want to see his mum and the other stays with her mum but stays with me at weekends. My question is why do I need to pay maintenance or should it be cancelled out because I have one and she has one as she doesnt pay any maintenance to me?
Swim - 6-Jan-17 @ 7:57 AM
J1996 - Your Question:
Okay.Can I get a shared/joint custody of my daughter?Me n ma gf broke up,n she's hardly letting me see Ma daughter is it a problem if am not a citizen in the U.K. But still got a residential permit can I get a share custody or joint?I want to be. Ble to take my daughter on the weekends,be able to take her out myself without the mum being there.Basically be a responsible dad and be part in my baby girls life and how can this be done?

Our Response:
We cannot predict whether you would get shared-care of your daughter, as much depends on whether your ex agrees and if not, whether a court would consent to you having shared care. Shared-care is usually agreed by the parents, or through the courts if and where the parents shared the care of the child prior to separation. As a rule, it is usual that one parent becomes the primary carer (usually the mother) and the other parent, then non-resident parent (NRP). If your ex is not allowing you to to have access to your child, then in the first instance you would have to suggest mediation to her. Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court and is most often used in family proceedings. It is a formal negotiation and courts can accept the agreement of the mediation instead of having to go through the court process, although it is subject to final court approval. Mediation takes place in front of a neutral third party. The mediator has no pre-conceptions and will not force you to make an agreement. They will assist the two parties in taking turns in the conversation, and helping you reach an decision that you are ready to agree with. Mediators do not pass judgment or offer guidance; they are there, in effect, to facilitate conversation between the two sides. However, if your ex refuses to attend mediation, then you would have to apply through the court for access to your daughter. If you are awarded access then both you and your ex would be ordered by the court to keep to the arrangement. In the first instance you may wish to seek legal advice in order to explore your options.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Jan-17 @ 11:27 AM
Okay.Can I get a shared/joint custody of my daughter?Me n ma gf broke up,n she's hardly letting me see Ma daughter is it a problem if am not a citizen in the U.K. But still got a residential permit can I get a share custody or joint?I want to be. Ble to take my daughter on the weekends,be able to take her out myself without the mum being there....Basically be a responsible dad and be part in my baby girls life and how can this be done?
J1996 - 3-Jan-17 @ 2:27 PM
peace - Your Question:
I have a child in uk and am having a child support residence permit but the mother of the child what to take the child out of uk which the court have given her permission to do so and my residence is 4 months to expire what will I do and she will leave before then pls I need advice. Will I be deported if the child go?

Our Response:
You would have to apply for a visa independently of the mother of your child if your visa is dependent upon her. Please see gov.uk link here. See also CAB link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Dec-16 @ 12:48 PM
I have a child in uk and am having a child support residence permit but the mother of the child what to take the child out of uk which the court have given her permission to do so and my residence is 4 months to expire what will I do and she will leave before then pls I need advice. Will I be deported if the child go?
peace - 17-Dec-16 @ 8:34 AM
London8 - Your Question:
Hi I am divorced and my son living with me monday to friday 2days with his mum my question is I understand if she is not wirking she don't need to pay child maintenance.but her partner his working they live together in same house it's possible to pay me child maintenance if her partner working?thank you

Our Response:
Regardless of whether your ex is married, or living with someone, as the father of your child you are required by law to pay child maintenance to help support him.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Nov-16 @ 1:45 PM
Hi i am divorced and my son living with me monday to friday 2days with his mum my question is i understand if she is not wirking she don't need to pay child maintenance...but her partner his working they live together in same house it's possible to pay me child maintenance if her partner working?thank you
London8 - 25-Nov-16 @ 7:06 AM
Pam - Your Question:
If it was agreed that my husband could stop paying for his son at 18 in the divorce settlement(stupidly on my part!) can he be made to now. My son is still in full time education.

Our Response:
You would have to speak to the CMS. By law if your son is in full time education, then you should be able to apply. However, if the settlement was agreed through a court order, your ex husband will be able to apply back to court to have the order enforced, if you try to claim. Some legal advice may also help, to see if you have any recourse to apply for a variation to the original order.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Oct-16 @ 12:05 PM
If it was agreed that my husband could stop paying for his son at 18 in the divorce settlement(stupidly on my part!) can he be made to now. My son is still in full time education.
Pam - 17-Oct-16 @ 6:10 PM
Fuming - Your Question:
Is this right that even if you have shared equal 50/50 care of your child the father still has to pay maintenance while the mother is getting all the government hand outs for the child? So I have my daughter as much as her mother so I should be intitled to half the benifits she receives for my daughter? Not give her money on top! The system is a joke

Our Response:
Actual shared-care is usually agreed by the parents. In normal circumstances one parent is classed as the resident-parent and the other the non-resident-parent. Child maintenance is then calculated on the NRP's earnings and reduced by the number of nights the NRP has the child/children over. Child maintenance is based on the fact the resident-parent is responsible for the children's day-to-day financial care and the NRP contributes to that care. Some parents agree to split the benefits, but that is up to the individual parents to agree. If you feel you have been treated unfairly regarding child maintenance, you can complain, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Jul-16 @ 10:10 AM
Is this right that even if you have shared equal 50/50 care of your child the father still has to pay maintenance while the mother is getting all the government hand outs for the child? So I have my daughter as much as her mother so I should be intitled to half the benifits she receives for my daughter? Not give her money on top! The system is a joke
Fuming - 19-Jul-16 @ 6:43 AM
My new partner is divorced n he's the custodial parent of his son in which they have joint custody. He is 12. The 2 parents do no cross any monies as said through court. He does not receive Csa either. We have heard that his son might want to stay with his mother now instead of with his father. Does this mean he would have to pay Csa to the mother if this happens? He hasn't received a penny from her since having his son live with him.
hutchy - 4-Jun-15 @ 1:56 PM
@Namamamma - you can check via Child Maintenance Options here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Jun-15 @ 11:51 AM
@Rocky - if you have joint residency of your children then you should not have to pay. However, for your own peace of mind, you can find out if you should be paying via the CMS Options Calculator link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Jun-15 @ 2:46 PM
Hello. Im a mum of two beautiful baby girls. I have just recently seperated from my partner. Im still married but legally seperated. I live with my two girls and Im theain carrer and I have always been. My question how much will my ex partner needs to pay for my two girls. Im on benefits but Im searching for work myself as Im responsible for everything. Its just that he doesnt seem to be that bothered with time going. Hes good dad but he prefers something else than his children. Was hoping if hes not physicly there he needs to support gis children at least fianancially. Thank you.
Namamamma - 31-May-15 @ 5:32 PM
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