All parents have a responsibility to provide financial support to their children, regardless of whether or not they have contact with them.
Child maintenance (or child support), is a regular financial payment made towards the day to day living costs of the children. The non-resident parent makes the payments to the parent with whom the child lives.
In some circumstances, a private arrangement for how much is to be paid can be made between the parents. If this is not possible then the government uses a formula to calculate how much should be paid.
The calculation is based on the gross income of the non-resident parent (before any deductions of income tax or national insurance).
Once the gross income is known then the child maintenance is calculated based on the number of children and whether or not the children have overnight stays with the non-resident parent.
As an example, if there is one child then the parent has to pay 11% of their gross income in child support. For two children they have to pay 16% and for three children or more 19%.
Deductions are made for other children living in the non-resident parent’s home.
If the children stay overnight with the parent, for example one night a week, then the payment is reduced by 1/7th. For two nights it is reduced by 2/7th.
Parents have a responsibility to provide financial support to their children. If they refuse to pay then an application can be made to the Child Support Agency (CSA) by the parent with whom the children live.
The CSA will assess the circumstances and they can pursue the non-paying parent for any payments that have not been made.
If you would like to discuss an issue with one of our family law solicitors, please contact us and one of our specialist team will be happy to advise you.