We understand that dealing with any kind of child maintenance matter can feel uncomfortable and daunting, so our child maintenance solicitors will be sure to approach your specific case with sympathy, sensitivity and diligence, ensuring that you and your family are supported effectively during this difficult time.
Our team includes members of Resolution and are accredited specialists with the Law Society, belonging to the Family Law and Children Panels. We also have solicitors who are qualified collaborative lawyers.
Contact our child maintenance solicitors in Gloucestershire
For expert child maintenance advice, please contact your local WSP branch in Gloucester or Stroud today.
If you have a quick question or would like to request a call-back, you can also use our quick online enquiry form.
For our full range of family law services, please click here
Our child maintenance expertise
At WPS Solicitors, we believe that the breakdown of a relationship shouldn’t have to result in unpleasant, lengthy and expensive court proceedings regarding child maintenance, and will do our absolute best to help you avoid this at all costs.
Our experienced child maintenance solicitors have years of experience amicably resolving child maintenance matters disputes through effective means such as alternative dispute resolution and/or collaborative law which is done outside of the court of law, saving you stress, time and money.
However, should the need to go to court, or the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) arise, our child maintenance solicitors will be able to provide you with excellent representation and will be an unwavering foundation to support you. We will work diligently with you to build you the most robust and effective case possible.
Our experienced team of child maintenance solicitors can help with:
- Making family based arrangements for child maintenance
- Engaging with the CMS to make arrangements
- Handling Consent Orders related to child maintenance
- Dealing with child maintenance disputes
- Enforcing child maintenance through the Courts or CMS
For those who might just want general information pertaining to their circumstances, we have compiled some commonly asked questions and answered them as a means of informing you.
It is important to note that this is purely for informative purposes and should not be taken as legal advice. If you would like to speak to a member of our friendly legal team, please get in touch by filling out our quick and easy enquiry form on the right of this page, or you can call us on 01433 383994
Frequently asked questions about child maintenance
What is child maintenance?
Child maintenance is defined as money that is paid by the parent whom the child does not live with for most of the time. Child maintenance can be agreed upon in four different ways:
- An agreement arranged with your former partner – Often referred to as a “family based arrangement”, this is traditionally the easiest and most economical way to agree on child maintenance fees.
- Direct pay – The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) calculates the amount of child maintenance that needs to be paid. You and your former partner then make an arrangement for how this will be split.
- Collect and pay – The CMS calculates how much chid maintenance needs to be paid. They then collect money from one parent to pass on to the other.
- Court order – An agreement for child maintenance can be made legally binding through a Consent Order during divorce proceedings. This is legally binding for 12 months, after which the CMS takes over jurisdiction for enforcing child maintenance.
In most circumstances, child maintenance will be paid until the child reaches 16 (20 if they continue full-time education). However, if either parent’s financial situation changes, then it is possible to change the terms of the initial agreement.
In family law, child support isn’t arranged as part of a divorce or dissolution as such. However, the Court will need assurance that arrangements involving the child’s living space and continued parental involvement with both parents have been agreed upon.
Courts can no longer directly order the payment of child maintenance after the a Consent Order has been in place for 12 months – this power was handed to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) (formerly known as the Child Support Agency (CMA)).
CMS deals with the majority of cases in terms of maintenance for children. Unfortunately, once CMS get involved, the effectiveness of getting a lawyer is limited if the CMS has assessed the situation and the payer is refusing to pay. In this case, it will fall to the CMS to resolve the situation, which they will normally do via a court order.
Separated couples with children can avoid getting the CMS involved by creating a legal agreement between each other – we recommend having our expert team assist you in getting the child maintenance sorted at the same time as spousal maintenance, as part of the divorce settlements.
Can a parent refuse to pay child maintenance?
Refusing to pay child maintenance (unless you are financially unable to) will almost certainly result in the CMS intervening in order to collect the funds from you. The CMS have the ability to take you to court over unpaid child maintenance, known as a ‘liability order’ which can then force you to pay the child maintenance you owe.
When can a father stop paying child maintenance?
For the parent whom the child doesn’t live with the majority of the time, they will be expected to pay child maintenance until the child is 16 years old (20 if the child continues in full-time education).
What happens if a father doesn’t pay child maintenance?
If the parent whom the child doesn’t live with the majority of the time refuses to pay child maintenance (unless they are financially unable to), their ex-partner can contact CMS in order to get them to pay the maintenance owed.
The CMS have the ability to take the parent to court over unpaid child maintenance, known as a ‘liability order’ which can then legally force them to pay the child maintenance that they owe.
How much child maintenance should a father pay in the UK?
It is very difficult to say how much child support should be contributed by an absent parent as it is determined by multiple different factors. These can include but are not limited to:
- Income and assets
- The child’s age
- Any special needs requirements
- Pension contribution
If you require a specific amount, you should agree on this with your ex-partner amicably, use an experienced divorce lawyer to negotiate this for you, or rely on the CMS to deal with this on your behalf.
Can a solicitor help with child maintenance?
A family law solicitor can help resolve a child maintenance dispute before it escalates to court proceedings.
Methods such as alternative dispute resolution have a high chance of successfully and amicably helping ex-partners come to financial agreements outside of the court, saving everyone time and money. An expert family law solicitor can also provide legal representation should court proceedings become unavoidable.
Contact our child maintenance solicitors
If you would like to speak to one of our child maintenance solicitors, don’t hesitate to get in touch by filling out the enquiry form on the right of this page. Alternatively, you can call us on 01433 383994.