Can’t Afford Inflation Linked (CPI) Increase to Maintenance
After some advice as I expect other Dad’s may be in the same situation. I have regularly been paying maintenance via a financial agreement for the past 3 years, however after 3 years of no pay increases, and inflation rising at a growing rate i have simply not been able to afford the increase due from a couple of months ago. Inflation at the time was a little over 10%, and the most I could afford was 6%, so emailed my ex to advise the situation and upped the rate to the max level i can afford.
However, she is demanding the additional money, and is threatening to take me back to family court for the extra income.
she still only works part time, in the family home that she kept after our divorce, and I am struggling to afford to pay for two homes. The papers this morning suggested that inflation could reach 18% early next year so this must be affecting a lot of parents at the moment. But I have no idea where I stand or what the options are. Unfortunately good legal advice is also expensive, but this may have to be a last resort.
If you are in the UK, then it is my understanding that you are only legally required to pay maintenance as a result of a court order for 12 months. After the 12 months you can open a case with the Child Maintenance Service (costs £20) and have them calculate how much you should pay. Once they have done this then if your ex takes you back to court then the court will not ask you to pay more than what the CMS has calculated. There is an online calculator so you can work out whether paying what you currently do or via CMS would be financially better.
If you don't open a case with the Child Maintenance Service then you will need to continue paying as per the court order.
Hope this helps.
@Daddyup thanks for your response, and yes I’m UK and the order is 4/5 years old now. Had a good chat with them this morning. Really appreciate your guidance as I didn’t even though they existed to be honest!
For everyone’s information, the Child Maintenance Service agree that I can re-calculate the payment with them, and they reach out to my ex-spouse to arrange a new settlement amount. She doesn’t have to accept, but if it goes through to family court then these calculations will be taken into consideration (and from what I have read there is a good chance they will be upheld). From the online calculator I can already see that I am paying c£250 more per month that they think I should.
@craigs really pleased to hear that.
My understanding is that your legal obligation re child maintenance is only what the CMS calculate and I don't believe the family court will over rule this.
Good Luck with things..
@craigs one further thing to consider, do you have a court order re contact with children? Sometimes due to finances or lack of, the ex may attempt to restrict, reduce, or prevent any contact with kids...
@craigs - if you open a case with CMS, then that overrides any court order over 12 months old in any event. If you don't have one even better. However, you do need to open a case with them, if not, your ex could go to court for a financial settlement and you are tied for 12 months again. If there is a case with CMS, the courts won't override that except in specific circumstances (usually where CMS can't deal with it, such as special needs etc), so if you are happy with the CMS calculation, I'd urge you to pay the £20 one off fee and go with them.