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TOPIC: Child Maintenance: Who should pay?

Child Maintenance: Who should pay? 1 year 9 months ago #86167

  • Venny67
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Hello, I’m trying to get some advice on a matter regarding where the law stands on child maintenance. I've been separated from my ex-partner since last August. Previous to that we were co-habiting for 3 years, having split in 2013. We have a 7 year old daughter. We were never married and the house was in her name but I did contribute financially each month towards household bills. I now live in rented accommodation in a 1 bed flat. Childcare arrangements are more or less 50/50. I have my daughter 3 nights a week in term time and sometimes 4 nights a week in the school holiday as well as the day time care, as her mum works and I work in a school so I get the holidays. My ex earns considerably more than me and also owns property, which she rents out. She covers things like after school clubs, 2 days a week for the school year and swimming lessons. I pay for school trips. I work at a school and have my daughter predominantly most of the school holidays as her mum works, which equates to around 3 months of the year. My issue is that my ex has said I need to 'step up' and start paying child maintenance having initially said that I wouldn't need to pay as moving out would've an impact on me financially. We agreed that I pay £40 a month but now she wants me to pay for my daughters school dinners which cost £44 a month on top of the £40 CM. I'm on a relatively low wage and I'm in receipt of Child tax credits and Child benefit, which help enormously. I've heard of something called a 'variation', where help is given for other costs not accounted for. I'm thinking of the extra costs in the school holidays, where I'm the main carer. Would this apply to me? She's questioned why I should get child tax credits and that I should work for that money and get another job, which I think is unfair. She seems dismissive of my contribution, when looking after my daughter during the holidays, which I think is a big contribution and one I love to do. I want to do the right thing by my child and have written up a co-parenting plan. I just want to know where the law stands on child maintenance and whether I should be paying my ex or she should be paying me. I've discussed it with a few family lawyers and explained the situation and it's been suggested my ex should be paying me. I just want things to be fair and if I have to pay more then I will. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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Child Maintenance: Who should pay? 1 year 9 months ago #86168

Hmm, if you are in receipt of the child benefit, and getting child tax credits.....wouldn't CMS see YOU as the resident parent and your ex as the Non resident parent, and therefore SHE should be paying child maintenance and not you?
Someone with more knowledge would know better, but it seems to me that you have your child more than your ex does.
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Child Maintenance: Who should pay? 1 year 9 months ago #86174

I don't know what your legal position is but surely if she's earning considerably more than you and has properties she shouldn't be asking for money from you considering how much access with your daughter you both have. Just from a moral point of view. It never ceases to amaze me how greedy people can be.

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Child Maintenance: Who should pay? 1 year 9 months ago #86178

Hello Venny67

Child maintenance is paid to the parent who has the most overnight care of a child throughout the year. This parent is known as the receiving parent and, depending on their income, may be entitled to receive Child Benefit and other related benefits.

As it sounds like you do have a shared care arrangement in place at the moment for your daughter and are currently paying some child maintenance as well via a family-based arrangement, you may wish to speak to you ex-partner directly about your arrangement.

Many parents choose to sort out their maintenance between themselves as it can be the quickest and easiest way of setting up a maintenance agreement and although family-based arrangements are not legally binding, they are very flexible and can be easily changed. If you are not happy with the arrangement you have in place negotiating with your ex-partner may help you come to an agreement you are both happy with.

Child Maintenance Options do have some supporting tools on their website at www.cmoptions.org that might help you both come to an agreement.

Their Talking About Money Guide and Discussion Guide are full of information about how you can plan your conversation with your ex-partner and how to negotiate your agreement. They also point out the financial costs involved in raising a child and can give you both new ideas about what can be included in your agreement.

They also have an Online Calculator available to calculate an amount of maintenance that the Government consider a reasonable payment. You and your ex-partner might find this a good starting point for your negotiations.

Once you have decided what you would like to include in your agreement you can record this on their Family-based Arrangement Form. Although it is not a legally binding document it can put your agreement on a more formal basis. You can also agree a renewal date for your agreement in case either of you have a change in circumstances in the future.

Parents do suggest that when they make a family-based arrangement it does tend to last longer as it is just an agreement made between the two of them and continuing to collaborate together may also be better for your daughter.

If you find you are not able to renegotiate your family-based arrangement you may wish to consider making an application to the Child Maintenance Service. They are the Government’s statutory maintenance service and can either calculate your child maintenance, then leave you to arrange payments between yourselves, or they can collect payments and pass them on for you.

Under the Child Maintenance Service guidelines, shared care of a qualifying child reduces a child maintenance calculation. This based on the number of nights for which the paying parent is expected to have overnight care during the 12 months from the effective date of the maintenance calculation. For further information about putting in place a statutory arrangement and the fees involved with this, you will need to contact Child Maintenance Options directly yourself.

You can find all the information about your family-based arrangement and your alternative options on the Child Maintenance Options webiste. For a more personalised service you may wish to visit the Child Maintenance Options website yourself.

Regards

Sarah
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This information which Child Maintenance Options has provided is not a substitute for independent professional advice and users should obtain professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances.

Please note: the Child Maintenance Options team cannot answer any questions relating to a specific CSA or Child Maintenance Service case
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