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TOPIC: Child maintenance payment method

Child maintenance payment method 5 months 2 weeks ago #96659

  • rrw2019
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I have been divorced from ex for 5 years.

We share 50% custody and I agreed to pay maintenance for my child until he turns 18 as per court order.
For the past couple of years or so I have been paying my ex in cash. The court order states that the payments should be made via standing order but it is not specified as to which bank accounts the payments should be made from/to.

Since I have met my new partner (we are getting married this year) my ex has become increasingly nasty so I am trying to distance myself from her.

I have a stressful job and work long hours away from home so it has become increasingly difficult to get the money to her in cash on time. I do not get paid at a regular date so it is not ideal for me to have a standing order set up as sometimes there would not be sufficient money in my account to cover the payment. I am also worried, due to paying her in cash, she may later claim that I have not been paying the maintenance.

Therefore, my partner has set up a standing order to pay my ex the maintenance on my behalf on the agreed date and references mine and my child's names when making the payment.

We have done this for past 2 months with no issue but my ex has kicked off today saying that she does not want my partner to pay the money in to her bank.

Is there anything wrong with what we have done? Does she have a right to complain?

Thanks in advance for your responses.

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Child maintenance payment method 5 months 2 weeks ago #96667

  • actd
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I would say that you must pay directly to her account from yours, and specify that it's for child maintenance. By all means, your partner can set up a standing order to your account immediately prior to your payment going out, but you want evidence that you have been paying, and if it comes from your partner's account, there is a danger that your ex might claim it's not child maintenance. This might not happen, of course, but if the money goes from your account to your ex's, with a reference of child maintenance, then there is absolutely no doubt that you are paying what you have been ordered to pay.

As a matter of interest, have you checked the CMS maintenance calculator? If that works out less than you are paying, then if the order is for more than the CMS calculation, then you could open a case with CMS (costs £20) and the amount they calculate overrides the court order.

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Child maintenance payment method 5 months 2 weeks ago #96682

Hello rrw2019

It is good to hear that you have been providing a regular maintenance payment to your ex-partner. Under child support legislation, regular child maintenance payments must be made until a child is 16 years old, or 20 if they are in full-time, non-advanced education (A-level or equivalent), or for as long as Child Benefit is being paid.

When a child leaves full-time education in the summer, Child Benefit generally continues until the first week of September. The definition of full-time education is more than 12 hours a week of study, on a course up to and including A-level standard.

Once a Consent Order has been agreed and authorised, as the paying parent, you are legally liable to pay the amount the court has endorsed. However, the court does not monitor or collect payments. This means the receiving parent, your ex-partner, will need to seek legal advice for any missed or reduced payments, unless they are happy to accept them.

I can see that actd has provided you with some information about your payments and the Standing Order that you now have in place. If you are not making your payments as stipulated in your Consent Order, and your ex-partner is not happy with this, she can seek legal advice regarding this.

If you and your ex-partner are unable to come to an agreement about the method of your payments, it is possible to change the terms of your Consent Order. However, to do this you will both need to seek legal advice. This usually results in going back to court to set out the application on a standard form. The court will then consider any changes.

Alternatively, you do both have another option. Once a Consent Order has been in place for 12 months, either parent can apply to the Child Maintenance Service and the Consent Order will no longer be valid.

The Child Maintenance Service is the Government’s statutory maintenance service. They can either calculate your child maintenance, then leave you to arrange payments between yourselves. Or, alternatively, they can also collect payments and pass them on for you.

The Child Maintenance Service now have an application fee of £20. There are also enforcement charges for paying parents who fail to make their payments.

If you do decide to put a statutory arrangement in place, the shared care that you have will be taken into consideration.

If you decide to ask the Child Maintenance Service to arrange your child maintenance for you in the future, your responsibility to pay will start from around the point that you contact them.

For further information about putting in place a statutory arrangement and the fees involved with this, you will need to contact Child Maintenance Options. They are an information service designed to provide information to parents about their different options, and how to maintain an existing maintenance arrangement.

You may also be interested to know the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have a website, 'Sorting out Separation'. It aims to make it much easier for separating and separated parents (and childless couples) to find the support they need, when and where they need it, and encourages them to collaborate on a range of issues. The link is www.sortingoutseparation.org.uk/

For further information and for a more personalised service, you may wish to visit the Child Maintenance Options website yourself at www.cmoptions.org .



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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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