Travel costs - flights, accom, car rental etc
I'm currently living in Spain and my son lives in Northern Ireland. At the moment I don't pay CMS due to a clause in the Court Order preventing it while I live in Spain (where my son was taken from).
However if I were to move home to England where I'm from this would make me instantly liable for CMS payments. I'd still need to buy plane tickets, rent cars, rent suitable accommodation, etc, in Northern Ireland for each monthly visit which as you can imagine costs hundreds each month, probably more than CMS payments. How much of this would be deductible from potential CMS payments under 'special variation' (I think is the term)?
I'm concerned that if the discounted amount wasn't great, then I'd be costed out of being able to see my son.
When a paying parent can apply for variation
If you are a paying parent you can ask for certain expenses, which reduce your gross income, to be taken into account. These are called 'special expenses' and are for:
- the cost of keeping in regular contact with the child or children you pay child maintenance for – for example, the cost of fuel to travel between your home and the child’s home
- costs to support children who live with you if they have a disability or a long-term illness
- repaying debts from the former relationship – for example, if you are paying a car loan for a car the receiving parent has kept
- some boarding school fees for the child or children you pay child maintenance for – but only the everyday living costs or ‘boarding’ part of the fees
- making payments on a mortgage, loan or insurance policy for the home you and the receiving parent used to share – the receiving parent and the child or children must still live in the home and you must have no legal or ‘equitable’ interest in it
All the above special expenses, apart from supporting children who live with you if they have a disability or a long-term illness, must be for more than £10 per week.
If your gross income is less than £7 a week or you are getting benefits, you can’t ask for any special expenses to be taken into account.
Receiving parents cannot apply for a special expenses variation.
A dad recently told me he has been paying £250 for 2 hours in a contact centre, twice a month. I told him to claim this as special expenses from CMS, and they accepted it.
So would it be advisable to call CMS and ask them exactly how much of the costs would be discounted should I move back to the UK? From reading through the website it seems that not 100% of travel costs are accepted by CMS.
@ols hi, if CMS case is open, you could try contacting them and give them an idea of how much your travel costs are, and if they would accept as special expense and what this amounts to in reduction of your maintenance payments. also if child spends minimum of 1/2 nights a week with you, then you would also get reduction.