How much child maintenance will I receive / pay?

When parents are no longer living together, the financial costs of their children are something that needs to be agreed. How is this calculated?

If the contribution each parent will make towards their child's costs cannot be agreed or parents need help to calculate an amount, this can be done by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).  In addition, if the parents are married, the court can award spousal maintenance to help with one spouse’s monthly outgoings.

The online government child maintenance calculator which shows you the way the Child Maintenance Service will assess the amount to be paid.  The court will not become involved in maintenance for children unless there are education or disability costs or where the parent paying child maintenance earns over the CMS maximum threshold(currently over £3,000 per week gross income).

The CMS use the paying parent's yearly gross income (using HM Revenue and Customs data).  The ‘paying parent’ is the parent that does not have the main day-to-day care of the child. There are some things that can change the amount of gross income taken into account (for example, pension payments or other children they support). It is possible to ask for extra income, assets or expenses to be taken into account.

The calculator then applies the formula and reviews the number of children the paying parent has to pay child maintenance for. This includes any other children living with them and any arrangements that have been made directly for other children.

Where the children stay overnight with a paying parent, a deduction ismade to the weekly child maintenance amount based on the average number of‘shared care’ nights a week the children stay. If the children share their careexactly equally between their parents, no child maintenance is payable by eitherparent.

The CMS can be asked to take other income and expenses into account (a ‘variation’). The amount paid/received can change on annual reviews, when either parent applies for a variation or when the paying parent has a change of circumstances that affects their income or expenses.

Parents can calculate the amount due on the online calculator or can ask the CMS to give an assessment(which costs £20).  If the CMS are asked to collect the payments from the paying parent, fees are charged to the paying parent (20%) and receiving parent (4%) for each time a payment is passed through the CMS.

Child maintenance and the costs parents pay for their children are something we often talk with parents about in mediation. If you have any questions about the mediation process, this is something that we will be happy to talk with you about so that you can decide whether mediation might be appropriate for you and your family, and if there are steps that can be put in place to reassure you both. Please not hesitate to contact us on 0800 206 2258 or send us an emailhello@familymandm.co.uk You can also book a free call on a day and time that suits you by going to the BOOK NOW page of our websitewww.familymediationandmentoring.co.uk

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