Financial Orders for Children

How do I get money for the children?

Blanchards Law is a niche family law practice with children’s law specialists at varying levels of expertise. We cover all areas of children law, whether you need advice on child abduction, paternity rights, Child Arrangement Orders & Agreements, financial orders for children. Whether you are married or unmarried couples the law surrounding children does not differentiate.

Can we help you? Please call us on 0333 344 6302 or email us at info@blanchardslaw.co.uk

Child Maintenance

Child Maintenance Service (CMS)

The task of collecting and enforcing child maintenance is now handled by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).

This is paid to the resident parent at least until at least the child reaches the age of sixteen, or twenty, as long as they are in ‘approved education or training’, which means A ‘Levels, Highers or equivalent. Sometimes it is paid until the end of the first degree if that child goes on to university, although that amount can be split so that some of it actually goes to the child directly. That would only happen if you have a court order extending the maintenance post-secondary education. The CMS does not cover tertiary education costs.

The court uses what is still known as the CMS Formula. This is calculated as a percentage of the gross weekly income of the paying parent, from £200 per week to £3,000 per week as follows:

One child: 12% of gross weekly income
Two children: 16%
Three or more children: 19%

If the earnings are more than £3,000 per week, you will need to apply to court for a ‘top-up’, but you will need to show a CMS calculation which states that your earnings are £3,000 per week or more.

You can work out what you can expect to pay/expect to receive by using this link here: https://www.gov.uk/calculate-child-maintenance

Points to note about child maintenance:

  • The income of the parent with care (PWC) is completely ignored.
  • The pension contributions of the Paying Parent are taken off the gross weekly income before the percentage split is done.
  • If the paying parent’s gross weekly income is between £200 and £3,000 and they pay child maintenance for other children, or they have other children in their household, this is taken into account when working out how much they should pay. The Child Maintenance Service simply reduces the amount of weekly income that it takes into account. For example, if the paying parent is paying for:
    One other child, their weekly income will be reduced by 11%
    Two other children, their weekly income will be reduced by 14%
    Three or more other children, their weekly income will be reduced by 16%
  • Contact between the Paying Parent and the child reduces the maintenance as follows:
Overnight Stays  of not less than Reduction of Child support
52 nights p/a 1/7th
104 nights p/a 2/7ths
156 nights p/a 3/7ths
175 nights p/a 50%

Can we help you? Please call us on 0845 658 6639 or email us at info@blanchardslaw.co.uk

Child Maintenance Agreements

You can reach whatever agreements you like in relation to money for the children, but enforcement is a problem if one person doesn’t keep to it. As with other agreements, the court does not have to follow them, and to have the best chance of getting the order that you want, you will need to:

  • Get legal advice.
  • Not be rushed, or rush your partner into signing anything.
  • Give full financial disclosure, as this is a reason why the court may not order that an agreement must be followed.

It is important to be aware that even if you keep to these general principles, you will not necessarily get a court to uphold your agreement. The only way to secure compliance by your partner and enforcement by the court is to have the agreement drawn up into an order and approved by a judge. This can be done under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989.

Financial orders for Children
Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989

Deals with financial applications for and on behalf of children, and is used mostly by unmarried couples who can’t use the Matrimonial Causes Act (is designed for use by married couples), or the Child Maintenance Service (CMS); for example, where:

  1. the provider is outside the jurisdiction of the CMS (e.g. because he lives abroad);
  2. the income of the Paying Parent exceeds the CMS scale. The maximum income is £156,000 per year gross;
  3. the application concerns educational costs or disability costs;
  4. the applicant seeks a lump sum to provide a home for the child or other non-maintenance needs.
  5. Used by a child who is over 18 seeking provision from separated parents (who have not been married to each other – and there hasn’t been a previous maintenance order until child’s 16th birthday) to pay university fees. This is to cover the situation where the cohabiting parents have split up shortly before the child starts university/training and the parental part of the grant is not being paid.

Who can apply?

  • A parent or guardian of a child or by any person in whose favour a residence order is in force.
  • Children who are over the age of 18 can make an application against a parent provided that the child is or will be going on to higher education or is undergoing training for a trade, profession or vocation or there are special circumstances justifying an order.

You should note that an application can only be made against a parent of the child.

Orders that the court can make

  1. Periodical payments (maintenance) orders:
    These are only made where the CMS has no jurisdiction for the reasons given above, and must end with the death of the payer. These orders are also ended if the applicant parent and respondent parent live together for six months or more.
  2. Property transfer/settlement orders
    An order can be made for a property to be transferred to the parent with care, for the benefit of the child. The property must return to the paying parent when the child is an adult, usually at the age of 21.
  3. Lump Sums
    A Parent with care can make as many applications as he or she likes for a child’s benefit. That would include expenditure like furnishing a child’s room, a car to ferry them around, a computer, etc. Lump sums are not designed to revert to the payer.
    The payer is entitled to proof that all of the money has been spent on the home, if that was the purpose of the lump sum order.

Procedural Issues

  • Applications under Schedule 1 can be made to the High Court and ‘Family Court’ (County Court and Magistrates court).
  • There rules say that the court procedure is now the same for these children proceedings as with financial applications for married couples.

Can we help you? Please call us on 0333 344 6302 or email us at info@blanchardslaw.co.uk

Stories & case studies to help you

Please read our blogs on our children work and practice. Like you, many client have come to us because the blogs are informative and designed to help you understand what you can do to resolve your situation.

Contact us on 0333 344 6302 for a no-obligation call