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Child Support & Maintenance

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (known as CMEC) deals with the determination and collection of child maintenance from the parent no longer residing with the family. Divorce Aid

Your Questions Answered

How Does Child Support Operate?

The CMEC use a calculation formula to determine the amount to be paid by the parent absent from the family home to the parent with whom the child is living.

Who Qualifies for Child Support? 

Any natural child who is under 16 or in full time secondary education aged under 19 who is living in UK. The parent who is not living with the child must pay child support for the benefit of the child.

How much will the Payment for Child Support Be? 

A percentage of the absent parent’s earnings up to a total of £104,000 net per year. The percentage payable depends on the number of children involved. For one child the percentage is 15% for two children it is 20% and for three children or more the percentage is 25%. Parents who are on a low income pay a reduced amount and those in special cases, such as students or prisoners, pay nothing at all. This is the basic calculation. Also taken into account is the amount of nights the children spend with their non resident parent. CMEC apply complex rules to some stages of its calculation.

A new method for calculating liability is likely to apply in 2010-2011 for new cases and the intention is to absorb existing CSA cases into the new system over time.

Do the CMEC ever increase or decrease the amount payable for Child Support? 

Yes. If the parent who is not living with the child has income which has not been taken into account, has hidden their earnings or has assets of over £65,000 (other than in their home or business), then the CSA may increase the calculation.

The CSA may also reduce payments, if the circumstances of the parent who is not living with the child change or if the child stays with that parent overnight (graded in bands). There is also a nil rate band for non-resident parents who have special circumstances such as being a student.

My former partner is working overseas, Can CMEC collect payments? 

CMEC may be able to collect payments where the non-resident parent is working overseas for a UK registered company.

I have tried getting Child Support through the CMEC but have been unsuccessful. Can I apply to the Court instead? 

Since the introduction of the CSA in 1992, the Courts do not generally become involved in the issue of child maintenance. There are, however, exceptions to this general rule; where the parents agree the level of support between themselves (this is only valid for one year), where school fees or other educational costs are in issue, where married parents have a step child, where a child is 17 years old and if the child or one of the parents is living outside the UK. It is possible to apply to the Court for a 'top-up' order where the maximum child support assessment is in force.

Parents are encouraged to reach voluntary maintenance arrangements instead of going through CMEC.

How does CMEC enforce liability? 

CMEC have wife powers of enforcement recently strengthened by the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008. These include deducting payments or arrears from a payers bank account and liability orders including removal of passports, curfews and disqualification from driving.

How much will it cost to get Child Support? 

The CSA is a government agency and the costs of administering Child Support are borne by the tax payer.

If you need to make an application to the Court, the costs will depend on the issues that are not agreed and the length of time it takes to reach agreement or a Court Order. If there is no agreement reached, then the matter will be settled by the Court and this will become expensive.

Our costs are determined on an hourly rate, which you will be advised of at your first appointment at Crisp & Co.

What should I do next? 

Get in contact with us at Crisp & Co. We have two offices, one in Guildford, Surrey and the other in Kingston-upon- Thames, to book an appointment.

What information will I need to give you at my first appointment? 

  • Your passport or photo identity driving licence plus another proof of identity with your name and address, such as a recent utility bill.
  • Your marriage certificate if it is available.
  • Any letters or documents that have been sent to you by your husband or wife’s solicitors
  • We will need to know the following information from you:-
  • Your marital status, the date of your marriage and the date of any separation
  • The full names and dates of birth of your children
  • Your nationality and country of residence
  • The nationality of your partner and their country of residence
  • Details of any previous Court Orders relating to Child Maintenance.
  • Details of your income and that of any other member of your household
  • Details of property, assets, investments and pensions held either in your own name or in the joint names of yourself and your partner
  • Details of any mortgages or other liabilities in either your own name or in the joint names of you and your partner

Do not worry if you cannot provide all the information listed above at the first appointment, any missing information can always be obtained at a later date. However, the more information you can provide us with the quicker we will be able to advise you in respect of your particular situation.

  • Henry Crisp
      • Henry Crisp
      • Senior Partner, Solicitor & Collaborative Lawyer
      • 020 3627 9537
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  • Anna Clifton
      • 0203 857 9885
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  • Michele Crisp
      • 0203 857 9885
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  • Carol Christofi
      • 0203 857 9885
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  • Muna Saleem
      • 0203 857 9885
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  • Jenine Imms
      • 0203 857 9885
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