The Court now has limited jurisdiction to deal with the question of child maintenance. Where parties are divorcing and a provision for child maintenance can be agreed, child maintenance can still be incorporated into a Consent Order made by the Court and will hold good for a year beyond the making of the Order.
Beyond that, either party may apply upon two months notice to the other to the Child Maintenance Service for them to take over the assessment and collection of maintenance. Since July 2014 however parents will pay for the CMS to assess and collect maintenance.
We can help you understand your child maintenance options
The Government is keen to encourage parents to agree child maintenance in future rather than rely upon CMS for an assessment, given the £450 million each year that it takes to administer the scheme. There is therefore a strong move to persuade parents to agree and to make direct payments rather than involve CMS.
Spousal maintenance as distinct from child maintenance and clean breaks are a complex issue and must be seen in the context of the overall settlement of a case. The court has a first obligation wherever possible to effect a clean break, but the circumstances in which this is appropriate are many and varied. Contact us for a preliminary discussion if you would like to explore your options or you wish to review the terms of a pre-existing order that you feel it is time to vary.