Reducing child maintenance payments can be a difficult task, but it can be done with careful planning.
Whether you are struggling to make ends meet or think that you’re paying too much, here are some useful tips on how to reduce child maintenance payments in the UK.
Child maintenance is financial support that covers the living cost of the child when parents get divorced or separate. It is paid by the parent who doesn’t have day-to-day care or custody of the child.
In most cases, the responsibility of working out the amount of child maintenance usually falls on the parents, but if they can’t come to an agreement, the case is referred to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).
The CMS is a government organisation that helps parents find a middle ground on child maintenance payments in the UK. If the parents still can’t agree, the CMS will make a decision based on the parent’s income and other factors, such as whether the non-custodial parent has any other children living with them.
Child maintenance payments in the UK are calculated using a formula that takes into account the income of both parents, the number of children involved, and the amount of time each parent spends with the child.
The formula is designed to ensure that children receive a fair financial contribution from both parents, regardless of whether they are living together or not.
When calculating children’s maintenance payments, the CMS first looks at the income of the paying parent, as well as any benefits and state pension. It will then consider whether the paying parent is supporting other children and has additional expenses, before calculating a weekly rate.
There are a number of external circumstances that can reduce (and sometimes, increase) the child maintenance payment. In such cases, the CMS will offer “variations.”
For non-resident parents the general factors for a variation are:
The only exemptions from paying child support are when the parent doesn’t have an income or is in prison.
You can also apply for variation after the child maintenance amount is worked out too.
In situations like this, it’s critical to contact the CMS and let them know that you want to change the child maintenance payments and explain the changes to child maintenance.
Note that the CMS may fine you if you provide false or inaccurate information.
Children’s maintenance payments end on the child’s 16th birthday if they decide to leave education. If the child continues to participate in approved education or training, they will be eligible to receive child maintenance payments until the age of 20.
To qualify as “approved” the educational institution must offer full-time education for more than an average of 12 hours each week and include “supervised study or course-related work experience”, which means:
Home education can be considered approved education as long as it began before the child’s 16th birthday.
Child maintenance payments are mandatory for parents that don’t live with their children, except in certain circumstances. There are a number of ways that you can reduce your child support payments, especially if you’re having trouble making ends meet.
If you’re paying for: one child, you’ll pay a basic rate of 12% of your gross weekly income; 16% if you have two children; and 19% if you have three or more children.
Child maintenance is usually due until your kid turns 16 years old, provided that they leave education, or until they reach the age of 20 if they go to school or college full-time and are studying for A-levels, Highers, or equivalent qualifications.
To reduce children’s maintenance payments, you’ll need to apply for variations with the CMS. Depending on your circumstances, the organisation can allow you to pay less, especially if you’re having financial troubles or debt.