Divorce and children: more questions answered
October 18, 2013 10 comments
The non-resident parent has free living accommodation – does this affect child maintenance payments?
The living accommodation costs or absence of them does not affect an assessment of child maintenance if carried out by the Child Support Agency. However if the Child Support Agency is not involved and you negotiate directly with the other person about the amount of maintenance, or if the Court is dealing with child maintenance (and it has limited jurisdiction to do so) then the living costs or absence of living costs will be a factor to be taken into account as it frees up more income.
What is a fair amount of child support?
There is no such thing as “a fair amount of child support”. If the CSA is dealing with child maintenance the assessment takes a formulaic approach based on percentages of income for the number of children, with an allowance given for overnights spent with the paying party. Please go to www.gov.uk/child-support-agency for further information on the assessment process. If on the other hand maintenance is being negotiated directly between the parties or the Court is involved (and the Court has limited jurisdiction) then a fair amount is arrived at by balancing the reasonable needs of the receiving party for the child/children with the ability of the paying party to meet those needs out of his/her disposable income.
Can I claim child maintenance from my ex wife?
In short, yes you can claim child maintenance from your ex-wife if the child/children reside with you and she has an income. You can either try to negotiate directly with her but if you can’t agree an amount then you should contact the Child Support Agency who will undertake an assessment. Please go to www.gov.uk/child-support-agency for further information.
My ex-partner has moved abroad – will this affect child maintenance obligations?
Your ex-partner’s move abroad will not affect your obligation to continue to pay child maintenance but it does have practical as well as legal implications. If the maintenance is currently being paid through the Child Support Agency then they will lose jurisdiction as a result of the move abroad. You would then have to renegotiate directly with your ex-partner with regard to the payment of child maintenance or you may be able to issue an application to court if this fails to produce an agreed solution. Please note, however, that if you do obtain a court order in this country then there can be difficulties in enforcing it abroad.
My husband has committed adultery and has another child – can I stop him seeing our kids?
Unfortunately your husband’s adultery and the birth of another child of whom he is the father would not in themselves give you the right to stop him having contact with your children. There is a presumption that it is in the best interests of the children to continue to have a relationship with their separated parent unless it can be shown that this such contact presents a risk of harm, whether physical, emotional or otherwise. Your husband’s adultery and the birth of another child does not present, in the absence of anything else, a risk to your children and so would not be considered irrelevant.
I am self-employed – does this affect child maintenance payments?
The fact that you are self-employed does not affect your obligation to pay child maintenance or the actual payments themselves. The only difference is that the assessment of the amount you should pay will be made upon your earnings as a self-employed person and you will be required to produce accounts and details of your finances, and all other relevant documentation kept in connection with your business,s in order to disclose your income on an annual basis.
What are the rights of partners with two children who have parted?
The rights of unmarried partners are significantly different to unmarried partners upon separation. Unmarried partners do not have a right to maintenance for themselves or to a share in any property or assets owned by the other person. However, an application can be made to the court under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 for the transfer of property for the benefit of the child during his or her childhood, and for associated expenses as well as maintenance. In addition, unmarried partners would not automatically inherit any assets on the death of their ex-partner. Unmarried partners do, however, have an obligation to pay maintenance for any children of the relationship in the same way as a married couple, and of course have the same rights in relation to residence and contact.
When a mother changes a child’s name where does the husband stand with maintenance?
The changing of a child’s name does not affect the obligation to pay maintenance. If you are paying maintenance then you will be required to continue doing so, even if the child’s name has been changed. Please note however that a child’s name (particularly the surname) should not be changed by the mother without your written consent or the consent of the court. Moreover it should not be changed informally – i.e. by way of simple usage. If you disagree with the change of name then you would be entitled to make an application to the court for an order known as a Specific Issue Order, under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989.
Photo of child holding hands by Stephan Hochhaus via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence