The courts no longer have a role to play in relation to disputes regarding payment by a parent of child support. There are exceptions to this rule – children of 18 and over can apply to the court for orders of payment of child support (the technical term is interim aliment) against a parent.
A parent whose spouse/partner lives abroad can also make an application to the court. However, child support is now regulated by the Child Support Agency although this is being replaced by the Child Maintenance Service. The CMS has taken over all cases from 25 November 2013. It should also be remembered that many parents reach legally binding agreement on payment of child support, removing the need for an application to the CMS. Agreements on payment of child support can include provision for increases in payment according to inflation or any percentage increase agreed between the parents themselves.There is a useful child maintenance calculator which should give parents an idea of what they might be expected to pay. Under the new CMS regime, calculations are based on the gross and not net income as was the case under the Child Support Agency.
It is relevant whether children stay overnight with the paying parent and how often. These factors can change the amount of child support required.
Here is also a variation procedure under the CMS regime. Sometimes parents complain that they have to pay a lot of money to maintain a relationship with the child and that can now be taken into account on an application for variation. A parent with care might for example have additional costs if a child in their household is disabled and they can apply for a variation for example for a higher amount.It should be remembered that even if parents reach an agreement on how much should be paid, that will not prevent the other parent from later making an application to the CMS.
Parents should also be aware that the obligation to maintain children can continue up to the child’s 25th birthday. This is where children are undergoing further education or vocational training. Here is a link to the child maintenance service.
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If you think you or your child need help with any Child Law issue, don’t delay in seeking expert advice from our specialist Child Law team. You will benefit from knowing where you stand from the start. Our expert team of Child Law solicitors will advise and represent you or your child every step of the way. We cover Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and all areas of Scotland. Call us on 0141 275 4853 or fill out our online form and we will call you back for a confidential chat. We offer a free, no obligation consultation in the first instance.