All parents have a responsibility to provide financial support to their children, regardless of whether or not they have contact with them. Child maintenance, or child support, is a regular financial payment made towards the day to day living costs of the children. The person who lives with the children is able to claim child support payments from the other parent.
How much child support is payable?
A simple, set formula has been put in place that allows us to calculate the financial position at an early stage.
The calculation is based on the net income of the non-resident parent (after deduction of income tax and national insurance). In the case of self employed earners, net income is calculated by reference to the total taxable profits in the last 52 weeks, again with the deduction of tax, national insurance. Once the net income is worked out then the child support is calculated based on the number of children and whether or not the children have overnight stays with the non-resident parent.
For example, if there is one child then the parent has to pay 15% of their net income in child support. For 2 children they have to ay 20% and for three children 25%.
If the children stay overnight with the parent, for example one night a week, then the payment is reduced by 1/7th. For two nights it is reduced by 2/7th.
What if the other parent refuses to pay child maintenance?
Parents have a responsibility to provide financial support to their children. If they refuse to pay then an application can be made to the Child Support Agency (CSA) by the parent whom the children live with. The CSA will assess the circumstances and they have procedures in place to pursue the non-paying parent for any payments that have not been forthcoming.