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Children Order: Child Maintenance

14th September 2022

Child maintenance is a tricky topic particularly if you are also going through a separation or divorce. It is intended to be a regular payment to help cover the everyday living costs of a child or children when one parent does not live with the child(ren). Both parents are responsible for the costs of raising their children, even if they do not see them, or if one parent lives overseas. In this jurisdiction the Child Maintenance Service has responsibility for securing and enforcing child maintenance payments.

Parents can use the government formula on the CHILD MAINTENANCE SERVICE (CMS) website as the basis for making their own arrangements and to obtain an indication as to the quantum of Child Maintenance to be paid.  

The online CMS government calculator is there to help work out how maintenance should be paid. it uses a fixed formula which includes the paying parents gross income save for pension contributions. It does not take account of the actual circumstances and expenses of each individual family situation  For families with complex, unusual or irregular income sources, or where the paying parent has a very high income or resides outside this jurisdiction, the government calculator is unlikely assist. In such circumstances you may be able to bring proceedings for Child Maintenance under Article 15 (Schedule 1) of the Children (NI) Order 1995 which would take into account factors for children including housing, food, school uniform, trips or clubs, as well as school fees where relevant. 

Child maintenance can be a complex area, and you should consider seeking professional advice. If you have any questions our expert Family Law Solicitors are here to help you.