Child Maintenance is commonly known as the financial arrangement between the claimant and the other parent of their child to help with their wellbeing and stability. The payment primarily covers how their child’s living costs will be paid for when one of the parents no longer lives with them and is usually paid for by the parent who is not the main caregiver. It is usually made when a couple have either separated or have never even been in a relationship in the first place.
In terms of the law, both parents are responsible for the costs of raising the children they have together, even if they do not have access to them.
All parents need to have Child Maintenance arrangements for children who are under the age of 16 or under 20 if they are in approved education or training.
Those looking to arrange Child Maintenance can either make an agreement with their former partner or do it though the Child Maintenance service (CMS).
When one of the parents may not have the financial capability to pay towards child maintenance, many single households turn to CMS for support.
Recently, a single mum of two children secured £15,000 worth of Child Maintenance from their father through CMS.
According to the DWP, the mother was “overjoyed” once the service stepped in to intervene with an early order of sale action placed on the uncooperative father’s property, which he was in the process of selling.
As a result of this, the father had to fulfill his parental responsibility and payout £15,000 to the mother of his children in financial support.
This lump payment had built up over five and a half years, with the mother not receiving a penny of support from him over that period of time.
Baroness Deborah Stedman-Scott, the DWP’s Lords Minister, outlined the importance of the CMS in pushing for familial justice in regards to Child Maintenance.
“Every child deserves the best possible start in life and parents financially supporting their children is fundamental to that.
“The CMS is here to make sure that happens.
“While the vast majority of parents do the right thing, we will take action against those who refuse to make sure the money gets to the children who need it.”
The DWP estimates that there are currently a million separated families across the UK who do have Child Maintenance arrangements in place.
In response to the £15,000 payout, the Government has published a list of the top five “busted myths” which are used by negligent parents to get out of supporting their child.
“My Universal Credit will be reduced if I receive child maintenance.”
Child Maintenance payments do not have any effect on how much a parent gets in benefit payments.
“If I get a job, I won’t get any more child maintenance payments.”
Single parents will continue to receive their Child Maintenance even if they are working.
“I will have to contact my ex-partner to get child maintenance.”
Parents do not have to contact your ex-partner or exchange personal details as this can be done through the CMS.
“My ex-partner works cash in hand and will do everything to avoid paying, so won’t pay their fair share.”
The CMS will do all in its power to make sure that child maintenance is paid, including investigating earnings, property and income from shares.
The service enforces payment with disqualification from driving, removal of passport or imprisonment.
“Even if I claim for child maintenance, most will be taxed anyway.”
Tax is not payable on any Child Maintenance payments.