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How to arrange child maintenance yourself

Tags: child maintenance,
Content Types: Tips and Advice
Categories: Separating

You don’t have to go through the ‘official’ channels such as the Child Support Agency (CSA) to arrange child maintenance. There is the option to arrange it yourself with what is known as a ‘family-based arrangement.’ You can do this only if both parents agree to it.

Family-based arrangements are also sometimes called voluntary arrangements and private agreements.

A family-based arrangement involves little paperwork and it allows both parents to agree on how much the ‘paying parent’ should give the other parent and when those payments should be made. It also allows you to pay for specific items, rather than just give money. For example, you could agree to pay for new clothes or school supplies up to a certain amount each month.

If you want to arrange for a set amount to be paid each month, a child maintenance calculator is provided by the government.

You can also agree that the paying parent pays lump sums at different points in the child’s life.

You may find this type of arrangement more suitable as it affords more flexibility and as both you and your ex can have your say in it, you are able to make sure that it works best for both parties as well as the children.

If you and your ex want to arrange child maintenance yourself but are having difficult reaching an agreement, mediation may be the answer.

It’s worth noting that family-based arrangements are NOT legally binding unless they are part of the divorce process. If it is part of your divorce process, you can register the arrangement with a court as part of what is called a Consent Order.

What if the other parent doesn’t pay?

In some cases, the paying partner might not make any payments at all, or they may start falling behind with their payments. If this happens, you may want to call the Child Maintenance Options on 0800 0835 130.

What if you can’t agree?

You can get the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to collect payments if you can’t come to an agreement. However, you will have to pay a free if you arrange payments this way.


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