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Child Support Solicitors

If you’re going through a divorce or separation, we know that your biggest concern will be your children. Our child maintenance lawyers in Leeds can help you agree on how much you or your former partner should pay towards your children’s upbringing, change the terms of an existing agreement, or help if maintenance payments you should be receiving have stopped. 

What is child maintenance?

Child maintenance is paid by the parent with whom the child does not live for the majority of the time. There are 3 ways that child maintenance can be agreed upon:

Agree on maintenance payments directly with your former partner direct.

– This is also known as a “family-based arrangement”. 

– This is usually the cheapest and quickest way to agree on child maintenance.

The Child Maintenance Service

– This is a government scheme that calculates the maintenance payment for you. 

– There are some charges and financial penalties to pay if the Child Maintenance Service is forced to get involved in your case.

Court Order 

– The UK courts have the power to set maintenance payments. 

– Courts are usually involved when the paying parent has a high income and/or lives abroad.

How to apply for child maintenance with the CMS

You can apply for child maintenance via the CMS directly.      

The applying party must meet the eligibility requirement before completing an online application. The eligibility requirements mean that the parties must both have the right to live in the UK and be residing in the UK too.

Child maintenance does not need to be paid if either party is in prison or in full-time education with no income. 

When making an application through CMS, the party applying will need to provide certain information such as

National insurance number

The names of both parents’

Employment details

Bank account details

The child’s name

The child’s date of birth. 

The more information that the applying parent can provide, generally the quicker the process. 

In order to make an application with the CMS, there is a £20 fee to process the application. This payment is exempt in certain situations, such as if the party applying is under the age of 19 and/or has been a victim of domestic violence. 

The average timescale for a decision by the CMS after applying is normally 4-6 weeks. However this can be longer should there be any issues contacting either parent.

What is/should be included in child maintenance?

Are you unsure as to what should be included in child maintenance? As a base rule child maintenance payments cover the cost of the everyday care of a child. This means that the payment should be used to be put towards items such as food, clothes, and housing. 

Other expenses, such as private school fees, do not fall under child maintenance payments – parents who are getting a divorce can make a “Family-Based Arrangement” to agree and cover costs like this.

How long do I pay child support?

Are you questioning at what age does child maintenance stop? Normally child maintenance payments continue until your child is 16, or until they’re 20 if they’re in school or college full-time studying for A-levels, Highers or equivalent.

How is child maintenance calculated?

If you are wondering how much child maintenance should I get, or how much the CMS will take from my wages, then there are six steps usually taken by the CMS to calculate the payments for each application. The steps are:


– Assess the paying parents’ yearly gross income

Things that affect income

– check for certain things that could change this gross income amount, such as pension payments, or other children who the paying parent supports

– the yearly gross income amount is converted to a weekly figure

Child maintenance rates

– one of four child maintenance rates, based on the amount of gross weekly income, is set

Children we take into account

– the number of children for who the paying parent must pay child maintenance and any family-based arrangements are considered

– The weekly amount of child maintenance is confirmed

– a decision about a weekly child maintenance amount is made

Shared care

– A deduction to the weekly amount of child maintenance is made depending on the average number of ‘shared care’ nights a week, if applicable.

If the paying party is on specific benefits, then the receiving party gets anything between £7 and £10 a week in child maintenance (based on the paying party’s gross weekly income). These benefits include but are not limited to Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit and Universal Credit.

Apply for child support with Henry Hyams

At Henry Hyams, our child support lawyers in Leeds can provide advice and walk you through the process of applying for and arranging child support to help you provide the best possible situation for your children.
Should you have any questions or would like to talk to one of our child support solicitors Leeds team, please contact us on the email below or contact us on 0113 2432288.

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