Divorce and Maintenance Myths

Myth

“My child lives with his mother, my ex-partner. I have to pay financial support via the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission.”

Fact: Click to view

It is advisable to only use the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission if you and your ex-partner cannot agree the level of financial support you should be paying. If you and your ex-partner do agree, there is no requirement, legal or otherwise, for the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission to become involved and assess you. However, if your ex-partner is in receipt of state benefits, such as Job Seekers Allowance or Income Support, this will trigger an automatic application so that her benefits can be adjusted accordingly.

Myth

“What you pay in maintenance for a child is linked to how often you may see them. That means when no child support paid there is no contact.”

Fact: Click to view

There is no relationship between maintenance and contact. The two issues are not linked in law. That said, if you can afford child support and do not pay it, the court may regard that as evidence of a lack of commitment and take this into consideration if called on to make a Contact Order.

Myth

“Once a child leaves school, a father no longer has to pay child support. ”

Fact: Click to view

An absent father can be required to pay child support during a child’s attendance at university and the gap year they often take before university but each case is looked at separately as there is no automatic right for maintenance to continue once a child leaves school. The court would normally expect an explanation as to why you and your child feel that provision should continue.

Myth

“The court has no involvement in deciding issues to do with child maintenance.”

Fact: Click to view

Whilst this is true in the majority of cases as the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (formerly the CSA) deals with it, the courts do retain jurisdiction to deal with child maintenance. This includes where the child is a step child, where the absent parent lives abroad, where a top-up provision is needed, where school fees are payable, where the child remains in full time education after school, or where the child is undertaking vocational training/apprenticeship and there are expenses to meet.