Divorce has become a normal practice with three in every five marriages failing. Many of these marriages sadly have children involved in the divorce process. Some divorce cases have the two ex-parties coming together and having an understanding on raising their children. In most instances, the divorcing couple can’t agree and require an outside party guiding the child maintenance process. If the parties can’t agree the Child Maintenance Services and the Child Support Agency are brought into the picture to lead the process.

In divorce cases where issues of child support arise, there are three common strategies that the divorcing couple can choose from as their child support strategy. The following are the three child maintenance strategies:

  • Child support that is based on the family set up

This strategy is not legally binding and is based on trust. The implication of this strategy is that should the paying party not make payment, the primary caregiver cannot seek legal recourse. Should issues arise, the primary caregiver can seek other child support avenues. However, it is the easiest and quickest strategy to implement. They base it on both parties, agreeing on the amount of child support to be paid to the primary caregiver and the duration of expected payment.

  • Child support schemes instituted by the government

The government has instituted regulatory schemes to ensure that both parents provide financial support to their children. This government instituted schemes are legally binding. The following are the three schemes that are regulated by the government:

  • The government instituted the 2012 schemes target for divorcing couples unable to follow through with the family-based strategy.
  • The government uses CSA 1993 to enforce child support cases that were lodged earlier than the 3rd of March 1993.
  • For cases lodged from the 3rd of March 1993, the government uses the 2003 scheme to institute child support.
  • Child Support through court orders

They use this child support strategy, especially when the paying party is not a citizen of the UK. It is also used when the expenses of raising the child/children are higher than what the Child Support Agency allocates. They can also bring the court into the picture when the paying party’s income is high and thus the child support should reflect the parent’s lifestyle and income.

Who can seek help from child maintenance services?

  • Any person who is the primary caregiver of the child/children can dial the child maintenance contact number for help.
  • The paying parent who is not the primary caregiver can also contact the child support agency for help.
  • Children above the age of 12 years also can contact the child maintenance services or the child support agency for help.

Eligibility for child maintenance

The following are the groups of people who can apply for child maintenance:

  • The primary caregiver of the child, also known as receiving parent living within the UK.
  • The paying parent working and living in the UK or serving in the UK Army or civil service.
  • The child being sort for child support should below 16 years or a full-time dependant in matters relating to school for children between 16-20 years.

The child maintenance scheme only applies for children living in the UK, studying abroad, or seeking medical treatment abroad. However, children under the 1993 and 2003 requirements may have different maintenance schemes.

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