Child Maintenance and the Courts


If you are separated or divorced from your partner any children you have must be properly supported financially. Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) is an agency that works closely with families in England and Wales. They can give you help and advice about the financial arrangements you must make for your children. More details are on their website:

Child maintenance is a regular payment that you make towards the upkeep of your children after you have separated from your partner, wife or husband. Usually it is the parent that does not have day-to-day responsibility of the child that pays child maintenance. It is important to ensure that all of your child’s financial arrangements including child-maintenance payments are properly agreed before your separation. If you need help, you can use the Child Maintenance Options helpline on0800 988 0988.

It is also possible to ask the courts to turn your agreed child-maintenance arrangements into a Consent Order. This is a ruling by the court that is legally binding. You will need a solicitor to help you agree the level of maintenance that will be paid before approaching the court. Note that you cannot get Legal Aid to pay for the solicitor or court costs when applying for a Consent Order.

If you live in Scotland you can also go to court to make your child-maintenance arrangements legally binding. In Scotland the Consent Order is called the ‘Minute of Agreement’. If the party that has stated they will pay child maintenance fails to do so, the court can use bailiffs to collect the money that is owed.

Child maintenance can also be claimed from parents that are living abroad using the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO) that the UK currently has with over 100 countries.

Your local magistrates’ or family court can give you more details about REMO and how you can use this.

If you would like to obtain legal advice about child maintenance, Caven can put you in touch with a local specialist custody /divorce solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local custody /  divorce solicitors please call us on 0800 988 0988 or complete the web-form above.

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