Understanding child support laws


Child support laws in the UK are contained in three child support schemes from the Child Support Act 1991, the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000, and the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008. Child support laws set out responsibilities of parents to provide financially for their children via regular payments to the other parent.

Under the child support laws, the parents of the child can come to a private agreement about who will pay what. If you cannot agree, you can apply to the Child Support Agency (CSA) to make an order. The CSA will assess your circumstances and make an order based upon several factors, such as: who the child is living with (the parent with care of the child); the net income of the non-resident parent; the number of natural children they have that are not living in the household; the number of natural children or step-children living in the non-resident parent’s household with a new partner and the number of nights per week on average that the children stay with the non-resident parent.

The child support laws give the CSA agency various powers in order to be able to assess and enforce payment. The CSA has powers to work with other government agencies in order to investigate your employment and financial status. It can also insist upon proof of parentage being produced. The CSA has the power to demand back payment of maintenance that has not been paid. This can often result in a large lump sum of money being demanded from the non-paying parent. The CSA can also enforce payment of maintenance by making a deduction order to your employer instructing them to deduct the cost of maintenance from your salary. It is also possible for the CSA to take the matter to court, and the court has the power to make an order for payment, including legal costs, and to impose penalties.

If you dispute the amount of child support assessed by the CSA, you can ask the CSA to review their assessment. If you still disagree with their reviewed decision, you can appeal against it.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on child support laws, Caven can put you in touch with local specialist family / child support solicitors free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local specialist family / child support solicitors please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.

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