Farleys Solicitors has a specialist team of child support agreements solicitors who can provide advice about both voluntary child maintenance agreements and about the Child Maintenance Service (‘CMS’) . We have expert family law solicitors in our offices in Manchester, Blackburn, Burnley, Accrington and Shadsworth.
Family Based Arrangements
In some circumstances, parents reach their own arrangements in relation to financial support for a child following a separation or a divorce, with or without the involvement of a mediator. This is a called a family based arrangement, and is usually preferable to involving the CMS (previously the Child Support Agency or CSA), who can often take some time to carry out child support assessments. Where the parties are able to agree arrangements then we can assist in drafting a formal child maintenance agreement. We can also advise you on interim child maintenance payments pending any agreement or assessment.
We understand the end of a relationship is very stressful, and we know that both you and your partner will want to make the situation as easy as possible for your child and that you will want to ensure that you continue to provide your child with everything he or she needs. This is why, where possible, we recommend a voluntary child support agreement so as to keep relations as friendly as possible. Both parents will continue to have a role to play in the life of their child. A voluntary agreement can also be more flexible than an assessment imposed by the CMS.
A voluntary child maintenance agreement can cover:
• the amount of maintenance payable for a child;
• the frequency of child support payments;
• the arrangements for making the maintenance payments, e.g. by standing order;
• any agreed method for periodic review of the amount of the child support payments;
• A child maintenance agreement could also include a child care (‘custody’) agreement. Where the child splits his or her time between parents, the amount of child support can then be reduced or adjusted accordingly.
Child Maintenance Service
In situations where an agreement cannot be made privately between the two parties the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) will carry out an assessment. Following a change in policy introduced on the 30th June 2014 a fee will be charged for using the service. There will be a single fee for the calculation to be carried out. If payments are made through the CMS then additional fees are charged to both parents for that service. All new cases will now be dealt with by the Child Maintenance Service, with the existing Child Support Agency cases being brought to an end. Read more