Under family law, when a spouse divorces the other, there are certain arrangements that are reached by both parties. A couple may decide to draft their own terms or hire the legal assistance of a divorce attorney. Either way, certain issues come into play, be it in terms of the assets they own or their children. If the couple had had kids together, they have to be taken care of after the separation. It is at the discretion of the court to determine the maintenance of the children by both parents or either of them.
The financial support rendered towards the support of a child and the costs that come with them is what is known as child maintenance. There are two instances whereby child maintenance is enforced, either when the child is sixteen years of age and below or instances where the child in question is aged between sixteen and nineteen. The amount is actually paid to the parent who takes custody of the child. In some cases, the money is paid to the guardian who sees to the day-to-day well-being of the minor. The guardian can be an aunt or grandparent depending on the arrangement met by the divorcing parties.
There are ways on how to arrange for child maintenance. One of them entails the parents of the child reaching an agreement. The parent under whose custody the child is, is referred to as the ‘receiving parent.’ The parent paying for maintenance will reach an agreement with the other spouse. This is an easy method as there is only little documentation work needed. The family-based agreement can include things like the amount of money to be paid and the date of the payment. The parties can also consider the suitability of the paying plan they come up with in terms of a lump sum amount or instalments. Another advantage of such a system is that there is no publicity involved as opposed to court settlements.
Some spouses prefer to sort child maintenance issues in court. A consent order will be required in such cases. The court is a costly venture to many as compared to the family-based arrangement. Actually, it is even more expensive if you are looking to enforce child maintenance in court when it is not on the grounds of divorce. There is also the danger of making your divorce a public issue hence a threat to your privacy.
Child maintenance can also be arranged through the Child Support Agency. If you do not know where to commence your search, it would be best to visit their website and go through the guideline which they offer. There is a child maintenance calculator which users can use to calculate the payment rates that should be made by the ‘paying parent’. The rates usually used on the monthly income earned by the parent so as to come up with a weekly payment towards maintenance.
There are four rates in total. The nil rates apply to parents who are students or prisoners. This means that their situation cannot allow them to pay for maintenance. Where there is a flat rate, one is required to pay a certain amount per week without regard to the number of children there are. The reduced rate is calculated from the income earned by the parent weekly. However, in this case, they will be required to pay the flat rate. Lastly, there is the basic rate which is calculated from the weekly income earned in excess of that legible for the deduction under the reduced rate. If you have queries concerning the calculation, you can inquire from the Child Support Agency directly.