Separating couples often reach arrangements in relation to child maintenance between themselves. In the event they are unable to do so, the Child Maintenance Service provides an excellent online tool, into which the couple can input relevant information, such as the number of nights the children spend with the paying party and that party’s income which then provides a maintenance figure that the couple can use to reach agreement. If agreement cannot be reached, then the Child Maintenance Service can be asked to make a formal assessment and can arrange for the sum due to be taken from the paying party’s salary before they receive it.
Save in limited circumstances, for example where a child has special needs, or the paying party’s income is exceptionally high, all cases of child maintenance will be dealt with by the Child Maintenance Service. In cases where the court does become involved, a Judge would be able to guide the parties or make an Order in relation to maintenance if the couple are still unable to agree.
Maintenance for a spouse is totally separate to that for a child and whilst there is a formula for calculating child support, there is no formula for working out spousal maintenance. The court takes into account various factors to decide the level of spousal maintenance such as the length of the marriage, the standard of living enjoyed by the couple and the parties’ needs going forward. Often spousal maintenance claims are reduced or extinguished in an overall settlement by an adjustment in the assets in the receiving party’s favour.
Our family team has extensive experience in this area and will be able to advise how best to proceed in your particular case.