Family Law Blog

Child Maintenance

05 October 2017, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

Parents who are able to agree child maintenance, can make a family based arrangement. This route is encouraged on the CMS (child maintenance service) website. It claims that 85% of parents are happy with such arrangements.

However, these arrangements are not legally binding and cannot be enforced if the paying party fails to make the payments.

If an agreement can be reached within divorce proceedings, this can be incorporated into a consent order and becomes legally binding. However, the consent order can be replaced by a child maintenance assessment once the order has been in place for more than 12 months. Either party can apply to the CMS for an assessment. Once the assessment has taken place, it replaces the court order. The order will not automatically be replaced by a child maintenance assessment after 12 months. An application has to be made to the CMS and an assessment made. The paying parent cannot assume that if the CMS assessment is less than the court order it will be automatically reduced after 12 months.

The court can make a child maintenance order in circumstances where the CMS has no jurisdiction e.g. where the paying party is not resident in the UK.

The court often makes a maintenance order which is the mirror of a CMS assessment. However, the court has a discretion and can make an amount that It deems appropriate and is not bound by the CMS figure.

If you would like to find out more information about the issues raised above, please contact Susan Taylor. 0161 883 0460 or email