Although there is an abundance of laws in the United Kingdom, it is fair to say that some are more important than others. When it comes to looking after people, the right and support of children is vital and this is where child support laws along with residence order are crucial. Divorce and separation can be an extremely tough time for everyone involved and there is a need to make sure that the financial situations are taken care of and makes good sense to get legal advice. Child support is at the heart of providing on-going financial support for the child or children involved. Child support is sometimes referred to as child maintenance.
Video Advice on Child Residence Orders
In the current legislation referring to child support, the parents are listed as being Parent With Care (PWC) or Non-Resident Parent (NRP). As the name suggests, the titles are based around who the child will usually live with. In the situation where a joint custody is in place, there is still a need for one parent to be listed as the PWC and for the other parent to be listed as the NRP.
The key aspect of child support is that the NRP provides money to the PWC to assist with looking after the financial needs of the child. In some circumstances, the NRP may pay money to a guardian or a grandparent depending on the living arrangement (residence order) for the child or children.
The CSA play a strong role in child residence issues
Whether you are a parent with care or a non-resident parent, it is possible to make an application to the CSA, the Child Support Agency, to ask them to calculate how much child support is owed and for arrangements to be put in place for payment. There is a slight change in Scotland where a child that is older than 12 years of age but is under 19 and still in full time education can make an application as well.
If a PWC, or the partner they have at the current moment in time, is claiming income support or they receive a job seekers allowance that is income based, the claim that they make will be considered as an application for child support. Even if you have sought legal advice and a private arrangement has been put in place, it is still possible for either parent to make a request of the CSA to take control of the child support arrangements.
The calculation of child support is one of the most important things and the calculation is taken place after information from both of the parents is received. This allows the CSA to determine if any maintenance is due and if so, what the amount of maintenance should be. In addition to the information gleaned from the two parents, the CSA may take information from the HMRC or the NRP’s employers.
There are four rates that can be applied to the income of the NRP, which are:
• The basic rate, which applies to income of above £200 per week
• A reduced rate, which applies to income above £100 but less than £200 per week
• A flat rate, which applies to income between £5 and £100 per week
• A nil rate, which applies to income of less than £5 per week.
A series of adjustments can then be made to the rate, which takes into consideration a number of factors. These factors can include how many other children reside with the NRP, any child benefit that either parent receives, the amount of children the NRP has to pay maintenance for and whether the NRP has their child staying with them for at least one night a week.
Even if the children spend their time split between both parents, there may still be a need for the NRP to provide support to the PWC. If this places the NRP at risk of poverty, they can contact the CSA outlining the situation. It is always recommended to try to work out a financial system with the PWC but this is not always possible, which is where the CSA can assist.
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