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Am I Entitled To Pay Less Child Support?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 8 Mar 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Support Child Support Act

Q.I am a divorcee living in London and my ex-wife resides in France with our 7-year-old daughter. I visit every 6 weeks and pay 15% of my monthly salary (the payment is £500). They visit London 3 times each year. I also have a 2-year-old daughter with my new partner.

My ex-wife remarried last week and her husband also has a 7-year-old-daughter. Does any of this affect my child support payments?

(T.C, 2 October 2008)

A.

Your seemingly simple question actually raises a lot of very interesting points. You pay the amount mandated by the Child Support Pensions and Social Security Act 2000, which amended the Child Support Act 1991 and 1995, which said the non-resident parent should pay 15% of net income as child support.

However, if the child and custodial parent are resident outside the UK, the 2000 Act doesn’t apply, according to some sources, which could leave you free to petition for a change in the amount of maintenance paid.

Also, if you have to travel long distances and spend a great deal in order to have regular contact, you might be able to petition to have the maintenance reduced.

Perhaps surprisingly, the one factor that doesn’t seem to have any influence on the proceedings is the remarriage of your ex-wife, although you might suppose that would be the one that would affect things most.

You do have a financial responsibility to your daughter until she’s 16 or until she’s 19 if she remains in full-time education; that’s very much the law.

Something you don’t say is how you and your ex arrived at the 15% of your income figure, whether it was agreed mutually, through mediation, or imposed by the courts, or whether her move to France occurred after the divorce.

It would seem that you’d like to reduce your child support payment, and that’s understandable when you’re paying £6,000 a year. However, before you start consulting a lawyer, consider a few things.

From the number of cross-Channel visits – both ways – it would seem that you and your ex are on good terms. Might it be possible for the two of you to talk and maybe arrive at a lower figure for child support? Something arrived at amicably is much better for all parties than going through a legal process.

Additionally, if you are on good terms, taking legal action to reduce child support payments could sour those good relations. Given that you have 10 more years of child support payments and visits, the goodwill might outweigh the money.

But, before you do anything, sit down and have a talk with your lawyer who can give you the proper advice in the situation. Find out more about child support payments in our guide, here.

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Hi I pay my CSA every month directly out my wages, my ex wife has now re married and had a child of there own. Do my payments go down now she has new family, they have 3 cars big house and 4 holidays a year while I struggle as a single man, no extra help like tax credits etc I have my children almost every single weekend is there any help I can claim or entitled too? Thank you
cavey75 - 8-Mar-17 @ 2:05 PM
Jon - Your Question:
Hi need some enlightenment please.I have remarried 3 years ago and still paying ex wife amount according to decree nessi.but the issue is when we got final divorce we were long separated and have a child then with my partner then and current wife now and since remarrying, my ex is still asking for more money and was wondering if I should tell the court that I have 2 kids with my current wife so my child support to my ex wife should be recalculated as Iam trying struggling to keep up as ex wife demanding more money all the time.also it says at the age 16 I can stop support and ex wife both 18 but im still paying a lot.I want to do what is fair on both my kids from ex wife and my current family not to suffer too.

Our Response:
If there is a change regarding your circumstances, you can apply back to court for a variation. You may wish to see how much you should be paying via the CMS link here.
SeparatedDads - 6-Mar-17 @ 10:31 AM
Hi need some enlightenment please.I have remarried 3 years ago and still paying ex wife amount according to decree nessi.but the issue is when we got final divorce we were long separated and have a child then with my partner then and current wife now and since remarrying, my ex is still asking for more money and was wondering if i should tell the court that I have 2 kids with my current wife so my child support to my ex wife should be recalculated as Iam trying struggling to keep up as ex wife demanding more money all the time.also it says at the age 16 I can stop support and ex wife both 18 but im still paying a lot.I want to do what is fair on both my kids from ex wife and my current family not to suffer too.
Jon - 5-Mar-17 @ 9:29 AM
Hi all, my ex wife refuses to pay me maintenance for our daughter because she is self employed, I pay monthly for our son who lives with her as I am employed and if I don't the CSA will take the money direct from my employer, the system stinks, she has declared that she earns 24k per year but she rents a three bed house, has holidays, runs a car, pays rent on her shop for 24k? She was earning over 60k when we were together 7 years ago and hiding all the cash. Should I report her to the tax office?
Thommy - 27-Feb-17 @ 9:08 PM
jj - Your Question:
Hi, my ex earns over 3 times as much as I do and I am really struggling paying the amount on child maintenance. Im in debt because of a loan I had for the house w3 had. which she now owns. I want to start a family with my new partner who has no children, but I see it only makes about £6 a week difference if we do! We are both on low wages. combined still half what my ex earns. can this not be taken into account ? I want to pay maintenance to my 2 children but also want to start a life with my partner. it doesn't seem fair thst we have to struggle whilst my ex is loaded! It will make my new child almost have a less quality of life than my other 2? Obviously we would be very lovely parents.hope that makes sense! Just quite frustrated.

Our Response:
I'm afraid your ex's earnings are not taken into account. It is your earnings as the father and by law you have to pay child maintenance to support your children. Your only recourse is to negotiate a family-based arrangement with your ex directly. However, if she wishes to continue to recieve the assessed amount of money, it is her prerogative.
SeparatedDads - 24-Feb-17 @ 1:59 PM
Hi, my ex earns over 3 times as much as I do and I am really struggling paying the amount on child maintenance. Im in debt because of a loan I had for the house w3 had.. which she now owns. I want to start a family with my new partner who has no children, but i see it only makes about £6 a week difference if we do! We are both on low wages... combined still half what my ex earns.... can this not be taken into account ? I want to pay maintenance to my 2 children but also want to start a life with my partner... it doesn't seem fair thst we have to struggle whilst my ex is loaded! It will make my new child almost have a less quality of life than my other 2? Obviously we would be very lovely parents..hope that makes sense! Just quite frustrated.
jj - 23-Feb-17 @ 5:09 PM
Mr_Dee - Your Question:
I’m seeking some legal advice regard a 3 bed house that I solely own.My ex-partner and I have been living together in this house along with our two children (4yr & 7yrs old). We are not married and the relationship had broken down last year April and I agreed to moved out into a 1 bed rented accommodation with the view of giving us some space, with the hope that we would reconcile down the line. I have been paying all of the bills, mortgage and living expenses for both properties as she was not been working. The house in owned solely by myself, I’ve not receive any financial contribution from my ex towards the purchase nor the upkeep of the house as she’s been a stay at home mum.It is now become apparent that reconciliation is not on the cards. My ex-partner has started working from Nov 2016 and I’ve asked her to start contributing towards the expenses of the house but she refuses to do so unless her name was legally put on the house which in light of how things are, I’m not prepare to do. She has taken on some of the utility expenses since but I am still having to pay for the mortgage despite not living in the property. It’s the bulk of the expense and its a significant financial burden I cannot upkeep.She is refusing to move out, not even into rented accommodation but keep siting that she wants to remain in the home because it’s in the best interest of the children. I have offered her a few options but unless she gets 50% of the house and also for her to remain living in the property – she is not agreeing to any of it. She’s just stated that she no longer wishes to discuss this with me any further as she feels that I’m trying to bully her into an agreeing to something which only benefits me, so has suggested going to mediation. If I attend mediation, can they force me to give her 50% share of my property that I purchased and paid for all by myself? All I want is my property back so I can create a home for me and my children. Can you please offer some advice on what my legal position is on:-a) Acquiring my property back? How do I best go about that?b) If I wish can I put the property on the market for sale, thereby giving her reasonable notice to vacate despite that she is currently living there with my two children but without contributing towards the mortgage payment?Seeking some advice what my legal rights are or whether she has a claim to my property because we have children and she is currently living there with them.

Our Response:
I'm afraid you are in a bit of a tricky situation and it sounds as though your ex has had some legal advice regarding her position. Unfortunately, the initial mistake you made was to move out of the house as this makes it more difficult to re-claim your property when there are children involved. The court will always decides upon what it thinks is in the best interests of your children and it would be likely to allow your ex and your children to remain in the house until they have completed their education, in order to avoid disruption. Therefore, you may wish to seek legal advice in order to explore your options. With regards to mediation, a mediatior is only there to help guide the conversation, and although an agreement may be reached and overseen by the court, it is not enforceable by law; only the court can do this. Please also see CAB link here which will explain further.
SeparatedDads - 2-Feb-17 @ 12:15 PM
I’m seeking some legal advice regard a 3 bed house that I solely own. My ex-partner and I have been living together in this house along with our two children (4yr & 7yrs old). We are not married and the relationship had broken down last year April and I agreed to moved out into a 1 bed rented accommodation with the view of giving us some space, with the hope that we would reconcile down the line. I have been paying all of the bills, mortgage and living expenses for both properties as she was not been working. The house in owned solely by myself, I’ve not receive any financial contribution from my ex towards the purchase nor the upkeep of the house as she’s been a stay at home mum. It is now become apparent that reconciliation is not on the cards. My ex-partner has started working from Nov 2016 and I’ve asked her to start contributing towards the expenses of the house but she refuses to do so unless her name was legally put on the house which in light of how things are, I’m not prepare to do. She has taken on some of the utility expenses since but I am still having to pay for the mortgage despite not living in the property. It’s the bulk of the expense and its a significant financial burden I cannot upkeep. She is refusing to move out, not even into rented accommodation but keep siting that she wants to remain in the home because it’s in the best interest of the children. I have offered her a few options but unless she gets 50% of the house and also for her to remain living in the property – she is not agreeing to any of it. She’s just statedthat she no longer wishes to discuss this with me any further as she feels that I’m trying to bully her into an agreeing to something which only benefits me, so has suggested going to mediation. If I attend mediation, can they force me to give her 50% share of my property that I purchased and paid for all by myself? All I want is my property back so I can create a home for me and my children. Can you please offer some advice on what my legal position is on:- a) Acquiring my property back? How do I best go about that? b) If I wish can I put the property on the market for sale, thereby giving her reasonable notice to vacate despite that she is currently living there with my two children but without contributing towards the mortgage payment? Seeking some advice what my legal rights are or whether she has a claim to my property because we have children and she is currently living there with them.
Mr_Dee - 1-Feb-17 @ 11:51 AM
A N Other Dad - Your Question:
Ho folks. I have been separated from my wife since 15th October 2016. Living with my parents while still trying to sort stuff out. I have engaged a solicitor. She won't. I am paying the mortgage/buildings/contents insurance/boiler cover/ appliance cover/half of any clothing/vet bills for the 2 dogs - she is now paying elec/gas/water/council tax (getting the 25% reduction), the TV/Broadband/phone. I have been paying £100/w for food alone + 1/2 of all above, plus buying my own presents for xmas/birthdays etc. They stay with me Friday night/spend Saturday with me (drop them back Saturday tea time), they come for Sunday lunch. She has 2 part time jobs (2.5 hours per day), is claiming income support/tax credits, has the kids on free school meals, receives all the child benefit etc. I am not convinced she is being honest in terms of what she is claiming however/what savings she may have - I won't go further into that at the moment. Does any of this get taken into account with regards child maintenance payments? Ta.

Our Response:
No, child maintenance payments are based solely upon the non-resident's person's earnings regardless of what the earnings of the resident parent are, or what savings she has. However, despite the mortage and some other bills you may feel personally responsible towards paying i.e vets bills etc, then you do not have to pay anything else (except when the kids are with you; i.e clothes, presents, outings etc). You can see how much you should be paying via the CMS calculator here . Or, you can continue to agree between you what you should pay in a family-based arrangement.
SeparatedDads - 31-Jan-17 @ 12:33 PM
Ho folks. I have been separated from my wife since 15th October 2016. Living with my parents while still trying to sort stuff out. I have engaged a solicitor. She won't. I am paying the mortgage/buildings/contents insurance/boiler cover/ appliance cover/half of any clothing/vet bills for the 2 dogs- she is now paying elec/gas/water/council tax (getting the 25% reduction), the TV/Broadband/phone. I have been paying £100/wfor food alone + 1/2 of all above, plus buying my own presents for xmas/birthdays etc... They stay with me Friday night/spend Saturday with me (drop them back Saturday tea time), they come for Sunday lunch. She has 2 part time jobs (2.5 hours per day), is claiming income support/tax credits, has the kids on free school meals, receives all the child benefit etc... I am not convinced she is being honest in terms of what she is claiming however/what savings she may have - I won't go further into that at the moment. Does any of this get taken into account with regards child maintenance payments? Ta.
A N Other Dad - 30-Jan-17 @ 5:59 PM
Dave - Your Question:
Been trying to google an answer to this but not having much lookMy daughter is studying law and has told me when my ex partner gets married my legal obligation to pay child support endsWe dont have the csa involved its a mutual agreement My daughter is 13yrs old and maybe if this is true in a couple of years time I would prefer to pay it into my daughters bank account to get her used to managing money

Our Response:
If your daughter's mother gets re-married, this will not affect you having to pay child maintenance to her. You are considered responsible for supporting your daughter's day-to-day needs until she leaves full-time education regardless of her mother's marital status.
SeparatedDads - 9-Jan-17 @ 12:24 PM
Been trying to google an answer to this but not having much look My daughter is studying law and has told me when my ex partner gets married my legal obligation to pay child support ends We dont have the csa involved its a mutual agreement My daughter is 13yrs old and maybe if this is true in a couple of years time i would prefer to pay it into my daughters bank account to get her used to managing money
Dave - 8-Jan-17 @ 7:45 PM
Do I still have to pay csa to my ex partner if I currently live with my new partner and another child?
Hoe - 6-Jan-17 @ 11:31 AM
Davido - Your Question:
Hi do I still have to pay csa if my ex gets married

Our Response:
In a word, yes. Regardless of whether your ex re-marries, you are still considered to be financially responsible for the welfare of your biological child until your child finishes full-time education.
SeparatedDads - 4-Jan-17 @ 2:58 PM
Hi do I still have to pay csa if my ex gets married
Davido - 4-Jan-17 @ 8:25 AM
Hi.my husband I'd paying csa to his ex wife for his daughter.we found out over a yr ago that my husbands daughter has been living with her grandparents for the last 5 yrs! My husband has argued with csa telling them he doesn't want his ex wife having his money as his daughter isn't living with her mother.csa have phoned the grandparents but they say she only stays 2/3 nights a week.the grandma rang my husband and told him she doesn't want to be involved and it would affect her pension if she declares her living there permanent! Because my husbands ex wife claims child benefit we still have to pay her csa.our argument is we want the child to receive the money not his ex wife because clearly the child does not live with the mother.what can we do about this please.we are frustrated and feel its unfair that the child is getting nothing as the child has told us this plus surely what she is going is committing fraud!
tez - 20-Nov-16 @ 8:04 PM
Hi,I wonder if anyone can advise,I currently pay my ex wife £537 child support, for my 15 year old son. He has recently got himself into a bit of trouble ( typical teenage boys). His mother has said she can't do any more to help him so he is now living with me,I don't want any financial support from her but want to know if I can lower the amount of child support to her to the point of giving her nothing if he continues to stay with me. He needs lots of support and I feel I can offer this support and get him back on track.
Mallon - 20-Nov-16 @ 2:11 PM
Hi My ex and I split up and have an out of court / CSA arrangement for maintenance, however my ex has moved to New Zealand and told me it was for 3 months via her work but when they had an earthquake and I couldn't get an answer I called her work who advised that she resigned a while ago. My question is it seems as though this move is permanent and that there is very little I can do about it so am I still responsible for child maintenance. my ex has re married and they have a son together so I am not going to break a happy family home as that would adversely affect my daughter.
MKGuy73 - 19-Nov-16 @ 11:56 AM
Tomo - Your Question:
Do I have to still pay csa if my child has won over 1 million £ in a court case he's now 18 and lives with his mother and I have no cantact but I have been paying csa all his life, he won a negligence claim 4 years ago.

Our Response:
If your son is over 18 and not in full-time education up to A'Level standard, then it is unlikley you would have to continue to pay child maintenance regardless of his court win. Every parent has the basic responsibility to provide for their child up until the age of 16, when they are legally allowed to leave school and get a job. After this age, it depends what your child chooses to do. If they continue in full-time non-advanced education, not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week, then your maintenance payments will continue until your child finishes or until they turn 20. However, if your son is in receipt of interest from his claim, this may be classed as an independent income. If you are paying via CSA/CMS they will tell you if his child benefit has stopped and if it has, so will your maintenance payments.
SeparatedDads - 18-Nov-16 @ 12:49 PM
Do I have to still pay csa if my child has won over 1 million £ in a court case he's now 18 and lives with his mother and I have no cantact but I have been paying csa all his life, he won a negligence claim 4 years ago.
Tomo - 17-Nov-16 @ 10:14 PM
Hitcdad - Your Question:
My 17 year old child is in non advanced education. When hes 18 & officially an adult I am still due to pay CMS direct to him, fine with that.As he's an adult can I pay it to him vs. paying it to my X? She spends CMS on herself & not all of it on him & his needs.

Our Response:
Every parent has the basic responsibility to provide for their child up until the age of 16, when they are legally allowed to leave school and get a job. After this age, it depends what your child chooses to do. If they continue in full-time non-advanced education, not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week, then your maintenance payments will continue to your ex, until your child finishes the course or until they turn 20. Only if your ex agrees can you pay directly to your son. If your son decides he wants to go and get a job, or an apprenticeship, then your payments will stop. Child maintenance payments stop when child benefit payments do. 
SeparatedDads - 15-Nov-16 @ 11:31 AM
My 17 year old child is in non advanced education. When hes 18 & officially an adult I am still due to pay CMS direct to him, fine with that. As he's an adult can I pay it to him vs. paying it to my X? She spends CMS on herself & not all of it on him & his needs.
Hitcdad - 14-Nov-16 @ 3:31 PM
Does my csa go down if i move in with my girlfriend who as children of her own
Dog - 21-Oct-16 @ 12:55 PM
Ron - Your Question:
Please can you help ? I have been paying child maintenace for the past 5 yrs to my ex wife but we have 50/50 shared care, Am I right that I no longer have to pay because we have complete 50/50 shared care ? Do it make any difference that I earn more than she does ?Thank you so much for your response

Our Response:
Much depends upon the disparity of your incomes, please see CMS calculator here. Usually, if both parents are earning the same amount and you share the care of your child, this will be cancelled out generally by agreement of both parents. However, if your ex is not working, or is a stay-at-home mother, or only working part-time, then you would be seen to be part financially responsible for your child.
SeparatedDads - 26-Sep-16 @ 2:05 PM
Please can you help ? I have been paying child maintenace for the past 5 yrs to my ex wife but we have 50/50 shared care, Am I right that I no longer have to pay because we have complete 50/50 shared care ? Do it make any difference that I earn more than she does ? Thank you so much for your response
Ron - 26-Sep-16 @ 1:48 PM
My partner has three kids with his ex and a baby with me. His ex has stopped him from seeing the children for nearly three years since he met me. He had to pay over £18,000 In solicitor and court fees over the three year period to see his kids. He was paying £500 Csa every months during this time. 6 months ago the judge has finally allowed him to see his kids for 5 hours every Saturday, but he's not allowed to take them to our house or anyone else's house, so he has to spend these 5 hours out and about which cost a bomb, every Saturday he spends between £150 and £200 on cinema, fun fair, lunch, presents, ice cream, swimming parks and much more. From September Csa wants to increase his monthly payments from £500 to £860 for no apparent reason. Their youngest daughter is 7 years old and the oldest is 12. My question is, since all three kids are in full time education shouldn't she be sent to work? She claims all sorts of benefits, income support, child tax credit, housing benefit, council tax reduction, and she lives in a council house. She gets free school dinners for the kids and free after school club. Why doesn't she go to work ? She has no disability or illness that prevents her from working. My partner gets paid £2700 PCM and we pay £1500 in rent per month but apparently this doesn't matter to Csa. The £1500 that we pay in rent don't include the bills and the council tax. He had to pay petrol to go to work, food and so much more. What is he supposed to do to support his family and his other kids? We can't afford to get a solicitor. What can we do to reduce it? It seems like we would be better off if he left his job and joined the "benefit world".
Fedup - 15-Aug-16 @ 2:49 PM
John- Your Question:
Hi just wanted to know where I can advice from was paying my ex last 6years by standard order but know she going through child maintenance they want £600 a month my total income is £1030 a month I am ready loose my flat they said not there problem and don't pay there take legal action please any help am ready to get deeper in depression and loose will to live

Our Response:
You don't say whether you have fallen into arrears. If you have been paying your ex through a family-based arrangement, then it is up to you to decide between you what you pay. However, if you fall into arrears, whilst in this agreement your ex cannot claim. If you have fallen into arrears because you have not paid through the CMS/CSA this is a different matter and you will be liable to pay the money owed, please see CAB link here. If you feel you have been unfairly treated, you can complain, please see gov.uk link here. I'm afraid this is all I can suggest as there is no alternative way around the law.
SeparatedDads - 15-Aug-16 @ 12:04 PM
Hi just wanted to know where I can advice from was paying my ex last 6years by standard order but know she going through child maintenance they want £600 a month my total income is £1030 a month I am ready loose my flat they said not there problem and don't pay there take legal action please any help am ready to get deeper in depression and loose will to live
John - 14-Aug-16 @ 12:41 PM
My ex has now married will my payments go down. Am I entitled to ask this? I'm re married recently too and have 2 other kids to support.
Noidea - 12-Jul-16 @ 7:32 PM
danno - Your Question:
Does the cost of child maintainance go down after the child reaches the age of 16.i was told to inform the cms when he reached the age of 16 which I did but nothing has altered,any advice gratedul.

Our Response:
Every parent has the basic responsibility to provide for their child up until the age of 16, when they are legally allowed to leave school and get a job. After this age, it depends what your child chooses to do. If they continue in full-time non-advanced education for at least 12 hours a week, then your maintenance payments will continue until your child finishes the course. If your daughter changes her mind and decides that she wants to get a job and not continue in full-time education - which includes studying for 12 hours or more a week - then your payments would end in the September after her final school term.
SeparatedDads - 14-Apr-16 @ 2:16 PM
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