COVID-19 and Child and Spousal Maintenance Payments

11th January 2021 3:24 pm Comments Off on COVID-19 and Child and Spousal Maintenance Payments

What is child maintenance?

Child maintenance payments meet a child’s day-to-day living expenses, one-off expenses and housing costs following parental separation. Child maintenance is regular payments made by the parent with whom the child does not live (commonly referred to as the non-resident parent) to the person or parent with care (often referred to as the resident parent).

Child maintenance payments can be: (1) agreed between you and your former partner, (2) calculated by the Child Maintenance Service, or (3) ordered by the Court in certain circumstances.

What is spousal maintenance?

Spousal maintenance is a continuing obligation for one former spouse or partner to pay the other a weekly or monthly sum in order to assist with day-to-day living expenses, one-off expenses and housing costs following divorce or separation.

An application for a Spousal Periodical Payments Order can be made to the Court and the Court can: (1) make a substantive order for periodical payments, (2) make a nominal order for periodical payments, (3) adjourn the application, or (4) dismiss the application.

How is COVID-19 affecting child and spousal maintenance payments?

As an increasing number of businesses are devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, payers and recipients of child and spousal maintenance are worried about whether they will be able to meet their financial commitments.

If you or your former partner is in a situation whereby household income has significantly reduced due to forces beyond your control (for example, redundancy, furlough leave, or illness), you must consider how this will affect child and/or spousal maintenance. If you are the payer, can you still afford to pay your former partner the same amount? If you are the receiver, are you still receiving the amount that is due to you?

How can we help you with child maintenance?

If you pay child maintenance via the Child Maintenance Service, our solicitors can contact them in order to arrange a re-assessment of your liability.

If you pay child maintenance pursuant to a voluntary agreement between you and your former partner, we can help you to have constructive communications with them, to explain the situation, and to propose any temporary arrangements until such time as the usual arrangements can be resumed.

If you pay child maintenance in accordance with a Court Order made in the last 12 months, you will be in breach of the Order if you do not continue to pay. Again, our solicitors can help you to have constructive communications with your former partner about any temporary arrangements. We can also advise about whether you should ask the Court to effectively “wipe off” some or all of your arrears, or whether you should apply to the Court for a downward variation in your child maintenance payments.

If you have not been receiving the child maintenance that is due to you, we can write to your former partner on your behalf to resolve matters and, if necessary, we can notify the Child Maintenance Service or the Court about your former partner’s failure to meet child maintenance commitments.

How can we help you with spousal maintenance?

If you pay spousal maintenance pursuant to a voluntary agreement between you and your former partner, we can help you to have constructive communications with them about any temporary arrangements. Your former partner may ask you to provide evidence of your reduced income and any changes that you are making in order to meet your spousal maintenance commitments.

If you pay spousal maintenance in accordance with a Court Order, you will be in breach of the Order if you do not continue to pay. Our solicitors can help you to have constructive communications with your former partner about temporary arrangements for you to stop paying. We can also advise about whether you should ask the Court to officially vary your liability on either a temporary or a permanent basis.

Contact us

Our specialist family solicitors are experienced in advising clients about child and spousal maintenance. Call us on 01628 631051 or email family@colemans.co.uk to make an appointment. We are offering a remote initial consultation meeting by Zoom or by telephone for a fixed fee of £150, so get in touch today.


Categorised in: Family Law

This post was written by Colemans Solicitors LLP

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