When couples separate, divorce or dissolve a civil partnership, providing for their children is usually the main issue to be resolved.
Most couples come to some agreement between themselves – called a family-based arrangement – or through the services of the Child Support Agency (CSA) or Child Maintenance Service (CMS).
However, disputes over children and finances can be an ongoing issue for some couples – and in some cases, the CSA may not be able to become involved.
The family court can decide on financial provision for a child – including financial support outside normal maintenance payments if a child has special needs or needs financial support during further education.
The CSA is only able to consider cases where the resident parent or the individual with Parental Responsibility is based in the UK with the child or children.
For the CSA to become involved, the non-resident parent must also live in the UK or work for a UK company or organisation overseas (eg the Armed Forces).
In the case of parents who never married or who share childcare evenly, the situation may be more complex – especially if a Child Arrangement Order is not in place. In certain cases, the family court may have to decide on child support arrangements.
Any financial arrangement decided by the CSA will then be enforced by the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC), which will collect any payments overdue.
If parents cannot reach agreement or the CSA is unable to help, the family court can decide on financial payments and financial support for children.
It may be necessary to go to court when a dispute cannot be resolved between parents – including disputes over school fees or if one partner goes on to accumulate significantly more wealth than the resident parent after separation, divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership.
The family court will always place the welfare of the child first and takes into account a number of factors, including:
The family court will also take into account provision for the child before their parents separated – for example if they attended a fee paying school and it would be in their best interests to complete their education there.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers can offer expert legal advice on matters involving children and finances, including cases involving:
In cases where there is dispute over a specific issue or range of issues relating to children and financial support, Duncan Lewis children lawyers can also advise on family mediation.
In cases where agreement cannot be reached between a couple, Duncan Lewis can also arrange Family Mediation to help both parties work through the issues and reach a solution, without recourse to the courts.
The courts will always take into account the welfare of the child so working through any differences within lawyer supported Family Mediation can help avoid traumatic court action.
Both parents can appoint their own Duncan Lewis child care lawyer to give independent legal advice at every stage of the mediation process – Duncan Lewis’ own Mediators include Resolution qualified Professional Practice Consultants.
Duncan Lewis is ranked by the Legal 500 2014 for its Family & Matrimonial work – and the Duncan Lewis team includes Advanced Members of the Law Society’s Family Panel, and members of the Law Society Children Panel – so our team is well placed to help you with any matters involving children and finances.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers offer a fixed fee for an initial client interview and assessment of a matter involving children and finances.
After a case has been assessed, it is usually possible for a fixed fee arrangement to be put in place – and Duncan Lewis will always advise clients of the costs in advance.
Duncan Lewis is also one of the UK’s largest providers of Legal Aid family law services – including child care law – and in some cases may be able to offer Legal Aid funding for child care cases, including help with the costs of applying for court orders if a client is on benefits or has a low income.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers always advise clients who are seeking help with child care matters – or who are in dispute over financial support for children – to get in touch as soon as possible before the situation escalates.
Once you have contacted Duncan Lewis, we can act swiftly in any child care matter and put in place measures to help resolve the issues and prevent further dispute and/or legal costs mounting up.
For expert legal advice on all child care matters – including children and finances – contact Duncan Lewis Children Lawyers on 020 7923 4020.