Maintenance Issues for you and your children

If you and your ex-partner can agree maintenance for your child or children between you this is known as a "family-based arrangement" - however, it is still a good idea to consider having a solicitor draft a Consent Order.

If you cannot agree maintenance you need to contact the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).

You can apply for maintenance for yourself, you may want the money to be paid weekly or monthly or you may just want to receive a one-off payment in a lump sum.

If you and your partner do not want to be tied to each other financially in the future you might want a "Clean Break". For this you have to ask the court to settle the financial matters once and for all.

You can also apply for an order that your partner guarantees a certain level of payments to you over a given period of time, known as "Secured Periodical Payments".

If you want your partner to pay maintenance for the children you have to apply to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), (formerly the Child Support Agency) not to the court.

Child maintenance is for children who are:

1. Under 16, or

2. Under 20 and in full-time education, (up to A-level or the equivalent), or


To apply to the Child Maintenance Service you should be one of the following:

1. The parent that the child lives with, or

2. The parent the child does not live with, or

3. A grandparent or guardian of the child, or

4. A child over 12 living in Scotland


However, there are circumstances in which you can apply to the court for maintenance for the children, for example if:

1. They are step-children or married children.

2. They are over 20, but are still in full-time education.

3. If the CMS have decided how much your partner has to pay and it is not enough and you need a "top-up", for example to pay school fees and maintain a particular lifestyle for the child.

4. You want an order dealing with property for the children.

5. You have a disabled child and extra money is needed for his or her care.

6. Your child is making a claim against the estate of your partner who died without making reasonable provisions for your child.

Remember the CMS has no power to make an assessment for maintenance if the person whom you are asking to pay the maintenance does not live in the UK.

Registering Maintenance Orders

Relationships & Family Law