Lots of parents are trying to find out ways to reduce child maintenance payments because of the rising costs of living have put on their money.
So, if you are one of them then this article is very important for you.
In this article, we are going to cover what child maintenance cost is, and 10 ways to reduce the child maintenance cost. We also look forward to what consequences if you can’t afford the payment.
Table of Contents
What is child maintenance?
Child maintenance is the financial contribution that is made by the non-resident parents for the upbringing of the child.
This cost covers day-to-day living expenses such as food, housing, and clothing. This payment is done by the non-resident parent to the resident parent for the duration that is made by the court.
10 ways to reduce your child maintenance cost in the UK:
There are some ways that you can take to reduce your child’s maintenance costs including:
1. You need to make sure that you are declaring the correct situation of yours:
Before going forward to take any steps for reducing your child’s maintenance cost, you need to investigate your legal rights and responsibilities towards your child.
This is including your need to be sure that both parents are contributing the same amount to the child’s upbringing. Also includes if there any other support is available for childcare costs.
2. You can negotiate with the other parent:
You can discuss your situation with the other parent. Sometimes discussing can result in a mutually agreeable situation that defers or reduces childcare payments until your situation can get improved.
3. You can seek professional advice:
You can consult with a lower or a professional financial advisor if negotiations fail to constitute a satisfactory agreement. All the parents who are involved should know the legal rights and responsibilities towards the child for his/her upbringing.
Both the parent should look for a suitable solution.
4. You can seek a ‘variation’:
If you think your situation justifies your claim for a relaxation of child maintenance cost then you can apply to the Child Maintenance Service or court for making a solution for your situation.
This process is known as variation request and the outcome will be based on several factors including income, disability, or illness.
5. Claim benefit:
If you are struggling with making the payments of child maintenance costs then you can seek any government benefits such as Universal Credit or Jobseekers allowance. This may reduce your financial burden and you can make your payments easily.
6. You can use your employer benefit:
Some employers help their employees with childcare costs; these include tax-free childcare vouchers and employer-supported childcare.
7. You can look for ways to be self-employed:
Many people have benefited by stepping forward their feet and shifting from any salaried job to being self-employed. Thus you can make your maintenance payments very smoothly.
Also, a self-employed parent declares lower earnings than a salaried person. So, it may allow you to pay less child maintenance costs.
8. Make use of payment holidays:
Several situations will make you pay a reduced amount for child maintenance such as if the other parent is on maternity leave or ill.
If this can be applied to your situation, then you can ask the Child maintenance service to help.
9. Taking out insurance:
If you are stressed about whether an unexpected occurrence can hamper your child’s maintenance payment then you can consider taking out an insurance policy. This strategy will help you to overcome any other relevant costs that have arrived with a sudden change of situation.
10. Request mediation:
If both parents are finding it difficult to cope with a mutually agreeable solution then you can ask for a professional mediation.
A qualified and experienced mediator can help both parents for finding one suitable solution that works well with the situation. Thus, you can reduce your child’s maintenance cost burden.
What may happen if you don’t pay child maintenance costs?
If you fail to pay the child maintenance costs then it can have serious consequences. If you are unable to make payments then CMS can take legal action against you.
This can involve deductions from your earnings or your possessions. This includes your bank account or pension. Sometimes, you can also be imposed into jail.
So, if you are struggling to make payments of child maintenance costs then you must contact the CMS as early as possible.
You can also seek advice from an expert about a debt management plan or creating a potential budget.
Some other steps that you can take to reduce other payments or debts that you have:
If you have tried all the measures that we have declared in this article but still don’t find ways to avoid paying child maintenance costs then you can focus on some less important payments.
Different debts, payments, and bills have different levels of priority. These are the bills or payments that are considered a priority.
- Electricity bills
- Court fines
- Unpaid income tax
- Council tax
- Unpaid child maintenance payments
But, some payments and bills are considered as lower priority such as:
- Credit cards
- Store cards
- Unpaid water bills
- Unpaid parking tickets
- Unsecured loans
You must keep in mind that you can’t completely cut the lower priority categories rather you can ask them for a reduction in payments.
Can I refuse to pay the child maintenance tax in the UK?
Ans: If you are a separated parent and are responsible for making child maintenance payments then Child Maintenance Service can take strong action against you if you miss any payment. This legal action will force you to pay the child maintenance payment that you owe.
Can a father refuse to pay child maintenance costs in the UK?
Ans: If you are a paying father and miss any payment of child maintenance cost then the CMS will take enforcement action against you.
Is it mandatory to pay child maintenance costs?
Ans: If you are responsible to pay the child maintenance cost then you are subject to pay till your child is 16, or till 20 if your child is a full-time student of any school or college.
It is important to keep in mind that you can’t stop paying child maintenance costs without going through any procedure. If your situation becomes worsen and you are unable to make the payment then you can take one or a few steps as mentioned in the article.
It is to remember that ignoring this issue and failing to make payments can put you into serious consequences. So, you should seek help from the CMS or an experienced lawyer as early as possible.