As a parent you have a legal obligation to financially support your children until the age of 19 or completion of full-time secondary education, whichever is the earlier. This comes in the form of child support payments.

Child Support Enforcement

  • The parent who does not live with the children will be expected to pay maintenance for the children.
  • If maintenance is paid voluntarily there is no need for the involvement of CMEC, the Child Maintenance & Enforcement Commission (previously called the Child Support Agency).
  • If agreement cannot be reached a referral to the Child Support Agency can be made.

Child maintenance can be applied for on an interim basis to assist the receiving party during the course of the divorce or civil partnership dissolution proceedings.

Contact the family team for an accurate estimate of the level of maintenance the Child Support Agency may order to be paid should a referral be made.

Claiming Maintenance from a Spouse or Partner

In divorce or civil partnership dissolution proceedings there may be times when one spouse or partner is able to claim maintenance from the other to increase their income.

Obtaining a maintenance order through the courts

  • Each case is decided on its own merits
  • Consideration needs to be given as to whether it is appropriate for there to be a maintenance order or not depending on the circumstances of the individuals involved in the case.

Maintenance orders can be made upon a termed basis, for example:

  • For a specific period of time;
  • Until either party dies
  • Until the receiving party remarries or enters into a civil partnership
  • Until there is a further court order.

Should a maintenance order be made it can be varied upward or downward in the future depending on either party's financial needs and the wording of the original order.

Prevent any Future Maintenance Claims with a 'Clean Break'

Where there is an abundance of capital available it may be appropriate to provide the spouse or civil partner (who would normally receive maintenance) with more of the capital available.

Known as a 'Clean Break', this effectively "buys-out" their claims for maintenance. In obtaining a clean break neither party can then claim maintenance against the other in the future.

For more information on Child Maintenance, Maintenance Orders or the Child Support Act, fill out our online enquiry form today.

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