The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed our lives and has caused uncertainty for millions of individuals and families across the country. With the current lockdown restrictions affecting jobs and incomes, many parents are concerned what may happen to their child maintenance payments if their circumstances change. In this article, we highlight the impact of Covid-19 on child maintenance payments.
The Impact of Covid-19 on Child Maintenance Payments
Normally child maintenance payments are made by one parent to the other. It is advisable for the parents to negotiate and come to a mutual agreement on the payment themselves. However, if such an agreement cannot be reached between the parents, then the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) can decide what the payment should be.
Leading single-parent charity, Gingerbread warned that many single-parent families will be pushed into stark poverty if they do not receive child maintenance payments.
Can My Child Maintenance Payment Stop Because of Covid-19?
No, a parent cannot stop paying child maintenance because of the Covid-19 pandemic. During these unprecedented times, a person’s income may have been impacted by the pandemic, but they should not use it as an excuse to stop making the payments.
Should their income reduce significantly either due to a pay reduction, furlough or redundancy then, it may be sensible to reassess the arrangements made and reduce the payment. You could try and come to an arrangement between yourselves or seek legal advice if an agreement cannot be made.
What Happens to My Child Maintenance Payments If I’m Made Redundant?
If you cannot afford to pay your child maintenance payment because you have been made redundant or lost at least 25% income due to the pandemic, you will be able to pay less. It is recommended that you contact the Child Maintenance Service regarding your circumstances, they will be able to offer advice.
What Can I Do If I Cannot Afford to Pay Child Maintenance Because of Covid-19?
Here are some options you have if you can’t afford to pay maintenance payments because of the pandemic:
- Speak to the receiving parent – If you are on good terms with your ex-partner, the quickest way to reach an agreement is to speak to them. Explain your situation and ask whether you’d be able to reduce the child maintenance payments whilst your income has reduced. Then when your income returns to normal increase the payments. The Child Maintenance Service may be able to offer support if your income has dropped by at least 25% so, it’s important you let them know about the change in your circumstances.
- Contact the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) – If you’re unable to come to an agreement with your ex-partner, you should ask the CMS for help, they will calculate how much you should be paying based on your gross annual income.
Divorce and Family Law Solicitors
Morrish Solicitors have a specialist team of Divorce and Family Law Solicitors who can advise you on a wide range of matters including:
- Child Maintenance Payments
- Disputes Concerning Children
- Property and Financial Affairs
- Cohabitation Agreement
- Prenuptial Agreements
- Civil Partnerships
- Domestic Violence
Our Head of Divorce and Family Law, Noelle Heath is a highly experienced solicitor and has assisted many private clients, Trade Union Members and Associations with their family law matters. She is a member of Resolution – First for Family Law by following their codes of practice she is committed to achieving a practical solution, which is both sensitive and cost-effective aiming to avoid the time and expense of court proceedings.
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