Single Mum Still Standing – the public outburst of a single mum against her children’s father and the frustrations on child maintenance
The internet has recently gone crazy because of a Facebook post an anonymous single mother has launched expressing her frustrations and anger towards the father of her children because the child maintenance he is paying is not a true reflection of his earnings. A link to the post can be found on the Daily Mail website here. Warning, she doesn’t hold back!
The single mother is frustrated because of the law behind how much a non-resident parent should pay to the parent with whom the children predominantly live with. Currently if an agreement cannot be reached amicably between separated parents over how much the paying, non-resident parent should pay then the parents are directed to the Child Maintenance Service or Child Maintenance Options for impartial free advice. They have an online calculator that works out how much maintenance should be paid on a weekly basis by applying a percentage to the paying parent’s gross earnings.
Other factors come in to play such as the number of children in the family including any other children that are living with the paying parent that they are financially responsible for (they may not necessarily be their own biological children) and the number of overnight stays the child(ren) spend with the paying parent throughout the year. It is the latter factor that can also cause upset and arguments in relation to the childcare arrangements. We have seen some parents take advantage so the paying parent may demand more overnight stays (which they cannot accommodate in reality) to reduce the maintenance they have to pay and for the receiving parent, they may reduce the number of overnight stays (unnecessarily) so they receive more maintenance.
How child maintenance has been calculated has been heavily criticised by a lot of parents. However they don’t have any recourse to ask a Court to decide if they cannot agree. We have experienced a lot of frustrated parents with the system. One issue we see is when allegations are made about self-employed parents who do not declare their true earnings yet their lifestyle does not support the notion they have limited income. There are potential ways to rectify this.
A parent can try and receive a top up in maintenance for the benefit of their child(ren) is by issuing an application under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989. However these type of cases tend to suit a particular set of circumstances and can usually be seen in very wealthy cases where the paying parent earns more than the CMS cap (which is £156,000 gross per annum) and the children have been used to living a certain lifestyle.
If the children are privately- educated or it was the intention of the parents to privately educate their child(ren) then a separate application can be made for a School Fees Order.
For further advice in relation to child maintenance, school fees orders and Schedule 1 Applications, please contact one of our Associate Solicitors, Kirsten Tomlinson on 01625 544 650 or email Kirsten.Tomlinson@family-law.co.uk.
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