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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 35057
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I have been paying child maintenance under a court order for

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I have been paying child maintenance under a court order for many years. I am a higher rate tax payer. My CA stated I had to pay until end of 1st degree. I pay £500/m. My first child finishes in June and I expected my payments to reduce by nearly 50% paying the balance into my pension.
I am now advised by my ex I have to pay under new rules (CMS) 20% of Gross pay - £463 with no deductions for contact and she has calculated there is no deduction for having my new wifes 2 children live with us - totally wrecking retirement plans.
My current wife is a higher rate tax payer and her 2 children live with us.
I have not had ANY contact with my children for 9 years (as they choose to live with their mother (but then attend Uni) and not have contact after I re-married - although I have a home that they could stay in - all an extra cost I bear to provide a place fro them) and would love to see them.
I am reading that I should only pay until my child reaches 20 years of age - he wants to take a degree course lasting 4-5 years which means he will be 23 when I cease maintenance payments - this seems grossly unfair ...
Any suggestions ?
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
How old are all the children involved?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare

Robert is now 21 .. his maintenance will cease in June when he finishes his degree.

Elliot is 18 and starts uni in September

How old are your partner's children and what is your Gross income?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They are 13 year old twins


The figure for the CMS assessment is correct - and does reflect a discount for your step children BUT that assessment would end in September when your youngest child goes to University
If she wishes the actual order to continue then she will need to apply to the court for an upward variation .
I have to say that this is likely to be granted - but the question of how long it will continue is less clear cut - since of you offered to pay a lesser sum directly to your son it is entirely possible that the court would see that as reasonable
The starting point is to offer to discuss this with BOTH your ex and your son using Family mediation
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare

I appreciate the comment about the amount being correct

the Court Order dated 24/12/2002 specifies i have to pay until 17th birthday, or complete full time tertiary education or to end of first degree course ... how would i argue i should only pay until age 20 - is this the current law ?

Also if i reduce my salary and my employer increases THEIR pension contributions in order to attain my pension fund requirements at age 55 can the Court still make me pay the £463 even though my P60 earnings will have reduced ??

If your ex wishes to invoke the CMS (as she has suggested) then the CMS assessment would replace the Court Order - and that ends when the child finishes Secondary education or turns 20 whichever comes first
The Court are unlikely to raise the figure as high as that whilst your son is at University - but using this pension suggestion would not necessarily work - the Court can simply ignore that
Clare and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


One final query having read your reply. Section b of the court order refers to what sum must be paid until the end of first degree.

'The payment to be varied each year, with effect from the payment due on the 25th April 2008, in line with the Child Support Agency guidelines or any system or scheme which replaces it. It is recorded that the current calculations based on the petitioner paying 20% of 80% of his monthly net earned income. The Petitioner to provide details to the respondent of his monthly net income for the year by 4pm on 5th April each year.'

Is it still worth us going to court to argue she has invoked the CMC rules which would make the court order redundant? Or does this paragraph show that the CMC calculations can be used?


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

see chat below as I have 1 further question ....

Sadly that is indeed a killer clause and it seems you will indeed have to pay the extra money - However if she can operate the rules that way then so can you - and the CMS rules do indeed allow for a reduction in respect of Pension payments