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How Does Alimony and Child Support Work?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 4 Jan 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Separation Divorce Alimony Spousal

After divorce it's not uncommon for one party to have to pay alimony or spousal support and child support. In most instances, but not always, it will be the man. There are established guidelines for circumstances, and in the case of child support, how much should be paid.

A lawyer will be able to give full details, but it's worth knowing what to expect in the circumstances, whether you're the one who's going to have to pay or be the one receiving money.

Spousal Support

Spousal support isn't awarded in all cases, by any means. But where one spouse has abandoned a career to raise the children, there's likely to be maintenance, especially if that person has few job skills.

On the other hand, where someone highly skilled has given up work to raise the children, the court will take that skill into account. Another factor that will be considered is the job market in the area - how easy is it for the person to obtain employment?

Bear in mind that spousal support is usually only awarded for a limited time (of course, there are exceptions). If financial circumstances change for either party, they can apply to the court for a change in support.

Child Support

Child support is, naturally, a must. The final figure can be decided between the parties themselves, through mediation, solicitors or by a formula used by a Child Support Agency.

The CSA comes up with its figures by calculating net income of the person who'll have to pay (for these purposes net income is earnings of any kind, minus tax and National Insurance contributions. Pensions and working tax credits are included, although, if your pension is what pays your mortgage, only 75% of it is included as income).

In essence, if your net is greater than £200 a week, you'll pay 15% of it for one child, 20% of it for two and 25% for three children. That figure can change if some of the children are living with you, if you pay the mortgage on the home where they live, school fees, or if the children regularly stay with you during the week.

It sounds complex, but there's actually logic behind it and a strong attempt to be fair to all parties (but most especially the children).

Lower Incomes

There are those who make a net income of less than £200 but still have to pay child support, In those cases it's harder to figure out exactly, but as a rough guide, estimate £5 a week on top of which there's a percentage for the amount over £100 you make.

Where the net income is under £100 a week - which generally means the person is on benefits, the rate to be paid is £5 per child per week, which can be directly deducted from the benefit payments.

There are also circumstances where you should be paying benefits, but legally you don't have to. However, these are quite specialised. Essentially you'd have to be a full-time student aged 16-19, or be a nursing home resident and receiving aid to pay your fees.

Make Sure You Pay

Regularly in the press there are stories about those who don't make their child support payments. It's important to pay every month, on time. When that doesn't happen the people who are hurt are the children, and whatever caused the breakdown of the relationship, they shouldn't be the ones hurt because of it.

If you have to pay and your circumstances change, you can apply to have your payments re-calculated.

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My wife I suspected has been having a affair. For the last 8 weeks she been living with him and although we had a joint claim for child tax, I never seen any money. I work part time and my wages covers bills. So I contacted child tax as I had 2 children living with me so they awarded me the child tax & now working tax. They stopped her money and she kicked off. The following day she took my daughter away 2 weeks before Christmas,wouldn't let her come home. Then boxing day the wife supposing ly had a bust up with her boyfriend and wanted me to get all her stuff that she acquired there.So I parked near by and my daughter and his kids were bringing bags to my car, I didn't want to at first but it was a way off getting my daughter back. The following day and to present, she's carried on seeing him. Since then I got evidence off this affair going on for a long time. Now she is contacting CSA, phoning child tax , how is this right !! I have a solicitor and going to update him. She's always been influenced by money, she's been jobcentre last week now signing on for the first time in over 20 urs. , as I write this she's out again, never sees the children for long
jon272 - 4-Jan-16 @ 7:07 PM
dobbie - Your Question:
I have been separated for over 5 years and my ex will not pay towards the mortgage or matrimonal debt. he does pay csa as he gets his wages arrested.but now says he ismoving to the states.

Our Response:
The CSA can still claim this even if your ex moves away. To sort out other finances you could try mediation or court action to draw up a financial agreement.
RecentlySeparated - 16-Oct-15 @ 10:53 AM
I have been separated for over 5 years and my ex will not pay towards the mortgage or matrimonal debt. he does pay csa as he gets his wages arrested....but now says he ismoving to the states.
dobbie - 15-Oct-15 @ 6:26 AM
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