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How Does Alimony and Child Support Work?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 9 Mar 2018 | 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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Pensacola - Your Question:
I am Marina Jurkovic Welmans,Croatian citizen merried in Uk for uk citizen. Never lived in uk, we lived in Croatia and have divorced 05.12.2017' in Croatia. My question is Do I have legal wright to ask for spouse support (alimony for wife) in Uk? We agreed for child alimony but not for spouse support, he is refusing. By croatian law I have wright for spouse support up to 1 year which court here have refused. Judge has decided against giving me spouse support as my ex husband claimed I have enough money left from him while married. I am not employed, I have no income. Can I ask for spouse support in Uk? He works as ship's captain with salary of 12 000 euros.

Our Response:
The UK courts will not consider this if neither of you are living in the UK.
RecentlySeparated - 12-Mar-18 @ 12:44 PM
I am Marina Jurkovic Welmans,Croatian citizen merried in Uk for uk citizen. Never lived in uk, we lived in Croatia and have divorced 05.12.2017' in Croatia. My question is Do I have legal wright to ask for spouse support (alimony for wife) in Uk? We agreed for child alimony but not for spouse support, he is refusing. By croatian law I have wright for spouse support up to 1 year which court here have refused.Judge has decided against giving me spouse support as my ex husband claimed I have enough money left from him while married. I am not employed, I have no income. Can I ask for spouse support in Uk? He works as ship's captain with salary of 12 000 euros.
Pensacola - 9-Mar-18 @ 3:50 PM
Hi I have been divorced for around 3 years, separated for 5 before that and we were together 20 years and have 2 kids now age 10 and 12. I worked during our marriage but part time and had trained in a profession before the kids arrived. We owned a property with a mortgage and when we split I took 2/3 equity and he had 1/3 a as his income was at least 2x mine. Sadly I had really bad postnatal depression for a few years and as a result I have struggled to retain my career now, as have had burn out (my work was a very senior role and busy and hard to fit around kids). I had to leave and will in due course try and find something else, we have had the same maintenance payment arrangement for the kids for 8 years now, I have no idea what he earns and whilst we used to do near 50/50 with kids now I do 75% and certainly most of the school holidays. I have until now tried to avoid spousal support and was heavily invested in being independent etc, but my situation has changed both re how much childcare I am doing and my earnings are hugely reduced. I am also not sure the child support I get is right. We have been to mediation in the past and all arrangements are informal, but when I asked for a little extra help for a few months he refused. I find it really hard to be in a position of needing to ask for anything so feel bad right away! I have no idea what i am entitled to and would be interested to get some advice. I should add he works far away and isn’t able to do more childcare though he does do alternate weekends reasonably reliably
Mamamia - 23-Feb-18 @ 7:38 PM
Hi I have been divorced for around 3 years, separated for 5 before that and we were together 20 years and have 2 kids now age 10 and 12. I worked during our marriage but part time and had trained in a profession before the kids arrived. We owned a property with a mortgage and when we split I took 2/3 equity and he had 1/3 a as his income was at least 2x mine. Sadly I had really bad postnatal depression for a few years and as a result I have struggled to retain my career now, as have had burn out (my work was a very senior role and busy and hard to fit around kids). I had to leave and will in due course try and find something else, we have had the same maintenance payment arrangement for the kids for 8 years now, I have no idea what he earns and whilst we used to do near 50/50 with kids now I do 75% and certainly most of the school holidays. I have until now tried to avoid spousal support and was heavily invested in being independent etc, but my situation has changed both re how much childcare I am doing and my earnings are hugely reduced. I am also not sure the child support I get is right. We have been to mediation in the past and all arrangements are informal, but when I asked for a little extra help for a few months he refused. I find it really hard to be in a position of needing to ask for anything so feel bad right away! I have no idea what i am entitled to and would be interested to get some advice. I should add he works far away and isn’t able to do more childcare though he does do alternate weekends reasonably reliably
Mamamia - 23-Feb-18 @ 5:59 PM
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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