Separations are tough enough without added conflict and despair that can come with child maintenance disputes. With 101,669 divorces between heterosexual occurring in the UK in 2018, it’s not hard to see why conflict spreads beyond the separation period too.
As devastating as a separation is, when there is a child involved there can be further complications and one of the main hurdles is money. Child Maintenance is in place to help the parent with custody of the child, so not to have the full financial weight on their shoulders. After all, it does take two to make a baby.
But what happens when your partner isn’t pulling their weight? Whether they’re simply forgetting to pay or outright refusing – where do you stand? Well, you’d be surprised to know just how many options you have.
What can I do when my ex is refusing to pay child support?
Whilst it’s important to know when to take legal steps, it’s essential that when you can, you try to have a calm discussion as to why this might be. It could be that they themselves are struggling with money or it could be explained with communication. Although, if that isn’t the case here are a few things you can do.
1. Legal mediation
This gives both parents the chance to fully explain their situations in a calm and safe environment. It could be that either you or your partner don’t feel completely comfortable having this type of conversation with each other anymore. By including non-biased legal representation, the arguments can be defused. This can help you and your former partner towards a decision on how to move forward in a way that works best for everyone.
2. Child Maintenance Service (CMS)
If an agreement still can’t be met, then you can contact the CMS and they can assist in arranging for payments to be made. This will be by one of two ways:
a. Direct payments
This is where the CMS will calculate how much maintenance your ex-partner should be paying. It’s then between the CMS and the paying parent to agree on the amount and how often they will make the payments.
b. Collect Payments
This is a bit similar to debit collectors as if your ex-partner is refusing to pay what they owe, you can ask the CMS to collect the money for you. They’ll make direct contact with the payee and then pass this over to you.
Either situations are helpful in collecting what is owed or setting up a system to move forward, whatever the situation is between you and your ex-partner. But, sometimes, the complications don’t end there.
What can I do when my ex-partner stops paying after payments has been agreed on?
Even after officially sorting out a payment plan for child maintenance, some separated partners experience a lack of commitment to the plan further down the line. Whether this is because of unfortunately falling on hardship, or they are just doing it to be spiteful – there are steps you can take with this happens.
Just like before, it’s essential to try and make contact with them yourselves before getting anybody else involved. It could be that they’ve fallen on hard times and a reduced payment plan would be beneficial to both parties in the short-term until they can commit further.
If they haven’t paid any of their maintenance at all and are refusing to communicate a reason for doing so, you can contact the CMS or a lawyer to help push the process forward. It could be the case that hearing from a lawyer would resonate more clearly with your former partner. This gives you the relief of not having to deal with the situation alone, whilst giving the other party another line of communication.
If you’re in need representation or guidance with your Family Law case, we could help you. Contact our expert team at Lysander Law today for more information.