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Maintenance - Can family Court help?

(3 Posts)
MrsChiefTyrell Sun 14-Jun-15 20:52:24

My ex refuses to pay maintenance. On paper she has no job but I know she has set up a small business of her own and is getting some income, although I don't doubt it's a rather small amount. I believe she is living off savings and inheritance, she rents privately, drive a decent car and goes out lots - so she must be getting money from somewhere. She's single and lives alone so doesn't rely on a partner to fund her. She doesn't claim any benefits as CSA did a benefits check.

Can family Court help? She hasn't paid a penny for over a year now and we are back in Court in two months time for the final hearing about Residency - the children live with me and she has taken matters back to Court wanting more contact than she already has. Can I bring finances into this? I know maintenance and contact aren't linked but can the Judge order a disclosure of her finances?

If the hearing goes in my favour and I keep majority residency (which I believe I will based on everything that's happened to date) can I ask the Judge to order her to disclose how she affords to keep herself and why she refuses to pay towards her own children? Can the Judge force her to pay maintenance from savings/inheritance?

Thanks!

STIDW Sun 14-Jun-15 22:18:36

No, child arrangements and finances are dealt with separately. The Child Maintenance Service/CSA is responsible for child maintenance and the courts in the UK normally have no powers to impose an order for child maintenance or a variation. Exceptions to this are when there is a court order predating 2003, step children, one parent lives abroad or a child over 18 in education.

The parent with care can apply to the CSA/CMS for a variation to the basic calculation to take into account assets over £65k or unearned taxable income. Unfortunately the CSA/CMS are limited in the information they can ask for but it is possible to appeal a decision. Appeals are heard by a tribunal which has more powers.

Child maintenance can be agreed as part of a Consent Order settling the overall finances on divorce. However after 12 months either parent may apply to the CMS and the Consent Order ceases to have any effect with regard to child maintenance.

Alternatively it is possible to make an application under Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 to the court in respect of children for a lump sum payment as contribution to the expenses related to child (eg expenses related to a child's disability, furnishing their bedroom, buying equipment) or for property to be made available to house children. However you would need to consult a solicitor to find out whether this would be appropriate in your circumstances.

Superexcited Sun 14-Jun-15 22:23:50

Maybe she isn't claiming any benefits because she has too much in savings but savings are not income as such so child maintenance would probably only be able to calculate maintenance based on any interest earned on the savings.

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