Upon separation of a couple there is an obligation on the non-resident parent to pay child maintenance or child support to the resident parent in relation to any children under the age of 16 years or under the age of 18 years if they are still in full-time education. Beyond the age of 18, both parents still have an obligation to support their children financially if they are in full-time education and until the age of 25. If a child resides with one parent for four or more nights per week, on average, then that parent will be treated as the resident parent for child maintenance purposes and the other parent will be regarded as the non-resident parent.
The level of Child maintenance or support to be paid depends, largely, upon the non-resident parent’s income. The Child Maintenance Service’s website has an online calculator which allows either a resident or non-resident parent to calculate how much should be paid by way of child maintenance if the income of the non-resident parent is known.
Understandably, it is often the case that the resident parent relies upon the payment of child maintenance from the non-resident parent. It can therefore come as a bitter blow if that payment reduces or stops as a result of a reduction in the non-resident parent’s income due to the likes of ill health. However, it is now possible to insure against such a situation. It is possible for certain insurers to arrange a policy to protect against such an eventuality. There is a monthly premium which is paid in relation to such policies, which is similar to life insurance and critical illness policies. The level of the premium will, of course, depend upon a number of factors, including the age and relative health of the non-resident parent. This is an option which is now being taken up by more and more parents as they seek to protect child support payments.