Home > Relationship Contracts > Child Maintenance Contracts

Child Maintenance Contracts

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 22 Dec 2016 | comments*Discuss
Child Maintenance Contract Finances

Child maintenance contracts are written or verbal agreements between two parents. One parent will agree to pay the parent residing with the child or children a fixed amount of money to take care of the child. The agreements can either be made by a private arrangement or by the use of a court order.

Private Agreements

Private agreements regarding child maintenance can have their advantages and disadvantages. On one hand it may be more simple and straightforward than involving solicitors and the legal system, and it may enhance some form of trust and goodwill between the parents. On the other hand if disputes do occur between the parents then there is no guarantee that the parent who is paying the maintenance will stick to the agreed payments. If this happens then the only recourse for the resident parent may by to take legal action.

Verbal or Written Agreements

Although verbal contracts are legally binding it is always a wise move to have all agreements made in writing. By doing this the written contract can be referenced at a future date if disputes between the parents do occur. When drafting a contract the parents should discuss exactly the terms and conditions of the contract, how much is to be paid and the frequency of the payments. There should also be the possibility of a review date for changing any conditions. For example if one parent were to move abroad or remarry would the maintenance payments change or continue as before.

A family solicitor can help if the parents would like the terms and conditions to be of a more formal nature. It may also be a good idea to have the agreement witnessed, and also signed and dated by both parents. In many cases if both parents do have a good relationship with each other then there may not be the need for a formal written agreement. But there is no guarantee that this amicable relationship will continue in the future. It may be in the child’s best interests to have a written child maintenance contract in place.

A Legally Binding Private Agreement

Privately agreed child maintenance contracts can be made legally binding by using a consent order. If the agreements were made with the help of mediators or family solicitor then a court can grant a consent order to enforce the child maintenance contract if the paying parent breaks the agreement.

The consent order can only be granted if an arrangement between the parents regarding child maintenance has been agreed. A solicitor will then present the information to the courts; this is known as a statement of information. If the court decides the agreement is fair, and a consent order is granted, then the child maintenance contract will be legally enforceable.

Child Support Agency

The Child Support Agency (CSA) can be brought in to force parents to pay maintenance for their children. They will calculate how much the non resident parent should be paying and they will have different methods available for enforcing the payments. Non payment of child maintenance is taken very seriously and action can be taken through the courts to enforce any child maintenance contracts that have been made and broken, or if a parent simply refuses to pay the maintenance.

The consequences of not paying child maintenance can include arrestment of earnings, seizure of goods and a disqualification of the non payer’s driving licence. The ultimate consequence could be prison for the non payer.

Child maintenance contracts will always be a sensitive subject. For most parents, paying child support will be a natural and straightforward process. But there will always be some non resident parents who, for one reason or another, will not or cannot pay maintenance. It is exactly for this reason, and for the welfare of the child, that child maintenance contracts and the Child Support Agency exist, and should be used.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I have a 9 months old girl and her father hasn't supported her for the past 4 months ge said to me ge can't.is it to early for me to go for maintenance court.
phizoy - 22-Dec-16 @ 8:49 AM
I have agreed a monthly sum with an ex-partner for our 6 1/2 year old Daughter. I have paid this amount for the last six year, never failing to make the payment. Can she go to the CSA and request that they now interven, in oder to gain more money from me?
Me - 9-Oct-14 @ 2:21 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • ContractsAndAgreements
    Re: The Law & Verbal Agreements
    Bernerd - Your Question:I recently paid for my brothers share of a solicitors fee to resolve a family issue. We discussed it…
    22 March 2017
  • N/a
    Re: Title Deeds: Who Keeps Them?
    Hi. After my wife mum died, her dad couldn't cope with her adopted disabled sister who was 16 at the time. She was awarded…
    22 March 2017
  • Kingkong
    Re: Broken Service Agreements
    I have rented a single room and the agreement was that I should pay 1,500ghc for four years and my items got missing frequently and I…
    21 March 2017
  • Bernerd
    Re: The Law & Verbal Agreements
    I recently paid for my brothers share of a solicitors fee to resolve a family issue. We discussed it on the phone, and via…
    21 March 2017
  • Obsolete33
    Re: The Law & Verbal Agreements
    Can you sue someone who made a verbal agreement to enter into a business partnership? Investments have been made and…
    18 March 2017
  • Obsolete33
    Re: The Law & Verbal Agreements
    Can you sue someone who made a verbal agreement to enter into a business partnership? Investments have been made and…
    18 March 2017
  • Clare
    Re: The Law & Verbal Agreements
    Hello, I have a signed agreement of operation to run a tea bar with a local members club. The agreement runs until the end of…
    18 March 2017
  • Chris
    Re: Legally Binding Contracts
    I am currently in court with a client of mine, I sent a quotation and my terms and conditions are set out below our quote, we…
    16 March 2017
  • Rich
    Re: Jurisdiction in Contracts
    can i sue a online retailer for failing to deliver an item in the specified,( and paid extra for) delivery time? they were 10 days…
    13 March 2017
  • KrisK
    Re: What If I Don't Have a Written Contract With My Employer?
    Hi, I'm working in a law office for about 2 years as a receptionist and I've never signed…
    13 March 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ContractsAndAgreements website. Please read our Disclaimer.