When a couple separates and has children, things can get a little difficult when it comes to the financial maintenance of a child. Depending on the situation, circumstances such as these can be amicably agreed upon while other circumstances can be a bit more complex. Child Maintenance Services (also known as Child Support Agency) is part of government to assist in these kinds of situations.
As previously mentioned, arrangements can be made amicably between the parents without involving anyone else. This is called a “family-based arrangement”. Ideal for most, there are situations, however, when coming to an agreement is difficult. When there is no agreement or an agreement cannot be made between the parents, Child Maintenance Services may be able to help. To contact them, Child Maintenance Service contact number is dependent on the office that is managing the case (and for existing cases only). For instance, if the local office that is managing the case is located in Belfast, the contact number would be 0800 171 2043. This contact number would be for cases opened after March 2003. For other locations, you may find contact information by entering your postcode on their office locator page, found here. Generally, Child Maintenance Options is the first step when considering in applying for services. They can be reached at 0800 988 0988 or at 0800 0835 130. Their contact phone number is opened Monday through Fridays from 8 am to 8 pm. On Saturdays, they are open from 9 am to 4 pm.
There are eligibility requirements and Child Maintenance Services recommends seeking additional information before applying for the service. Children who are under 16 years of age, under 20 years of age and in full-time education (but not higher than A level or equivalent), or under 20 years of age and living with a parent who has registered for Child Benefit for them are the basic eligibility requirements listed. It further states that you can apply if you are the parent the child lives with, the parent that the child does not live with, a grandparent or other guardian of the child, or a child over 12 living in Scotland. It further states that you cannot apply if the “receiving” parent and child live outside the United Kingdom.
It then discusses the application process and where to begin. It says to contact Child Maintenance Options first. After that, if you decide to apply for Child Maintenance Services the application fee is £20. It says that the fee is waived for persons who are a victim of domestic violence, under 19 years of age, or in Northern Ireland.
Additional Support and information can be found on the Child Maintenance Options website. Their website includes general information about child maintenance. It talks about family-based arrangements and other types of arrangements. They have also included a section that offers tools and guides. Maintenance calculator, leaflets, and a benefits table are a few tools available in this section. There is also a separation support section to help deal with the separation.