After a relationship breakdown, it is clear that in cases where children are involved, you and your ex-spouse or partner will want to act in the best interests of the child.
To do this, you might want to set up a child support arrangements. This can be done through the Child Support Agency (CSA), yet there are lots of benefits to making a private agreement between yourself and your partner and there’s plenty of assistance available to help you set these up.
If you want to know more about your rights in this regard, need help with the legal side of child matters, or want advice on whether a current agreement is legally sound, contact the child law specialists at First4lawyers.
What are the benefits of setting up a private child maintenance agreement?
- It can help you to maintain a cordial relationship with the other parent.
- Gives you added flexibility – e.g. you can agree between you how much you need to pay, and when to make payments.
- If your financial circumstances change, you can adjust your arrangement with immediate effect, as long as the other parent agrees.
- The ways in which you make payments may be flexible – e.g. you may wish to make payments in the form of new shoes or school uniforms for your child instead of cash.
What are my options if a private agreement breaks down?
Some private agreements are not legally binding, such as the private agreement form that is available to download on the Child Maintenance Options website. This means that if you or the other parent does not keep to the agreement, there is no way to enforce it via the courts.
In this case, you may have to go through the lengthy CSA or Child Maintenance Service (CMS) processes. If you do not know how much the parent paying maintenance earns, or if they run their own company through which they can control the income you receive, it would be advisable to seek legal advice.
It is possible to draw up a private agreement that is legally binding, however. To start with, both parents would have to agree expressly to enter into a legal agreement. It would be wise to record this in the form of a written document.
If you do decide that you'd like to record your private agreement as a legally binding document, then it is highly advisable that you to talk it through with a solicitor first. First4lawyers can help do this for you.
I want to draw up a private agreement with my ex – how can you help?
An experienced child law solicitor can play a big part in helping to sort out issues involving all aspects of caring for children, from issues in the home, to finances, and especially maintenance agreements.
Here at First4lawyers, we are here to help advise you on collaborative law, mediation and all of the legal processes you can use to sort things out for the good of your children, as well as yourself.