In recent months child maintenance and the problem that some custodial parents are having in the collection of maintenance that is owed to them has been highlighted in the media with the arrest of a number of wayward parents who have been avoiding their maintenance obligations.
A maintenance order is an order of court that cannot just be ignored without serious consequences which can include jail terms. A maintenance order is however not cast in stone and a parent who is obliged to pay maintenance and whose circumstances have changed can have the order varied but this can only be done by the courts. If parents agree to a variation in the amount of maintenance or the form that the maintenance payments are made (eg. paying school fees directly to schools as opposed to paying the custodial parent) this still needs to be approved by the court and made an order. Irrespective of how good your relationship is, have it legally varied and a new order issued, things change.
In order to calculate maintenance we suggest you read the “how to calculate child maintenance” article which will give all of the tools you need to effectively calculate child maintenance. In short, both parents are required to contribute towards the childrens expenses and the proportion that each is responsible for is calculated after determining the earnings of each parent, the cost of maintaining the children which includes everything from a roof over their heads, to socks and under wear. The cost is then apportioned to each parent according to their earnings. Read the article “how to calculate child maintenance” for a more in depth description and method of calculation. On the Application for maintenance order form you will be able to get a very good idea of the costs that a court takes into account when determining the cost to maintain a child/children.