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‘You Can’t Buy Contact’

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It may be tempting to assume that the parent who fails to pay for the maintenance of their child(ren) should not have the right to see their child.

By Magdalena Wiktorko

First things first, payment (or non-payment) of child maintenance should be kept separate from contact or visitation rights of the parent who is required to pay child maintenance.

All parents have an obligation to maintain their children financially regardless of whether they are having contact with them. If the parents are not residing together then the non-resident parent (which would usually be the Father) will have a duty for contributing financially to the upkeep of their child(ren). This is because the resident parent would usually have most or substantially more day-to-day care of the child(ren).

In such cases, the non-resident parent would be required to pay child maintenance to the resident parent in the sum agreed between them or decided by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) on the basis of the non-resident parent’s income. This is also dependent on who the child lives with and the duration – the CMS can assist with the calculation.

If the paying parent defaults on payments, this can be addressed with the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) or with them directly. For the receiving parent it is important to remember that there may often be very good reasons for the non-payment. Equally, it is important for the paying parent to remember that this can be very stressful for the receiving parent who may be very much reliant on the maintenance payments.

If the non-resident parent is not having contact with their child due to whatever reason, this can be addressed in the family court or through mediation and should be kept separate from child maintenance which still has to be paid even when the non-resident parent is not seeing their child.

To discuss a Family matter with a specialist, please feel free to call us on 0203 959 9123 or by using our contact form.

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