Legal Q&A: Child Maintenance Review

Q. How often should child maintenance and spousal maintenance be reviewed? I am finding it difficult to pay all my bills each month.

A. If you have a child maintenance order or spousal maintenance order through the Courts then you need to look at the Court Order as usually there will be a clause in the Order setting out when the maintenance should be reviewed and usually the maintenance is reviewed on a yearly basis.

It would then be best to contact your ex-partner if you have not reviewed the maintenance provisions recently to ask if they can provide you with a breakdown of their income with copies of pay slips OR self-employed accounts as well as details of expenses so that you can consider if their income has increased and whether or not they can afford to pay further maintenance.

You would then be best to approach a Solicitor for them to negotiate an increased sum and arrange for the Court Order to be amended by consent if possible but otherwise by making an application to the Court for the Judge to decide the new levels of maintenance.

If you do not have a Court Order but child maintenance is paid either through the Child Support Agency or the Child Maintenance Service then you can ask those Agencies to review child maintenance because there has been a change in financial circumstances. It is rare that the Child Support Agency or the Child Maintenance Service review child maintenance without you asking them to.

Rachel Strong, Solicitor rachel.strong@hegarty.co.uk