One of the most worrying issues clients face when they are separating and/or divorcing, is the question of how they are going to financially support themselves and their children following separation. There are a number of ways that income can be ‘topped up’ on separation.
For separating couples who share children, where one party vacates the family home and no longer shares care of the children, they may well be liable to pay child maintenance to the other.
The amount of maintenance payable depends on the number of nights the children spend with each parent, as well as the paying parent’s income. The ‘receiving’ parent’s income is not taken into account. You can check whether or not child maintenance is payable at the following link: www.gov.uk/calculate-child-maintenance
If you do not know details of your former partner’s income, you can ask them to volunteer their P60 to allow you to do the calculation. If they refuse, you can pay a small fee to the Child Maintenance Service who will obtain the information for you and tell you what your former partner should be paying. If they refuse, the CMS have various enforcement powers and can collect the maintenance on your behalf.
On separation, many clients find themselves in a situation where they simply do not have enough money to meet their needs and need to seek the support of the state in the form of welfare benefits. There is a range of benefits that are available to individuals, including both means-tested and non means-tested benefits. You may find that you are now eligible for awards that you would not previously have been entitled to when your partner’s income was also taken into account.
If you were previously on benefits (such as Income support, housing benefit, working tax credit) then a change in circumstances may well trigger a move to Universal Credit.
Often, you will not have previously had to consider resorting to state benefits for financial support, but this may be a factor to consider to maximise your income on separation.
If you were married to your partner, then on divorce your ex-spouse may need to pay you spousal maintenance to help you meet your monthly needs. This is usually determined as part of an overall financial settlement, but it is possible to make an application to court for interim maintenance in circumstances where you do not have sufficient income to meet your needs.
At Neves, our team of family law experts can advise you on all circumstances surrounding your separation, including how you or your partner can seek to maximise your income following your separation.
If you would like advice and support regarding your separation, contact our Family Law team today on 0330 0945 500, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our Online Contact Form and we'll get back to you.