Child maintenance provisions via the court
Child maintenance provisions via the court

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Child maintenance provisions via the court
  • Jurisdiction
  • Existing orders
  • Consent orders
  • Global or ‘Segal’ orders
  • Maintenance agreements
  • Orders under MCA 1973 or CPA 2004
  • Applications under DPMCA 1978
  • Claims under ChA 1989, Sch 1
  • Claims under I(PFD)A 1975

This Practice Note is impacted by the exit of the UK from the EU on 31 January 2020. This has implications for practitioners considering which courts have jurisdiction to determine a dispute. For guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit and family law. This Practice Note sets out the current position on child maintenance provisions via the court.

While the courts do not have the power to make, vary or revive child maintenance orders where the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) has jurisdiction, they do retain jurisdiction to make such orders under a variety of legislative provisions in specific circumstances, including to reflect an agreed order. Some provisions are limited to applications in relation to children where the parents married or entered into a civil partnership (ie, under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) or the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004)). Other remedies apply more widely, in particular under Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989). Residual powers also arise from section 8 of the Child Support Act 1991 (CSA 1991), ie the court’s ability to make a ‘top up’ order, provision for school fees or for expenses arising from a disability, or to reflect an agreement between the parties. The death of a parent may also give rise to an application for maintenance from the estate of the deceased, ie under