Child support—top-up maintenance orders
Child support—top-up maintenance orders

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

  • Child support—top-up maintenance orders
  • Applicable law
  • Capital orders
  • Step-children
  • Procedure

Applicable law

An application can be made to the court for a 'top-up' maintenance order where a maintenance calculation has been undertaken by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), and the non-resident parent’s (NRP) gross income exceeds £3,000 per week, where the formula introduced by the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (CMOPA 2008) applies.

The court must be satisfied that the circumstances of the case make it appropriate for the NRP to pay additional periodical payments under a maintenance order over and above the maximum maintenance calculation. See also Practice Note: Statutory child support scheme.

It is for the CMS, rather than the court, to determine that the NRP’s income exceeds the maximum level, although in CF v KM (Financial Provision for a Child: Costs of Legal Proceedings), Charles J (in relation to an application under Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989)) queried the logic of awaiting a maximum assessment where the court has information available to it as to the NRP’s income. Where the court makes a maintenance order, the starting point should almost invariably be the amount arrived at by application of the statutory formula, and where that formula is departed from, sufficient reasons should be given. An income ‘very much’ in excess of the maximum level of £3,000 per week would be good reason