As part of a Consent Order I agreed to pay CM for my two children. Since then I have become unemployed and one of the children has come to live with me.
I think it would be sensible in future for the Child Benefit and maintenance to be paid to me.
If my ex and I were able to agree a change to the arrangements, could we just agree by email? If we did, is there any chance that I could be pursued for arrears. I don''t think either of us would want to go to court again. For the time being I would not pursue the CSA route.
I am aware that I can apply for the Child Benefit and would get it.
If your child maintenance is paid through the CSA then you would need to make changes through them.
If it is by court order then strictly you can''t change it without a variation in the order. So if you agree by email it depends on how much you trust your ex. I don''t know how likely a court would be to enforce the payments or go for arrears if one of the children were now living with you.
Of course child maintenance is based on the income of the non-resident parent, so how much you would get depends on your ex''s income, not what you were paying before. So you will need at the very least to work out what your ex should be paying - CSA rates are 15% of net income for one child less a percentage (can''t remember what offhand) for any resident child. If your ex''s income is low it might be easiest to agree that each gets child benefit for one child and no money changes hands, as you have one living with each of you.
I hope commonsense breaks out. Seems unlikely anytime soon as ex indulges in continually putting kids in middle rather than considering how they can best be supported.
I suppose I would not trust ex given previous behaviour.
Could anyone else comment on whether a Court would likely entertain the idea of arrears in this circumstance?
Also interested to know whether a variation is a matter of filling in a form (imagining ex and I agree and just want to formalise the agreement) and sending it to the court?
Or, could we have a solicitor formalise / document our agreement (hopefully cheaper than court). I remember my divorce solicitor saying we could do it by exchange of letters.
When is the consent order dated? Applying to court for a variation in the first 12 months can take considerable time and a general court rule that the unsuccessful party pays the costs of the successful party applies. If at all possible during the first year it makes sense to negotiate an agreement and have it documented by a solicitor in the form of a deed.
When a consent order is more than 12 months old the court normally has no jurisdiction to vary the order, although either party may apply to the CSA and the consent order would cease to have any effect in a couple of months.