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Separation and Child Maintenance

Can I ask my child’s other parent to pay towards the cost of school trips and extra-curricular clubs?

Children so often want to attend clubs such as brownies, football or art classes and go on school trips which require a financial contribution from parents, but how as parents should we discharge those costs?

We are often asked whether a child’s other parent can be forced to contribute towards the cost of clubs and school trips or even the payment of pocket money.

Unfortunately, the answer is usually “no”.

If the non-resident parent is paying child maintenance in accordance with the relevant child maintenance guidelines, there is no obligation on them to provide additional financial support to cover the cost of clubs and other activities.

This unfortunately leaves the parent with the majority care of the child having to pay those extra-curricular activity costs without assistance or make the difficult decision that the child simply cannot go.

Of course, if the non-resident parent is agreeable to contributing voluntarily towards the cost of clubs and activities they can do so. However, it is usually not possible to force them to do so.

It is advisable to prepare an up to date child maintenance calculation annually to ensure that the appropriate amount of child maintenance is being paid. We would advise clients to keep a clear record of when a child / children stay overnight with their other parent so that a total number of nights over a 12 month period can be calculated.

A helpful time to re-calculate child maintenance is at the start of a new financial year when the non-resident parent will have received an up to date P60. This P60 and your diary of overnight stays for the past year is all the information you need to hand to re-calculate child maintenance for the forthcoming year.

In some situations where a non-resident parent earns a substantial income and you are incurring costs in relation to housing the children, childcare or activities which is not sufficiently covered by the payment of child maintenance or your overall financial agreement it is possible to seek an order under Schedule 1 of the Children Act for further financial assistance from the other parent.

If you think this situation may apply to you, please contact us to arrange a free, no obligation callback

Watson Thomas Solicitors have offices in Fleet, Guildford, Bracknell, Camberley, Farnborough and Woking.

At Watson Thomas our staff can work from home and access all systems so even if all are required to self-isolate this will not affect the day-to-day running of your case. We can also hold appointments via telephone and video conferencing, as needs be, to ensure that your service is not interrupted.

If you would like to discuss your current situation with an expert family lawyer, please call us at one of our Head Offices: 

Fleet 01252 622422 or Guildford 01483 320114.

Request a free, no obligation callback from a member of our team by completing our simple enquiry form.