Although money may not seem a priority, we unfortunately have to think about our financial situation and consequences in the event of a separation or divorce.
- Your home may have to be sold
- If there are children, apart from the emotional issues of access and custody, their financial well-being is vital.
The Child Support Agency is a government body which regulates the amount of financial support that is required for children when couples separate and divorce.
The amount of child support assessed on the non-resident parent (i.e. the parent not living with the children — usually the father, but not always) depends on:
- the number of qualifying children the maintenance is for,
- the non-resident parent's income and circumstances, and
- the number of children living with the non-resident parent.
The basic rate of child support is calculated at the following percentages of the net income if it is £200 or more a week. It reduces if the income is less (i.e. after tax, National Insurance, and pension contributions) than the income of the non-resident parent —
- If there is one qualifying child, 15% of the net income
- If there are two qualifying children, 20% of the net income
- If there are three or more qualifying children, 25% of the net income
A reduced rate applies if the resident parent's income is between £100 and £200 per week, and a lower flat rate applies if the non-resident parent's income is less than £100 per week or he/she is receiving any of a wide range of benefits (such as Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance, etc.)
Divorce and pension rights
The usual situation in a family hit by divorce is that one partner will be the main earner of the household and the other partner will be the main child carer.
The Pensions Act 1995, and the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999 set out to ensure that on a divorce, the pensions rights and the values already built up in a pension scheme were divided fairly. For example:
- The value in the pension fund may be taken into account in dividing the rest of the assets — this is known as "offsetting". Thus, for example, the wife may keep the house and the husband is allowed to keep the pension fund.
- When the main earner retires, part of his or her pension may be earmarked for the other partner.
- The court may order the pension provider to split a pension fund between husband and wife in a certain proportion.
The Jobcentre Plus website provides more information about the benefits you are entitled to here
The Department for Work and Pensions regulates all State benefits.
The Child Support Agency regulates Child Support.
EntitledTo provides free calculators to help you work out your entitlement to benefits and tax credits.
In debt and need help?
Call a CCCS counsellor at 0800 138 1111