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Child support ceiling smashed?

A recent High Court Judgment has indicated that wealthier parents could be ordered to pay a significantly higher proportion of their income for child…

A recent High Court Judgment has indicated that wealthier parents could be ordered to pay a significantly higher proportion of their income for child support than has previously been the case.

The facts of the case are not particularly unusual save that the father is a bass player in a well- known band and had six children with his ex-partner prior to their separation.

Generally the courts will be bound by the formula applied by the Child Maintenance Service for calculating child support. In a case involving 6 children the usual calculation would be 19% of gross income. However, the maximum assessment that can be made, using this formula, is reached when the paying party has a gross income of £156,000 per year. In this case the fathers gross income was £639,000 per year.

The case is interesting because the judge decided to ignore the cap of £156,000 and instead applied the statutory percentage (with some technical adjustments) to the whole £639,000.

This produced a child support figure for each child of £12,600 per year.

This is the first time that the High Court has suggested that the current statutory cap on calculating child support is too low for high earners

This judgment is likely to be relied on by others in a similar position seeking to negotiate significantly higher levels of child support in appropriate cases.

If the content of this update raises any issues for you, or you would like to discuss, please liaise with Fiona O'Sullivan at fiona.o'sullivan@weightmans.com.  

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