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As the Spring Bank Holiday and summer holidays approach, it’s worth remembering that paying child maintenance – especially child support – does not change simply because the payer takes the children away on holiday.

Child maintenance or child support is treated by the courts as an annual payment towards the income needs of the recipient. It is paid on a periodic basis (for example, weekly or monthly) to fit in with the cash-flow of the payer. So, if the person who is paying child maintenance is paid every calendar month by his or her employer, it would be normal for the child maintenance payments to be paid at the same monthly intervals. Sometimes, the payment is in excess of those needs, but that does not alter this principle.

Separating couples beware! In a recent High Court case, a 19-year-old separation agreement was upheld as binding on the husband and the wife, who had entered into the agreement with the assistance of solicitors when they separated. The couple subsequently divorced but did not ask the court to deal with the financial issues between them. Many years later, the wife applied for financial support from her (ex) husband. He opposed this and the judge agreed with him. The moral of the story is perhaps that if married couples enter into a separation agreement, they should take the trouble to ask the court to make orders dealing the finances in any subsequent divorce – even if those orders simply repeat the terms of the separation agreement.

If you have questions about any of the issues raised in this article or about family law matters in general, please contact us on 0117 904 6000.