Child maintenance (FOI)
Child maintenance (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 09 February 2018.
Single Parent Families. What steps are taken to establish that the fathers are playing a part in supporting the welfare of their offspring?
From general information available online, there are two options in Jersey for separated parents to obtain child maintenance;
- an agreement between the parents on the specific amount of maintenance based on both parents’ income, their financial circumstances and the needs of the child, or
- if they are unable to reach an agreement, then the resident parent may wish to make an application to the court. Both parents will be required by the Court to complete forms disclosing their finances and their assets. Once the forms have been exchanged, the non-resident parent’s lawyer will calculate the amount of child maintenance payable per child, per week based on the non-resident parent’s financial circumstances.
Once the Court has made a decision as to the level of maintenance payable, the decision will be reflected in an Order of the Court which is binding on both parties. Should the non-resident parent default, the resident parent may enforce the order in the Petty Debts Court.
From an Income Support perspective, if the parent caring for the child is in receipt of Income Support, then the resident parent is expected to take up their legal rights whenever possible to ensure that the non-resident parent is making a financial contribution towards the upkeep of the child. The 2016 Social Security Department annual report indicates that 52% of single parent families receiving income support receive maintenance income as part of their household income.
Not all single parent families receiving income support will be able to pursue maintenance. For example, Income Support families include families in which:
- the other parent is deceased
- there are safeguarding concerns regarding contact between the parents
- the other parent is also on benefits or has no current income
There are also families where the care of a child is shared equally between the two parents and maintenance is not provided in this situation.