Child maintenance is a regular (weekly or monthly) payment that must be made by the non-resident parent (the parent who does not have full time care of the child(ren)) to the resident parent. The payments are for the benefit of the child(ren) and they are separate from any maintenance for a spouse. Spouse maintenance is needs based; however, child maintenance is not – it must be paid.
The family court generally does not get involved in child maintenance issues and parents are encouraged to come to private agreements about the amount of maintenance that should be paid. The payments must be enough to ensure that the child(ren) can be maintained and accommodated and that their basic needs are taken care of (food, clothing etc). The payments will usually continue until the child(ren) leave full time education or reach the age of 18, whichever is the later. Couples will often come to an agreement to support child(ren) while they are in university, so this is something that also needs to be considered.
If you are unable to agree on a figure, there are formal routes that you can go down without going to court. Divorce Negotiator will guide you through the level of payments which are workable in your situation and what alternative routes you can explore.