August 11, 2022

Research by the University of Exeter in 2019 revealed that 55% of children’s households mistakenly believed common law marriage existed. It doesn’t exist and there aren’t any financial remedies for cohabiting couples. There are some options for the children, regardless of whether they have been raised together.

A parent who is the parent of the child can apply for financial support from the other parent. It is possible to file a complaint against the step-parent, but not against the cohabiting partner.

Two distinct aspects of financial provision are maintenance and capital claims.


The Child Maintenance Service is the first point of contact for parents and children who live together in the UK. The child’s parent makes the application. The CMS will not process an application if the child has equal contact with both parents. In other words, if there is no ‘parent with care,’ the CMS will not process it.

The CMS calculates maintenance due mathematically. The CMS calculates the maintenance payable mathematically if the paying party has an income of more than PS800 per week. This is 9% for one child and 12% for two or more children. For income below PS800 par semaine, the percentages are 12%,16%, and 19%. The number of nights the child spends with a non-resident parent will affect the amount payable. For calculation, if the non-resident parent has any other children in their household, a notional deduction will be made to the total gross income figure. This is as follows: 12% for one kid; 16% for 2 children and 19% if 3 or more. For parents with low incomes and benefits, a flat rate for child maintenance is PS7 per week.

The CMS will now be able to take into consideration assets exceeding PS31,250 (subject to certain exceptions and mortgage) as well as resources with an assumed income below 8%.

The CMS will assess the income of the non-resident parent if it exceeds PS156,000 gross annually. Parents with care may apply to the court for a top-up’ payment. The court will determine how much the parent should pay based on the facts. According to a recent court decision, in any case, where the parent’s gross annual income is less than PS650,000, the CMS formula should be used as a starting point. This is not a law change. It is guidance on how to approach the matter.

Capital payments

For example, a parent may apply to the court to cover financial requirements for their children.

  • Housing fund
  • A car
  • School fees and other education costs
  • Lump-sum (typically to cover car, redecoration, and furniture, but may also include legal costs).

All payments must be made for the child’s benefit. The financial benefits must cease after the child turns 18, or until they have completed tertiary education. The house could be put on trust, a loan, or tenancy arrangement, until then it would automatically go to the paying parent.

While financial provision for children is an important part of the cohabiting couple’s provisions, it leaves the financially weaker spouse in a vulnerable situation once the children turn majority. Current divorce lawyer surrey free consultation does not take into account the significant contribution made by the family over those years, nor the potential impact it has on one’s ability to ensure their financial future.