Child maintenance - Peggy Lethier avocate

Child maintenance

French Law

While married, each parent must contribute to providing for their children and helping with their education. During a divorce, the parent with custody of the children is entitled to ask the other parent to pay a contribution towards maintenance and education (la contribution à l’entretien et à l’éducation). This contribution, called child maintenance (la pension alimentaire), may also be paid when custody is shared and one parent has a higher income than the other.

If the spouses are unable to reach an agreement, then the family court judge (un juge aux affaires familiales) sets the amount of child maintenance to be paid. It is important to make a list of all child-related expenses (e.g. school or university fees, medical expenses, sports, music and leisure activities, daily cost for food, transport, clothing etc) and to communicate this to the judge.

During the conciliation hearing, the judge will consider the situation of each child and make his decision based on the income and expenses of each parent and the needs of the children. He will take into account the table de référence (reference table), which is updated every year by the Ministère de la Justice.

To view this table click here. You can also find online by searching for ” table de référence pour les pensions alimentaires .

You will see that the figure varies depending on the type of custody, the number of dependent children of the paying parent and their income.

Be aware that payment of this allowance will continue after the divorce is finalised, and can continue through school, higher education and until such time as the child finds stable employment.

English Law

Similar to France, after a divorce has been granted in England and Wales, parents must still provide for their children and help with their education and maintenance. In fact a judge will only decree a divorce when an agreement has been reached about child custody, contact with each parent, and the terms of child support payments.

If the parents are unable to reach an agreement about child support, then the custodial parent must contact the Child Maintenance Agency Service (CMS) – previously known as the Child Support Agency or CSA. They will determine the amount of child support to be paid, and will directly collect the payments free of charge from the paying parent. You can use the Child Maintenance Calculator below to get a good idea of how much the non-custodial parent can expect to pay.

This amount paid is a percentage of the weekly income of the non-custodial parent, and varies depending on the number of dependent children and how many days they spend with the non-custodial parent.

Under certain conditions, such as when the paying parent has a very high income that is above the CMS’s scale, the judge in the divorce case may set the amount of child support to be paid by the non-custodial parent.

Useful link : Child Maintenance Calculator

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For a confidential discussion about your situation, please contact Peggy Lethier by telephone or email : Contact

Parental authority

French Law and English Law