If you’ve found yourself in a position where you’re struggling to make your usual maintenance payments, you need to do something about it before you miss them.
Missing your payments can have dire legal consequences, and seeking help from the child maintenance agency, or family law advice from a solicitor, will be the only way to get out of it.
In this post, we’re going to help you avoid that outcome by giving you some advice on how to afford your child maintenance payments. Take a look…
What Can You Do to Afford Your Child Maintenance Payments?
There are several things you can do to afford your child maintenance payments, but the first step is to speak to the relevant governmental body:
Let the child support agency know
If your maintenance is being paid through the child support or maintenance agency, you need to contact them as soon as possible. Let them know you can’t afford to make your payment, and they might be able to readjust your payment schedule.
Not notifying the agency will land you in arrears, which could be up to 40 percent of your income, depending on your other financial commitments and considerations. These agencies usually take these things into consideration:
- The needs of you and any new family
- The needs of the other parent and children receiving maintenance
- Whether the other parent has informed the maintenance agencies that they are likely to suffer financial hardship if you aren’t able to pay them
Have your circumstances reassessed
The amount of child maintenance you owe to your ex-partner and children will have been determined when you first split. Circumstances change, and if you can’t afford to make the payments you should have your situation reassessed to see if you can get it lowered.
You can speak to whatever child maintenance agency you pay your support through and file a formal motion requesting a modification to your circumstances. There’s no point in rearranging payment dates if you won’t be able to afford it on those dates either.
Either parent can request a maintenance payment modification due to changed circumstances, and the agency will make their determination based on:
- Additional costs of raising a child
- Change in income
- Medical expenses
Make more money
If you can’t change your payment date or reduce the amount by talking to your maintenance agency, the only thing you can do is make more money. If you’re unemployed due to COVID-19, or other reasons, getting a job should be your first priority.
However, assuming you already have a job and just need to make some extra cash, here are five ways to do it.
1. Take in a lodger
Way to afford your maintenance payments number 1 is to take in a lodger. If you have a spare room in your house, and don’t mind having someone else live with you, then renting it out is a no-brainer.
Depending on where you live, some governments offer up schemes to encourage you to rent your spare room to a lodger. For example, the UK has the ‘Rent a Room’ scheme where the government pays you £7,500 a year, tax-free, to let out a spare room.
2. Become a part-time driver
If you can drive, you can make money in today’s economy. Driving for Uber or Deliveroo could be a quick solution to not being able to afford your child maintenance payments.
These companies hire people every day on a mass scale, so their onboarding tends to be quite quick and painless. If you don’t mind essentially working for yourself and making varied amounts of money on the side of your usual job, then this could be the one for you.
3. Get paid for your storage space
If you’d rather not have a person living in your house, how about just housing their stuff? Companies like Storemates allow you to turn your storage space into cash.
You can decide how much your space is worth per month, but it’s best to keep it around 50 percent of what the commercial storage companies charge. Otherwise, it’s not worth it for the customer.
4. Invest your money
If you know anything about investing money, or know someone who does, now might be the time to get into it. Investing money has been wrested from the hands of the elites thanks to the internet, and any tom, dick or harry can learn to trade on the stock market.
This obviously requires a lot more learning and preparation than the other ideas we’ve mentioned, but the returns are much higher. Therefore, investing your money is one of the better ways to afford your child maintenance payments if you know what you’re doing.
5. Sell your stuff
Selling your worldly belongings isn’t a long-term solution to your problem, but it could buy you some time until you find a permanent resolution.
Everyone has stuff they don’t need or that are worth more money than they think. So, do an inventory and put some of it on eBay. Use the money to pay your maintenance in the short term if you can’t have your payments readjusted.
Ready to Start Making Money?
In this post, we’ve shared the three main ways to make your child maintenance payments more affordable.
The first step is always to speak to your payment agency and renegotiate your terms. After that, the only thing to do is find new ways to make money. We only shared a select few in this post, but there are loads more ideas out there for anyone looking.
Hopefully this post has helped you, and good luck affording your future maintenance payments.