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Child Maintenance Variation Application

Durham Legal Services - the Variation experts

When an assessment is made, it uses information automatically gathered from the Inland Revenue. In order to include any other income, a variation application must be made. Once awarded, there is a real possibility the variation remains for the life of the case. A variation can have a huge impact on a maintenance payment which is why it is important to have representation to correctly present or defend your case. We believe that if you are subject to a variation and because there is a real possibility that it will remain in place for the life of the case, it makes sense to get help to have it awarded or removed as quickly as possible.

What does a Variation cover?

Originally, a Departure/Variation was introduced under anti-avoidance measurements. Over the years, this legislation has developed in such a way that is is particularly applicable to parents who own their own company. If a paying parent owns their own company, their status is PAYE and the current system does not necessarily take into consideration dividend payments. This can lead to allegations of fraud and deliberate hiding of income. In addition, if there is retained profit or a Director's loan account in operation, it could be seen as an attempt to avoid a maintenance liability, even though best business practice encourages this. Whether intentional or not, the only way to investigate this scenario is by way of a variation application.

Where circumstances exist that a spouse or partner is a shareholder or employee of the paying parent's company, without the proper consideration being given for the shares or salary, an allegation of diversion of income may be made. We strongly recommend you get our advice on how to deal with this situation.

Many parents who have used the last CSA system have relied upon lifestyle variations but under the CMS, this was removed. December 2018 then saw the re-introduction of a variation to look at the paying parent's assets. This includes land and property and will be charged at 8% of its value. Under the new rules,  there are a number of circumstances when an assets variation cannot be added but all these areas are extremely complicated and the best way to navigate to a successful outcome, whether you're a Paying Parent or a Receiving Parent, is to get expert help from an experienced specialist with an understanding of Tribunal procedures.

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