It is very common when one parent moves out of the house after a separation, that the other parent remains in the home with the children. So, in those circumstances, does the mortgage need to be paid, or maintenance for the children, or both?

The answer is – it depends!

If the property is jointly owned with a mortgage, you will have entered into a contract, with the mortgage company, to pay the mortgage. If it isn’t paid, usually after a couple of months, the mortgage company could start possession proceedings.

However, that doesn’t always mean that you are obligated, to the other parent, to pay the mortgage, if you are not living together in the property.

Further, if a claim has been made to the Child Maintenance Service, that will also have to be paid.

However, in certain specific circumstances, depending when the mortgage was taken out and in whose name it is, may mean that a variation to the Child Maintenance payment could be applied for, so any mortgage payments that are being made, are taken into account in any calculation.

It is always better to discuss and try to agree how finances will be managed in the short term.

If an interim agreement can be made, that takes away the stress and worry of how both mortgage payments and child maintenance obligations can be met.

There will have to be plans made in the long term to resolve issues such as income, debts, pensions and, maybe, the house.

Equally, there will also be issues to discuss regarding the children and maybe even formalising the separation by way of a consent order or some form of written agreement.