Separated women and women who came out of abusive relationships struggling to raise their children without support from the other parent can seek help to work out parenting arrangements with the other parent, reach an agreement and collect child maintenance (or child support) for the welfare of their children. This is paid by the non residential parent (usually the father) to the mother who has day to day care of the children.
Parents are legally responsible for the financial security of their children even if you do not see them or if agreement about access to the children happened separately. Visitation and child maintenance are separate issues in the eyes of the court.
In Nigeria, maintenance is for children below 21 years of age. However, maintenance order may be made in favour of a child above 21 years in exceptional circumstances. Child maintenance based on the Children’s law terminates when the child reaches 18 years of age.
Estranged parents can negotiate their own future arrangements for their children. Separated parents can work together to make their own parenting agreement. You can come to your own arrangements for the financial provisions for your children. You can agree between yourselves how much child maintenance should be paid, how and when it should be made.
If you are finding it difficult to come to an agreement or the private arrangement breaks down, you can resort to the family court to enforce the right of the child for an order of maintenance or go to mediation. You can seek the help of a neutral mediator. You both have to be willing to go to mediation.
Getting Help To Create Agreement
Mediation is a confidential process, quicker and less stressful. The process promotes parental responsibility so that children receive maintenance from parents even if they live in separate households. A professional mediator who acts as a neutral third party helps parents provide the financial and emotional support their children need.
The mediator facilitates discussions between both parents and helps them make arrangements, work out an agreement for parenting their children and enforce child maintenance payments. Free family mediation services.
Getting Payments without Sharing Your Location
Survivors of family violence can access child support services safely. If you feel at risk talking to the other parent because a private agreement would involve being in contact or if you do not want to be in contact because you do not feel it is safe you need not talk to the other parent or tell the other parent your location.
You do not need to make contact with the other parent if you have experienced violence. You can seek help to collect payments through the welfare office which can help in the calculation of the amount and enforcement. It will take action if a parent fails to make financial provision for their children.