This question was asked today. Here is some information which may help you decide:
- Agreed family based arrangements are often incorporated into consent orders because it is a written record of the agreement and is enforceable through the court system for at least a year.
- It can be useful to have a legally binding agreement if the receiving parent is applying for a mortgage.
- Child maintenance can only be included in a consent order when it is agreed. If there has been a CMS assessment this suggests that the amount of child support was not agreed at some point and enforcement action may be needed.
- If there is a need to enforce child support the CMS has far reaching powers and it is probably cheaper to go down that route than through the court.
- 12 months after a consent order has been made either parent can ask the CMS to make an assessment again.
- A statutory CMS assessment (Direct Pay) is also legally binding and is as likely to be taken into account by some mortgage lenders as an agreed order for maintenance. The best way to find out is to ask your lender.