Home > Financial > Child Maintenance Payments: An Overview

Child Maintenance Payments: An Overview

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 20 Sep 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Maintenance Children Child Support Child

The end of a relationship with your partner is never the end where children are involved. Of course, you want to be a part of the lives of your kids, to see them and spend time with them. You also have a responsibility to give them financial support when they don’t live with you.

Arranging Financial Support

There are four real ways to pay your ex maintenance for your children.
  • You can work out a figure between the two of you – obviously the best way
  • Make an arrangement through mediation
  • Have an agreement between your solicitors
  • It can be calculated by the Child Support Agency (CSA)
  • or the Child Maintenance Calculator CMS

The first three methods are obviously better, since they rely on agreement rather than acrimony and bureaucracy.

Child Support Agency

CMS have taken over from CSA for new claims and their advisors can help calculate the level of maintenance you should pay for your children, and ensure you pay it. The amount set depends on a number of factors, but it boils down to three basic things – your gross income, how many children you’ll be paying maintenance for, and how many children are living with you.

The Child Support Agency was replaced with the Child Maintenance Service in November 2013. The CSA is still in operation and dealing with some existing cases.

Basic Rates

You’ll find that certain circumstances can reduce the amount of maintenance you pay. If you’re paying the mortgage on the home where the children and your ex live, for instance, that can reduce maintenance payments, as can the fact that you pay school fees for your children, or if you transferred capital or property to your ex before 1993 as part of what’s called a “clean break” settlement.

Additionally, if your children stay overnight with you during the week, this will lessen the amount of maintenance you have to pay. If it’s one night a week, for example, the reduction will be 1/7th, and this can rise to ½ if the children spend half the year with you.

Reduced Rates

You might be making a net income of less than £200 a week, but still more than £100. That qualifies you to pay maintenance at a reduced rate. The calculations can be fairly complex, so using the CMS calculator is the most straightforward way to assess what you have to pay.

Flat Rate

If you make less than £100 a week, or you’re on benefits, you’ll play a flat rate of maintenance of £7 per child per week (which can be deducted from your benefits). Also, if you’re living with someone who collects Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance, you play the flat rate.

Paying No Maintenance

There are situations where you can have Parental Responsibility but not have to pay maintenance for your children. However, this only occurs if you’re a full-time student, or aged 16-19 and in full-time advanced education, or if you’re living in a nursing home and receiving help to pay the fees.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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Vinny - Your Question:
So now that I've calmed down, I do have a question.Do I stop paying maintenance when my daughter has finished her A Levels in May19, or when school term ends in July 19, even though she won't be going to school any more?ThanksVinny

Our Response:
Firstly, you officially stop paying child maintenance when your ex's eligibility for child maintenance stops, please see the link here . You cannot stop paying child maintenance because you have reached a certain amount, child maintenance is paid to the resident parent towards the day-to-day welfare of your child. Your ex does not have to justify what she spends it on - as it theoretically goes into the pot towards maintaining a roof over your child's head. However, you do not have to pay anything more than CMS assesses that you have to pay by law. Anything above and beyond this is deemed voluntary - i.e. no one is forcing you to bail out your ex etc. That decision is up to you and unfortunately has nothing to do with how much you pay in child maintenance.
SeparatedDads - 21-Sep-18 @ 10:22 AM
So now that I've calmed down, I do have a question. Do I stop paying maintenance when my daughter has finished her A Levels in May19, or when school term ends in July 19, even though she won't be going to school any more? Thanks Vinny
Vinny - 20-Sep-18 @ 10:38 AM
Hi, I have been divorced from my ex wife since 2009, although we officially separated in 2007.When we split up we had a shared (mortgaged) house, and I agreed to pay the mortgage until it was sold.I continued to pay when she moved her new fella in whilst they were looking for a house of their own, I believe he lived there for approximately 5 months I also took on all the joint debt so she didn't have to worry about paying that.When the house finally sold, she received 60% of the equity and I received 40%, out of which I paid all of the solicitors fees. Since then I have paid a regular agreed amount each month, this has always been just slightly over the amount that I would have paid if we went through the CSA as I wanted to make sure my daughter was ok.On top of the monthly payments, I have also bought my daughter clothes and paid half towards all of her school trips. My ex has remarried and has another child, I know that she can't possibly be spending all of the money I give her on our daughter.During this Summer, our daughter has mainly been with me and my wife or her boyfriend, so I assume that most of the money has gone on my ex wife's lifestyle which seems to involve eating out a lot. When she did eventually go home, her mother moaned about having to buy food for her. I spoke to my daughter last night and she told me that her Mum is skint again so she has been buying her own food, this seems to be a regular occurrence ATM. My Ex's new husband is possibly related to Scrooge as when she asked him for money to go shopping he gave her £20. Apologies if this seems like a rant, but that's exactly what it is!! Since we split in 2007, I have kept a spread sheet which shows most of my payments although not all of them (not included clothing).I am currently up to £98658, by the time I can stop the payments, this figure will be up to just over £102,000.I am not bitter about paying for my daughter as that is my responsibility, but I am very bitter about the fact that over the years, less and less of my money seems to be going towards her and more of it on my ex wife's new family. It doesn't matter how much I do to help my ex, it is never enough.I have previously bailed her out when she needed money because she couldn't ask her current tight fisted husband, I have also just offered to pay the remaining amount up front to help her out as I know she has no money and Xmas is just around the corner.She has thrown that back in my face. The validation word I have to type in before I post this is MUG, how appropriate!! Role on July 2019 when all this stops!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Vinny - 20-Sep-18 @ 8:31 AM
CMS calculate based on gross income from HMRC using the P60 End of year certificate. Your article says it uses net income.
Addy - 16-Sep-18 @ 1:40 PM
MICK - Your Question:
Hello i've just been asked for a divorce by my wife, we live in a morgaged house at the moment, with our two children (5 & 3) there has been no foul play che has just decided that she noi longer loves me and doesnt want to live with me anymore, with regards to the morgage and other bills depts does anyone know what I have to pay, at the moment I'm the main contributer to the marrige paying all the bills but the wife has just started going back to work twice a week. do have to pay the mortgage still? should I sell the house and split everything?should I keep paying the bills/mortgage and rent elsewhere? (major struggle finacially)

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. The link here should help you answer your question.
SeparatedDads - 13-Sep-18 @ 2:58 PM
Hello i've just been asked for a divorce by my wife, we live in a morgaged house at the moment, with our two children (5 & 3) there has been no foul play che has just decided that she noi longer loves me and doesnt want to live with me anymore, with regards to the morgage and other bills depts does anyone know what i have to pay, at the moment i'm the main contributer to the marrige paying all the bills but the wife has just started going back to work twice a week. do have to pay the mortgage still? should i sell the house and split everything? should i keep paying the bills/mortgage and rent elsewhere? (major struggle finacially)
MICK - 13-Sep-18 @ 10:48 AM
AJ - Your Question:
Hi, could you tell me if CSA payments take into account extra activities a child does? I spend just over £110 per month and the paying parent tells me they give enough in the monthly payments.Thank you in advance.

Our Response:
Child maintenance payments are made towards the child's day-to-day care, this encompasses everything under one umbrella. Your child's paying parent is not obliged to pay any more than calculated by CMS, if they do it is discretionary.
SeparatedDads - 10-Sep-18 @ 9:59 AM
Hi, could you tell me if CSA payments take into account extra activities a child does? I spend just over £110 per month and the paying parent tells me they give enough in the monthly payments. Thank you in advance.
AJ - 9-Sep-18 @ 10:42 AM
razzler - Your Question:
HiMy daughter turned 18 in May and goes to university this monthWhen do I stop having to pay maintenance for her pleaseWas of the impression it was the end of August

Our Response:
When your child leaves approved education or training, payments will stop at the end of February, 31 May, 31 August or 30 November (whichever comes first).
SeparatedDads - 4-Sep-18 @ 12:57 PM
@Mouldy - I think you would go into arrears for the year as child maintenance is based retrospectively. Give CMS a call, only they can tell you what you should do.
HarrYC - 4-Sep-18 @ 12:14 PM
Hi My daughter turned 18 in May and goes to university this month When do I stop having to pay maintenance for her please Was of the impression it was the end of August
razzler - 3-Sep-18 @ 10:57 AM
I have some big chaghes in circumstances coming up and need some guidance. I currently pay nearly 400 pound monthly to my ex for our two children. I am with a new partner (co habiting) and we are expecting our first child in November. This is meaning having to relocate so i have had to leave my current employment. I am obviously needing to and currently looking to find work in the future but having some time off before hand maybe a month or so to get settled and so forth. What does this mean for my current direct payment plan of nearly 400 per month. If i leave my employment within the first week of september will i have to pay the full 400 for that month even tho i will not be working for the majority of it.
Mouldy - 30-Aug-18 @ 12:43 AM
My ex says he don't have to pay csa due to him becoming a student while working full time still ? I feel this his just his way to try to not pay anymore but he's as a goodwill he will pay for a further few months till I get on my feet can anyone advice me of the rules are . He's got a pretty good job earns easily £500 a week
Bear - 28-Aug-18 @ 5:37 PM
Hi I’ve agreed to my ex having the matrimonial home and the equity in it place of me making regular payments for our 2 kids, we’re going through the divorce process now, am I right in not signing the house over until the courts agree to the payments and this being in writing, her solicitor has set out the financial arrangement but there’s nothing mentioning the lack of payments for the kids, she said this gets done later but I’m confused. Any advice gratefully received
AJ - 23-Aug-18 @ 7:43 AM
CJ - Your Question:
Have been paying via csa for over 10 years, case is now closed and I have an agreement with the ex to pay monthly, however my son is now 17, has left school and is not in further education and going into the RN, do I still have to pay until he is 18 or should I have stopped paying when he turned 16, thanks

Our Response:
As child benefit eligibility and child maintenance end in unison, then you can see when you can officially stop paying via the link here .
SeparatedDads - 17-Aug-18 @ 3:40 PM
I was told today that they don’t take pension into account if it’s with your employer I.E. an occupational one They only take into account a private pension?
Millo - 14-Aug-18 @ 7:48 PM
mooozy - Your Question:
I'm confused as to whether pension payments are being taken into account in my CSA case. They quote the gross but it's always the amount before pension contributions. Is this correct?

Our Response:
Child Maintenance is calculated on gross taxable income (net of pension contributions). However, should pension contributions be considered excessive (usually over 12%), then CMS can intervene to make a discretionary decision.
SeparatedDads - 27-Jul-18 @ 1:56 PM
I'm confused as to whether pension payments are being taken into account in my CSA case. They quote the gross but it's always the amount before pension contributions. Is this correct?
mooozy - 27-Jul-18 @ 5:37 AM
Have been paying via csa for over 10 years, case is now closed and I have an agreement with the ex to pay monthly, however my son is now 17, has left school and is not in further education and going into the RN, do I still have to pay until he is 18 or should I have stopped paying when he turned 16, thanks
CJ - 24-Jul-18 @ 4:10 PM
Hi divorced now I hsve 3 kids I’m sharing care 50/50 , I have a clean break agreement so as I understand she can’t ckaim spousal maintenance is this correct? Also on the break up she promised 200 pounds of child benefits/ tax credits to help me when I have the children. Now she’s just got a Mortgsge 2 weeks later she takes a 8 k paycutshe says to look after children better , so she’s saying she can’t afford to give me the 200 poundsand she wants to know how much I earnthis was put in the clean break but she now saying she doesn’t believe me. So .. can she claim any money off me ? And. Am I eligible for any of the child benefit / child tax credits seen asI care 50/50 for my children ? Thanks Mike
Meaty - 20-Jul-18 @ 7:58 AM
Please can you review and update to the figures/percentages under the new CMS. They are now set at GROSS PAY and include things like company car and allowance! This makes it very difficult for many fathers out there. Can anyone explain how they believe fathers suddenly have so much more money.........which they don't?!
Frenchie - 19-Jul-18 @ 5:20 PM
Dods- Your Question:
Hi5 yrs ago my ex said he was reducing payments - when I said I would pay for a CSA review he suddenly agreed he would continue - guess that tells us he re-calculated/spoke to CSA and was advised that figure was probably not enough. Our kids are happy, they get to see/speak to Dad whenever they want including birthdays, Christmas & Easter. We don’t argue (well not often). I have never hassled him for a review as the amount is reasonable and we survive but mostly because he kids are happy and I don’t want to upset anybody. However he does not pay for anything over and above. I have gone without to pay for school ski/Uganda/camping trips so that they do not miss out.Our eldest is now turning 19 and leaving full time education, I suggested we have a review which I feel is reasonable after 5 years of no increase and my supporting 2 adult sized/eating kids (now 14 & 18) He says no he is simply reducing his payments by 50% and not negotiating.Am I able to just contact child maintenance service to request a review on this basis?

Our Response:
Yes, you can contact CMS at any time to ask for an assessment if the family-based arrangement has broken down.
SeparatedDads - 19-Jul-18 @ 2:23 PM
Hi 5 yrs ago my ex said he was reducing payments - when I said I would pay for a CSA review he suddenly agreed he would continue - guess that tells us he re-calculated/spoke to CSA and was advised that figure was probably not enough. Our kids are happy, they get to see/speak to Dad whenever they want including birthdays, Christmas & Easter.We don’t argue (well not often).I have never hassled him for a review as the amount is reasonable and we survive but mostly because he kids are happy and I don’t want to upset anybody.However he does not pay for anything over and above .... I have gone without to pay for school ski/Uganda/camping trips so that they do not miss out. Our eldest is now turning 19 and leaving full time education, I suggested we have a review which I feel is reasonable after 5 years of no increase and my supporting 2 adult sized/eating kids (now 14 & 18) He says no he is simply reducing his payments by 50% and not negotiating. Am I able to just contact child maintenance service to request a review on this basis?
Dods - 17-Jul-18 @ 11:41 AM
Bothendsofdeal - Your Question:
Hi there I'm trying to find out if there is any help me and my husband can get with this as csa take 100 a week off my husbands earnings for his ex who wanted to change both his boys surnames and doing so wouldn't claim csa now she has done this won't discuss anything and won't let him see the boys either, we are £100 a week short and having to live off sandwiches with our 7 year old son, where is the fairness when one family works their backsides off to not be able to live when another sits on handouts and can live very comfortably????

Our Response:
Every non-resident parent, by law has to pay to help support their children based upon their taxable earnings (not outgoings). The percentage taken from the non-resident parent is a blanket one and to help for towards the day-to-day care of their child when living under the resident parent's roof. This is regardless of what level of income the resident parent has coming into the house. As it is about the non-resident parent's contribution. Unfortunately, if CMS has calculated an amount (usually 12% of the earnings based on the basic level), this is deemed affordable. There is little room for negotiation.
SeparatedDads - 16-Jul-18 @ 12:46 PM
Hi there I'm trying to find out if there is any help me and my husband can get with this as csa take 100 a week off my husbands earnings for his ex who wanted to change both his boys surnames and doing so wouldn't claim csa now she has done this won't discuss anything and won't let him see the boys either, we are £100 a week short and having to live off sandwiches with our 7 year old son, where is the fairness when one family works their backsides off to not be able to live when another sits on handouts and can live very comfortably????
Bothendsofdeal - 14-Jul-18 @ 3:25 PM
Kenny - Your Question:
I am in a sales role and my pay, based on commission can fluctuate. After tax, and child maintenance payments for three children, I am left with just enough money to pay rent and not enough to pay bills and feed my daughter who lives with me and my wife.Is there a way that I can get a reduction of how much I pay or get the CMS to consider my struggling financial situation?The best option I can see is to leave my job and my for my wife to work.

Our Response:
Please see link here , which will tell you all you need to know.
SeparatedDads - 28-Jun-18 @ 3:09 PM
I am in a sales role and my pay, based on commission can fluctuate. After tax, and child maintenance payments for three children, I am left with just enough money to pay rent and not enough to pay bills and feed my daughter who lives with me and my wife. Is there a way that I can get a reduction of how much I pay or get the CMS to consider my struggling financial situation? The best option I can see is to leave my job and my for my wife to work.
Kenny - 26-Jun-18 @ 10:46 AM
Hi. My ex wife Lithuanian, my kid is living in Lithuania. Wife living in UK, she got new partner and she is pregnant now, whey bought a house now. She said to me she want bring kid to the UK and arrange new child support. The thing is we divorce in Lithuania and child support been arrange in Lithuania. I am British citizen now. Can she do that, i mean bring the kid and arrange new child support payment in UK? Thanks.
Pinkman - 25-Jun-18 @ 2:28 AM
How can a father stop paymments through csa . Doesnt it come straight out of his wages before he gets paid .
Soo - 20-Jun-18 @ 2:09 PM
Geester - Your Question:
My daughters 18 years old she finish college in July 2018 but is going on to further education at University its not a levels so when would I stop paying maintence

Our Response:
When your child leaves approved education or training payments will stop at the end of February, 31 May, 31 August or 30 November (whichever comes first). As child maintenance falls in line with child benefit, you can see what is considered as 'government approved education' here.
SeparatedDads - 14-Jun-18 @ 1:56 PM
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