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Child Maintenance Payments: An Overview

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 24 Sep 2021 | 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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[Add a Comment]
@mrs Jones, once Sasquatch stole my baby girl at the East End .old bill in hot pursuit.I like hallucinogenic‘s old bill explained it was me husband without a shirt on hairy bugger it’s was relief it wasn’t Sasquatch.close call
Priscilla - 24-Sep-21 @ 2:41 AM
@ Hamish, so a dingo stole your first baby ?im sorry to hear that are you Australian?did your baby get stolen at (ayers Rock Uluru )?this is (uk law )for separated dads and the articles explain in Full detail what steps you can take to get contact .please get sum help maybe your suffering parental alienation syndrome from the (dingo saga )
Mrs jones - 24-Sep-21 @ 1:23 AM
@andy.yes I agree I need all my money for my new baby .because the dingo stole my first baby
Hamish - 23-Sep-21 @ 9:30 PM
I’m in need of some advice, I’ve got 2 kids with a previous partner we have a arrangement for child maintenance not through the csa never missed a payment in 6 years since we split up, I’ve got a new partner and she’s now 4 months pregnant and money is getting tight when can I reduce my payment to my ex for the new baby?
Andy - 23-Sep-21 @ 6:52 PM
@mick.no offence mate .but your post sounds like to teenagers squabbling and I definitely see no leaders .my advice take control mate you tell her when it’s your time with your child to keep her big nose out off it .because that’s your parental time you do it your way .she has no say and that legal law .
Chris - 15-Aug-21 @ 11:58 PM
@mick .mate I’m a 40 year old men and no one tells me what to do .if this women told me that I have to stay at my mothers to have my daughter( I would laugh in her face) .who the hell does she think she is ?joke more like it complete loser clown .she must think she has sum sort off power in reality she has nothing I want or need .
Chris - 15-Aug-21 @ 11:44 PM
Hi, my ex recently took me through CSA which I am happy to do but when I completed the travel expenses form my ex has told me I can no longer pick up my child and that my mum has to because she will get less money from me. As I will pay my mum petrol money can I still claim travel expenses? Also because my ex isn’t happy that I applied for the travel expenses she’s now saying my child can’t stay at my house and that I have to stay at my mums house when I have her, this is a tactic by my ex because she thinks I will have to pay her more money through CSA as my child is not actually staying at my house. As Im now sleeping at my mums house with my child will I have to pay her more csa? Or does it still count as me having her? My ex is very crafty and is using my child to get as much money as she can out of me.
Mick - 15-Aug-21 @ 7:30 PM
Hi. In our marriage bills were shared but I paid for most other things. Ex worked 4/7 and refused to work 5 days. When splitting I had been diagnosed with depression and had recently been concussed. She continually verbally threatened (assaulted me twice but I didn't go to Police as didn't want to upset kids) me as well as threatening that I'd get around 25-35% of house value if I didn't agree her terms. So she ended up with house paying me only £65k (her share was £85k. She emailed to say due to this she'd never claim CM as she already got the CBenefit putting her on even money to me. Now she wants CM too at around £340 p/m. Im now in debt recovery trying to pay solicitor and moving costs etc, still have depression and someone said that may be a factor in the CM payments, but DWP didn't want to know. Anyone help in this? Many thanks
Pf217 - 6-Aug-21 @ 3:30 PM
@s78 do you have a link to the legislation that states if you are in full time education that you do not have to pay CMS
Troubil - 30-Jul-21 @ 4:49 AM
Hi If I have a seperate mortgage for myself, nothing involving my ex or children, does my child maintenace repayments reduce or am I still expected to pay in full in regards to my annual gross income?
Mark - 3-Jun-21 @ 5:50 PM
Hi, My daughter has turned 18 and is currently doing 2 A levels at college, not full time education. DO i still need to pay child support? Thanks Damo
Damo - 3-Jun-21 @ 7:58 AM
Hi where do i start , I was with my ex for 10 years and i married her for 4.she had a little boy that his own father was only paying £100 a month. to cover him.but had no contact what so ever. I took on the role at Dad and in the end adopted him.We then had a baby of our own and life seemed perfect. Disney world every other year, bought a house got married within 5 years.We then split up and then a divorce was filed. Now comes to evil twisted mind of her.I told her I would pay for the mortgage every month till she buys the house off me and then ill pay her directly in to her bank for the kids.this wasn't good enough and she took me to CSA.I'm now left paying the mortgage, and now CSA are taking my wage.I have my ids every other weekend and every Wednesday, I take my youngest to football 3 times a week and pay for his playing kit and boots.What drives me mad is Everything I have done to be a father to our oldest when his own father walked away. feels like she has seen me coming and made sure thatshe gets everything out of me.I'm a fair and honest guy and the last 2 years I've been paying this.I cant move out of my parents home and start a life of my own because of how much I'mpaying out.the divorce is still with the solicitor's because she is not getting back to her solicitor's.she is supposed to be buying the family home off me but cant get a mortgage.and I'm left to pay CSA and the MORTGAGE .The Stress this is putting on me is unreal.
AJ - 10-May-21 @ 8:12 AM
Hi all I’m so confused with child maintenance payments I earn 82k basic and 7k car allowance I pay 12500 k per year into the company pension I have two kids who stay 3 to 4 nights per week how much should I be paying ? Thanks you
Andrew - 30-Mar-21 @ 10:40 AM
I am a single parent and have a daughter who is not with me in UK. I recently had a baby with my a lady here in uk. She has been a bully since I declined to marry because that wasn't on the table when we started dating. She went to CMS and set up direct debit with my employer and have been milking me dry. CMS assessed my annual earnings to be 38k whereas I'm actually earning 21k. They keep taking £521.75 from my payroll. I have forwarded my payslips to them for a reassessment but they are not responding to my messages. Note: I had an agreed amount that I have been paying to this lady before she contacted the CMS. CMS also refused to recognise my daughter, who's not with me in UK. Can someone kindly give me advice on what to do. Ddeeeee
Ddeeee - 29-Mar-21 @ 6:12 PM
My stepdaughter and partner have slipt up he has moved out he pays the mortgage but she paying all the bills and has a 2 year old he won't pay nothing to his daughter
Paul Roberts - 26-Mar-21 @ 9:02 PM
My ex is an abuser and cannot accept I do not love him , in the past he has beaten me and broken into my home etc , he should be in jail . He walked out of his police job and got sacked so he did not have to pay up , he pays £7 a week for two kids and nearly 3 years of £7 a week , harassing me and abuse , he also never has then overnight andstalks me . God I hate men .
The stripper - 20-Jan-21 @ 8:04 PM
I'm paying an ex child maintenanceeach week but I am also paying loans and debts that are half my exes bills !!Can I have her half taken from her payments ??
Rafman - 20-Jan-21 @ 1:27 AM
Cm are taking 50% of my wage I know they are only legally to take 40% but when I call to talk to my case worker in the last 2 weeks I’ve been cut off or hung up on after being on hold for at least an hour. You just can’t talk to these people so they don’t care if you have a family or pregnant wife they just want there money that they think you should pay who can afford to pay in excess of £1400 a month which CM take 24% of each payment as a process fee. if I don’t pay I’ve been threatened with a jail sentence. So I’ve tried for 24 years to deal with this shower of crooks so ltd company and move to an eu country to get them off my back try take my money now. I have set up bank account in my kids names CM money is for the children not the mother good luck to all dads as they are worse than dealing with loan sharks ????
Zennon - 28-Dec-20 @ 10:33 PM
Hi, I need help and legal advice. Just few days ago I received a letter from Child Maintenance Enforcement Service (CMES) which stated that they have frozen £3899.42 in my bank account, to recover unpaid child maintenance of £7583.78. The issues here is firstly I am a full time student and I have an agreement in place to pay £30.42 by standing order (monthly) to my children mother and the record would show that I have kept to this agreement till present. The second issue is the frozen £3899.42 is my student loan payments, which I also use to support my children (child support payments). I feel that they have breach my human rights, bullied, intimidating and put my name and character in a negative light. They have totally stressed me out. I am trying to fight this case and to put forward a formal complaint against this organisation for their unfair actions against me. Could you help me with some legal advice and how to go about fighting this case. I appreciate your time. I await your reply. Regards Edwin Williams
Edwin - 2-Nov-20 @ 7:38 PM
Hi, I need help and legal advice. Just few days ago I received a letter from Child Maintenance Enforcement Service (CMES) which stated that they have frozen £3899.42 in my bank account, to recover unpaid child maintenance of £7583.78. The issues here is firstly I am a full time student and I have an agreement in place to pay £30.42 by standing order (monthly) to my children mother and the record would show that I have kept to this agreement till present. The second issue is the frozen £3899.42 is my student loan payments, which I also use to support my children (child support payments). I feel that they have breach my human rights, bullied, intimidating and put my name and character in a negative light. They have totally stressed me out. I am trying to fight this case and to put forward a formal complaint against this organisation for their unfair actions against me. Could you help me with some legal advice and how to go about fighting this case. I appreciate your time. I await your reply. Regards Edwin Williams
Edwin - 2-Nov-20 @ 7:38 PM
Hi. I bought a small terraced house by myself 10 years ago which I rented out ever since I bought it. I now want to sell the house to my brother which will mean after deductions etc I will receive £45k. He wants to pay me back monthly of £1000/month and we are arranging all this via solicitors. I met my ex (we never married) 6 years ago and we have a child together who is now 3. We split up 2 years ago and now I am wondering if this will affect any child maintenence payments? I have paid CM ever since we have split. My and my ex have never lived in this rental nor has she ever contributed to anything as I bought it years before I met her. Sorry if I've included irrelevant information but just thought as much info I can provide the better. Thanks in advance.
Phil132 - 28-Oct-20 @ 11:50 AM
He said he is only paying half the mortgage for a year He left the house last October so he said i will have to pay the full mortgage now Our daughter is 14 years old Thank you Dawn Morton
Dawn Morton - 12-Oct-20 @ 12:25 PM
Hi. My ex’s does pay me privately monthly for the boys. He ups the the Money every year by £20.How can I find out if he His money has gone up and if he is paying what he should be paying for the money he is on. He works in London for a bank. If I go through the CSA do they take his bonus and pay rises into account. I work full time locally so my money is not great they boys are in adult size shoes etc.I’m struggling to keep up with them. Don’t get me wrong he does a decent amount. I’m struggling he is walking round in designer clothes and holidays out of his backside. If I go CSA world war 3 will erupt. The the only extras he pays for is if the boys go on a school holiday. If I ask for uniform money his comment is I pay you monthly. Yeah which I get I am not out to fleece him just want to know how I can find out if he has pay rises and bonus as I used to work for the bank I know what they can be.
JJ - 9-Oct-20 @ 3:10 PM
@nic.its up to my daughter now if she wants to meet me she is grown up now .if she does that's good. If she doesn't well it is what is .
Christopher - 3-Oct-20 @ 12:22 AM
@nic.as for the teenager well( sorry I wasn't a better father and wasn't there for you growing up).but I am not like the other guys in my life who bow to there exs.i hate your mother and she is f###en lucky i didnt shot her years ago.truth said here it was only because of my love for youdaughter that I didn't do it .
Christopher - 2-Oct-20 @ 9:10 PM
@nic.i am single men and have one teenage daughter who I have never been allowed to see or have any contact with .(bye her mother and buy the courts ).i do not have or want any other children thats for sure i won't even date women who have children it's my rule .I have never paid support and in my situation I think that is fair .because her mother tried jail me years ago i will never forgive her for that.(she has a enemy with me for the rest of my life) .as for the teenager well all I can say is good luck with your life .
Christopher - 2-Oct-20 @ 8:35 PM
Hi Im a Single mum with 16 year old son just starting college with no apprenticeship. Should his dad be paying for him still he has two kids with new wife ??
Nic - 2-Oct-20 @ 8:58 AM
Where do I stand in regards to my home? My house is up for sale, it's in my name only. However I have a son with my partner and we have just separated. Where do I stand legally in being able to sell the house? If I decide to let her stay in there, how does it work with mortgage/CMS payments. Will the house fully belong to me until my son moves out etc??
Shorty - 28-Sep-20 @ 2:01 PM
Im still paying child maintaince and my child is 21 yrs old and receive s hus own benefits he has been since 28 uts of age
Chaz - 27-Sep-20 @ 7:38 PM
Hi. Recently split and nearly have my own home. I pay £990 a month CSA. My ex works 3 nights a week. Sunday Monday and Thursday. Although the idea is they won’t sleep the night because morning school run and my work commitments but I have the children solely from 5pm to 10:30pm Monday and Thursday. All day sundays. Till 10:30pm. Is this still classed as over night? Any help appreciated
JSB - 27-Sep-20 @ 6:44 PM
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