Home > Ask Our Experts > Am I Entitled To Pay Less Child Support?

Am I Entitled To Pay Less Child Support?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 12 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Support Child Support Act

Q.I am a divorcee living in London and my ex-wife resides in France with our 7-year-old daughter. I visit every 6 weeks and pay 15% of my monthly salary (the payment is £500). They visit London 3 times each year. I also have a 2-year-old daughter with my new partner.

My ex-wife remarried last week and her husband also has a 7-year-old-daughter. Does any of this affect my child support payments?

(T.C, 2 October 2008)

A.

Your seemingly simple question actually raises a lot of very interesting points. You pay the amount mandated by the Child Support Pensions and Social Security Act 2000, which amended the Child Support Act 1991 and 1995, which said the non-resident parent should pay 15% of net income as child support.

However, if the child and custodial parent are resident outside the UK, the 2000 Act doesn’t apply, according to some sources, which could leave you free to petition for a change in the amount of maintenance paid.

Also, if you have to travel long distances and spend a great deal in order to have regular contact, you might be able to petition to have the maintenance reduced.

Perhaps surprisingly, the one factor that doesn’t seem to have any influence on the proceedings is the remarriage of your ex-wife, although you might suppose that would be the one that would affect things most.

You do have a financial responsibility to your daughter until she’s 16 or until she’s 19 if she remains in full-time education; that’s very much the law.

Something you don’t say is how you and your ex arrived at the 15% of your income figure, whether it was agreed mutually, through mediation, or imposed by the courts, or whether her move to France occurred after the divorce.

It would seem that you’d like to reduce your child support payment, and that’s understandable when you’re paying £6,000 a year. However, before you start consulting a lawyer, consider a few things.

From the number of cross-Channel visits – both ways – it would seem that you and your ex are on good terms. Might it be possible for the two of you to talk and maybe arrive at a lower figure for child support? Something arrived at amicably is much better for all parties than going through a legal process.

Additionally, if you are on good terms, taking legal action to reduce child support payments could sour those good relations. Given that you have 10 more years of child support payments and visits, the goodwill might outweigh the money.

But, before you do anything, sit down and have a talk with your lawyer who can give you the proper advice in the situation. Find out more about child support payments in our guide, here.

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]
Rob - Your Question:
Just need some advice I have an agreement with my ex to pay £230 a month but I drive 220 miles each way to see my little girl can I claim fuel again my child maintence payment or not?Thanks in advance

Our Response:
You can see more about child maintenance variations via the link here , which will explain all you need to know.
SeparatedDads - 13-Apr-18 @ 10:53 AM
Just need some advice I have an agreement with my ex to pay £230 a month but I drive 220 miles each way to see my little girl can I claim fuel again my child maintence payment or not? Thanks in advance
Rob - 12-Apr-18 @ 12:33 AM
Richard - Your Question:
Can anyone help please. I have not seen my son since August 2015 his second birthday. I have no idea where he lives or how he is and the last photo I received was Christmas day 2015. I was paying maintenance directly through the bank into his mother’s account around 1000 a month and due to no contact decided to reduce this to £600.00 in a bid for contact to be made through the email I sent up when he was born; this is still set up. After 8 months with still no contact I reduced payments further to £300.00 – I took a call from the CSA advising my case was with them and asked for £619.00 a month; I declined to pay stating I want to know where my son lives. They were simply not interested and I was treated like a scum.To cut to the chase they now directly take from my wages £769 a month and yet I still have no idea where my son is living, if he is actually receiving this money and if he is ok. I want to know my son is ok – can anyone suggest anything please.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. However, child access and child maintenance are completely separate issues and are not dependent upon each other and not to be confused. The non-resident biological parent is by law responsible for paying towards the day-to-day care of their child whether they see their child or not. For reasons of confidentiality and data-protection, CSA/CMS is understandably not allowed by law to divulge the address of your ex. If you wish to see your child, then you would have to apply to court for access, please see link here. If you are on a low income you may be able to get a reduction in court fees, please se link here . If you cannot afford legal representation in court, please see link here. With regards to tracing your child, with the child arrangement form you can fill in a C4 form. This is an application for an order for disclosure of a child’s whereabouts. This allows the court to put a trace of your child in order to allow you to bring the matter to court.
SeparatedDads - 10-Apr-18 @ 11:36 AM
Can anyone help please. I have not seen my son since August 2015 his second birthday. I have no idea where he lives or how he is and the last photo I received was Christmas day 2015. I was paying maintenance directly through the bank into his mother’s account around 1000 a month and due to no contact decided to reduce this to £600.00 in a bid for contact to be made through the email I sent up when he was born; this is still set up. After 8 months with still no contact I reduced payments further to £300.00 – I took a call from the CSA advising my case was with them and asked for £619.00 a month; I declined to pay stating I want to know where my son lives. They were simply not interested and I was treated like a scum. To cut to the chase they now directly take from my wages £769 a month and yet I still have no idea where my son is living, if he is actually receiving this money and if he is ok. I want to know my son is ok – can anyone suggest anything please.
Richard - 9-Apr-18 @ 5:41 PM
Can someone offer some advice please. I have an 18 yr who has recently given birth to a child and I am being expected to continue payments for maintenance as CB is still being paid for my adult child. I believe child benefit is being claimed fraudulently as my child is not and not been in education since September. CMS say as long as CB is paid I have to pay and as long as they plan to enter into education I have to pay. My issue though is she is now a parent and surely claiming CB for her child so an adult in her own right??
Bud41 - 27-Feb-18 @ 7:02 PM
Hi, I moved to the States a year and a half ago with my now American wife.I have a 13 year old daughter who I wish to visit me for 6 weeks in the summer holidays.My daughter wants to come here for the full duration however her mother only agrees to 3.I think she's being unreasonable wbu only allowing me to see her for 3 weeks out of 52. Where do I stand or will I have to go to court to get court permission.
Dreday - 1-Feb-18 @ 2:16 AM
MAH - Your Question:
Hi, I've been separated for 5 years now from my wife and 3 children, I used to have a family based arrangement which was fine, but my ex has now moved 200 miles away with new partner, and also gone through C.M. direct pay which has now caused me financial difficulties. I have had to move out of my rented 2 bed flat (which I had so the children could stay over) to a 1 bed flat, ( which now makes it extremely difficult for then to stay now). as well as to see them I have to do all the travel there and back to see them as she refuses to share journey costing me a fortune on fuel. now due to all these expenses. I cant see my children because after C.M. has taken payment I am left with only enough to pay rent and utility bills, not even enough for a proper food budget, let alone fuel to see my children.I have written several times to my ex pleading to make an alternative arrangement but refuses to answer me. I can't go via a legal route as have no funding to cover it.please can you offer advice.thankyou

Our Response:
If you’re the parent paying maintenance under the 2012 Child Maintenance Scheme and you have certain expenses, you may be able to ask the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to adjust the amount of maintenance you should pay, please see link here . If you cannot afford to take the matter to court, and you are on a low income you might get a reduction in court fees, please see link here . Likewise, if you cannot afford legal representation, you can self-litigate, please see link here. You cannot force your ex into a family-based child maintenance arrangement, your only legal recourse is to ask the court to request that she possibly shares the journey. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
SeparatedDads - 23-Jan-18 @ 10:57 AM
Hi, I've been separated for 5 years now from my wife and 3 children, I used to have a family based arrangement which was fine, but my ex has now moved 200 miles away with new partner, and also gone through C.M. direct pay which has now caused me financial difficulties. I have had to move out of my rented 2 bed flat (which I had so the children could stay over) to a 1 bed flat, ( which now makes it extremely difficult for then to stay now).. as well as to see them I have to do all the travel there and back to see them as she refuses to share journey costing me a fortune on fuel .... now due to all these expenses .... i cant see my children because after C.M. has taken payment I am left with only enough to pay rent and utility bills, not even enough for a proper food budget, let alone fuel to see my children...I have written several times to my ex pleading to make an alternative arrangement but refuses to answer me. I can't go via a legal route as have no funding to cover it....please can you offer advice..thankyou
MAH - 22-Jan-18 @ 5:38 PM
Pete - Your Question:
Hi, I spend £7000 a year in travel and accommodation so I can keep up contact with my son. Child Mainantence Service have taken a variation and have only reduced my weekly payment to my ex by £20. It doesn't add up. Any advice please. It's all to do with the gross business I think, a I right?Thanks.

Our Response:
If you are unhappy with the result of this decision, you may be allowed to appeal, please see link here. We cannot comment upon whether CMS is correct or not, or how this decision was reached as we do not have knowledge of CMS administrative processes.
SeparatedDads - 18-Jan-18 @ 2:20 PM
Tim - Your Question:
Hello everyone,My ex-partner is denying me access to my child because we don't agree on the child maintenance.It is my understanding that issues regarding finances can legally not be mixed with matters regarding contact with the child.Unfortunately I cannot find any references to this law online.I would like to show this law to my ex-partner to show her that was she is doing is illegal - and hopefully I can see my child again, while we resolve our differences.Any advise would be very welcome.Regards,Tim

Our Response:
There is nothing specific to say that it is 'illegal'. It is correct when you say your ex should not/ cannot use child maintenance disagreements as an excuse for keeping your child away from you. No court would accept this as a valid reason. However, unless you can agree between yourselves or via mediation, then your only option would be to apply to court in order to request a contact order. In this case, the court would also decide your maintenance arrangements. Then both you and your ex would have to keep to the court order. You can see how much you should be paying (which can be used as a good benchmark) via the link here. As court is seen as the last resort, mediation may help you both to come to an agreement, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 18-Jan-18 @ 10:16 AM
Hello everyone, My ex-partner is denying me access to my child because we don't agree on the child maintenance. It is my understanding that issues regarding finances can legally not be mixed with matters regarding contact with the child. Unfortunately I cannot find any references to this law online. I would like to show this law to my ex-partner to show her that was she is doing is illegal - and hopefully I can see my child again, while we resolve our differences. Any advise would be very welcome. Regards, Tim
Tim - 17-Jan-18 @ 4:17 PM
Hi, I spend £7000 a year in travel and accommodation so I can keep up contact with my son. Child Mainantence Service have taken a variation and have only reduced my weekly payment to my ex by £20. It doesn't add up. Any advice please. It's all to do with the gross business I think, a I right? Thanks.
Pete - 16-Jan-18 @ 10:02 PM
Hi, After some advise if possible. Split with my ex partner mid of last year due to concerns she was speaking with other people and not being faithful. Not married thankfully. We own a house jointly and I moved out reluctantly as she stated if I stayed there she would move out and not let me see my children. I reluctantly moved In with parent and have come to an agreement where I see my children every other weekend and once in week. I am paying quite a lot in CM due to a high income and also paying half of the mortgage even though not living there is this correct? Wasn't sure if my CM payments would cover this? Hate the fact of not seeing my children on a daily basis and grow up and have just started to comethrough the bitterness stage as the last few months have been horrendous. Its been nice (well not nice for other suffering dad's) to read threads on this site that give an insight aswell as advise which has enlightened me also. Many thanks for your help.
Londonbased - 5-Jan-18 @ 12:36 PM
JP- Your Question:
Hi I’m currently paying £70 per week maintenance on an informal arrangement with my ex partner , which is broadly in line with child maintenance calculator based on my earnings My ex and child live in a house I have paid for , and am paying mortgage on which was raised on other properties I own solely Our existing jointly owned house I have lived in since our separation , no repair / upkeep / costs have been met by my ex in the 2.5 years we have been separated I paid for this house outright using savings and by raising a mortgage on two rental properties I owned , meaning I’m still paying this back and can if I so wish get her beneficial interest in the property down to a small amount if it were ordered it should be sold At the moment she is alienating me from the child’s life and making life difficult , after 2 years of shared custody , following me having a new relationship recently she has manipulated my child to a degree where she doesn’t want to see me as she knows how her mother reacts when she sees me and has a good time I need to address all issues and wonder wether I am within my rights to stop maintenance payments as her accommodation and running costs are far in excess of maintenance I would keep the maintenance payments in a separate account for my child’s future use such as if at Uni , house deposit etc Any advice much needed and appreciated

Our Response:
I would not advise you to stop child maintenance payments. Child maintenance payments and any other financial issues are separate from each other i.e as the non-resident parent, you are responsible by law to financially support your child's daily needs. Any other issues should be dealt with separately, either mutually, via mediation, or through court. If you have a family-based arrangement, then your ex will have the option to apply through CMS and child maintenance payments and costs would be attributed to this arrangement. Also, child maintenance is solely based upon your earnings not what assets you own etc - which is a different matter. Only if your ex agrees to your suggestion, would this be a workable arrangement.
SeparatedDads - 1-Dec-17 @ 12:41 PM
Hi I’m currently paying £70 per week maintenance on an informal arrangement with my ex partner , which is broadly in line with child maintenance calculator based on my earnings My ex and child live in a house I have paid for , and am paying mortgage on which was raised on other properties I own solely Our existing jointly owned house I have lived in since our separation , no repair / upkeep / costs have been met by my ex in the 2.5 years we have been separated I paid for this house outright using savings and by raising a mortgage on two rental properties I owned , meaning I’m still paying this back and can if I so wish get her beneficial interest in the property down to a small amount if it were ordered it should be sold At the moment she is alienating me from the child’s life and making life difficult , after 2 years of shared custody , following me having a new relationship recently she has manipulated my child to a degree where she doesn’t want to see me as she knows how her mother reacts when she sees me and has a good time I need to address all issues and wonder wether I am within my rights to stop maintenance payments as her accommodation and running costs are far in excess of maintenance I would keep the maintenance payments in a separate account for my child’s future use such as if at Uni , house deposit etc Any advice much needed and appreciated
JP - 30-Nov-17 @ 11:05 PM
Lopl - Your Question:
Hi, I have recently moved in with my partner. He has 3 children with his ex. They did have a mutual agreement that he would have them for 3 nights every week and they calculated together the maintenance fees together. He was paying maintenance every week to her as agreed of £49. Since I moved in with my partner she says that my partner has not been paying enough maintenance, even though they calculated it together, and now that I have moved in his payments should go up. She is due to have a baby with a new partner in february. When this baby is due will he be able to reduce his payments to her?

Our Response:
In a family-based child maintenance arrangement, then it is up to both parents to agree a figure. However, if one parent doesn't agree, they can approach CMS. The CMS calculator gives a good benchmark figure in which to base child maintenance payments around, please see link here. Once the matter goes to CMS to decide, then charges are placed on both parents, so it is always best to agree such an issue mutually.
SeparatedDads - 28-Nov-17 @ 3:09 PM
Hi, I have recently moved in with my partner. He has 3 children with his ex. They did have a mutual agreement that he would have them for 3 nights every week and they calculated together the maintenance fees together. He was paying maintenance every week to her as agreed of £49. Since I moved in with my partner she says that my partner has not been paying enough maintenance, even though they calculated it together, and now that I have moved in his payments should go up. She is due to have a baby with a new partner in february. When this baby is due will he be able to reduce his payments to her?
Lopl - 26-Nov-17 @ 2:03 PM
kev - Your Question:
I have been paying £200 a month for my daughter since I split with her mother. we were not married and she's moved around with work ,Germany, Cyprus ext for the last 8 years. I have had to deal with extra expense etc to even see my daughter over the years.she got married approx 6 years ago and I continued to pay the £200. my ex partner separated last year and moved back to uk. recently my daughter came to live with me and this was agreed verbally, she was enrolled in school and I started receiving child benefits, after 3 months my ex partner refused to bring her back to me after a visit and legally I have no rights as we both have parental responsibilities. I have filed a child arrangement order last week and waiting to go to family court.the other day I received a letter from the Child maintenance service asking for me to contact them and that based on information I should be paying double what we had previously agreed?since her move back to uk a year ago she has be cohabiting with her new partner and the both have a good incomewhere do I stand legally and can this be diverted until the court application has been heard ?

Our Response:
You would have to pay until the court order makes the decision of whether your daughter should reside with you (in which case you would stop) or with your ex (in which case your payments will continue). You can see how much you should be paying via the link here . The fact your ex and her partner have a good income is not relevant. The non-resident parent is by law deemed responsible for paying to support the day-to-day welfare of child regardless of what the other parent earns. If you stop payments for the duration of the court case, you could find yourself with some hefty arrears.
SeparatedDads - 20-Nov-17 @ 12:59 PM
i have been paying £200 a month for my daughter since i split with her mother. we were not married and she's moved around with work ,Germany, Cyprus ext for the last 8 years. i have had to deal with extra expense etc to even see my daughter over the years. she got married approx 6 years ago and i continued to pay the £200. my ex partner separated last year and moved back to uk. recently my daughter came to live with me and this was agreed verbally, she was enrolled in school and i started receiving child benefits, after 3 months my ex partner refused to bring her back to me after a visit and legally i have no rights as we both have parental responsibilities. i have filed a child arrangement order last week and waiting to go to family court. the other day i received a letter from the Child maintenance service asking for me to contact them and that based on information i should be paying double what we had previously agreed?.since her move back to uk a year ago she has be cohabiting with her new partner and the both have a good income where do i stand legally and can this be diverted until the court application has been heard ?
kev - 19-Nov-17 @ 6:30 PM
Nae wise shelley - Your Question:
Can I ask I have supported my two sons as agreed. However the parent wants more and has gone to csa. One son is 17 he is in college and also received pip and received high care component. Is any of this taken into account when assessing what I need to pay.

Our Response:
Calculating what you should pay can be done through the CMS calculator here. You can also ask CMS Options this question via the site.
SeparatedDads - 17-Nov-17 @ 3:37 PM
Can I ask I have supported my two sons as agreed.However the parent wants more and has gone to csa.One son is 17 he is in college and also received pip and received high care component.Is any of this taken into account when assessing what I need to pay.
Nae wise shelley - 17-Nov-17 @ 7:09 AM
I am a divorced (3yrs) dad with 2 children who stay with my ex wife during the week and myself every weekend. To maintain my kids environment I gave my ex wife the family home mortgage free and have been paying 500 per month maintenance (25% of salary). My ex wife is due to re-marry and her partner will be moving into the old family home. Her new partner has no dependents. My personal financial position is that I took out a mortgage to purchase a home for myself. Common sense says that I should be able to now focus on re-paying my mortgage but legally am I entitled to stop maintenance having given a 250,000 house + contents to ensure the kids ongoing comfort and at time of divorce took 70,000 cash.
GGG - 20-Oct-17 @ 5:04 PM
Why is it that the financial settlement in a divorce (ie for property) does not have any bearing on child maintenance? I was married for five years and my wife did not contribute to any of the capital (it was my father's legacy - someone she never met), and yet walked off with well over 50% of the equity. We have one child together. As well as paying her maintenance, I am effectively paying for her house via my (much) higher re mortgage payments.
Jim - 4-Sep-17 @ 9:23 PM
Mr B - Your Question:
Hi, I was with my sons mother for 4 years, because I wanted to end our unhappy relationship she called the police on me and made horrible accusations up saying I hit my son and her etc etc. Truly horrible experience but its over now, no evidence to support her outrageous claims and social services had no problems saying I was not a danger to my son - luckily I kept all messages from her proving she was lying!! anyway i've tried to offer her money each month - refused, tried a parenting plan - refused - tried mediation refused - now she is controlling when and where I see my son, all on her terms, I cant even have my son stay over night so we never get quality time together. im lost and don't know what to do, I want my son at the least 2 days a week.so far ive opened an account in my sons name and have been putting regular money in each month, ive kept all communications from HER as she only speaks through text. Am I missing anything? what else can I do, we were never married but I feel she is planning more misery for me and my 3 year old boy. I would appreciate any advise

Our Response:
If mutual negotiation has been refused, and where your ex refuses mediation, your only recourse is to apply to court, please see link here . If you cannot afford the court fees you can self-litigate, please see link here . Paying child maintenance for your child and child access have no bearing on each other, meaning if your ex refuses to accept child maintenance, it does not mean you cannot have access to your son.
SeparatedDads - 4-Sep-17 @ 2:00 PM
Hi, i was with my sons mother for 4 years, because i wanted to end our unhappy relationship she called the police on me and made horrible accusations up saying i hit my son and her etc etc. Truly horrible experience but its over now, no evidence to support her outrageous claims and social services had no problems saying i was not a danger to my son - luckily I kept all messages from her proving she was lying!! anyway i've tried to offer her money each month - refused, tried a parenting plan - refused - tried mediation refused - now she is controlling when and where i see my son, all on her terms, i cant even have my son stay over night so we never get quality time together. im lost and don't know what to do, i want my son at the least 2 days a week. so far ive opened an account in my sons name and have been putting regular money in each month, ive kept all communications from HER as she only speaks through text. Am i missing anything? what else can i do, we were never married but i feel she is planning more misery for me and my 3 year old boy. I would appreciate any advise
Mr B - 3-Sep-17 @ 7:00 PM
Nina - Your Question:
I was just wondering if I was putting in a claim to get cma off my ex boyfriend do I have to pay a cost to get it started?

Our Response:
You can obtain free information and advice for Child Maintenance Options. However, the fees and charges include: a £20 application fee for applying to the statutory scheme, a 20% collection fee on top of their usual child maintenance amount for paying parents using the Collect & Pay service and a 4% collection fee deducted from their usual child maintenance amount for receiving parents using the Collect & Pay service. You can see more via the link here .
SeparatedDads - 8-Aug-17 @ 2:38 PM
I was just wondering if I was putting in a claim to get cma off my ex boyfriend do I have to pay a cost to get it started?
Nina - 7-Aug-17 @ 9:37 PM
Sarah - Your Question:
Hi there - my husband and I have just got married, and I have 2 dependant children. He has a daughter, who is now 22, but he is still having to pay child support of £216 for the next 18 months, because they say he has not paid all that he should when she was younger - surely this is not allowed?I also have 2 dependant children - does this not get taken into account by them?Thanks in advance.

Our Response:
If your husband feels he is being treated unfairly, his only recourse is to complain, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 1-Aug-17 @ 11:16 AM
Hi there - my husband and I have just got married, and I have 2 dependant children.He has a daughter, who is now 22, but he is still having to pay child support of £216 for the next 18 months, because they say he has not paid all that he should when she was younger - surely this is not allowed? I also have 2 dependant children - does this not get taken into account by them? Thanks in advance.
Sarah - 31-Jul-17 @ 8:50 AM
BV99 - Your Question:
Hi, CSAtook monies direct from my employer under ATE agreement. That stopped last year when I came out of employment. Started work again and payments are continuing under the CMS system and all seemed fine. Then out of the blue CSA write to me advising they did not ask for the correct amounts from my employers going back to 2003 and are demanding £2175.86 in back dated monies due to their error?? Where do I stand?Thanks

Our Response:
I think in this case you might wish to complain or appeal, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 28-Jul-17 @ 10:27 AM
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