Home > Financial > Child Support Payments: An Overview

Child Support Payments: An Overview

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 24 Jun 2017 | 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)

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

Child Support Agency

The Child Support Agency can 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 net income, how many children you’ll be paying maintenance for, and how many children are living with you.

To come up with net income, the CSA takes your earnings, whether it’s salary, profit for business if you’re self-employed, or even a pension. After that tax is deducted, along with your NI contribution, and the amount you put into an approved pension (note, though, that if the pension will also pay your mortgage, only 75% of the figure is deducted). If you derive some income from share dividends, that doesn’t enter into the calculation, but if you receive working tax credits, those are.

Items like sick pay, overtime, bonuses and commissions, among others, are also treated as income, but most payments for expenses are not.

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

Basic Rates

If your net income is more than £200 a week, then maintenance is calculated at basic rates. These are 15% of your net income if you have one child, 20% for two, and 25% for three children. However, if in your current family you have children living with you; the payments are reduced by 15% for one child, 20% for two, and 25% for three.

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, but it means £5 each week plus a percentage of your income over £100.

Flat Rate

If you make less than £100 a week, or you’re on benefits, you’ll play a flat rate of maintenance of £5 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.

Separated Dads Chat Room & Forum

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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
If my son pays off his mortgage will this affect the amount he has to in relation to his child support payments
big daddy - 24-Jun-17 @ 8:11 AM
Wow, just had my new schedule through and i am not impressed. Im guessing they got rid of the csa as there are those of us whose children are nearly 18 and their policy was out of date and it must have been legally dubious to force all this ne legislation through, and hey presto kill the csa and ooooh here we now have the wonderful cms. (We are calling the the child maintanance frendleee scheme) now the cms must get 1 positive point. They dont seem to be populated by embittered man hating rugby playing ladies as before that will not listen to the fact that you had made payments in cash but got no reciepts. (You live and you learn!) Here it ends, somehow (lord only knows how) my payment has been escalated a full 25% from £48 per week to £60.33 and i didnt even get a pay raise this year! Not only that but i volunteered to do whatever necessary months ago, but the harpy of doom is demanding it be collected (previously free under csa, now +20% in fees! Outrageous!) Meaning i would be paying £72 per week. How the hell am i supposed to afford this sort of money? Its like ive gone out and bought a high spec bmw on hire purchase!! I dont see my son due to my ex being the plate chucking, vengance filled kindo person and havent in 10 years. I earn 26k a year but live in devon with sky high living costs. I cant believe that the government are making a ton of money on peoples misery.
Sic1978 - 23-Jun-17 @ 2:54 PM
Just a quick one now they take payments befor tax and NI how does this work Is that not take free money they are getting then I pay the tax on it
Warfield - 8-May-17 @ 7:17 AM
I have a similar story here to tell. Ex wife refused to help out and work for 13 years (9 Years Married). It would have been possible, but in her world the husband has to pay and work. Didnt take care of the kids, neglect is already visible with the eldest (16). Housework mediocre, spent 6h per day on Facebook.Has now a council house, benefits and CMS payment (1600pm) without ever paid a penny TAX in this country. And what is being spent on the kids? Food only. Clothes, pocket money, tutoring, mobile phones, still all by me. As a first time buyer I accumulated a lot of debts in my Name and last year I was unemployed and on top accumulated more debts as the CMS miscalculated by 11k and I had to pay. My reduced income of 25% was only considered with in the 2017 calculation (which was wrong again. No I am going through the financial divorce were I have to pay spousal maintenance and she gets 75% of the the house equity I bought in 2012. I bought the house for 250k and now I have 290k on my mortgage balance. The 70k I paid of in the last 6 years gone, too .... I have currently around £5200 on bill to pay every month and I struggling to maintain these (forgot to mention that in the 9 years of marriage I took off around 12-15 work days per year) I am paying around £1000 off debts and it seems NO one in this country seems to care. I am 47 years old and the last 13 years I was not able to maintain a pension and the house is the only thing i have. If would work more hours I would even have to pay more to here so it a vicious circle were no escape is possible. All the time you hear "in the interset of the children". I will have to sell the house to support my pension and NOTHING will be left for the children. My ex will have spent everything (exp 2016 3k holiday living on benfits) so please tell me how do the children benefit from a biased system like this one? I have to turn around every peny twice and that on a 100k contractor salary (Gross)
LifeinDebt - 21-Apr-17 @ 10:35 AM
I am self employed and have recently been receiving employment and support allowance since having an operation on 16 Dec 16, (13 weeks) and am due to return to full time employment next week. Prior to my operation I paid a mutually agreed monthly amount of money directto my ex, (I have read that this is not a legally binding agreement). My ex is aware (via the children) that I am due to return to work next week and has been quick to tell me that I now owe her the full amount of money, that I would have paid, had I have been in receipt of my usual weekly wage. Does anybody have an official take on this or had a similar experience Would I not have been expected to pay a reduced rate whilst I was in receipt of my employment and support allowance or would I be expected to pay back pay??
NickC - 9-Mar-17 @ 5:32 PM
Josiejo - Your Question:
Hi, I'm having a nightmare with the cms. Some of you may be relieved to know that I am a mother and I am the paying parent after a lengthy messy custody case. So the issues with cms are also experienced by mothers. How can I make a formal complaint about the cms. They are a shambles and appear to make processes up. I've not received letters, been refused pay direct at my exes instructions. Have plucked a tax year to suit them. Give conflicting information when questioned.

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which will point you in the right direction.
SeparatedDads - 24-Feb-17 @ 1:47 PM
Hi, I'm having a nightmare with the cms. Some of you may be relieved to know that I am a mother and I am the paying parent after a lengthy messy custody case. So the issues with cms are also experienced by mothers. How can I make a formal complaint about the cms. They are a shambles and appear to make processes up. I've not received letters, been refused pay direct at my exes instructions. Have plucked a tax year to suit them. Give conflicting information when questioned.
Josiejo - 24-Feb-17 @ 12:27 AM
As a mother and having been on both sides of paying and receiving maintenance(or not) then I have a great story to share. I split up with my ex husband 10 years ago, I was left in £50k of debt due to the loans he had take out in my name, I suffered abuse and when we separated I did not get any help to pay off the debts nor a penny in maintenance for my then 6 year old son. I ultimately was forced to go bankrupt and was homeless having to move my young and teenage son into my mums. I had lost everything I had worked for since I was 16, I have always worked full time even when my kids were baby's and for nothing. My ex did not see my son on a regular basis for the next 5 years. Two years after we separated I went to the CSA because he refused to pay e a penny all I asked for was £20 per week. The CSA were useless, he hardly paid anything, every time they caught up with him he moved jobs to avoid this. There was thousands of pounds in arrears he didn't pay and I could get nowhere. When my son was 12 he started seeing his dad a couple of times a week and he asked for the maintenance(that he wasn't actually paying anyway) to be reduced, I agreed. After a huge row when he tried to move my son to another school behind my back just before he was 14, he tool my son and would not bring him back. I could do nothing, the police would not get involved, the solicitor told me because he was over 12 it was pointless going to court. I have not seen my son for 3 years now, he cut off his mobile and all contact with myself and my family Shortly after he took him he then went to CMS as this had changed from CSA and claimed maintenance from me. it has took me years to rebuild my life but he takes £420 a month from me when he owes me £1000's but my claim was with CSA and his was with CMA I can do nothing. I have thrown myself into my work to try and re-build my life and after nearly 10 years and finally having a clear credit rating I am buying a house again at 47 years old. He continues not to pay me a penny of what he owes and if I refuse to him the CMS will take an extra 20% from me. How is this fair? What type of twisted system are they running? All managed by computers and drones who refuse to take anything into consideration other than a ridiculous calculation system. I know not a penny of this will go on my son, effectively I am paying maintenance so he can pay maintenance to year another child he has not seen. Will he wait until she is over 1 and then use her as his cash cow! This country is finished!
Jo - 22-Feb-17 @ 9:33 PM
Oldqueenian- Your Question:
My daughter is about to go to university. I am happy to pay for her as I did my son index but linked. Do I have to keep paying my ex wife maintenance whilst my daughter is studying at uni? We have two children, one has finished a degree and I will be retired living on a pension. My former wife has an income from a business.

Our Response:
Please see link: At What Age Do Child Maintenance Payments Stop? here which should help you further. You certainly do not have to pay your ex wife child maintenance from (the end of the school year Aug 31) when your daughter finishes her government approved education (on the completion of A'Levels).
SeparatedDads - 22-Feb-17 @ 9:50 AM
My daughter is about to go to university. I am happy to pay for her as I did my son index but linked. Do I have to keep paying my ex wife maintenance whilst my daughter is studying at uni? We have two children, one has finished a degree and I will be retired living on a pension. My former wife has an income from a business.
Oldqueenian - 21-Feb-17 @ 10:55 AM
Moving from CSA to CMS, makes you want to swear, turn violent and give-up on life. My monthly payments increased from £435 to £645p/m. CMS don't care about pensions or car allowance (to reduce your monthly charges).If you surrender some of your holiday entitlement for cash, they add that to their calculation too.Earn extra from working harder at work (one time bonus vouchers) and that'll be included in the CMS calculations. Let me recap - working harder and longer brings more pain and offers no financial benefits, in fact it'll most likely cost you more by the time the CMS has hacked away at your salary. How can the CMS obtain one figure from HMRC which differs from my P60 of the same tax year?CMS believes I earn £400 more a year and not willing to adjust because it's less than a 25% variance. Speaking of variances, how on earth can the CMS create a schedule of costs based upon random numbers and then say - you cannot change those numbers unless of the 25% ruling applies.When I haven't agreed to the schedule or provided any details to the CMS the 25% ruling should not even be a consideration. In otherwords, when the CMS starts off on the wrong foot, they are not willing to fix their mistakes.....how can we tolerate such an organization. I did sign the Nett vs Gross petition as I'm so angry at them!
jayce - 20-Feb-17 @ 2:33 PM
Hi All, CMS is totally unfair specially for fathers, if you really want the system to change please sign petition 'https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/168993' get your families and friends to sign it too, thats the only way we can change the system.
Jay - 16-Feb-17 @ 12:20 AM
I would just like to add, guys don't give up. Get everything in writing send everything in writing signed for, document everything time telephone call who you spoke to and conversation keep a log. Send off for your data access request it's free, this is your entire csa case, you will be amazed how many errors they make. I fought for my husband against the csa and his greedy spiteful ex wife. All together 12 years.Yes it was hard work everytime they reassessed they falsified arrears,once he paid those oh look more arrears , also we notified them 13 years ago that they were abroadand using false addresses to claim child benefit tax credits. I have fought and been successful every time. I put in stage one complaint , stage two, then independent case examiner. Who upheld the case, we were refunded 4000. They were severely scolded! The biggest case I took them to court and his ex wife as they were not habitual resident and have not been for 13 years they took 517 a month deductions from earning , well I gathered my evidence reported her for fraud got evidence of non UK schools , csa new this but still would not do anything. Court day she didn't turn up she sent no evidence just abusive emails trying to make my husband look bad, not that she would know in their short marriage 17 years ago when she cheated! The judge asked the csa for their evidence that she was in the Uk,they had none. He closed the case from the first time we told them 13 years ago, which created 28.000 over payment back to my husband. Thank you very much.... She now has to pay it back, and soon fraud squad will be on her case. So don't give up if your right and you can prove it fight it. Lodge a stage one complaint, if your not happy stage two, then it tells you ,you can go to independent case examiner they will go through everything. Ask for your subject access request records from csa its free go through them with a fine tooth comb.worse man hating organisation ever created , that gets abused by bitter women, agreed not all are like that I wasn't with my sons dad, government thinks your child is worth 82 a month child benefit but then takes hundreds from your pay shocking.....Good luck ??
Dc - 11-Feb-17 @ 8:44 AM
Paying my ex wife CM of £120 a week. I've just had a new baby with my partner - will my payments go down? How much by? Also do I need to add my new baby onto the case so they reduce the payments. Thanks
Lsmith - 28-Jan-17 @ 1:38 PM
Hello all, The (soon to be ex-) wife and I live in Dubai and we are trying make amicable arrangements to separate. She will move back to the UK with my 3 year old and step daughter (hers from a previous relationship) while I stay here and continue to work. Using the CMS calculator she would be eligible for £609pm but she is coming up with a figure of £2800pm which she thinks is reasonable. That is more than my gross income when we were living in the UK! The alternative is that she decides to stay here where Sharia law would have precedent and effectively bankrupt me. She is worried that I will not pay her once she returns to the UK, of course I will want to make sure my daughter is warm, dry and safe but her figure is unreasonable. How can we set up a legally binding document to put her mind at rest that I will make the regular maintenance payments, and what is the way to come to amicable agreement on the monthly payments?
British Expat - 21-Jan-17 @ 5:33 PM
My ex has stopped contact for me and my parents who have had a major impact for caring for our son as he was growing up what happens now !!!
Ste - 20-Jan-17 @ 5:16 PM
Ben - Your Question:
Hi all. I have to pay over £200 to my ex even though I have no contact with my son. She removed me from facebook moved house and changed mobile numbers not informing me. I have 3 children at home and £200 a month going out makes a huge issue with trying to survive month to month. I cannot understand how any 10 year old needs over £200 a month plus whatever she has to put in. Can I pay her less and pay the difference into an account for when her turns 18. Shes basically getting money for screwing me over.

Our Response:
Firstly, child access and child maintenance have no bearing on each other i.e; by law you are still responsible for paying child maintenance to the primary carer for the day-to-day care of your child whether you see your son or not. If you think you are paying too much (child maintenance is based upon earnings, not how much the child needs), then you can see via the child maintenance calculator here. If you wish to apply for access to see your son then you can fill in the C100 form. If you do not have an address for your son to enable you to apply, then you can fill in the C4 form which is an application for the disclosure of a child's whereabouts. This will enable the judge to serve the papers to bring your ex to court. I hope this clarifies the issue.
SeparatedDads - 16-Jan-17 @ 2:14 PM
Hi all. I have to pay over £200 to my ex even though i have no contact with my son. She removed me from facebook moved house and changed mobile numbers not informing me. I have 3 children at home and £200 a month going out makes a huge issue with trying to survive month to month. I cannot understand how any 10 year old needs over £200 a month plus whatever she has to put in. Can i pay her less and pay the difference into an account for when her turns 18. Shes basically getting money for screwing me over.
Ben - 13-Jan-17 @ 3:43 PM
I am a serving royal marine and I earn 22k a year. Last tax year I had a 5 year bonus 5500 which made my wages 27500 they've started my claim in dec and my review isn't until next Dec 2017. So I'm gonna pay 1000 quid more in maintenance, until my review because even though my wage slips show I earn 22000 and I had a one off bonus which is what they calculate it from. Someone help me please because the cms aren't interested unless my wages change by 25% apparently
Nick - 11-Jan-17 @ 4:25 PM
Steve. You are spot on unfortunately.
harmondsworth - 9-Jan-17 @ 6:59 PM
My ex took me to a tribunal, I now pay her £1114 per month because a variation states that I earn 8% from any asset despite the fact I probably earn closer to 2% after 40% tax. I work 80 hours a week just to afford to eat! She has no mortgage, a job taking home £1400 a month, child benefit and is able to claim working tax benefit because my £1114 a month doesnt count towards her income! Guess what just like every other sorry man who tells a similar story, she used a legal aid solicitor to try and stop me ever seeing my son again! what a scumbag just like every case listed above. When will someone wake up and stop alienating men and stop giving all our money to sad, nasty spiteful mothers
pter9702 - 9-Jan-17 @ 6:52 PM
What if you physically can't pay the amount you are supposed to, despite having a large income?Every month I am going deeper and deeper into debt in order to pay the child maintenance.
Peter - 24-Nov-16 @ 12:47 PM
Idreallyrathernotsay - Your Question:
Now, without looking a bitter and twisted man here, my ex is moving miles and miles away, taking all my money I gave her to stay here with her (after a full 12 weeks of agreeing it!) ended up in court with predictable results- I now have my access agreed and contact arrangements.My question is as the CSA doesn't seem to help and I've spent enough on my legal team already - can I credit my petrol I will spend meeting her halfway against my child support?

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. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 1-Nov-16 @ 11:43 AM
Now, without looking a bitter and twisted man here, my ex is moving miles and miles away, taking all my money I gave her to stay here with her (after a full 12 weeks of agreeing it!) ended up in court with predictable results- I now have my access agreed and contact arrangements. My question is as the CSA doesn't seem to help and I've spent enough on my legal team already - can I credit my petrol I will spend meeting her halfway against my child support?
Idreallyrathernotsay - 31-Oct-16 @ 3:39 PM
Apologies all, Its seems to have cut off the rest of my comment, anyway in summing up. I am not having a rant at mothers, far from it - I do firmly believe that a child needs his mother, its vital - but we have to as a country find a way that allows the father to continue without interference. Social services want nothing to do with it, the Child Maintenance service are Unable to do what they are meant to be doing. So the only way to get the Government to listen to us as Parents is to make ourselves heard. This relatively new to me, well the hassle that is, but I am no longer willing to sit and complain on websites, at home, in the pub, in court! The only way to get anything done is to stand up and be counted, we are the Taxpayers, we are the Voter, but most importantly we are the Parents!!! I will not let this lie, and neither should you. Write to your MP, ask for an appointment and flood their offices until they are forced to take action!! Good Luck all, I will keep you updated:) Jp
jp_1981 - 25-Oct-16 @ 11:16 AM
Hello Everyone, I have just contacted my MP regarding the disgusting behaviour I am experiencing with the CMS. Every advisor you speak to seems to have a different version about the same issue, no consistency whatsoever. My wife and I split 4 years ago and I have paid in excess of £60,000 direct into her account over this period. I earn £40,000 a year gross. I reduced the amount I was willing to give her in late 2014 considerably as I needed to live myself and what do you know, I am no longer relevant to my sons upbringing. Not welcome at 'our' home, not welcome to pick him up from school, not welcome(blocked) from contacting her regarding my son, except through a solicitor(of which she gets legal aid, I do not obviously). Its taken so long for me to go to court to seek a contactorder finally as I am actually gutted it has got to this stage. In 2015 my wife contacted the CMS as she was unhappy with me reducing my payment £500/month for my son, they then set a lower figure of £83.81/week and I continued to make the £500/month payment. Now since I have been 'denied access' the payments went up in January and I was not informed. CMS had sent the Annual Statement to my ex wife, so she was complicit in knowing that the payments had gone up. Now in August I get a letter stating I owe £1200 and I phone them to ask for the statement to be sent to the address I live in, the same one they send the threatening letters too - 3 months later i am still waiting after 5 request and an offer to pay for them to send it by secure mail!! Now I've been told I am to pay an additional 20% indefinitely, as far as I can see this is punitive and illegal as far as I am concerned. Criminal's gets less time than the 12 years i am getting. **The whole system is shambolic to say the least, for those that say it isn't set up to favour Mothers - I ask you one thing, where are all the forums for mothers fighting to see their kids? **How many mothers have to get(and pay for) solicitors, just to maintain the slightest bit of contact with their child. **How many mothers have to sit with the agony of thinking their Child doesn't care about them, until we can wade through the system and get a court order? **It all comes down to the welfare of the child, but in most cases that's just a fallacy....when you have to go to court to sort out your kids contact - YOU HAVE FAILED AS PARENTS!!! I was too soft and my son will always think I didn't care for the time it took me to win contact again and this is now another thing that will destroy me as a father. How can I in good conscience ever tell my son how his mother made life so difficult for me to see him, without destroying how he sees his mother. I cant, of course I cant...for it would be for me and not for him I would be saying it! No I have to sit and listen when I see how 'hard his mum works to buy him things', when he asks me to watch him play football or swimming I have to say I am working as she will cause
Jp_1981 - 25-Oct-16 @ 11:03 AM
Q1 : Does anyone have an advice on how rental income from property goes into the CMS maintenance calculation.My issue is that I can only rent the house out because I re-married someone with her own house. It upsets me that my ex may benefit further from the fact that I have re-married.I already pay £825 per month and am confident that she is using the child maintenance payments to prop up her budget with her new husband.
cooperman63 - 24-Oct-16 @ 3:48 PM
RedHeart - Your Question:
Hi, is it possible not to have to pay child support if the ex rejects the offer for money. Or is it a legal requirement to pay child support, irrespective of what the money wants?

Our Response:
If your ex rejects the offer of support, then you do not have to pay. Only if your ex makes a claim or asks you directly would you have to pay.
SeparatedDads - 20-Oct-16 @ 2:45 PM
Hi, is it possible not to have to pay child support if the ex rejects the offer for money . Or is it a legal requirement to pay child support, irrespective of what the money wants?
RedHeart - 20-Oct-16 @ 1:03 AM
Steve. I couldn't put it better myself. The treatment of fathers is ridiculous. We end up having to work massive amounts of overtime just to pay the crazy amount of csa to these mothers claiming benefits (my ex is anyway) while they sit in luxury and we sit in a timely you studio flat so then reduce the quality of life we can offer just cause your wife has slept away with half the town and has kids with others. Its a total disgrace. Ask your kids who they'd rather stay with and it's dad all day long but guess what......? The woman some how automatically get to keep them. The system is so messed up.
Big D - 12-Oct-16 @ 2:47 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SeparatedDads website. Please read our Disclaimer.