Home > Financial > Child Support Payments: An Overview

Child Support Payments: An Overview

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 16 Feb 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.

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[Add a Comment]
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
Hi. I am a a father of 2 kids. Iwork as a supply teacher. I only work in term time and DO NOT get paid holidays. The CSA gave used a tax year from when I was in permanent employment from 2011 to 2012 tax year. My question shouldn't they have used my latest tax year... I. E. 2015 to 2016?? The HMRC sent me a letter stating that I have overpaid tax but also stated what my total over the year. The CSA have not taken into account I work 39 weeks a year and used current wage slips but CSA have not taken thid into account if I don't work, I don't get paid. But still expect me to pay through my holidays.This for me does not seem right. Anyone got any ideas what I have to do. Also my earnings used to calculate payments have used a wage slip but used this only to calculate payments and not considered what I actually earned. Anyone got any advice please????? Cheers
Daddycool - 7-Oct-16 @ 6:49 AM
Why has my questions been removed?
Walker - 3-Oct-16 @ 5:18 PM
I am self employeed, and do pay my ex through csa plus buy everything for my child, all clothes,toys etc. my question is are my bonusesgoing to be counted towards my total income when in comes to them calculating my income for how much I will be paying ?
Daddyd - 3-Oct-16 @ 3:41 PM
DaddyCool16 - Your Question:
I have three children with 3 different women. I am wondering how it work when you have to pay maintenance to more than one person? I have used the calculater on the government website to work out how much maintenance I should be paying but I'm not sure if the figure it has given is the total amount payable which would then be divided equally between the 3 mothers or whether the calculater is applicable to me considering the circumstances. Can someone help me with this?Thanks in advance

Our Response:
If you are paying through the CMS, then it will divide the total amount you should pay, so that you pay the same amount for each child. You can see more on the gov.uk link here on page 24.
SeparatedDads - 22-Sep-16 @ 11:01 AM
I have three children with 3 different women. I am wondering how it work when you have to pay maintenance to more than one person? I have used the calculater on the government website to work out how much maintenance I should be paying but I'm not sure if the figure it has given is the total amount payable which would then be divided equally between the 3 mothers or whether the calculater is applicable to me considering the circumstances. Can someone help me with this? Thanks in advance
DaddyCool16 - 21-Sep-16 @ 8:24 AM
My daughter is 18 in Oct this year and is going to university I have had a letter from a solicitor asking me to continue with paying csa have had no contact for 13 years do I have to continue paying ?
Mum - 9-Sep-16 @ 10:12 PM
Alex - Your Question:
My ex pays CSA money but will not pay his share of the mortgage Is this right ???

Our Response:
Your ex is obviously defaulting on the terms of the mortgage and if you cannot agree between you, you may have to take the matter further if it means you may lose the house. One option is to seek legal advice to see whether you have a case to take the matter to court. Much depends upon whether he can afford to pay his share of the mortgage, especially if he is paying CSA and since separation has to pay for a home of his own. The court would look at his/your finances and the fact that your child/children need a roof over their heads and decide what it thinks is in the best interests of your child/children.
SeparatedDads - 9-Sep-16 @ 1:59 PM
My ex pays CSA money but will not pay his share of themortgageIs this right ???
Alex - 9-Sep-16 @ 8:24 AM
@Steve - not all us women out here are like that. There are men that will do everything in their power to avoid paying child maintenance for their children. There are some great women that work together with their ex's to create a harmonious upbringing for their chidlren that doesn't revolve around money. Not all women are like what you say, and not all men are badly done to. If you think the men who get away with not paying are your heroes, then you are no better than the bad women you are trying to portray.
Lizzy78 - 5-Sep-16 @ 11:32 AM
This site & others like them must be required reading for every man & boy before getting into a relationship with a woman. Girls are taken from the classroom and indoctrinated into the cult of feminism while the boys are taught to respect and cherish girls. The simple fact is that males are viewed as providers and the state has built a system where a woman is financially better off by ending the relationship and denying contact with your children. Why would any man not warn their son's and mate's against having children? Not only is it financial suicide but you and your children will have your hearts ripped to shreds by the lies of everyone involved. The only advice I ever had from my parents was to never get married and I ignored it. There is no incentive for women to make it work. They may start off nice enough but it's all an act. By the age of 30-35 they will be so desperate for a child as they are heading for the wall with mounting debts from all the clothes they've got from trying to share a guy & you are getting to be financially independent probably in your own home and all they see are £'s. Check out the dating sites and see how many are single mum's stating how much they have Inc their own home. Put on you are a single dad with kids and they don't want to know because your ex will be a psycho (their word's) and that you have no resources because you are being sucked dry by the CSA. To kill a fire you have to starve it of oxygen and stay away from women. For the guys posting here it's too late but you owe it to guys everywhere to warn them. Try going to citizens advice for help about CSA to be told there's nothing they can do and notice how much information from the CSA is in their office about claiming it. Try writing to your MP about it. The CSA is a private company and they have no control over it. Try writing to the CSA about over payments they have written to you about and ask for it back to be told there's nothing they can do. And then realise that even though you pay your kids don't even get it if the mother is on benefits. Guess who will bare the front of that when you're in family court seeking access!? You! Good luck to each and every guy out there. To those guys who get away with not paying, you are my heroes and not the villains that the media portrays you as. Gender equality should be that. There is enough child care and a willing father to share the care so all the benefits should be stopped when accusations made are proven false and criminal proceedings should then begin. I don't care which gender parent you are, stopping a child from seeing a loving parent by dishonest means IS child abuse
Steve - 4-Sep-16 @ 9:36 AM
My partner is a director of a company. He takes a wage of £600 per month and then pays himself large dividends throughout the year. Will the dividends be looked at or just his £600 per month wage when they calculate the help I get from him?
2016 - 28-Aug-16 @ 11:10 PM
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