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Child Maintenance Payments: An Overview

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 2 Jul 2020 | 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]
Hi I separated from my wife in November, but we both still share/live in the family home and take equal turns to look after the children. Am I required to still pay child maintenance?
Dav80 - 2-Jul-20 @ 10:58 AM
@kev.quit your job mate .and are you sure you are the father ?.because if you have doubts you can apply for a (DNA test that’s the best thing with the modern world now catch’s out women )we all know what women a like money grabbing vultures that prey on honest clean living hard working men .but sleep with deadbeats and except us good guys to pay .
Chris - 20-Jun-20 @ 7:14 PM
I have currently been contacted by csa to pay maintenance on a child that I have never met, I didn't even know her gender, name or d.o.b until this letter came, when the ex was pregnant she split with me and I received threats from her family members to stay away, I also offered to her to pay her money but was rejected. Now 3 years later they are forcing me to pay 12% of my wages, is there anything I can do to see where I stand with this? Also they are calculating what I pay based on my previous p60 which is totally different now as I had a job role change and are now on a few grand less but the csa tell me that doesn't matter and they will be taking the 12% of previous years wage for the foreseeable! They also said I have no choice but to pay this or it will be automatically taken from my wages or bank account! I am fully aware that I was the man who made this child and she's my responsibility but I want to know where I stand seeing as the first 2.5 years of the child's life I had no contact or knowledge of her birth. Thank you in advance
Kev - 20-Jun-20 @ 5:45 PM
My daughter will turn 18,2nd July this year,she has been at college for the past 2 years.The course she was doing has ended apart from the final exams because of covid-19 she doesnt know when they will take place.While at college she was working part time at a kids play unit but was furloughed.She has now started a job as a carer.Myself NRP and my ex RP are no longer in contact i pay her directly child maintenance to her bank,i dont know if she claims child benefit, though im sure she will wether this is legal or not. When do i stop paying maintenance to my ex.? The reason being is,id like to continue paying my daughter directly but cant afford to until paying my ex officially ends.
P1KY - 13-Jun-20 @ 12:02 PM
My son turned 18 in May but doesnt leave FT education until July. My ex partner thinks I should pay maintenance until the child benefit finishes in September, is this correct, are the linked.
G - 11-Jun-20 @ 8:21 PM
Hi I currently pay child maintenance and half the mortgage on a house jointly owned with an ex, as well as life insurance for both of us and also armed forces help to buy repayment. Should the maintenance payments be reduced due to paying half the mortgage or because I jointly own the property would this not be taken into account?
Scott - 5-Jun-20 @ 12:33 PM
My partner pays maintenance every month but latly with covid9 his sons have been staying at his alot. But his ex is still getting the full amount but he has them.Food isnt cheap either. Can i have advice ?
Hayhay - 18-May-20 @ 8:10 PM
I have a deduction of earnings of £459 per month CSA payment due to arrears but due to the covid 19 pandemic work is very quiet with little call outs and no overtime can I get my payments reduced
Macca - 12-May-20 @ 8:28 PM
Hello. My ex earns £20k a year more than me. She is also in the process of moving new partner in with her. Does this affect any maintenance payments that I'm making? Thanks
DisFat - 26-Apr-20 @ 8:03 AM
My ex pays a monthly amount over last 5 years and last year decided to pay an extra £40.00 per month but my question is should any bonus or shares be included in the child maintenance?
Flower - 22-Apr-20 @ 1:29 PM
For last 3 years i have been paying child maintenance and the ex paying the mortgage.Ex has recently stopped paying the mortgage. I am wondering if CSM will let me start paying the mortgage again and reduce the child maintenance accordingly?
Mik - 13-Apr-20 @ 3:19 AM
I've been paying child maintenance for the last 16y and getting married in 4 Months can you tell me would my new wife be liable for payments of my son through her wages
Rueben - 26-Mar-20 @ 7:33 PM
Hi I currently pay child maintenance and half the mortgage on a house jointly owned with an ex. Should the maintenance payments be reduced due to paying half the mortgage or because I jointly own the property would this not be taken into account?
Smithy - 7-Mar-20 @ 3:44 PM
My daughter will be 18 soon and I'm waiting to find out if her dad should still pay me maintenance for her she is still in full time education, but he seems to think it should stop and be payed to her direct this is not how my daughter wants it
Ssg - 17-Feb-20 @ 7:27 AM
Hi I currently pay maintenance for my children which I have no problem paying but I have them for full week on the school holidays now do I need to pay maintenance for that week as I will be carinfor them ect we have a verbal agreement for maintenance but just wondering what my options are as it's not cheap to feed them ect
Mm - 9-Feb-20 @ 9:20 AM
My daughter has moved to her nans by choice. Her nan now wants money. Do I have to pay this even though I have not kicked her out... as if I’m paying for her it will be at home not at her nans
Jh - 2-Feb-20 @ 1:09 PM
My son will be 19 in July if he stays on at college till he is 19 will his dad still have to pay maintenance
Nik - 27-Jan-20 @ 9:24 AM
Hi I pay child maintenance for my two children but not via the csa, it was an agreement made through the solicitors.My eldest son now lives with me and I need to reduce the payments, just wondering what the correct process is without racking up legal fees.Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
Chris - 24-Jan-20 @ 12:03 PM
My dad has payed mortgage instead of paying child maintenance. Now I’m 18 and he wants to take the house what rights does my mam have?
Lewy - 22-Jan-20 @ 8:02 PM
I have a question I’m 62 my wife is 44 Our kids are both 11 and 12 We are trying to sort out an agreeable exit where she gets the house and I don’t pay any maintenance But then I would be a couple of hundred thousand pounds down What I wonder with my potential earning years slowly eroding May I ask what is the likelihood I might not have to pay much maintenance due to my age I live in Hong Kong by the way but the law generally follows UK Look forward any advice ‘thanks
Steve - 14-Jan-20 @ 8:35 AM
My ex wants to go through CSA even though I pay for both my children direct to her bank what was worked out on the CSA calculator on line now I have a new partner she’s heard I will pay 20% more if she goes this way even though she won’t revive the 20% fee she’s happy to cause me hardship is that legal?
D - 11-Jan-20 @ 5:03 PM
@dave.i am been serous they would have to (know) that I don’t (care) or want visitation or full custody because it’s been 10 years .i really couldn’t care if I lost my rights gods truth and if the child was (raped) it’s not problem or worry .nothing to do with me I didn’t do it .all I did was sent sum silly messages and that was years ago now .(historic now )not worth anything in (court) plus I have changed numbers emails and step up security on all my computers.i want nothing to do with any off them all I got to say to childis all the best in life stay hard and stand bye yourself .
C.laurie - 15-Dec-19 @ 2:03 AM
@dave.the mother will keep her end off the (deal up).truth is I will never comply or go to court .i never had (intentions) off ever seeing this child again( gods truth ).the only reason I texted this women was two mess with them mentally and cause trouble she popped up online and I had some (fun) she putting photos off police up on social media ha ha she went into hiding when I made fun off her lesbian relationship that was hilarious.her new partner called my house trying to play games ha ha .in my situation it’s (funny) because it’s been over 10 years .they must know I don’t care
Cwlaurie - 15-Dec-19 @ 1:24 AM
@dave.yeah she best keep to the (deal) .after having long affairs right under my nose with my family members like she said you like( Rodney ).nah I am not I just didn’t care because I never found her (attractive )she was like Tomboy and had face like someone with Down syndrome I swear to god they look the same .so you can imagine laying next to that in bed it becomes the Dead Sea .
Cwlaurie - 14-Dec-19 @ 8:08 PM
@dave.i never payed child support in my life .(her mother told me once gods truth she wants no money for no contact ).I (agreed )to the deal and have kept my end off the deal up and she has two .we both went on with our life’s and found new found freedom and everything us worked out fine .i never wanted children .she wanted a men who wanted children and be a family unit so got what she wanted .i got what I wanted .
C.wlaurie - 14-Dec-19 @ 7:43 PM
Can someone advise me please? On October 19th I got a letter from Csa stating that I would be paying £48.86 a week, just under 200pounds a month for my child and that would be up till October 2020. Today I've received a letter, dated December 12th stating that they've now worked out my payments and I'm meant to pay 287pounds a month! How is this possible? Can someone please explain this? I used to pay my daughters mother 300pounds a month and I told her if she goes csa she wouldn't be getting near what I provide before everything else I do for my daughter. Please can someone explain if this is correct that they can change the amount within a few months?
Dave - 14-Dec-19 @ 11:55 AM
Hi my partner left the house 14th of august im alone with twins! September and Oktober i was still dont get money from universal credit so he was paying our rent is can be callculated as a childmaintanance? I was give him back the rent by cash! Thanks
Gyirakota001 - 16-Nov-19 @ 2:34 PM
Hi I have a partner who owes some child maitenence money she is saying they said they will take £100 a week of us out of Ben if it’s but I have 2 kids he does work and gets £200 a week so how much can they actually take please
S12 - 15-Nov-19 @ 5:50 AM
Separatedfrom my husband for nearly 4 years, we split the mortgage payment 50/50. Am i still entitled yo maintenence. Kids are 7 and 5
Embabe - 11-Nov-19 @ 10:43 PM
Good evening I am just looking for some advice I separated from my partner 5 years ago he has never contacted in anyway to his daughter who is now 7 is my daughter entitled to maintinence from him
Linda - 9-Nov-19 @ 8:40 PM
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