Home > The Basic Facts > Child Support Guidelines

Child Support Guidelines

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 1 Feb 2018 | comments*Discuss
Child Support Agency Csa Child

The Child Maintenance Service opened in 2012 and now manages all new applications for a statutory arrangement. Child maintenance is usually paid by the non-resident parent to the resident parent and it is about providing help and support towards your child/children's everyday living costs. It includes things like food and clothes, and helping to provide a home for your child or children.

About the Child Maintenance Service

The Child Maintenance Service uses slightly different rules to the Child Support Agency. The CSA manages statutory arrangements set up before December 2013. The Child Maintenance Service encourages parents, if they can, to make an arrangement between themselves by agreeing the amount and type of child maintenance paid. This is known as a family-based arrangement. A child maintenance calculator can be accessed via the Child Maintenance Options website to work out how much the paying or receiving parent will pay or receive. It is good to use as a benchmark between parents to conduct their own assessment.

When parents cannot organise payments between themselves

The statutory Child Maintenance Service is for separated parents who can't sort out child maintenance between themselves and, its assessors will only get involved if a parent asks them to. Providing accurate, up-to-date information relating to a claim enables CMS staff to process an application more easily. Without this information, the correct amount of maintenance payment cannot be worked out and processed. With Maintenance Direct and Direct Pay, the paying parent can pay the other parent directly, once a child maintenance amount has been calculated. A 20% collection fee on top of the usual child maintenance amount is added for paying parents using the Collect & Pay service. A 4% collection fee is deducted from their usual child maintenance amount for receiving parents using the Collect & Pay service. A £20 application fee is charged for either parent applying to the statutory scheme.

Child Maintenance Options

Child Maintenance Options is a free service provided on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. Child Maintenance Options is separate from the Child Maintenance Service and is the first port of call when finding out which is the best way to make child maintenance arrangements. It can give free impartial information and support to help parents make informed choices and decisions. It can also give information about applying to the CMS statutory scheme and using Direct Pay and Collect & Pay.

The guidelines are set out on the Child Maintenance Options website and help answer any questions and concerns parents may have about making a maintenance claim. It also gives helpful advice on coping with separation and dealing with your emotions. As well as more practical elements such as taking control of your finances, housing rights and options and organising mediation. Information available also covers areas concerning tracing, maintenance calculation and dealing with disputes.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
helper - Your Question:
Hi I am looking for a bit of advice for my 80 year old neighbour she has residency of her 14 year old grand daughter and wondering if she can get any help of anyone financially.

Our Response:
You can see more via the GrandparentsPlus link here, which should help answer your question.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Feb-18 @ 11:55 AM
Hi I am looking for a bit of advice for my 80 year old neighbour she has residency of her 14 year old grand daughter and wondering if she can get any help of anyone financially.
helper - 1-Feb-18 @ 8:37 PM
my son is 5 years old, its always an argument to get him to help me with our son financially. he gets him on the weekends. my fear is if i put him on child support he may go an ask for 50/50custody and i don't want that . my son will be devastated if he stays with his father more then a day.
princess - 9-Oct-17 @ 4:02 PM
Hello I need help I'm being discriminated in excessive child payment A deduction of earnings order of £295 they have taken £3200 in 11 payments They have refused to be reasonable That £295 is a reasonable amount to pay in support but 24% charge taken out and still £2000 on debt When I've paid £4500 in 21 payments They won't take it off doe for another 6 months My child support was reduced from £55 to £33 being £22 contact costs They have denied this And £1500 in profit is legal Their action against me has not been moral and if it's immoral it's illegal I want to pay at a reasonable rate But my living wage is not acceptable Xmas holidays birthday parties or presents Which is my children's basic needs also food is a basic need a home for them to be safe in is a basic need I feel that their action against me is discrimination detrimental to my children and me To be denied an income To a pwc who is cocersive and controlling which also is a crime So cms is criminal and not about children's basic needs it's about stealing homes contact money Lack of respect dignity Mis management mal practice losing forms that are about change of decision that would be fair and amerceable But chikd reform laws are immoral and the action of financial abuse is common ground not common law Kids should be provide for but not as a punishment through domestic abuse or abusive ex partners Family law needs addressing If the pwc Denys access then it child abuse And they should be prosecuted and nrp awarded full custody because their action pwc won't change So it's abuse and dishonest to be instructed by dishonesty to collect fraudulent payment that put fathers in hardship and the easy way is just to walk away How is that a fair or democratic process for children of great British Parents it's a scam being used to demonise fathers It's all a punishment lack of contact lack of earnings Stress of not giving to children basic needs and rights For children to love in filthy and neglected environment Because that is the mainstream way In modern woman Who has no respect for themselves or others Chikd support laws are an arse Arrest me how is that my children's best interests ?
Dave - 18-Nov-16 @ 12:27 PM
my son is now a year and few months. the father has. never been present since he was informed of the pregnancy. I delivered my boy after final exam at college. currently still looking for work, we basically living of my parents. we (my parents and i ) have given the father ample time to come forth, but he hasnt tried contacting. will the courts grant me maintenance for my son? and myself as im currently unemployed?
julz - 29-Feb-16 @ 9:18 PM
@May - It depends on the course they are taking and whether it is an approved course. Please see: At What Age Do Child Maintenance Payments Stop? Link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 29-Jan-15 @ 12:14 PM
If the child quits School and is saying they are going to home school but don't think they really will what is the guide lines for them to stop child support?
May - 28-Jan-15 @ 5:36 AM
@booey, just because your ex has remarried does not mean her new husband has parental responsibility. You are still liable for child support because they are your children! Even if the new husband applied for parental responsibility they will always be your children and you will always be liable for child support!
RealDad - 30-Sep-14 @ 11:06 AM
the mother of my child has married and her husband now has parental responsibility, she wants to change childs name to his,am I still liable to pay child support?
booey - 29-Sep-14 @ 8:18 PM
if I have my kids for a week in the holidays do I still need to pay my ex her weekly money I pay for kids or as I have the kids all week should I not be paying my child maintenance thats week??
Dan Cowan - 25-Sep-14 @ 12:12 PM
Jo83 - if his name is not on the birth certificate you will need to get a paternity test to prove that he is the father before you can claim. I believe this is a cost he will have to pay. If you put his name on the birth certificate he can contest it with a paternity test himself.
DGT74 - 15-Nov-13 @ 5:52 PM
If a father has not been present during the pregnancy and has refused any contact to discuss options, and it is apparent that he will not be on the birth certificate, can I still claim child support?
jo83 - 21-Nov-12 @ 8:00 PM
My son is now 17 and has left secondary school but is looking at doing engineering at college and Im wondering if I should still be paying maintenance. I have a court order that states "until 17 or ceases full time secondary education". Can someone please advise.
skinhead - 29-Aug-12 @ 3:24 PM
my son stays with my ex partner 3nights a week and he's saying he doesnt have to give me any money is this true?
ems - 11-Jun-12 @ 2:09 PM
I have been surved a court order to appear in court for child maitenance for a man of twenty one,i have read thruogh your information and found out that my payments should have stopped when he turned 19 or finished school.I am still paying his post matric studies and yet his mom is still demanding R 3500 a month.I work out of country and when i am back i will have to travel eight hours to appear in court ,i just feel like i am being abused.
non - 1-Jun-12 @ 10:02 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Ross
    Re: What Happens When the CSA/CMS Gets it Wrong?
    I have been dealing with all sorts of issues from the cms for over 6 years butThe worst of it has been in the…
    15 October 2018
  • haffie
    Re: Can a Parent Give Up His or Her Parental Rights?
    my sister wants to hand over her two daughters parental responsibilities to me. how can she go about it…
    15 October 2018
  • Claire
    Re: Domestic Violence and Contact
    Hi I was moved to a different city by social services as my ex partner was extremely violent he’s on the birth certificate and my…
    14 October 2018
  • Anon12345
    Re: Can I Get Back Pay for Child Maintenance?
    Hi all, I read all the response and its all to do with fathers having to pay CMS. I am a father with 10 year old…
    14 October 2018
  • Medusa
    Re: Moving Abroad, The Issues
    Myself, DH and 2 children (12 and 8) are considering moving to another country (non-EU) - for 3 years - where I have family links. I…
    14 October 2018
  • Cakd
    Re: Moving Abroad, The Issues
    Hi, I am a non eu and living in the England with my british husband. We have 2 kids aged 17mos and 3mos old. My husband and I are not…
    13 October 2018
  • Dizzy
    Re: Child Maintenance Payments: Your Entitlement
    My daughter passed away 6 years ago leaving her 5 year old son. He came to live with me,his nanny and grandad…
    12 October 2018
  • Joeims
    Re: Child Custody Rights
    I was with my ex partner for 11 year she had two kids to two different dads which i took them on as my own specially my daughter who i have…
    11 October 2018
  • Joeims
    Re: Child Custody Rights
    I was with my ex partner for 11 year she had two kids to two different dads which i took them on as my own specially my daughter who i have…
    11 October 2018
  • Roland rat
    Re: Enforcement of CSA/CMS Payments
    Yeah they are taking nearly half my wages had to go bankrupt, don't even know if the kid is mine and if it is I know I was set…
    11 October 2018