If you are the parent of a child, or children, and are raising them on your own you are entitled to claim child support payments from the non resident parent. This periodic maintenance payment may be agreed by private arrangement between both parents, but it may also be collected and handled by the Child Support Agency (CSA), in cases where there is a breakdown of communication between the adults.
Absent parents, who refuse to pay maintenance, can also be traced by the CSA and have an enforcement issued.
Are You Entitled To Claim?
Child support is a regular maintenance payment that is paid to parents who live with their children, by the parent who does not live in the same home. This periodic payment is made to assist the parent with care with the rising costs of raising a child. This payment can also be made to another family member or legal guardian if the child lives with them.
Child support is paid to a resident parent when a couple separate or divorce, or they have children but are not living together. The payment is made to provide financial support and to confirm responsibility for the welfare of the child. These payments also help to minimise the need for other forms of benefit.
How Is Maintenance Calculated?
The CSA work out the payable rate of maintenance by applying one of a number of rates to the absent parent’s income. Income means money earned from employment, tax credits or personal pension. Income tax and National Insurance is deducted, along with money that is paid into a pension plan. The remainder of the income is then evaluated and a basic, reduced, flat or nil rate is applied. The amount is adjusted according to how many children are involved in the maintenance application.
How Much Are You Entitled To?
Child support maintenance payments are calculated by the CSA, after assessing the income and living circumstances of the non resident parent. The amount of maintenance a parent with care will receive is calculated as being 15% of the non resident parent’s net income – for the first, or only child. The payable amount of maintenance increases to 20% of net income for two children, and to 25% for three. Children from subsequent families are treated in the same way.
If the child stays with the non resident parent for at least one night a week the amount of payable maintenance, given to the parent with care, is reduced accordingly. This situation is called Shared Care, and the amount of maintenance is reduced by one-seventh, for each night of the week that the child stays at the non resident parent’s home.
If care is divided equally between the parents the weekly amount of payable maintenance is halved in two, and reduced again by the required £7.
If your maintenance payments are set at a flat rate, due to the non resident parent being on benefits or receiving allowance, shared care will mean that the maintenance payable to the parent with care is almost nothing.
My husband recently left me and my 2 young children. We have a mortgage together. I can not afford the mortgage on my own. My husband wants to sell up. Do I have any rights with regards to making him pay towards the mortgage and does this count as maintenance ? Thanks
Tan82millie - 2-Feb-14 @ 7:10 PM
I have been separated from my husband for over a year now. We have 3 children which live with me. He has one of his daughters to sleep every Monday and his son and 1 daughter every Wednesday to sleep, on his alternate weekends he sometimes picks them up on a Friday evening but not always, sometimes its Saturday morning. The third child doesnt visit it him at all. He has them every other weekend. In all this time I have not asked him for any maintaince as I don't feel comfortable asking him as I ended the marriage. However my eldest child is going to university in September. Also my youngest daughter goes to a school where a bus is required. I have been paying approx £63 per month for this. He does buy two of the children clothes occasionally, however he put nothing towards my sons uniform as he was starting a new school. I earn aprox £20500.00 per annum before tax and N.I.and do claim housing benifits and child tax credits. I have no clue what he earns but he keeps telling me that I shouldn't be under any illusion that he earns alot. Though he tells me he works for paramount studios!! Am I entitled to claim maintainance and will it affect my benifits. I have been signed off work as I have been suffering from depression, I am fortunate that I am a manager and so am recieving full pay at the moment. But I am not sure if I can even return to my job. Please could you advise me.
Lou - 18-Jan-14 @ 3:59 PM
My daughter father and I are not married and he has been given temporary. Reaidencycle even though he has been in breech of a contact order he also has traumatised my daughter father by forcing her to watch a horror movie rated 18 he has also signed a contract with social services after my daughter father disclosed that she has been smaked and her arm was twisted. Social services have made no attempts to support me in stabilising my daughters psychological damage. And has supported her father in uprooting my daughter from her school and stable home which I have provided for her from birth consistantly. I need my daughter returned to me her mother and my rights are being takeing away illegally with no evidence to suggest her environment was not stable or unsafe. This organisation are continueing to fail and destroy families please help me get my daughter back and expose the continued faillings of the justice system.
Mel - 6-Jan-14 @ 11:19 PM
Hi, my daughter is pregnant after having sex with a friend, the 'father' says he doesn't want to know about the baby and get an abortion. my daughter can' do that. he says that he has nor responsibility for the baby if she keeps it. Am I right that even though he doesn't want to be in its life, he still can be asked for maintenance?
andy7807 - 26-Nov-13 @ 1:31 PM
I am privatly fostering a 15 yr old girl, since I have been receiving her child benefit and child tax credit her dad who is no relation to me is refusing to pay me maintenance . Can you tell me if he should be by law please .
Snazzy - 12-Nov-13 @ 1:19 PM
I do feel the CSA have a place in our society. BUT……there are too many chiefs! No-one knows what anyone else is doing in that place! My husband had a Deductions of Earnings Order slapped on him even though he was paying?? They then accused him of being in arrears?? After a year of my persistance the CSA finally issued us with an apology and gave us over £2500 back! And believe me….he is not on a good wage, he works hard and brings home a decent, livable wage.
Here is what to do…….or this is what I did!
Every time you speak to the CSA you must write down the date and day, time, an estimate of how long the call took, the phone number you rang and most importantly WHO YOU SPOKE TO! Then write a brief description of what was said. This may seem like a waste of tim but believe me it isn’t!
If you get nowhere with the CSA go to your local MP……..they give the CSA time limits and the CSA MUST abide by these! If you still do not get anywhere or do not feel you have had the right outcome you can speak to the Independant Case Examiner! The CSA and the MP will be able to and must give you this option and their contact details!
The CSA move very very quickly when they are contacted by the Independant Case Examiners as they have the legal rights to look into every detail of your case and the CSA must give any information or details that they want. Sometihing the CSA do not like.
I hope this information helps some of you.
KLJ - 6-Nov-13 @ 2:47 PM
I was recently assaulted by my son , who has for the past 12 weeks been an inpatient at a Mental Health Hospital for Assessment. Due to the Risk Assessment , he may be admitted to a residential care home for Safety. I have written to CSA to inform my Son is not living with the PWC. This they will not take in to consideration, surely I have Legal Argument? As CSA is for the Cost of the child within the Home Environment, being Financially supported by PWC (Sorry in my Case NRP to top up his already 50,000 a year benefit salary). Any advice would be greatly appreciated, in view of these traumatic circumstances already!
Nightmare - 30-Oct-13 @ 4:09 AM
can some one help me i want to know how to appeal against csa?
richie - 17-Aug-13 @ 2:36 PM
advice.needed... I am currently still with my.partner however he is in the.army and only comes home 1 weekend out of the month if that we have a three year old son together and i pay all the bills,morgage and nursery fees etc my partner sends me no money can i take him through csa?
MissMe - 8-Aug-13 @ 8:41 PM
Hi tried.google.but.to no effect.... Me.and my partner.are together however he is.in the army and only.stays.at.home.once.every 5 weeks we have a three year old.son and i look after him and pay all the bills.i reciece no money from my partner can i take.him through csa??
MissMe - 8-Aug-13 @ 8:37 PM
I wonder could you clarify a point for me.I am divorced from my husband and we have two children together.I am currently going through the CSA for payment to be collected.He has previously paid maintenance but it has gone from £300 a month to £160 a month, he has made the decision what he will pay each month with no consultation.
We have 50/50 split for the care of the children.I have recently had to go back to work full time.When I was part time, I was able to pick up and take the children to school every day.Since going full time this has been impossible so I have been using a childminder for after school care.
Mu ex husband refuses to pay childcare for the nights he is responsible for the children and I have been paying this for the last 8 months but I cannot sustain this expense any longer.
Is there any guidance you can give me in relation to this as I believe he should be paying for the children's childcare on the nights he is due to collect them from school.
CSA have said that the amount I will eventually get will be around £160 mark.
Any information or guidance you may have in relation to the payment of the afterschool care would be appreciated.
cookie - 14-Jun-13 @ 4:57 PM
My childrens father doesnt work and gets benifits am I entitled to csa as he hasnt payed a penny in the 12 years that we have been split up my daughter is 17 and my son is 12
Suzanne Archer - 6-Jun-13 @ 11:38 PM
my partner will not sign the parental responsibilty agreement as she's being stubborn and enjoys a hold over me, eventhough i can take her to court and win, and pass the costs over to her. she works abroad a lot and sometimes is uncontactable. in the case of an emergency if i give my consent will i be in trouble with the law?
noty - 23-Jan-13 @ 9:59 PM
The law seems to encourage fathers contact rights regardless of weather they pay maintenance, how about challenging fathers who refuse to pay maintainence by denying them access completely or seding them to prison rather than putting all the strain on mothers as if mothers have the time to be chasing their rights.
jane - 9-Nov-12 @ 10:29 PM
My son lives at home with me an my husband, has been hounded by the CSA now for the past 4 years regarding payments for my grandson. My grandson also resides with with us, more often than he is at home with his mum. Over the past years, we have sent in numerous correspondance regarding the times my grandson has stayed with us, even sent in yearly callandar's showing the days/nights spent with our family. But still the dispute is ongoing. My grandson has now been living permanently at our house now since the begining of July due to his mum moving to a different area. My grandson does not want to move to the new area, all his friends and school are close to where we live. He is doing well and happy at school and does not want to change schools. I dont think my grandsons mum would have contacted the CSA to inform them of the change of circumstance. Please advise as this now has been going on for what seems like forever and just feel as if we are banging our heads agains a brick wall. Your agents listen to what we say, but then items get lost and nothing comes out of the effort that we put in to inform you of the circumstances. Please advise....
Roxy - 26-Sep-12 @ 10:25 AM
i have been seperated from my 2 childrens father for 7 yrs now and ive had no financial help from him,,he recieves 500 pounds per wk and refuses to come to an arrangement or agreement about payments,if i am to report him as he has only jst been intouch telling me hes paying csa £45.05 per wk but i am not receiving anything,where i thought i would be notified of any payments,am i entitled to csa and how much would i recieive for 2 children,he is in full time employement,am i entitled to 7yrs worth ofback dated payments ,my children are now 10 and 7
ottis - 31-Aug-12 @ 5:58 PM
my ex and I have a disabled son. Shes currently getting her house renovated by the state (For the last 4 months and counting) and she volunteered to put my son in a home while the work is being carried out, with out my knowledge - I found out by accident from Social Services. (I'm avoiding expressing my feelings about this because I would probably go into a rant).
While my son lives with her, DWP pay her a carers allowance. They have said that as she is not looking after him more than 35 hours a week, she is no longer entitled to the carers allowance.
My question is, as my son is not living with her currently, and the DWP have reviewed and decided she doesn't look after him enough to get carers allowance, is she still entitled to child maintenance from me. Surely my maintenance should be paid to the home my son has been abandoned in ?
exhausted - 24-Jul-12 @ 7:30 AM
@lostsue As you are caring for your Grandson and are not receiving any child maintenance payments, are you claiming child benefit for him? According to the direct.gov website you can receive child benefit up until the childs 20th birthday as long as they are in full-time education the current rate is £20.33 per week. In additions you might be entitled to claim a guardians allowance which is paid in addition to child benefit, this is currently £15.55 per week. Good luck!
Abbie - 19-Jul-12 @ 10:29 AM
please can someone help and/or advise,in short as from last year I have had full care of my 18 year old grandson.he is at college..I started a case with the csa january this year,I have given them so much information..They tell me he has declared a weekly wage of 65 pound? Apparentley this is the amount that bad fathers declare by saying its a self employed wage..And they then supposedly get away with paying anything for their child..Thing is this particular father drives around in a BMW ,has had two holidays abroad to date. ..And pays a mortgage..The csa say that they will not question this..because he can then say that for example 'tommy tucker down the road pays my mortgage for me,pays for my holidays , pays for my petrol etc..because he likes me!!!..its true...The csa are worse than useless..Does anyone know what I can do about this please.I,m unwell,registered disabled..its wearing me out ,In the meantime my Grandson is going without..I dont want hundreds or thousands I just want maybe 15/20 pound per week to help my Grandson with college trips,and things like that...please any information welcome
lostsue - 18-Jul-12 @ 8:40 PM
hello the last 12 months have been a living night mare iv been with my husband 12 years last july 2011 his ex got csa involved my husband eans like 180 a week im on working tax cred 29 pw and 111 child tax cred pw we pay full rent full council tax water ect all the bills we all pay the csa ordered him to 315 per month csa its nearly everything we have left my two children are his also iv recantly had a letter and im totally shocked its a 12 month scheduale which as reduced dramticly to 20 per month for 4 children csa flat rate 5 pound per child i am happy as my children have basically had to live god dam terrible while his other 4 have a lovely up bringing on state bennifits plus 315 csa every 28 days im just wondering is this letter iv had correct av they really educed csa as new law come in april 2012 i really am hoping lol please can someone answer my question thankyou
ali - 13-Jul-12 @ 3:40 PM
i split from my partner last year, he's been having the kids for two weekend per month and once a week for tea... he doesn't pay any maintainance as he is unemployed!
now that he has found suitable accommodation he wants to have the kids for three nights per week, would this affect my working tax credit/child benefit, or for that matter his benefits?
is there a legal amount of time the kids can stay with their father without it affecting credits and benefits?
thelastword - 13-Jul-12 @ 11:55 AM
I have bn seperated from my husband for 3 years. We have an arrangement that our 11 year old daughter stays with him 3 nights a week. I work those 3 days shes away and claim wrkin tax cred and child tax cred. Last week. He requested that our daughter brings her own food and also money for if she wants anything as its the school holidays. He says im the one claimin for her. Is there anything i can do here he seems to be unwillin to provide adequately for his child. He claims disabillity benefits and so does not contribute financially. But on a total of approx £200 per wk income its a struggle.
sandy - 10-Jul-12 @ 1:09 PM
@In a panic Please don't worry about having to pay back any child or working tax credit you have received you will not have to do this. Since 12th April 2010 child maintenance has been ignored when calculating your entitlement to tax credits therefore any child maintenance you receive does not affect the amount of your tax credit award. Hope this helps.
Stephanie - 18-Jun-12 @ 10:48 AM
I am receiving working tax credit etc for my children based on my part-time wages, and am receivinggenerous monthly payments from my estranged husband.I have tried to declare the money from HIM as part of my income to see whether it reduces the tax credits cos I am terrified they are going to ask for the money back, ( nearly 10 months worth now) but the Tax Credit people say it's not relevant to my income . How can that be? Can anyone clarify - does his payments form part of my official income or not? We have not yet made any legal agreements re finances
in a panic - 15-Jun-12 @ 11:01 PM
My husband left me 3 years ago, we are now seeking a divorce, which is amicable, he has paid maintenance for our child for the last 3 years except for 4months, I have paid the mortgage independently, on our joint family home, for 2 out of the last 3 years. He now wants his share of the equity from the property but I feel it is unfair that he gets the same amount as me when I have continued to pay the mortgage on my own. He states that the maintenance payment for our child covers a proportion of thecost of the roof over her head and therefore he has contributed. Is this right or should he pay his half of the mortgage for the 2 years he has not paid. He is prepared to pay the 4months of arrears in child maintenance in full. Please help I do not want to fall out with him but this issue is causing me to get angry with him, it just doesn't seem fair.
Angela - 13-Jun-12 @ 10:34 PM
hi, im a single parent and av a son at university and a 17 year old daughter on an apprentice scheme, my ex husband has reluctantly paid maintainance ever since we spilt in 1996, although he no longer pays for our son im unsure wether he should still pay for our daughter till she finishes her course, i carnt understand if he doesnt how im expected to support them both on my own without his financial input, could you please clarify this for me, many thanks
mich - 6-Jun-12 @ 1:10 PM
ive been seperated for nearly 3 years now and my ex wife and myself agreed child support of £350 pcm. We had mediation with a friend of ours as couldnt agree on divorce settlement! I agreed to upping the maintenance to £450 pcm and it being reduced by £150 per child when they undertake employment or finish further education before the age of 18. Am i right in doing this as her solicitor has said this is too much of a reduction and should only go down to £400 by a fifth. Can you please clarify if i have a right to stop maintenance on any child that finishes education and undertakes employment before 18 wether full time or part time?Thanks,Darren
Daz - 18-May-12 @ 8:41 PM
@ Lew. Maintenance payments are intended to be used in the best interest of the child and to cover the child’s expenses. See this feature for more information.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-May-12 @ 12:09 PM
I'm currently working overseas and my current wife and 2 children live in the UK.My ex wife is in receipt of over £650 PCM in CSA payments and trying to get them to take my new children into account is like pulling teeth.Apparently, because I "live apart from my current wife" my children cannot be taken into consideration when they calculate my payments.
I'm considering asking my current wife to claim CSA against me so that all my children will receive fair treatment and not only my eldest.
What are my rights?
Andy - 7-May-12 @ 8:39 PM
I am currently paying £180 PCM for my son. I understand this money is there to pay bills in the household etc but my son haven't had any new clothes or things of that nature unless I pay for them myself. I was wondering if there is a break down of what the money should go on or what the percentage rate should be that he gets if such thing exists.