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.
@M477 - You cannot reduce your rate of child support, as every parent is liable to support their child regardless. However, you can ask the courts to trace your child in order that you can apply to regain contact/access. You will need a C4 court form, which is an application for an order for disclosure of a child's whereabouts. You would also need to apply for a contact order at the same time. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Jun-15 @ 10:45 AM
My wife has ran off with my one year old daughter and wont tell anyone where she is. Shewont even let me see her (its been 2 and a half months now).
If she doesnt let me see my daughter do I still have to pay child maintenance, can I apply for a reduced rate ?
Why would it be that she can make it so I cannot see her, but still be made to pay these rates ?
I have a letter from social services detailing my contact with them wanting to see my daughter and that there is no reason for me not to see my daughter other than her not wanting me to see her!
M477 - 9-Jun-15 @ 12:09 PM
@a1 - I'm afraid you cannot claim. It would have been down to your mother to do this.
ChildSupportLaws - 29-May-15 @ 12:33 PM
Hello. I'm after a bit of advice... I'm 21 and just finishing off my degree in Business. My mother and father seperated when I was around 5/6. I rarely saw my father from around the age of 7/8 and saw him a couple of years ago after his fathers (my grandfather) passing after about 8 years. My father has never paid anything towards me - not even money in a card for birthday/christmas or child maintenance to my mother. I would like to know if I could go about claiming anything back from him for the years he hasn't supported me financially. As well as not supporting me financially, he has spoken to me a handful of times in the past ten years and at his fathers funeral basically ignored me. I want to know if I can get anything from my absent father.
a1 - 26-May-15 @ 10:26 PM
@Nina123 - You would really have to speak to the CSA. However, if she went to live with her dad, then you may have to pay the CSA directly to him and you would then obviously cease paying for her daily welfare and care, unless of course you still wanted to continue to pay for certain things. Alternatively, you could work out a family-based agreement between you and your ex, if that would work better.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-May-15 @ 10:02 AM
My youngest child (17) has decided she wants to live full time with her dad, I still get csa money as she is a full time student. I pay for her phone, bus pass, dinner money and the majority of her clothing. I can barely afford this with the money I get through her dad. How would it work, would I need to pay her dad or would he continue to pay me since I pay all her bills? She is still currently staying with me until everything is sorted.
Nina123 - 23-May-15 @ 3:27 AM
I am a dual citizen of the UK and Egypt. My wife is Austrian. Our 8 year old son has 3 passports; Austria, British, and Egyptian. Although the child was born is Vienna, we only actually moved to Vienna when he reached 15 months. Prior to that we had lived in Dubai and Cairo.
In the last 7 years there had been a strong of events taking place that reflect the mother's incompetence as a parent. I would add selfishness to that. I am the prime caretaker of the child and we still all live together (legally married) however she is seeing someone else. Being an interfaith marriage, we had agreed prior to marriage that the children would be raised as Muslims. I am a totally tolerant person and respect religious diversity. His mother however keeps telling him you can't tell your Austrian friends you're Muslim because they don't like Muslims over here. Note that she barely agreed to him taking up Islamic religions classes at School (in Austria). A few months ago the boy came up to me with his mother's mobile phone and told me blaaaaaa look at these disgusting photos. Basically these were a few photos of his naked mother masturbating and some random guy in a similar position. A couple of weeks ago my son told me that his mother took him on her lap and let him drive for a couple of minutes. I confronted her about both incidents and her response is that: what's wrong with that?!
I currently don't have a stable job in Austria and thus if I'm lucky with an unbiased judge, it would still be difficult for them to grant me custody under the circumstances. I can only guarantee accommodation and private schooling fees in Egypt via my family if I return there with my child. Please also note that I am the one looking after the child: waking up, dressing, breakfasts, lunch boxes, school drop off, hygiene, youname it! His mother works less than 18 hours a week and doesn't pay taxes - so it's not like she's a super busy career person. She skips at least a couple of nights every week and even when she is home she would rather take the kid to have a cookie or doughnut at McDonalds for breakfast so she can have her coffee, rather than making him (or buying him) a normal healthy nutritious meal.
I am so frustrated with this situation and I am not thinking about the well-being of a child still under development. I am also thinking about being in a place where I am more likely to be able to support myself and have family around me to support me with this journey. Lawyers have advised me that leaving the EU with the child would be the only solution to remove my child from this environment without legal intervention, which in the case of Austria tends to favour the citizen's side especially the mother. Any ideas?
taayka - 19-May-15 @ 4:01 PM
My partner has two children with his ex. She has on and off stopped contact and resumed again. His son now stays with us Monday to Saturday. (He goes home Saturday night). My partner pays csa for both children on the basis they stay one night a week. When he contacted csa to tell them his son was with us for 5 nights a week, they had to phone the mother, she denies he stays 5 nights and that he only stays one night! I don't understand how they can just take her word for it and now we have to pay to get a court order stating we have him 5 nights, which we really can't afford especially as we also have a baby on the way.
Welshgirl55 - 19-May-15 @ 8:39 AM
@JRock- I'm afraid you can only claim maintenance from him and his earnings, which has nothing to do with his new wife. If he is not registered as earning, it is unlikely that you will get any money from him if the CSA has ruled that you haven't a case. Obviously working cash in hand is illegal and whether you want to report this to the authorities is another matter. However, it still doesn't solve your own problems which is that as far as the CSA is concerned he is not earning and therefore is exempt from paying for his child.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-May-15 @ 10:38 AM
@Mishy63 - I'm afraid this is often the case with people who are self-employed. They can become pretty smart at hiding their earnings, especially if they employe a good accountant. The CSA does what it can to get the money, but the fault really all comes down to the person who is trying to avoid paying in the first place.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-May-15 @ 12:26 PM
My ex is refusing to pay for his daughter and has done since we split in 2008.
I have tried to claim through the CSA, & each time they come back with 'a nil income' therefore I am entitled to nothing from him. ( although he tells me he is working, cash in hand obvs..) :-/
He recently got married, and I was just wondering where I stand on claiming some maintenance from him under the new maintenance guidelines/laws?
JRock - 12-May-15 @ 9:50 AM
My partner and I separated in December 2000. At that time our son was 4 years old. He's almost 19 years old now and I have never ever received even 1p from him in child maintenance. I applied through the CSA and they have never been able to collect a penny from him. He has been caught twice by the benefits office for claiming whilst working, yet he still works as a self employed gardener, always has, and has always maintained that he is unemployed. He lives the life of luxury whilst we have struggled through all these years. I told the CSA years ago that he was working, and they told me I had to prove it. I've always worked to keep us , and I think it's a joke that an absent parent can get away without ever having to pay a bean towards raising their child. Well done CSA, I have absolutely nothing to thank you for ........
Mishy63 - 11-May-15 @ 4:14 PM
My ex boyfriend won't sign the birth certificatecause he thinks it means he won't actually be the dad so he won't have to pay anything, is this true or does he still have to pay he is the only person I slept with over the last 5 years so it obvious it his he saying it's not just to get out of paying anything, how does it all work, I don't know what to do and wether he has to pay and can I get a dnt test done with just finding out the baby's dnt or do I need my ex boyfriends aswell just to prove to him it's his
bunny2912 - 1-May-15 @ 11:24 PM
Up until recently, I was claiming maintenance through the CSA for my 2 children with my ex. One child has decided to live with my ex, whilst the other remains with myself. Can I claim maintenance for the child that lives with me?
Lolz - 23-Apr-15 @ 11:01 AM
@lea86 - you could approach the CMS and see what they advise - but you may have to take it to court to prove paternity.
Si - 8-Apr-15 @ 12:27 PM
@Olive - If the non-resident parent earns between £5 and £100 per week, they will pay a flat rate of £5 per week. This includes people who are on state benefits, Job Seeker's Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Bereavement Allowance, Income Support, State Pensions and certain other benefits. This rate will be the same regardless of how many children they have. In the case of state benefits, the child maintenance is usually deducted at source. The CMS do charge for their service of collecting payments. You can talk to its advice line via the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Apr-15 @ 11:34 AM
Hi, can I claim off my childs biological father if he is not on the birth document and someone else is?
lea86 - 5-Apr-15 @ 5:00 PM
Can I claim CSM from the father of my 2 children if he has not paid for 8years and has not worked for that length of time .As my children are still growing and need clothes it is a struggle to buy new clothing whilst paying bills.
Olive - 3-Apr-15 @ 3:09 PM
@cazza - yes you should if it is government approved. Sal
Sal - 2-Apr-15 @ 11:46 AM
I came out. Of a physically/emotionally/sexually abusing reletionship last year. My ex partner is from abroad. The CID took me and my baby out of the house where we were living and supported us in finding a house far away, the police supported in name changing etc. I didn't end up pressing charges because my ex left the country. His name is on the birth certificate. I am wondering, if he ever decided to find us and try get access to our daughter would he be able to? Baring in mind he said his family were looking for us to kill us and he wouldn't care if they did, plus stealing money from me, and being generally abusive. I haven't had any clue whether he would try get access but I'm scared if he did. He used to always threaten to run abroad with my daughter - he lives in a country which is currently experiencing war.
austenland - 2-Apr-15 @ 1:44 AM
@Cerianne - you can find out via Child Maintenance Options here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Apr-15 @ 3:00 PM
@peanut - I'm afraid not. Only your mother would be entitled and only if she had put in a previous claim.
ChildSupportLaws - 31-Mar-15 @ 2:40 PM
My son is turning 16 this year & is thinking in enrolling in an approved training programme will l still be able to receive maintenance payments (Scotland)
cazza - 31-Mar-15 @ 2:29 PM
Hi I'm jus wondering if anybody could tell me I have split from partner I have 2 babys I'm wondering Hm Csa would I be able to claim
Cerianne - 31-Mar-15 @ 1:25 AM
I am in the process of tracking down my biological father. Once found, would I have a legal claim regarding backdated money from birth? Thanks in advance.
peanut - 29-Mar-15 @ 6:53 PM
@billy - Child maintenance can stop if your daughter is 16 or over and getting certain state benefits, which includes Income Support. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-Mar-15 @ 12:19 PM
My partner is paying maintence for his 18yr old daughter who is still in f.time education...however,his daughter is no longer living with her mum(who is claiming c.m payments).his daughter is being rehoused through a scheme where she will have help with the rent&c tax,etc..&she will also receive a giro every wk to help with general living costs.is my partner still required to pay maintenence to the mother even though the daughter doesnt live there?
billy - 19-Mar-15 @ 4:54 PM
@macky. Yes, but it is dependent upon the situation. In 2013 the law changed, making it compulsory for all UK children to continue in some kind of further education until the age of 18. This is not necessarily a full time college course - it can be an apprenticeship or full time employment (over 20 hours a week) that includes some education or training.
(There are certain higher education courses, such as apprenticeships, that do not count as full-time education, so it is important that you check with the CSA). The absent parent will continue paying child support in these circumstances. However, should the young person change their mind and decide that he/she wants to get a job and not continue in full-time education (which includes studying for 12 hours or more a week) then child support payments would end in the September after his/her final school term. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Mar-15 @ 10:28 AM
Is the child entitled to any money paid once they are 16?
macky - 15-Mar-15 @ 12:59 PM
@Gurpz - is the CSA/CMS aware of his earnings? It will do a review if you feel your ex is not paying enough.