Home > Related Laws > Child Support Payments: Your Entitlement

Child Support Payments: Your Entitlement

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 3 May 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Support Agency Csa Benefits

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.

Shared Parenting

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.

Flat Rate

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.

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Spike - Your Question:
I currently pay my ex £155 per month through the CMS. I have our two children for about 160 nights a year, so my expenses for the children is fairly similar to that of my ex. I believe that the £155 is where my financial responsibility should end. My ex refuses to allow the children to bring clothes with them so I provide everything for them while they are here. I enjoy buying them clothes and always provide everything they need. However, it feels like I am paying twice for everything: once when they are here and then again via the maintenance. Should she be providing clothes for them while they are with me? If so, is there anything I can do to either reduce the payments or get the CMS to explain to her, her responsibilities?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, there are no rules to say who should be paying for clothes etc and this should be agreed between you. Child maintenance is solely towards your children's day-to-day care, but it does not specify what your ex should spend the money on.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-May-16 @ 12:34 PM
I currently pay my ex £155 per month through the CMS. I have our two children for about 160 nights a year, so my expenses for the children is fairly similar to that of my ex. I believe that the £155 is where my financial responsibility should end. My ex refuses to allow the children to bring clothes with them so I provide everything for them while they are here. I enjoy buying them clothes and always provide everything they need. However, it feels like I am paying twice for everything: once when they are here and then again via the maintenance. Should she be providing clothes for them while they are with me? If so, is there anything I can do to either reduce the payments or get the CMS to explain to her, her responsibilities?
Spike - 3-May-16 @ 8:28 PM
Juliachelsea - Your Question:
Hi, could anyone tell me something. My partner's son decided to move out of our home just before Christmas as he wasn't happy with our rules. He chose to leave and refused to come back. He went to stay at his aunts and she was no help at all in getting home. He is 17 and 18 in July. We made sure that his child benefit went to his aunt and we also lent him a car which he refuses to give back. We pay his mobile also. Anyway my question is this: Should we have to pay maintenance as he left of his own accord? His aunt said that at 16 he can leave home without our permission ad can claim benefit in his own right at the time. Now she we have received letters from the csa saying we have to pay. Why can't he get a part time job before he goes to university? Or claim benefits like his aunt said he could? Also both his aunt and uncle earn more than we do! Do the csa ask about their income?We didn't throw him out, it was his choice to leave. I have researched this and have conflicting answers. Some say no we shouldn't have to pay, others just we have to pay. Morally we are happy to pay some money but the csa wants us to pay £90 week which we don't have.Getting very worried now please can anyone help.

Our Response:
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support are not available to people aged under 18. However, single people may be able to get Jobseeker’s Allowance for a short amount of time if they are 'forced' to live away from their parents. With regards to the CSA, it only takes into account the paying parent's income. Also, you don't say whether he is at college or unemployed which would make a difference. If he is at college then your partner may have to pay until he finishes the course ( you don't say where the mother is, as she may be partly responsible too). It is difficult to advise on because it is an unusual situation. However, there are different ways to query or challenge a maintenance decision made by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) under the 2012 Child Maintenance Scheme, please see link here. Some professional legal advice may help too. The NASCA take on such cases, but they do charge and we can't verify how effective they are at getting results.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Apr-16 @ 11:10 AM
Hi, could anyone tell me something. My partner's son decided to move out of our home just before Christmas as he wasn't happy with our rules. He chose to leave and refused to come back. He went to stay at his aunts and she was no help at all in getting home. He is 17 and 18 in July. We made sure that his child benefit went to his aunt and we also lent him a car which he refuses to give back. We pay his mobile also. Anyway my question is this: Should we have to pay maintenance as he left of his own accord? His aunt said that at 16 he can leave home without our permission ad can claim benefit in his own right at the time. Now she we have received letters from the csa saying we have to pay. Why can't he get a part time job before he goes to university? Or claim benefits like his aunt said he could? Also both his aunt and uncle earn more than we do! Do the csa ask about their income?We didn't throw him out, it was his choice to leave. I have researched this and have conflicting answers. Some say no we shouldn't have to pay, others just we have to pay. Morally we are happy to pay some money but the csa wants us to pay £90 week which we don't have. Getting very worried now please can anyone help.
Juliachelsea - 14-Apr-16 @ 12:24 PM
Bahms - Your Question:
Hi, could you please clarify whether a nrp who is in receipt of dla/pip but is also working would pay child maintenance from his earnings or do the qualify for a nil assessment?I have rung child maintenance options and service about this and they don't really seem to know.Thanks in advance

Our Response:
I'm afraid if the CMS can't give you an answer then I'm afraid we wouldn't be able to advise. Apart from to say it depends what your total income is. You may be able to find out more via its CMS calculator here.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Apr-16 @ 11:42 AM
Hi, could you please clarify whether a nrp who is in receipt of dla/pip but is also working would pay child maintenance from his earnings or do the qualify for a nil assessment? I have rung child maintenance options and service about this and they don't really seem to know. Thanks in advance
Bahms - 11-Apr-16 @ 12:43 PM
My daughter goes to her dads once a week and he pays not a penny for her am I entitled to anything he saying I won't get anything cause he has her once a week n his Mam has her for 6 hours is this true ?
Deedee - 26-Mar-16 @ 9:23 AM
hy. my child z 4 yrs and next yr shes going to gradeR and I wnt her to study in modelc skul. I feel tht the amount payable for hr z little can I apply or claim a rise from R400 to atleast 800 pr month?
bongie - 14-Mar-16 @ 10:10 AM
I have 2 sons by different mothers. I have a direct pay agreement with 1 but the other mother has refused all attempts and has invoked CMS. CMS are insisting that I provide personal contact details for the co-operative mother or they will insist I pay the whole calculated amount to the un-co-operative mother Historically, each contact with CMS / CSA has involved mistakes and caused friction between parents which in turn causes detriment to the children. CMS are bullying me into sharing personal data and acting as a vehicle of the uncooperative mother to disrupt the agreement I already have in place with the co-operative mum. If they accept I have a second son and that mother has NOT contacted them , why do they need to cause distress and disruption by involving the co-operative mum in the uncooperative mother's case ?
Just-trying-to-be-a- - 12-Mar-16 @ 10:56 AM
What can I do if the CMS have collected two months payments from the absent parent via deductions of earnings then passed them on to another parent with care in error. They are now telling me there is nothing I can do and my two children have to go without as they cannot get the money back even though it is no fault of mine. I have no money now and my bank are charging me. The CMS do not care
Mummy - 7-Mar-16 @ 8:14 PM
Hi, my ex works full time, my son is living with my mum temporary on a family based agreement I still receive child tax for him and do his day to day care every day he just sleeps in my mums home until I find a bigger home, would I still be entitled to claim from my ex
Riley - 28-Feb-16 @ 7:50 PM
Hi folks I receive a war disablement pension , so once I put this into the csa calculated it comes back as 0 to pay for one child , however I sent a copy to the csa they replied I should pay £225 a month because I have a full time job , I honed child options agency and they told me that I should not pay anything , The child is my son so I exspect to pay something but surely with a disability pension it seems very high Any advise would be most welcome Kind regards Paul Browne
Oaul - 25-Feb-16 @ 6:05 PM
Jo - Your Question:
My daughter turned 16 last week, the nrp owes about £6000 , he's currently on benefits so I only receive £2.50 a week no arrears ,I know I can't do anything to recover the money owed but can my daughter take him to court ? Also would she receive legal aid ?

Our Response:
I'm afraid your daughter could not take him to court as child maintenance is awarded to the resident parent, not the child. If your ex is on benefits, then there is little hope that the money could be retreived through the courts if you decided to pursue it, as child maintenance is based on the non-resident parent's earnings.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Feb-16 @ 10:32 AM
My daughter turned 16 last week, the nrp owes about £6000 ,he's currently on benefits so I only receive £2.50 a week no arrears , I know I can't do anything to recover the money owed but can my daughter take him to court ?Also would she receive legal aid ?
Jo - 9-Feb-16 @ 3:37 PM
kell - Your Question:
I've been split from my partner years and never once paid for his 2 children he has them for a couple of weeks in the holidays and we're he can and says that's his payment cos he has to buy extra food he has always been on benefits. he has a wife and 2 children and his wife is now working but he's not would I still be entitled to anything seen as tho he's still not working

Our Response:
As specified in the article a flat rate is generally awarded to the parent who is claiming certain benefits. This is £5 per week no matter how many children are involved. It’s used if the paying parent’s weekly income is between £5 and £100 and they don’t qualify for the nil rate - please see gov.uk link here for further information.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Feb-16 @ 2:55 PM
I've been split from my partner years and never once paid for his 2 children he has them for a couple of weeks in the holidays and we're he can and says that's his payment cos he has to buy extra food hehas always been on benefits... he has a wife and 2 children and his wife is now working but he's not would I still be entitled to anything seen as tho he's still not working
kell - 4-Feb-16 @ 9:45 AM
Hi Can you please advise what the payments should be used for by the residing parent ??
Sophie - 1-Feb-16 @ 12:44 PM
My ex wife takes CSA payments but refuses to grant me any parental responsibility such as which school my child will goto or if he is taken abroad on holiday or what name he uses at school (she is using her boyfriends last name) My question is why should i have to pay CSA when my ex refuses my rights of parental responsibility?
Dela - 29-Jan-16 @ 4:54 PM
Some background info...my daughter is almost 9 month old and has never met her father. He didn't turn up to register her birth. I initiated a claim in November 2015. I received a letter this month from CMS stating that they'd worked out the weekly amount (which after deductions was £6.70) apparently, my daughters father was earning less than £40 per week (...he is a self employed lorry driver working for two haulage companies and his earnings go through his fictitious company)...I haven't received a penny to date! On chasing up the claim, the money already owing (albeit £57) is now floating around in Limboland, as my daughters father has now suddenly decided to claim benefits!?! Is there anything else I can do, other than informing the relevant authorities (HRMC and the benefit fraud line) as he has played the system for many years and is continuing to do so! Thank you in advance for any advice/help.
AylaG - 23-Jan-16 @ 2:23 PM
JP - Your Question:
I have joint custody of our son and he now spends exactly 50% of his time with me. I am paying £250 a month to his mum. Is there anyway to change either your status as the non-resident parent or have the maintenance removed completely due to this 50/50 split?His mum owns two houses and earns at least double what I earn, whilst I rent, so it seems completely unfair and stupid to me as she contributes nothing to his keep whilst he is here.Thanks

Our Response:
If you are in a family-based arrangement, then what you pay is negotiated between you. However, if your circumstances have changed and you pay via the CSA/CMS, then you need to take it up with the agency directly. If you think you are being treated unfairly, you can complain via the link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Jan-16 @ 1:43 PM
Ellie - Your Question:
Is it illegal for an absent father of 1 to not pay 15% of their income? If the father is paying child maintenance every month but it is not the correct amount (ie 15% of net income as stated above)?

Our Response:
If you have a family-based agreement then the terms are agreed between you. If it goes through the CMS/CSA then the agency will calculate how much your ex should pay based upon his earnings.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Jan-16 @ 12:32 PM
I have joint custody of our son and he now spends exactly 50% of his time with me.I am paying £250 a month to his mum.Is there anyway to change either your status as the non-resident parent or have the maintenance removed completely due to this 50/50 split? His mum owns two houses and earns at least double what I earn, whilst I rent, so it seems completely unfair and stupid to me as she contributes nothing to his keep whilst he is here. Thanks
JP - 19-Jan-16 @ 8:57 PM
Is it illegal for an absent father of 1 to not pay 15% of their income?If the father is paying child maintenance every month but it is not the correct amount (ie 15% of net income as stated above)?
Ellie - 19-Jan-16 @ 3:53 PM
lee - Your Question:
HiI asked a question but got no reply please can you help

Our Response:
You will not have to pay child maintenance on his behalf. Child maintenance is the sole responsibility of the father and not the father's partner. The father has to be earning to be eligible to pay.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Jan-16 @ 11:59 AM
lee - Your Question:
Hi,My partner split up with his partner 7yrs ago now he has 2 children with her. we have been on job seekers so paid child maintenance through them. I have just recently started work so he is not working, will I have to pay child maintenance for him if he is not working.

Our Response:
No, you are not responsible for your partner's children, any child support he pays will be based on his earnings alone.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Jan-16 @ 11:05 AM
Hi I asked a question but got no reply please can you help
lee - 18-Jan-16 @ 2:45 PM
Chels - Your Question:
My ex had a good job all paid threw bank he's self employed but now he's working a cash in hand job were do I stand with a claim and will I get awarded any thing from previous wages my daughter is a year and a held old he's only recently started working cash in hand so will I be able to make a claim due to that now

Our Response:
Unfortunately, if your ex is working illegally and not paying tax then you would not be able to make a claim on earnings not declared to the HMRC.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Jan-16 @ 1:44 PM
Hi, My partner split up with his partner 7yrs ago now he has 2 children with her ... we have been on job seekers so paid child maintenance through them ... I have just recently started work so he is not working, will I have to pay child maintenance for him if he is not working.
lee - 18-Jan-16 @ 11:25 AM
My ex had a good job all paid threw bank he's self employed but now he's working a cash in hand job were do I stand with a claim and will I get awarded any thing from previous wages my daughter is a year and a held old he's only recently started working cash in hand so will I be able to make a claim due to that now
Chels - 17-Jan-16 @ 6:21 PM
Graceeoneill - Your Question:
Due to some ongoing health issues, my daughter has been living with my mother for around a year now. Her bio father who doesn't see her but does pay though CSA is stating that as my daughter is living with my mother as arranged by the social services that he shouldn't be paying me but In fact should be paying whoever has the day to day care. He has contacted CSA on numerous occasions to try and stop the payments from coming to me but as I have stated to him I am still receiving child maintenance as I am the still her legal guardian therefore the payments still need to be made to me. Can I stop him from putting me through the ordeal of having to justify myself to CSA every time he contacts them? Thank you. Grace

Our Response:
One of the requirements for eligibility to apply to the CSA to arrange child maintenance is that the parent (or other person applying) has the main day-to-day care of the child. If your daughter no longer lives you, then it depends on whether she relies on you for financial support, if not, then it would be questionable whether you would be entitled to receive CSA child maintenance payments. You would have to contact the CSA directly if you feel you are being treated unfairly.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Jan-16 @ 12:13 PM
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