Home > Related Laws > Child Support Payments: Your Entitlement

Child Support Payments: Your Entitlement

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 24 Aug 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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If my 16 year old son claims PIP do I still have to pay child maintenance to his mum. The reason I'm asking is because I would rather give him money than his mum because it doesn't get spent on him. Just want to make sure I'm still being legally abiding we have an agreement between ourselves.
Mark - 24-Aug-16 @ 11:05 PM
My daughter has not seen her biological father since a baby and is now 17, all of a sudden he is interested and is making contact with her. He has never paid a penny towards her upbringing or supported when she was really ill and challenging as a child. Am I able to claim anything now he has suddenly decided to show an interest or as she is 17 is it to late and he has gotten away with being seen as the good guy? I have never stopped access it was his doing, also she has known all alone about him and has her own photo album of him and his family which I made her. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Emsie - 24-Aug-16 @ 6:39 PM
I have 3 sons all in receipt of dla, who I have 2 nights a week every week, and a minimum of 2 whole weeks at varying points in the year, obviously these children have extra costs associated with their care hence the dla however the extra costs to me doesn't seem to have been taken into account when my maintenance Liability has been calculate even though when all is said and done I am responsible for roughly a 3rd of their care over the year I feed them and clothe them take them to school which is quite a distance away and involves numerous buses this doesn't seem particularly fair is there anything I can do?
Gpaul1978 - 10-Aug-16 @ 9:42 PM
My friend has 3 year old girl who's biological father disowned shortly after birth. He was physically violent and is Iranian. He's told his family his ex and daughter are dead and has disappeared. She is now mum to another daughter to her fiance of 2 years who child thinks of as dad. Fiance is Dutch and he wants to adopt, but at least he wants parental responsibility. And maybe they want to relocate to Holland. Can he adopt as father disappeared and violent? Can child take his name? Can they live in Holland?
Chelle - 9-Aug-16 @ 9:51 PM
DaddyG - Your Question:
Hi,I've being paying child maintenance for 2 years, my Ex has recently moved back in to her Mothers houses, our son spends three nights a week at my house, am I still required to pay maintenance?Thanks for your advice

Our Response:
You don't say whether you have a family-based arrangement or a CMS organised one. You are still required to pay maintenance - you can calculate how much you should be paying via the CMS calculator here.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Aug-16 @ 10:26 AM
Shona - Your Question:
Hi. I recieve a monthly amount from my 2 children's dad through mutual agreement not csa and he is asking for half of that back this month due to him having them for 2 weeks in the holidays. It will be me having to still pay for all their new uniforms and shoes etc with no extra help from dad but he says I'm unfair if I don'tAm I?

Our Response:
If CMS was calculating the amount it would average the amount over the year, so there would be no break in payments. However, as you have a family-based arrangement it is negotiable between you. I hope you manage to sort it out.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Aug-16 @ 10:23 AM
Hi, I've being paying child maintenance for 2 years, my Ex has recently moved back in to her Mothers houses, our son spends three nights a week at my house, am I still required to pay maintenance? Thanks for your advice
DaddyG - 4-Aug-16 @ 9:50 AM
Hi. I recieve a monthly amount from my 2 children's dad through mutual agreement not csa and he is asking for half of that back this month due to him having them for 2 weeks in the holidays.. It will be me having to still pay for all their new uniforms and shoes etc with no extra help from dad but he says I'm unfair if I don't Am I?
Shona - 4-Aug-16 @ 9:12 AM
Mummy L - Your Question:
I have recently separated from my husband and we have two children. He will see them every other weekend and the odd week here and there in the school holidays. Does he still have to pay child support even when the children are staying with him on the off occasion?

Our Response:
Yes, as a rule child support if calculated by the CMS is based on an annual average spread across the year and takes into consideration the overnight stays, please see CMS link here for more information. However, if you have a family-based arrangement, then it is up to you as parents to negotiate between you and no specific rules apply.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Aug-16 @ 10:28 AM
Nicola - Your Question:
My partner has paid child maintenance for his 2 children since they split in 2006. In 2010 she moved to Scotland with 4 days notice and took the children with her. For 3 years he had to travel around 700 miles round trip to visit his girls. He paid maintenance all this time, plus the cost of travel and hotels and caravans when he stayed up for weekends or a week at a time to have them for a holiday, as it simply wasn't financially viable to go to Scotland to fetch them back down south to live with him. He then moved on, from east to west down south. The ex has now come down to the south east and England and wants him to have the girls half of them school holidays and once a months for a weekend.The issue isn't having the girls! He wants to as much as he can! Especially as the ex has used the children as leverage to get her way in everything over the years. But he feels he is paying twice. It costs £100 in fuel every time he goes to fetch them (£50 round trip to collect them and same to bring them back), plus £70 per week maintenance plus around £50 -£100 for extra food etc to feed them when he has them. In addition, he has them on hols when they are away from their home and friends and so there is more onus on him to bring them out for trips and treats. This year he has been out of work for 6 months and still paid maintenance till he used up the last of his savings and has gone substantially into debt, but he is still berated. This year he will have the children for 8 of the 13 weeks of school hols, plus one weekend a month. That is 80 nights this year. Does that qualify him for any maintenance discount? It is the equivalent of 2 nights a week across the year, and I've read that if the children stay with him once a week the maintenance would be reduced by 1/7th, but it is simply impossible for him to have them one night every week as the ex lives a 5 hour drive away there and back. Thanks.

Our Response:
I think in this case he would be advised to speak directly to CMS Options, please see link here. Plus, as the parent paying maintenance under the 2012 Child Maintenance Scheme if he has certain expenses he may be able to ask the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to adjust the amount of maintenance he should pay, please see CAB link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Aug-16 @ 12:36 PM
I have recently separated from my husband and we have two children. He will see them every other weekend and the odd week here and there in the school holidays. Does he still have to pay child support even when the children are staying with him on the off occasion?
Mummy L - 1-Aug-16 @ 10:17 AM
My partner has paid child maintenance for his 2 children since they split in 2006. In 2010 she moved to Scotland with 4 days notice and took the children with her. For 3 years he had to travel around 700 miles round trip to visit his girls. He paid maintenance all this time, plus the cost of travel and hotels and caravans when he stayed up for weekends or a week at a time to have them for a holiday, as it simply wasn't financially viable to go to Scotland to fetch them back down south to live with him. He then moved on, from east to west down south. The ex has now come down to the south east and England and wants him to have the girls half of them school holidays and once a months for a weekend. The issue isn't having the girls! He wants to as much as he can! Especially as the ex has used the children as leverage to get her way in everything over the years.But he feels he is paying twice. It costs £100 in fuel every time he goes to fetch them (£50 round trip to collect them and same to bring them back), plus £70 per week maintenance plus around £50 -£100 for extra food etc to feed them when he has them. In addition, he has them on hols when they are away from their home and friends and so there is more onus on him to bring them out for trips and treats. This year he has been out of work for 6 months and still paid maintenance till he used up the last of his savings and has gone substantially into debt, but he is still berated. This year he will have the children for 8 of the 13 weeks of school hols, plus one weekend a month. That is 80 nights this year. Does that qualify him for any maintenance discount? It is the equivalent of 2 nights a week across the year, and I've read that if the children stay with him once a week the maintenance would be reduced by 1/7th, but it is simply impossible for him to have them one night every week as the ex lives a 5 hour drive away there and back. Thanks.
Nicola - 31-Jul-16 @ 5:43 PM
Hello, my ex partner has agreed, 2 years ago, to pay £200 monthly towards our son but he has only paid for 2 months. I had to pay for everything even working part time and receiving benefit towards my rent. I've already contacted FM but I'd like to know if I can get all the money he owes me for the last 2 years. He works full time. Thank you
IP77 - 21-Jul-16 @ 11:46 PM
Simons49 - Your Question:
Hi, I have been divorced 6 years, I have two children son 12 daughter 15 present ages. When we divorced we set up a payment through the CSA and I paid my ex monthly. Jan 2014 my daughter came to live with me so we went back to the CSA to set up a payment to me from my ex, since my daughter moved in I have received 4 payments from my ex while I continue to pay monthly without fail to her for my son. Trouble is my ex wife is self employed, she has her own very successful hairderssers, the CSA are powerless to get money from her, they have sent bailiffs round she just laughs at them and gives them a cheque that bounces. The CSA have infant told me that I will probably never see any money from her, at present she owes £4700. As I am employed if I miss one payment the CSA will go straight to my employer and take it before it goes into my bank, the whole system stinks! I am struggling to pay for both our children and pay a mortgage while she walks round with designer handbags and takes my son on holidays! I have been to my local MP but he couldn't really help as this is the system and the CSA are powerless to act on self employed people?

Our Response:
I think in this instance I would seek legal advice, as while the CSA may not be able to extract money because of the accounts your ex files to the HMRC (which may may it look as though she is earning less when pitted against expenses), a court would look into the matter in more depth. However, you would have to be sure your ex is earning more than she declares through her lifestyle, i.e the car she drives, her standard of living etc that a court may be able to examine and ask her to demonstrate how she can afford such luxuries. The only downside is that if you lose, you will be sadled with the court costs. But it is definitely worth seeking some advice, as some non-resident parents do take the matter to court.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Jul-16 @ 10:48 AM
Hi, I have been divorced 6 years, I have two children son 12 daughter 15 present ages. When we divorced we set up a payment through the CSA and I paid my ex monthly. Jan 2014 my daughter came to live with me so we went back to the CSA to set up a payment to me from my ex, since my daughter moved in I have received 4 payments from my ex while I continue to pay monthly without fail to her for my son. Trouble is my ex wife is self employed, she has her own very successful hairderssers, the CSA are powerless to get money from her, they have sent bailiffs round she just laughs at them and gives them a cheque that bounces. The CSA have infant told me that I will probably never see any money from her, at present she owes £4700. As I am employed if I miss one payment the CSA will go straight to my employer and take it before it goes into my bank, the whole system stinks! I am struggling to pay for both our children and pay a mortgage while she walks round with designer handbags and takes my son on holidays! I have been to my local MP but he couldn't really help as this is the system and the CSA are powerless to act on self employed people?
Simons49 - 17-Jul-16 @ 10:38 AM
Hello I'm trying to see if I can get back the money my farther has not paid. As the "child" am I able to do this? Cheers
Subject7654 - 8-Jul-16 @ 8:40 AM
Hi I am about to go to court for a CSA Tribunal I am bringing against my ex who pays £25 per week for 2 children.Me and the kids have gone through some very rough years but finally getting back on my feet.I found out my ex was working as an IT contractor earning £300pd but only claiming to CSA he was on £200pw.Everytime I open documents from the court there is loads of paperwork from ex trying to drag me through the dirt, that i am lying about how bad things were for us, that I am lying about everything, but sidelining the issue about how much he actually earns - have I got to defend myself or simply keep to the point asking for him to provide evidence of how much he invoices his client for, bank statement to where the invoice payments go?Its really difficult as it feels like I am going through the divorce again where he tore me to shreds.
Katie K - 7-Jul-16 @ 8:19 PM
Clairetam1 - Your Question:
My son is 18 and has just finished sitting his A levels and plans to go to university in Sept.My ex stopped paying maintenance as my son has now finished sitting his exams. However I am still receiving child benefit for my son through to the 31st Aug so shouldn't I be receiving child maintenance until this date too. We had an agreement through a court order which my ex never stuck too and has paid the same maintenance payment amount since my son was 2 years old!!! Who is right him or me?

Our Response:
Your child's father should pay until the end of the school year which is August 31st. The cessation of child maintenance payments usually fall into line with the ending of child benefit.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Jun-16 @ 2:04 PM
My son is 18 and has just finished sitting his A levels and plans to go to university in Sept. My ex stopped paying maintenance as my son has now finished sitting his exams. However I am still receiving child benefit for my son through to the 31st Aug so shouldn't I be receiving child maintenance until this date too. We had an agreement through a court order which my ex never stuck too and has paid the same maintenance payment amount since my son was 2 years old!!! Who is right him or me?
Clairetam1 - 26-Jun-16 @ 11:50 PM
My husband moved to New Zealand 4 years ago for work, he has seen his daughter for six weeks in that time.He is very generous with maintenance payments but us in financial difficulty.I could not survive on justy salary as we existed on two salaries before he left.However I have no idea what he earns, only what he pays me.I wonder whether there is a minimum amount which a completely absent father should be expected to pay as I am trying to calculate how much of a gap I have to cover financially
Mummy - 25-Jun-16 @ 9:35 PM
dee - Your Question:
My ex boyfriend doesnt pay me any money for our 2 children my daugthers 3 and my son 5months now hes wanting my son to stay over and dont want him to yet not tiill hes 1 my daugthet stays 10 nigths a month and he as her famliy allawance am I rigth to say no

Our Response:
If you feel it is in your child's best interests, you have the right to say no. If your ex has an issue with this, he can either suggest mediation or attempt to take the matter to court.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Jun-16 @ 12:46 PM
my ex boyfriend doesntpay me any money for our 2 children my daugthers 3 and my son 5months now hes wanting my son to stay over and dont want him to yet not tiill hes 1 my daugthet stays 10 nigths a month and he as her famliy allawance am i rigth to say no
dee - 16-Jun-16 @ 4:48 PM
Hi my ex has custody of my 2 children. We have had a mutual agreement for 5 years that I pay half of school uniforms and school trips but last October he said he was going to the csa for regular maintenence. When we split our solicitor letter said no maintenance was agreed due to our mutual arrangements. The csa said I don't qualify to pay any maintenance yet as I am self employed and don't as such have enough income. Things have been quiet since. Most recently my daughter asked me to pay half towards her school trip, she said her dad asked her to ask me. I refuse to do this as her father changed the arrangement but now my daughter is being told by her father why I should pay and is angry with me. I would quite happily go back to the original agreement but I refuse to do both! I also buy her clothes every month, pay for her mobile and she has a monthly amount of pocket money from me each month.
Egglette80 - 9-Jun-16 @ 7:14 PM
Asyoudo - Your Question:
Hi, my son is 15 and has decided that he no longer wants to live @ home as he doesn't like my rules, initially I agreed for him to live with his dad and pay for his school lunches so his dad wasn't out of pocket as he didn't pay maintenance originally, and tried to call his bluff but this has backfired as he wants to live there perm. His dad said leave it a couple of weeks he will be back, which is not the case as I struggle to even see him at weekends now. I have pleaded with his dad/son to do the right thing and to come home which they have both refused. Now his dad is demanding money and saying I have to pay even though he has no parental rights i.e. not on the birth certificate. Could you advise if this is the case or I should just refuse payments and enforce my son to come home.

Our Response:
This is a bit of a tricky situation now as now your son is 15 a court of law would take his opinion into account and if he is already living with his father, unless absolutely necessary the courts would be unlikely to change the arrangement. Regardless of the fact his father is not on the birth certificate, you as the non-resident parent would be eligible to pay child maintenance towards your son's day-to-day care if your ex decides to approach Child Maintenance Services. You are unlikely to force your son to come home, without making the application through court. The court would then decide what it thought was in the best interests of your son and as specified take on board your son's preference of where he wishes to live. Therefore, I can only suggest you seek legal advice to see if there is another way around trying to resolve the situation, but from this angle I cannot see one.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Jun-16 @ 2:55 PM
Hi, my son is 15 and has decided that he no longer wants to live @ home as he doesn't like my rules, initially I agreed for him to live with his dad and pay for his school lunches so his dad wasn't out of pocket as he didn't pay maintenance originally, and tried to call his bluff but this has backfired as he wants to live there perm. His dad said leave it a couple of weeks he will be back, which is not the case as I struggle to even see him at weekends now. I have pleaded with his dad/son to do the right thing and to come home which they have both refused. Now his dad is demanding money and saying I have to pay even though he has no parental rights i.e. not on the birth certificate. Could you advise if this is the case or I should just refuse payments and enforce my son to come home.
Asyoudo - 2-Jun-16 @ 10:18 AM
Superwoman- Your Question:
A little advice please myself and my partner are raising my partners children form a previous relationship due to mothers lifestyle choices. Contact is in a contact center once a month again mothers choice. Csa payments hav stopped and she is now meant to make regular payments, it's not a lot of money £20 every other week to pay for the boys travel to contact but she does not feel that she should pay as she is under the impression that the government pay for her children.! Yes from the horses mouth ( Jeremy Kyle comment??) however myself & my partner pay & raise the children, I don't mind that she wants to live her own life but I do mind that in the process she has abandoned her responsibilities to 3 beautiful children. She should be providing for the lives she brought into the world jst like a lot of men are bashed for not doin. It probably sounds like I'm more concerned about financial support rather then the emotional support but I would like to point out this has been going on for such a long time that for the first 4 years I was goin on and on and on about the lack of emotional support towards the children now we are at a point of excepting her lack of commitment however my core values expect that members of society that produce children should financially support their offspring regardless of their ability parent full time. Other then messaging/ phoning & beggin what can we do

Our Response:
You don't say whether the amount she is paying is via a family-based arrangement. If it is and your partner does not feel she is contributing enough i.e if she is working and earning a decent salary then a percentage of this should go to her supporting her children, you may wish to see how much she should be paying via the CMS calculator here. However, if she is not working and is on benefits for instance, then she would only be eligible to pay a flat rate.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-May-16 @ 2:25 PM
A little advice please myself and my partner are raising my partners children form a previous relationship due to mothers lifestyle choices. Contact is in a contact center once a month again mothers choice. Csa payments hav stopped and she is now meant to make regular payments, it's not a lot of money £20 every other week to pay for the boys travel to contact but she does not feel that she should pay as she is under the impression that the government pay for her children...! Yes from the horses mouth ( Jeremy Kyle comment??) however myself & my partner pay & raise the children, I don't mind that she wants to live her own life but I do mind that in the process she has abandoned her responsibilities to 3 beautiful children. She should be providing for the lives she brought into the world jst like a lot of men are bashed for not doin. It probably sounds like I'm more concerned about financial support rather then the emotional support but I would like to point out this has been going on for such a long time that for the first 4 years I was goin on and on and on about the lack of emotional support towards the children now we are at a point of excepting her lack of commitment however my core values expect that members of society that produce children should financially support their offspring regardless of theirability parent full time. Other then messaging/ phoning & beggin what can we do
Superwoman - 9-May-16 @ 11:32 AM
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
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