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.
@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.
Sasha - 11-Mar-15 @ 2:25 PM
Its a joke I have one child and work part times I have allowed my ex to see our child every weekend and he is only paying £50 a week while he is earning 25k-30k plus a year and his one month pay is the child main for the year.
Why they get it so easy.
So angry £50 a week for a child how are we suppose to manage on that
Gurpz - 9-Mar-15 @ 11:52 PM
@Mr Man - his payments should be regular, but at least they are on your bank statements to the CSA knows how much he is paying. You may need to give the CSA a call to double check if it is OK to do it this way. But as far as I know it should be a certain amount each payment.
Dan - 6-Mar-15 @ 12:17 PM
What if the absent parent pays with irregular payments. I mean some months he pays over the monthly amount set by CMS and some months he pays less (sometimes not paying anything at all).
At the end of the year he definitely owe's money to CMS, but I'm wondering how much?
Is it ok for him to over-pay some months but not to pay on other months?
Should I take each month that he didn't pay as debt, regardless off any over payments?
Or is it ok for him to pay the annual figure set by CMS whenever he likes?
Mr Man - 5-Mar-15 @ 12:12 PM
@Julie - CSA is only earnings based, not capital based.
Mark - 17-Feb-15 @ 12:07 PM
I have bought my ex out of our house and have our two daughters living with me.I paid him a big lump sum and have to pay £400 pm for the remaining capital of £25k as I couldn't borrow the whole amount. He has been reluctantly paying maintenance of £320 pm, which was an amount ruled by csa but he has now left his job by choice.He has a baby with a new partner but they have split up and the baby is living with him because the mother is an alcoholic.He says he can't work and that "childcare" is not available (it is).He has now reduced the monthly payment to£150.Can I make him pay with the capital he now has sat in the bank?Thank you for reading.
Julie - 15-Feb-15 @ 8:50 AM
@Only me - only earned income that can be used for calculations regarding child maintenance payments. You might be able to claim on the interest on the interest of the estate as it is deemed as earnings, but not the capital.
Mitch - 13-Feb-15 @ 1:46 PM
I have custody of my daughter and she stays with her dad 2 nights a week.He is currently living with a partner and they have a child together.He is on disbalilty living allowance however they are due to come into a large amount of money.I have never had any maintenance payments from him however they are due to come into a large amount of money, would I be able to claim from them for maintenance payments?
Onlyme - 12-Feb-15 @ 2:49 PM
I divorced from my ex wife over 10 year ago and got married to someone else the following year, For the next 9 years myself and my new wife paid for my daughters schooluniform, all her dance equipment and weekly dancing, we paid her money for food and any school trips etc.
In 2013 after my 12 year old daughter had a Stroke and a heart operation, I found out that my ex wife was miss treating her both physically and verbally, As soon as I found this out I done everything I could to get her to live with me and my wife, since then I had to give up my job on 24 hour call out and because of my wifes earnings I am entitled to no benefits. it has taken me nine months to even get family allowance.
Because Iearn no money my now wife has to pay for the entire upbringing of my daughter.
My ex wife who used to take so much money from me pays for nothing and says she cant because she is on benefits and has been for 11 years but the truth is she has a live in boyfriend and has been with him for over a year and he works in the City. I think this is realy unfair is there anything I can do ?
Kev - 5-Feb-15 @ 8:09 PM
@Sue - it's all to do with personal earnings of the other parent's ex. If he's earning a good salary then your ex's girlfirend by rate of percentage will get more money to be the main carer of his children.
Becca - 5-Feb-15 @ 2:33 PM
How can my ex husband deduct maintenance payments for our 2 children because his girlfriends son lives in the same household?His girlfriends son receives an amount of child maintenance from his own father which is greater than the combined payment received for both my children.Baffled!!
Sue - 4-Feb-15 @ 12:04 PM
@Heartbroken - I am really sorry to hear of your situation, but it might be nothing personal , it may just be that she wants to spend more time with her boyfriend. But, no, her boyfriend's mother can't claim.
Pam - 28-Jan-15 @ 2:37 PM
My 17year old daughter has left home against our wishes and moved in with her boyfriend and his mother.Myself and my husband both work full time.Can the boyfriends mother claim child maintenance from us? Both my daughter & her boyfriend are in full time education and the mother is on benefits. Thanks
Heartbroken - 27-Jan-15 @ 10:05 AM
@Potty 11 - I have included a Government link to when child maintenance stops here. If she is living away, he can support her directly if he chooses. However, if she is at university then he does not have to. The maintenance payments should always only have been for her well-being and day-to-day care and has nothing to do with your own financial situation I'm afraid.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Dec-14 @ 10:33 AM
Hi my daughter will be 18 years old this month, her father and i got,divorced more than 8 years ago, he has support her financially over this years, but he sent me a message telling me that he is not supporting her any more,she is actually living in Colombia, she is studying at university full time over there, he has a very good Job in london, in the contrary i only work couple and my income it's very low, what can i do, please i need some advise.
Thank You very much