Home > Related Laws > Child Maintenance Payments: Your Entitlement

Child Maintenance Payments: Your Entitlement

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 11 Apr 2018 | 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 Maintenance Service, 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 CMS and have an enforcement issued.

Are You Entitled To Claim?

Child maintenance is a regular 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 CMS 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. The gross 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 CMS, 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 12% of the non-resident parent’s gross income – for the first, or only child. The payable amount of maintenance increases to 16% of net income for two children, and to 19% 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 1/7th.

Flat or Base Rate

If maintenance payments are set at a nil rate, due to the non-resident parent earning less than £7 per week, shared care will mean that the maintenance payable to the parent with care is nothing. If the non-resident parent earns between £7 and £100 or if the non-resident parent is in receipt of benefits, the payments will be £7 per week.

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Anton - Your Question:
My ex wife initiated a claim, over 3 years ago, stating she received no mo eye for outlet child and that I was an absent parent.An assesment was made and first 2 months salary completed wiped out, so began a process of proving my child stayed 125 nights a year, she had been receiving money (I mistakenly gave her cash first 3 months).Once evidence was provided, payments reduced, nothing happened to my ex wife for all of her fraudulent claims.Well it began again 3 years later, just after receiving a car with her thanks and assurance no maintenance was needed.I am regularly told to STOP buying my daughter things.Well yet again the new claim as the agency call it requires proof I see the child, they have been told I don’t!Even though they have the child court order on their records.I am now being told I will need a solicitor letter stating I am seeing my daughter, I have been off work for 3 years after a bad accident at work.Receiving invalid payments. This all ignored by the agency instead stating that my last income 2015/2016 is the basis for the assesment when I was earning good money.They have now ignored everything said, frozen a savings account, causing normal account to go overdrawn incurring fees.I wish to take formal action against my ex for the second chain of lies/perjury to these, with the sole intention of causing me as much trouble as possible.This after sending messages saying she wants peace and harmony for our child.Whilst I am in the courts accused of abusing our daughter.Domestic violenceAbsolutely everything she says, it’s treated as fact.The stress is overpowering and effecting all aspects of my life.What can I doDoes anyone have any advice, and not bitter exes saying get your own back etc.I mean a legal action both with Child maintenanceAnd the perjury committed in courtsI have all the proof showing this.I don’t have funds for legal advice I am self representing at the final hearing in June.The agency have clearly informed me that they have been told by my ex that I am not seeing the child.Can I request they provide that in writing then contact the police.Non of this is ideal but the onlyMeasure I believe willMake it clear is if she is held accountable for her actions.Like anyone should be

Our Response:
Your comment is very confusing and it seems you are confusing child maintenance with child access and unauthorised money given to your ex and daughter as child maintenance. Unless you can prove your ex made fraudulent claims, then there is little you can do. If you paid child maintenance in cash, then you cannot prove you paid, so there is little you can do. If you gave your ex a car does not mean CMS will stop asking for payments once a claim has been registered. CMS always assess on a retrospective income, so that they can assess payments fully from a year previously. It seems that you are attempting to fight a system that has a strict code of how child maintenance is paid and who pays it. You can see how child maintenance is worked out, please see link here, which is straightforward. With regards to your court case, the court is not interested in which parent is to blame. The court is only interested in the welfare of your child and will act only upon what is in her best interests. You may wish to join the Separated Dads forum if you need more advice, as many of our dads have been through similar circumstances.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Apr-18 @ 2:29 PM
Sam - Your Question:
My boyfriend see’s his daughter at a contact centre for 2 hours a fornight, the child doesn’t live with her mother but instead with her grandmother. My boyfriend always asks to have the child at home or for more than just 2 hours, but the grandmother refuses, so we are going through the legal route. He is being made to pay £200 a month although he only makes £445 a month meaning they have told child maintenance that he earns much more. Is there anything he can do to either hurry up the court process or make child maintenance take a step back and see he shouldn’t be paying £200 to see her for 2 hours every 2 weeks.

Our Response:
Both child access and child maintenance are two completely different issues and are not dependent upon each other. Child maintenance by law has to be paid to the resident parent or guardian to help support their child's day-to-day needs whether the non-resident parent sees the child or not. Child maintenance is also calculated on the amount your boyfriend earns in income and pays in tax. These figures are given to CMS via HMRC to assess, not via the child's parents/guardian. As a rule, paying-parents usually pay 12% of their gross earnings, unless they are subjected to arrears when CMS can take up to 40%.If your boyfriend wishes to see his daughter more and the child's official guardian refuses, then court is the only route he can take. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order. If your boyfriend refuses to pay child maintenance, he will be subjected to arrears.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Apr-18 @ 11:41 AM
My ex wife initiated a claim, over 3 years ago, stating she received no mo eye for outlet child and that I was an absent parent. An assesment was made and first 2 months salary completed wiped out, so began a process of proving my child stayed 125 nights a year, she had been receiving money (I mistakenly gave her cash first 3 months). Once evidence was provided, payments reduced, nothing happened to my ex wife for all of her fraudulent claims. Well it began again 3 years later, just after receiving a car with her thanks and assurance no maintenance was needed. I am regularly told to STOP buying my daughter things. Well yet again the new claim as the agency call it requires proof I see the child, they have been told I don’t! Even though they have the child court order on their records. I am now being told I will need a solicitor letter stating I am seeing my daughter, I have been off work for 3 years after a bad accident at work. Receiving invalid payments. This all ignored by the agency instead stating that my last income 2015/2016 is the basis for the assesment when I was earning good money. They have now ignored everything said, frozen a savings account, causing normal account to go overdrawn incurring fees. I wish to take formal action against my ex for the second chain of lies/perjury to these, with the sole intention of causing me as much trouble as possible. This after sending messages saying she wants peace and harmony for our child. Whilst i am in the courts accused of abusing our daughter. Domestic violence Absolutely everything she says, it’s treated as fact. The stress is overpowering and effecting all aspects of my life. What can I do Does anyone have any advice, and not bitter exes saying get your own back etc. I mean a legal action both with Child maintenance And the perjury committed in courts I have all the proof showing this. I don’t have funds for legal advice I am self representing at the final hearing in June. The agency have clearly informed me that they have been told by my ex that I am not seeing the child. Can I request they provide that in writing then contact the police. Non of this is ideal but the only Measure I believe will Make it clear is if she is held accountable for her actions. Like anyone should be
Anton - 11-Apr-18 @ 8:08 PM
My boyfriend see’s his daughter at a contact centre for 2 hours a fornight, the child doesn’t live with her mother but instead with her grandmother. My boyfriend always asks to have the child at home or for more than just 2 hours, but the grandmother refuses, so we are going through the legal route. He is being made to pay £200 a month although he only makes £445 a month meaning they have told child maintenance that he earns much more. Is there anything he can do to either hurry up the court process or make child maintenance take a step back and see he shouldn’t be paying £200 to see her for 2 hours every 2 weeks...
Sam - 11-Apr-18 @ 9:43 AM
Steve - Your Question:
Hi I was just seeing where I stand if the child your paying for is 16 years old and refuses to go to school do I still have to pay. well he’s not gone to school for the last 5 years

Our Response:
If your child's mother is still eligible to receive child benefit for your child, then you would still have to pay child maintenance.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Apr-18 @ 3:48 PM
Hi I was just seeing where I stand if the child your paying for is 16 years old and refuses to go to school do I still have to pay.well he’s not gone to school for the last 5 years
Steve - 10-Apr-18 @ 1:00 PM
Jo - Your Question:
Hi, my ex just inherited a property worth £400k, no mortgage basically his father died and he is the only child, does his payments now change I assume? He is also claiming self employed at the very lowest amount!!! Now having a property of that value must make his payments change I assume because his wealth has gone up considerably!!!

Our Response:
Child maintenance is not about 'wealth' it is about earnings and income tax paid through HMRC. So, having inherited a house doesn't mean you can claim from your ex's estate - unless your ex has child maintenance arrears he owes or earns a taxable income from it.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Apr-18 @ 12:40 PM
Hi, my ex just inherited a property worth £400k, no mortgage basically his father died and he is the only child, does his payments now change I assume? He is also claiming self employed at the very lowest amount!!! Now having a property of that value must make his payments change I assume because his wealth has gone up considerably!!!
Jo - 2-Apr-18 @ 2:44 AM
Laura - Your Question:
Hi my child's father has contacted the CSA to state he has my daughter more nights than he does so his monthly payments come down. Is there anything I can do about this as this agreement has been made my ourselves with nothing in writing? Thanks

Our Response:
You would have to challenge this directly through CSA/CMS.
ChildSupportLaws - 29-Mar-18 @ 12:08 PM
Hi my child's father has contacted the CSA to state he has my daughter more nights than he does so his monthly payments come down. Is there anything I can do about this as this agreement has been made my ourselves with nothing in writing? Thanks
Laura - 28-Mar-18 @ 6:47 AM
Hi, i have a five year old who stays with me four nights a week on average, sometimes more, and the odd occasion if working away, a night or two less. I receive child and working tax credits for the government and work 5 days a week for just above min. national wage. My ex partner pays, at the most, half of after school care because he prefers to do that than pay me anything. I just want to know if I am entitled to any back pay from him for the last 5 years? i don't want the hassle to be honest, he can be very manipulative but i just want to know where i stand as he has threatened me with going for full custody if i apply for back pay. He tells the tax people he is self employed so he will pay the minimum amount of tax and makes cash money on the side that he doesn't declare.
NICKNAME1 - 6-Mar-18 @ 1:05 PM
Kels - Your Question:
Hi my ex has only been paying maintenance for the last couple of years but has got away with not paying for 13years before that, am I legally able to do anything about that? Also since the csa changed to the child maintenance service I have only received 3 payments since I set my case up 8 months ago, a service that we now have to pay for!

Our Response:
You don't say why the CSA/CMS cannot extract the money from your ex, so it makes it difficult to answer your question. Much depends whether you were registered with the CSA when you first claimed. However, if CSA could not extract the money from your ex, it would have to be a matter for the courts. If you approach the courts, then you would have to be sure you had a strong case. In which case, you would have to seek legal advice.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-Feb-18 @ 10:43 AM
Hi my ex has only been paying maintenance for the last couple of years but has got away with not paying for 13years before that, am I legally able to do anything about that? Also since the csa changed to the child maintenance service I have only received 3 payments since I set my case up 8 months ago, a service that we now have to pay for!
Kels - 22-Feb-18 @ 2:40 PM
Marie - Your Question:
My two sons dad hasn’t paid for them for around 7 years. He has always worked as a barber in the same place but I’m not sure if he declared. The government funded his now girlfriend to have IVF. They live together not sure again whether he is down as living there also. How much can/will the CSA help me in getting maintenance for my children?

Our Response:
CMS work on the amount of tax paid via HMRC in order to work out what a paying parent should be contributing. If your son's dad is apying tax, then CMS will do all it can to organise payment of child maintenance. If your ex is not paying tax, unfortunately there is little CMS can do.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Feb-18 @ 2:05 PM
YAN - Your Question:
Hi.please advise.i have been separated from my wife, but still married, for 15 years. we have a 15 year old son.he spends 50% of the time with me and 50% with her. she claims his child allowance from the gov.she earns considerably more money than I do (double, is on over 60k a year).i pay her £ 300 per month child care. is this correct? should it be less or should she be paying me child care?many ThanksYan

Our Response:
If your ex receives child benefit, then she is considered the primary carer and by law able to claim child maintenance. However, if you have 50/50 shared care, then you may wish to speak to CMS directly regarding this matter. Much depends upon how many nights you have your child over, please see link here , which will tell you more how child maintenance is worked out.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Feb-18 @ 11:07 AM
hi. please advise. i have been separated from my wife, but still married, for 15 years. we have a 15 year old son. he spends 50% of the time with me and 50% with her. she claims his child allowance from the gov. she earns considerably more money than i do (double, is on over 60k a year). i pay her £ 300 per month child care. is this correct? should it be less or should she be paying me child care? many Thanks Yan
YAN - 21-Feb-18 @ 8:47 AM
Nibs18 - Your Question:
My ex has moved out and left my eldest son in the care of his sister. He is 17 and goes to college. Can I pay maintenance direct to him as surely its for his needs anyway?

Our Response:
If your ex is in agreement, then child maintenance can go to your eldest child. However, if CMS are taking the money directly, then you would have approach CMS to see whether this is possible.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Feb-18 @ 3:11 PM
My two sons dad hasn’t paid for them for around 7 years. He has always worked as a barber in the same place but I’m not sure if he declared. The government funded his now girlfriend to have IVF. They live together not sure again whether he is down as living there also. How much can/will the CSA help me in getting maintenance for my children?
Marie - 20-Feb-18 @ 1:34 PM
Kath - Your Question:
My boy is 18 and girl 17 yesterday, both in further education, father says he doesn’t have to pay any more csa, is that correct

Our Response:
Every parent has the basic responsibility to provide for their children up until the age of 16, when they are legally allowed to leave school and get a job. After this age, it depends what your children choose to do. If they continue in full-time non-advanced education, not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week, then your ex's maintenance payments will continue until your children finish the course or until they turn 20. Child maintenance payments fall in line with child benefit payments, when eligibility to claim child benefit stops, so do child maintenance payments, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Feb-18 @ 11:59 AM
Jlea86 - Your Question:
Hello, my ex hasn't paid child maintenance for 4 years. He earns £38,000 per year. I live in the house that we bought together 8 years ago. He hasn't paid anything towards the mortgage since he moved out in 2011. He always seems to get out of paying maintenance no matter how many times I go down the CSA/CMS route. I think it is absolutely disgusting that he has been able to get away with it for so long. He tried last year to force me to sell the house so that he could recieve half if the equity. I feel that I may never receive any financial support from this "man". Is there any possible route I can go down to get him off the mortgage for his past/present/future maintenance payments? I'm praying that there is a way, he has got away with this for far too long!Thank you.

Our Response:
It is always difficult to advise when a question doesn't hint at the reasons why CMS is unable to enforce payment. If your ex is not paying child maintenance and you can prove he is earning £38,000 per year and his lifestyle exceeds the amount he is declaring, then court may be an option. You would have to have a good case, as it could end up costing you if your ex can prove he is only earning a limited amount and his accounts and lifestyle match his declared income. Child maintenance is payable from taxable earnings only, not assets. So, if you cannot agree with would ex regarding the house, then you would have to either suggest mediation to your ex, or take the matter to court.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Feb-18 @ 11:23 AM
Hello, my ex hasn't paid child maintenance for 4 years. He earns £38,000 per year. I live in the house that we bought together 8 years ago. He hasn't paid anything towards the mortgage since he moved out in 2011. He always seems to get out of paying maintenance no matter how many times I go down the CSA/CMS route. I think it is absolutely disgusting that he has been able to get away with it for so long. He tried last year to force me to sell the house so that he could recieve half if the equity. I feel that I may never receive any financial support from this "man". Is there any possible route I can go down to get him off the mortgage for his past/present/future maintenance payments? I'm praying that there is a way, he has got away with this for far too long! Thank you.
Jlea86 - 19-Feb-18 @ 6:34 PM
My boy is 18 and girl 17 yesterday, both in further education, father says he doesn’t have to pay any more csa, is that correct
Kath - 19-Feb-18 @ 9:54 AM
My ex has moved out and left my eldest son in the care of his sister. He is 17 and goes to college. Can i pay maintenance direct to him as surely its for his needs anyway?
Nibs18 - 16-Feb-18 @ 6:05 PM
Cbetts - Your Question:
Hi, My ex has a business and it isn’t registered. He brings jobs in all the time so has quiet a bit of money. I can prove that he works, but I don’t know where he is to be contacted apart from a mobile number. Can he be found and made to pay child maintenance?

Our Response:
If your ex does not pay income tax via HMRC, then it is tricky for CMS or the courts to make him pay if his income isn't registered, as there is no specific income that CMS can assess. Child maintenance is based upon taxable income registered via HMRC. Your only recourse would be to report himfor tax evasion, please see link here . While this doesn't solve your problem regarding child maintenance payments to you, it would draw attention of the authorities that he was avoiding paying tax.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Feb-18 @ 1:50 PM
Hln- Your Question:
My ex partner is self employed and does not declare what he earns. He is refusing to pay any maintenance to wards our daughter and with this I have stopped contact. He won’t agree to anything so it looks like we are going to court. Can anyone give me any advice or been in a similar situation? He says he will pay what the courts say (which will probably be about £5 per week!) not worth going to court for!! Do I have to agree with this or can I appeal? Thanks

Our Response:
Firstly, child maintenance and child access are two separate issues and a court will not condone you denying access of your child to the other parent for financial reasons (i.e using your child as a financial weapon). Therefore, dependent upon the circumstances ( and if your ex to date has had regular access) it is likely a court order would be put in place that renews your ex's access. You would then be obliged to keep to this arrangement by the order of the court. Unless you can prove your ex does not declare his earnings and that his bank account or lifestyle is inconsistent with his declared earnings, then you are on tricky ground. Mediation might be a way forward, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Feb-18 @ 10:00 AM
jacketpots - Your Question:
Hi, my step son lived with us for nearly 3 years before moving to a friends house after falling out with his dad. His mom who he doesnt live with is now claiming csa from us even though she refused to pay and csa to us while he lived with us. Is there anything we can do? Can we claim back dated csa from her?

Our Response:
You don't say why your step-son's mum didn't pay child maintenance. If it was because she was classed as not being not eligible (i.e not earning) then you would not be entitled to claim. However, if you registered a claim with CSA/CMS and she is in arrears on that claim, then you would be entitled to continue trying to reclaim this money. If you never registered a claim with CSA/CMS, then you would not be able to make a backdated claim. The two issues (the mother's claim and your husband's) are completely separate issues and separate cases and should be viewed as such.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Feb-18 @ 12:31 PM
My ex partner is self employed and does not declare what he earns. He is refusing to pay any maintenance to wards our daughter and with this I have stopped contact. He won’t agree to anything so it looks like we are going to court. Can anyone give me any advice or been in a similar situation? He says he will pay what the courts say (which will probably be about £5 per week!) not worth going to court for!! Do I have to agree with this or can I appeal? Thanks
Hln - 15-Feb-18 @ 9:24 AM
Hi, My ex has a business and it isn’t registered. He brings jobs in all the time so has quiet a bit of money. I can prove that he works, but I don’t know where he is to be contacted apart from a mobile number. Can he be found and made to pay child maintenance?
Cbetts - 13-Feb-18 @ 9:06 PM
Hi, my step son lived with us for nearly 3 years before moving to a friends house after falling out with his dad.His mom who he doesnt live with is now claiming csa from us even though she refused to pay and csa to us while he lived with us.Is there anything we can do?Can we claim back dated csa from her?
jacketpots - 13-Feb-18 @ 7:40 PM
Balloons- Your Question:
Hi, my baby’s Dad works full time, earns a very good wage and doesn’t pay anything towards his sons upkeep. (Says he doesn’t have to?) He has our son the odd night or 2 every couple of weeks. He needs to pay how do I sort this ongoing problem out my son is 15 months and I’ve never had weekly upkeep. Many thanks.

Our Response:
Every biological non-resident parent by law has to pay child maintenance to help with the day-to-day upkeep of their child. If your ex refuses to pay via a family-based child maintenance arrangement, then you can get in touch with Child Maintenance Options via the link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Feb-18 @ 2:22 PM
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