Home > Child Support & Family > How Much Will I Have To Pay?

How Much Will I Have To Pay?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 28 Feb 2019 |
 
How Much Child Support Csa Parent Rate

Child maintenance is financial support that helps towards your child's everyday living expenses and is paid on a regular basis. The parent that pays child maintenance is the non-resident parent i.e. the one who does not live with the child or have day-to-day care for the child. Child maintenance is paid to the parent the child lives with (the resident parent). In some cases, this may not be a parent, such as a grandparent or guardian with full care.

Why pay maintenance?

Paying maintenance for your child is extremely important. The person with full care of your child will no doubt be doing their best, however, the extra money that you pay can help to give your children a more stable and better quality upbringing. Maintenance payments will generally go towards food, clothes, school trips, books, toys and games, toiletries, medicines, childcare, activities, etc.

How much to pay?

The amount of child maintenance that you have to pay as a non-resident parent depends on a number of factors such as income, the number of children living with you and the number of children you have, whether you are the resident parent, are in receipt of benefits and whether or not the child also stays with you sometimes.

Types of maintenance arrangement

There are two main ways to arrange child maintenance:
  • Family-based arrangement
  • Child Support Agency (CSA) or Child Maintenance Service (CMS)

If you are on good terms with the resident parent, it may be that you can come to some arrangement about how much you pay and how often.

The alternative and most popular option is to pay maintenance through the CSA and CMS.

How is child maintenance calculated?

The CSA and CMS calculates maintenance, whilst taking into account several factors which includes net weekly income (CSA), gross weekly income (CMS).

The four rates applied to the non-resident parent's net weekly income include:

  • basic rate
  • reduced rate
  • flat rate
  • nil rate

Basic rate

Any new claims are now organised through the CMS. Between 2014 and 2017 the Child Support Agency (CSA) will contact all existing clients to end their current child maintenance arrangements to put in place a new arrangement.

The following information is based on existing calculations made via the CSA. For new claims via the CMS, you can contact the CMS directly on 0800 0835 130.

Reduced rate

If the non-resident parent earns between £100 and £200 per week, they will pay a flat rate plus a percentage of their weekly income. This will vary depending on how many children they have that require maintenance. The flat rate is £5 per week, plus 25% of their income for one child, 35% of their income for two children, and 45% of their income for three or more children.

Flat rate

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.

Nil rate

If the non-resident parent earns less than £5 per week, for example if they are a full time student, are under 16 years old, in prison, 18 or under in further education (no higher than A level) or are in a care home, the nil rate will apply. This means that they will not be required to pay anything.

What if a parent has other children?

If a resident parent has children with several different non-resident parents, the CSA will make these calculations separately. For example, if a woman has two children by one father and one by another man, the men will only pay for their own children respectively. Similarly, if a non-resident parent is paying money to several children in different households, the CSA will generally divide the money equally between the children.

If the non-resident parent has some CSA arrangements and some Family-Arrangement maintenance then unfortunately, the CSA cannot take into account the Family-Arrangement maintenance paid. It can, however, take into account any court orders in relation to maintenance.

What happens if the child stays overnight with both parents?

If the child stays overnight with the non-resident parent at least 52 nights a year i.e. on average at least one night a week then both parents have "shared care".

In the case of the basic and reduced rates, the amount of child maintenance that the non-resident parent has to pay is reduced in equal proportion to time the child stays with them. For example, if a parent is to pay £35 per week in maintenance but the child stays with the resident parent for 2 out of 7 nights per week, that £35 will be split into sevenths i.e. £35 divided by 7 nights x 5 nights that the child lives with the resident parent = £25. This is in addition to the flat rate of £5 which is always to be paid.

For the flat and nil rates, the amount to pay is nil.

What happens if the parent with care claims benefits?

Previously if the resident parent was claiming child maintenance, they were not always able to claim in full for benefits . However, since April 2010, benefits will not be affected by the amount of child maintenance received.

What happens if the non-resident parent is self-employed?

Calculations are made in the same way for self-employed non-resident parents as those who are employed. The CSA does have to calculate the earnings differently by working out the average weekly earnings for the past tax year. If this cannot be done, i.e. the business has not been up and running for a full year, then the CSA will use the gross income of the business to date. Reasonable business expenses and VAT are then deducted to obtain a weekly income figure, which is used to determine which rate of child maintenance should be paid.

What happens if the non-resident parent refuses to give their financial information to the CSA?

If a non-resident parent refuses to give information and it cannot be obtained from other sources, then a "default maintenance decision" is applied. This is a default rate which is as follows:

  • £30 a week for one child
  • £40 a week for 2 children
  • £50 a week for 3 or more children

The non-resident parent must pay from the date that the default maintenance decision was applied.

Other Factors

The CSA can also consider other elements before making a determination on maintenance payments. These can include fees for boarding school, special expenses that the non-resident parent pays for disabled children who live with them, mortgage payments for a property in which the parent with care and the child/children live (as long as the non-resident no longer has a legal interest in it) or loan payments for a loan taken out for the family's benefit while the non-resident parent was still living with the parent with care and the child/children.

Challenging the Decision

If you are not paying child support or have an application against you can find out if you have to pay child support. It is possible to ask the CSA to review a decision on maintenance payments.

Do you have to notify the CSA of changes to your circumstances?

The answer is yes. If you have a change in circumstances, you must notify the CSA/CMS immediately. If you are paying less than you should be then your child could suffer. Additionally, if the CSA/CMS finds out, you may have to make up for what you should have been paying. More positively, you could be paying too much and the figure needs to be lowered. You must also keep the CSA informed of any change of address.

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[Add a Comment]
Hello, I have been split for a while I am self employed, I am in need of knowing what I need to deduct for the total sum I need to pay for child maintenance. In really need to know as I have not a clue. Please help
Kb - 28-Feb-19 @ 5:54 PM
How much csawill I get if my x partner is paying for three other children and I have one child with him
Rjiddh - 2-Feb-19 @ 3:45 PM
Hi my ex partner earns 500 a week I got a 6 month old son...How much will I get a week?
jen - 2-Dec-18 @ 9:27 AM
Today I was advised from CMS how much they are taking from me which has resulted in me having to hand in my notice todayand give everything up as I have been scrapping by on less than £150 A month the extra £108 they want is going to leave me with £42. Which I will need to leave on, feed my child when he is with me and normal cost of living. CMS are worse the debt collectors and how there staff sleep at night is beyond me. So by xmas I will unemployed and have no where to live Merry Christmas peeps.
Givenup. - 27-Nov-18 @ 11:41 PM
CSA/CMA is a joke, im paying 40%of my wage to these for one child, and it's crippling me financially. Once I've paid bills I've got literally nothing left, no money for my daughter's school trips or son.s bus fare nonew clothes for us every month can't afford a car or blooming home insurance for that matter. It's ruining my marriage and my relationship with my kids at home because I can't afford nice things for them, but when my son from my ex comes over he's got all the latest designer clothes and games. And we're borrowing money every month to see us through.
Mugsrus - 25-Nov-18 @ 11:25 AM
I pay almost 300 I month but if I earn more than last p60 it will go up but what % is it I can earn extra without it going up I did hear 25% is this true? thanks
dan - 9-Nov-18 @ 6:34 PM
Hay me and my pertner just split up and his has the 3childen three days week how much support dose he to pay plaese
Ray - 8-Nov-18 @ 2:27 PM
Hi.. I have a 6 years old daughter.. last day we have done the word settlement about my daughter's support. He said that he had only 5,000 monthly income.but then after that day i do my own investigation about his income.i found out that he lie. He had almost 13,000 a month. What can I do.. what case do i need to file.
Sirk - 2-Nov-18 @ 11:05 AM
Hi really struggling with the new cms.paying 700 a month is killing me I then have to obviously pay my bills oh and maybe have something to eat all from 2000 a month have 4 children 2 with one and 2 with another one is single other is living as married couple last 2yrs is this correct don’t know what to do ? Please if anyone could advise would appreciate
Jay74 - 31-Oct-18 @ 6:48 PM
I have two children with my ex husband who earns 800 a week. What should he be paying me for them?
Lj - 19-Sep-18 @ 12:32 PM
@Anastasija -£210.12 worked out on a 4x weekly month, unless there are charges factored in too. Speak to CMS they will give you a breakdown.
MarKB - 10-Sep-18 @ 10:37 AM
Hi.if in a letter says the paying parent have to pay £50.28 weekly,how much it would be monthly?the total amount says 2620.70.Thank yoi
Anastasija - 9-Sep-18 @ 12:43 PM
My ex earns over 1000 a week. do i still pay maintenance?
Ali - 27-Aug-18 @ 8:52 PM
My husband pays £140 a month for his child to a previous relationship and we have 3 of our own children who are very young. The calculations made by CSA are from his self employed work which varies all the time. Because the payment has to be made it leaves our own children with not much. Why are my children worth so much less than his other child who gets the set amount when I’m not working or receiving benefits yet the mother of his other child is living on full benefits/housing etc just for having kids and not wanting to work? Why are my children entitled to less of his money?
Ms - 22-Aug-18 @ 12:11 AM
My ex and I have a son who is 17 years old and turns 18 in January. He has left school and begins college this month, doing a course that equates to an NC or SVQ2 level. My understanding of this is I am still legally responsible to pay my ex when my son is in full time education, no higher than A-level education, which is the level this course would be? When the ex and I split years ago, I went on to have 2 children with my current partner. Both children still in primary school and nursery. I never reduced the amount I paid my ex. This is something that would be factored in to payments if I was to go through the CSA or whatever the name is these days? Having a quick look at the maintenance calculator available online, having 2 further children with my new partner seems to have little to no change at all.
Sammy - 20-Aug-18 @ 4:42 PM
@MJE as child maintenance is assessed on earnings from the a previously he might have been earning less. It's the only way they can extract money if there are no HMRC tax records for 2016/17 (they have to work from previous years to do their calculations). You should get this year's earnings attributed to next year's child maintenance.
RoryR - 17-Aug-18 @ 2:10 PM
@Jayg - if you are not working, then your ex may have to pay child maintenance to his child. Give CMS a call to find out.
Grey78 - 13-Aug-18 @ 11:08 AM
Our two children are split. The six year old lives with dad and three year old with me. Their dad works full time. I live in a new relationship and do not work. Does my ex have to pay maintenance for the child who lives with me and would I have to pay maintenance to him for the child he has.
Jayg - 12-Aug-18 @ 6:53 AM
Today I have been awarded £11pw going on the calculation you have got from HMRC for tax year 2015. We are now in 2018 and my ex partner takes home over £400pw. Please explain how this is a fair calculation. The response I got on the phone was this is what HMRC have given us, despite being a calculation of over 3 years ago? This surely can’t be correct and I should have to wait a year for you to review?
MJE - 1-Aug-18 @ 10:49 PM
I have a daughter with my previous wife.for who i pay maintenance.i now have a son with my new wife does he come into acount when working out maintenance payments.
Jmrit - 1-Aug-18 @ 7:26 PM
Why is it you feel that it is morally right to take money to the point I can afford to live? Despite not seeing my child because of a spiteful ex? When the payments go up i am over £100 short a month to pay my bills and get food shopping, so I have to choose what to pay each month and get myself Into more debt.
David - 29-Jul-18 @ 1:32 PM
Celrah - Your Question:
My ex husband has been paying child Support since my daughter was 4 years old. While on Child Support he always paid on time and the amount increased every year as she got older. Two years ago with the amount of £240.00 a month, he asked if he can do direct payments. I agreed, thinking that being civil will be the new future. My daughter is now in secondary school, obviously older, obviously wanting new things and wanting to do more things, a school week trip to America in February which has cost £1560.00 is still being paid monthly by myself. not to mention the everyday expenses.I asked him if he can give a little more and he’s refused. He earns £1,370 per month. This is his only child. Am I being unreasonable or does he (should he) pay more monthly. If we were still on the CSA he would of paid more because it used to increase. I sooo regret the direct payments now. Please help me. I work in a school as a teacher but I am struggling.

Our Response:
A family-based arrangement is not set in stone and should be open to such negotiation. If your ex refuses to take such issues on board (if the balance is unfair) then you would have the option to apply to CMS, if you think you would be allocated more money. You can work out what you may get via the calculator here .
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Jul-18 @ 12:15 PM
My ex husband has been paying child Support since my daughter was 4 years old. While on Child Support he always paid on time and the amount increased every year as she got older. Two years ago with the amount of £240.00 a month, he asked if he can do direct payments. I agreed, thinking that being civil will be the new future. My daughter is now in secondary school, obviously older, obviously wanting new things and wanting to do more things, a school week trip to America in February which has cost £1560.00 is still being paid monthly by myself... not to mention the everyday expenses.. I asked him if he can give a little more and he’s refused. He earns £1,370 per month. This is his only child. Am I being unreasonable or does he (should he) pay more monthly. If we were still on the CSA he would of paid more because it used to increase. I sooo regret the direct payments now. Please help me. I work in a school as a teacher but I am struggling.
Celrah - 26-Jul-18 @ 2:00 PM
Beth - Your Question:
I have a newborn child. My ex wants to pay maintenance but he is self employed saying his hours of work are unpredictable. I have asked for his gross income for 2016/2017 but he is refusing to share this information with me. He is asking to have a new born child over nights, when he can’t even change the nappy, or is very nervous around the baby and scared of holding the baby. My son isn’t drinking much fluids and I have been in hospital now for two weeks, he hasn’t bothered coming to see him or texted to ask how he is doing. He asked me what I need for maintenance payments so I suggested between £50-£60 a week and he doesn’t want to pay this.

Our Response:
Child maintenance and child access are two separate issues. If your ex doesn't want to pay the suggested child maintenance, you can apply via CMS. Please see link here . You can see more about arranging contact or access via the link here . If your child is newborn and you are breastfeeding, you may wish to come to a gradual contact arrangement. This can be organised through mediation, if you cannot agree between yourselves.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Jul-18 @ 3:19 PM
I have a newborn child. My ex wants to pay maintenance but he is self employed saying his hours of work are unpredictable. I have asked for his gross income for 2016/2017 but he is refusing to share this information with me. He is asking to have a new born child over nights, when he can’t even change the nappy, or is very nervous around the baby and scared of holding the baby. My son isn’t drinking much fluids and I have been in hospital now for two weeks, he hasn’t bothered coming to see him or texted to ask how he is doing. He asked me what I need for maintenance payments so I suggested between £50-£60 a week and he doesn’t want to pay this.
Beth - 8-Jul-18 @ 8:19 PM
Star girl - Your Question:
My ex has suggested to court he works well over the hrs he has declared to CMS and is either lying about what he works to court to alter contact arrangements or lying to CMS about his earnings, what would be done in this instance?

Our Response:
It is a difficult question to answer as it is worded hypothetically. However, with regards to earnings, if he is employed and paying tax via HMRC, then the earnings figure is taken from the amount of tax he has paid annually. If your ex is self-employed, then it is more difficult to prove. To get a proper answer, you would have to clarify your question in more depth.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Jun-18 @ 11:43 AM
My ex has suggested to court he works well over the hrs he has declared to CMS and is either lying about what he works to court to alter contact arrangements or lying to CMS about his earnings, what would be done in this instance?
Star girl - 11-Jun-18 @ 9:55 AM
Mistified - Your Question:
My husband has a 9 year with his ex partner. He has been giving his ex money based on our calculations using this webpage. But he isn't on the birth certificate. Every time he mentions it she stops contact. Where does he stand with paying maintenance while not being on the birth certificate. Also is my income taking into consideration when working out child support?

Our Response:
Your husband doesn't have to be registered on his child's birth certificate to be named as the father to CMS. All biological non-resident parents are responsible by law for paying towards the day-to-day financial care of their child regardless. If your husband wants to claim parental responsibility for his child, then please see link here . If your husband disputes his parentage, then please see link here . Your income is not counted when assessing child maintenance, as you are not deemed responsible for supporting your husband's child financially.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Jun-18 @ 9:22 AM
My husband has a 9 year with his ex partner. He has been giving his ex money based on our calculations using this webpage. But he isn't on the birth certificate. Every time he mentions it she stops contact. Where does he stand with paying maintenance while not being on the birth certificate. Also is my income taking into consideration when working out child support?
Mistified - 10-Jun-18 @ 9:24 AM
Ger - Your Question:
Hi we separated to my partner and we have 3childrens,eldest will be in first year high school this August and second in5class and youngest 5y old.their father is earning the same as me 1700 monthly but according to him he can only give 200 euro per month for the three.is this enough?coz he said if I ask more than that he prepare to go home to the country where he lives or he prepares to go to jail bcoz he dont want to work hard just to pay for child support.would he be exempted if ever he will run away?

Our Response:
If you and your ex live in the UK, then the basic rate paid via CMS for one child, they will pay 12% of their gross weekly income, two children, 16% and three or more children, they will pay 19% of their gross weekly income. If you have a family-based child maintenance arrangement, then a figure can be negotiated between you. If your ex decides to leave the country, there is a The Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit that can help to register and enforce child maintenance orders internationally. However, this only applies to certain countries, you can find the list via the gov.uk link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-May-18 @ 12:57 PM
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