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: 2 May 2016 |
 
How Much Child Support Csa Parent Rate

What is child maintenance? Child maintenance is financial support that helps towards your child's everyday living expenses and is paid on a regular basis. The parent to pay the 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, to the parent that 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. We give a break down of the general rates and payments below.

Types of maintenance arrangement

There are two main ways to arrange child maintenance:
  • Family-Arrangement Maintenance
  • Child Support Agency Maintenance

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 Child Support Agency (CSA).

How is child maintenance calculated?

The CSA calculates maintenance, whilst taking into account several factors. The CSA calculates payment by applying one of four rates to the non-resident parent's net weekly income. This income includes earnings from employment, pensions and some benefits after paying National Insurance, income tax and any contributions to a pension scheme.

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

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

Basic rate

If a non-resident parent earns £200 or more per week, the CSA calculates the amount of maintenance they should pay as a percentage of their net weekly income. For one child, this is 15%, for two children this is 20% and for three or more children it is 25%.

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 immediately. If you are paying less than you should be then your child could suffer. Additionally, if the CSA 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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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Lisad54 - Your Question:
My son has one cild and has him minimum of three to five nights a week and pays£240 a month should he ask for this to be reviewed?

Our Response:
Unless the circumstances have changed in either your son's wage, or the amount of time is sees his child then there is no need to notify the CMS as it will conduct an annual review, please see link here. Please also see linkhere. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-May-16 @ 12:22 PM
My son has one cild and has him minimum of three to five nights a week and pays£240 a month should he ask for this to be reviewed?
Lisad54 - 2-May-16 @ 6:58 PM
My daughters dad lives with his parents has a good job and pays nothing.. What % will Csa deduct from him if I go through them
Confused mum - 30-Apr-16 @ 4:56 PM
Jue- Your Question:
My 13 child has gone to live with her dad. I come out of work with £ 1200.00 per month. My bills without food or fuel come to £1039.61 how much maintenance should I pay?

Our Response:
Please see CMO link here which should help you further.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Apr-16 @ 12:41 PM
My 13 child has gone to live with her dad. I come out of work with £ 1200.00 per month.My bills without food or fuel come to £1039.61 how much maintenance should I pay?
Jue - 17-Apr-16 @ 2:08 PM
Bobby - Your Question:
Hi I am wondering if a resident parent'so income is taken into account when calculating child maintenance?Thanks in advance.

Our Response:
You can see more fully what is taken into account via the CMS link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Apr-16 @ 12:01 PM
egg - Your Question:
Hi,I'm a single parent to one child,who only just makes ends meet.I am getting married this year to a guy who pays regular maintenance to 2 of his own children. When we are married is his ex entitled to any of my income?

Our Response:
No, your income if your own and you are not financially responsible for your husband's children.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Apr-16 @ 2:50 PM
Hi I am wondering if a resident parent'so income is taken into account whencalculating child maintenance? Thanks in advance.
Bobby - 6-Apr-16 @ 2:50 PM
Hi,I'm a single parent to one child,who only just makes ends meet.I am getting married this year to a guy who pays regular maintenance to 2 of his own children. When we are married is his ex entitled to any of my income?
egg - 5-Apr-16 @ 10:43 PM
Antonis - Your Question:
My salary is 1.139 per month. I am paying towards maitebance to my children litlle bit more £240. Since last month though, I have a new-born. How much money I have to pay now,because it is very difficult for me to cope like doing overtimes to cover the expence or something of that short,becauae me and my girlfriend we both work and we dont have parents.

Our Response:
Having another child will affect how much you pay. You can see how much you should be paying via the link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 31-Mar-16 @ 2:21 PM
My salary is 1.139 per month. I am paying towards maitebance to my children litlle bit more £240. Since last month though, i have a new-born. How much money i have to pay now,because it is very difficult for me to cope like doing overtimes to cover the expence or something of that short,becauae me and my girlfriend we both work and we dont have parents....
Antonis - 30-Mar-16 @ 10:14 PM
My ex has our children 150 nights per year and he pays 270 a month. Recently he has had a huge pay rise and refuses to pay any more, also my oldest son refuses to stay with him now.Does this mean he needs to pay more?
Lee - 26-Mar-16 @ 11:24 AM
I have a son with my ex and he has a daughter with another ex. He is paying us both £55 a week in maintenance. I've checked the csa calculator and the amount he has to pay is £114 a week. Is this between us or each?
Annoyed parent - 26-Mar-16 @ 7:48 AM
confused - Your Question:
Hi my 1 year olds father is working two self employed jobs , 1 he gets between £180/280 per week and sometimes more and the other job he get £1100 a month. He gives me 20 a week and sometimes 80 it depends but from we broke up he would only give me buttons if im lucky as his excuse is he needs money for travel. He has a daughter in a different relationship that he doesnt pay for as the mother moved the child to england. When I told him I was getting csa involed he said I would only get £30 pound a week if lucky im just wondering how much actually would I get for my daughter. I have her full tine on my own as he comes to visit her wen he feel like it.

Our Response:
It's a very tricky situation if your ex is self-employed as there are certain ways in which he can avoid declaring too much income to the HMRC, please see CMS calculator here which can give you an approximate breakdown. You can also call one of its advisers who will help further.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Mar-16 @ 12:47 PM
Hi my 1 year olds father is working two self employed jobs , 1 he gets between £180/280 per week and sometimes more and the other job he get £1100 a month. He gives me 20 a week and sometimes 80 it depends but from we broke up he would only give me buttons if im lucky as his excuse is he needs money for travel. He has a daughter in a different relationship that he doesnt pay for as the mother moved the child to england. When i told him i was getting csa involed he said i would only get £30 pound a week if lucky im just wondering how much actually would i get for my daughter. I have her full tine on my own as he comes to visit her wen he feel like it.
confused - 15-Mar-16 @ 9:44 PM
Hi. My ex husband and i share custody of our now 11 year old daughter and she lives with him the majority of the time because at the time of our split i was working full time and he wasnt at all, it was the better option. Now i am in snother relationship and ive had another child i do not work and my exhusband does, but the living situation is still the same as he refuses to acknowlege that our daughter wants to live with me now. I havent been at work since july 2014 and i finished my mat leave in may 2015 after deciding not to return to work. I received a letter from the csa stating that i owe £1058 in missed payments even though i am unemployed, not claiming a penny in benefits and in the whole of 2015 she was with me over night for 153 nights. I am positive i called to tell them if my change of circumstances and im worried they are gona send balifs in for my belongings to pay what they say i owe. I bend over backwards to accomodate my exhusbands needs, in the 4 and a half years that we have been split he has only brought her to my house 3 times, even when i was 8 months pregnant in the middle of August i had to walk 3 miles to pick her up and walk her home because he wouldnt even meet me half way never mind bring her to me. He owes me money that he refuses to pay and claims all the benefits he can aswell as work. She wants to live with me midweek and with him weekends but refuses to even speak to her about it, she is afraid of speaking up incase she "hurts his feelings". If I have to pay a fine then ok, thats fine but i havent been working and surely dont owe anything.... Im very frustrated and feel like im being treated unfairly.
Tasha - 13-Mar-16 @ 11:05 PM
Hi I pay £30 per week to cms as I'm on a low wage. She doesn't think its enough, she thinks I should pay for after school fees and holiday clubs. I have my son on average two days a week and alternate weekends. She is now taking me to court which I'm very worried about it as I can't afford to pay anymore.I thought if the the cms were involved and have come with a figure that I shouldn't have to go to court. I also have never missed a payment. Could you shed some light on this please and tell where I stand on this situation. Thankyou
Stevo - 7-Mar-16 @ 6:53 PM
Life - Your Question:
Hi thereI've 3 kids and my ex paying me £309 through csa every month. My ex is self employed & got two fantastic famous Restaurant, the restaurant is busy all the time but when he told csa he minimise his income to £1,200 a month. I know he is lying but how can the CSA will find out? Do you think they can check his bussiness statement or other thing to find out the truth? Any help pls let me know.

Our Response:
I'm afraid there is little you can do if the HMRC verify his accounts. It is a problem that many parents face when attempting to claim child maintenance from the self-employed ex, as it is very difficult to prove.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Feb-16 @ 12:51 PM
Hi there I've 3 kids and my ex paying me £309 through csa every month. My ex is self employed & got two fantastic famous Restaurant,the restaurant is busy all the time but when he told csa he minimise his income to £1,200 a month . I know he is lying but how can the CSA will find out? Do you think they can check his bussiness statement or other thing to find out the truth? Any help pls let me know.
Life - 24-Feb-16 @ 10:06 AM
Mige - Your Question:
I am a father of 2 children who remarried after my first wife and mother of our children split, I have since split with my second wife and now live alone in a rented property. I earn about £1200 a month have rent and bills to pay as well as food to live ! And csa take from me £456.99 a month ! Surely this can't be right ? I'm struggling to live as my csa payment is more than my rent ! Any advice ??

Our Response:
You can check how much you should be paying via the CMS calculator here. However, if you have fallen into arrears, the CSA or CMS can aim to collect all the arrears within two years and may ask you pay up to 40% of your income, depending on your circumstances and other financial commitments. If you think this arrangement is unfair and you're struggling financially, then you should prepare a financial statement which you can use to show what you can't afford and what you can afford to pay. You can take this up via the CSA/CMS complaints and appeals, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Feb-16 @ 12:07 PM
By the way my son is 18 and we have only recently got back in touch with each other my daughter is 13 and not seen her in over 12 months ! All of this sounds like I'm in the wrong with all of this but it's not the case at all ! I've tried and tried for both of them to contact me but they just just don't !! Maybe it's there mum or I just don't know ??
Mige - 9-Feb-16 @ 8:01 PM
I am a father of 2 children who remarried after my first wife and mother of our children split, I have since split with my second wife and now live alone in a rented property . I earn about £1200 a month have rent and bills to pay as well as food to live ! And csa take from me £456.99 a month ! Surely this can't be right ? I'm struggling to live as my csa payment is more than my rent ! Any advice ??
Mige - 9-Feb-16 @ 7:45 PM
arnie - Your Question:
Have I been too good? friends say I am over generous. Have not lived at home for eight years but close by so see my two daughters four five times a week.taxi to and fro etc. No great animosity between me and wife & my concern is whilst at school my two daughters have a stable life and are secure. I moved out of family home a nice four bed house big garden etc and moved into a bedsit..quite content as not materialistic. I work pretty much 6 days a week self employed. I pay all family home mortgage / bills / pay for wife's car buy children's computers even car for 17 year old's birthday and am happy to do so.As both children are now close to university / leaving full time education would like to know when I can step down a bit. Whilst kids were at school my wife worked part time [10hrs a week] and I'd like her to step up a bit but as friends say she aint going to cos you are just too soft. Would like to know what my legal fiscal duties are when daughters are 16 and 18.Thanks

Our Response:
While some people are content to make sure they provide for their family, (although perhaps not your ex) others do the opposite. Every parent has the basic responsibility to provide for their child 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 child chooses 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 maintenance payments will continue until your child finishes the course (or turns 20, whichever comes first). You can stop paying child maintenance when child benefit is stopped. On another note, once your child reaches an age where they are more self-sufficient i.e aged 16 (if not at home) or 18, then you will be able to request your ex to sell the house, and financially split the asset, as it is no longer considered a family home. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Feb-16 @ 2:09 PM
Have I been too good? friends say I am over generous. Have not lived at home for eight years but close by so see my two daughters four five times a week. ...taxi to and fro etc. No great animosity between me and wife & my concern is whilst at school my two daughters have a stable life and are secure. I moved out of family home a nice four bed house big garden etc and moved into a bedsit..........quite content as not materialistic.. I work pretty much 6 days a week self employed . I pay all family home mortgage / bills / pay for wife's car buy children's computers even car for 17 year old's birthday and am happy to do so....As both children are now close to university / leaving full time education would like to know when I can step down a bit. Whilst kids were at school my wife worked part time [10hrs a week] and I'd like her to step up a bit but as friendssay she aint going to cos you are just too soft. Wouldlike to know what my legal fiscal duties are when daughters are 16 and 18. Thanks
arnie - 9-Feb-16 @ 9:36 AM
georgia1 - Your Question:
HiI divorced my husband after our daughter was born three months premature via an emergency cesarean and he refused to help financially whilst I was off work (I was a contractor at the time), so much so that I returned to work just two weeks later whilst our daughter was in hospital for a year.Whilst working, I got the job substantively and never took any maternity leave (unpaid) when our daughter did come home. I carried on working.He still refused to help financially - he was living in the house I bought prior to meeting him.I then sold the house and bought another one that was a real family home all out of my money with not a penny from him - and it is only my name on the mortgage.I then paid for the divorce after I uncovered him having an affair. He walked away with what he came with - nothing and did not request a share of the house - even though I could prove he never contributed to purchasing it or paying for it.I agreed he could keep his pension.He agreed to pay £50/week into our daughter's bank account by way of maintenance.However - should he be contributing more due to fact I pay the mortgage tp keep a roof over her head (£1000/month)all the bills, childcare fees as I work full-time, sport club fees for our daughter, music tuition and additional support due to additional educational requirements due to our daughter being premature.We have no communication so this is not something I can broach with this man, who is unreasonable at best of times, snd who has only ever said '£50/week is more than CSA would give you'.He has also decided not to see his daughter for almost the past year as has not texted to confirm he will see her during the day one Saturday (he has never had her overnight, has refused). We don't know where he lives but believe he may still work for the same company and he may have got re-married.Any advice you can give would be appreciated.Best wishes Any advice you can

Our Response:
I think in this case I would have a word with the CMS here. You can speak with someone confidentially about the matter. While the CMS would prefer you to sort out your finances between you in a family-based arrangement, which is what you have in place already, it may be your ex is earning more and therefore would be eligible to pay more.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Feb-16 @ 2:51 PM
Hi I divorced my husband after our daughter was born three months premature via an emergency cesarean and he refused to help financially whilst I was off work (I was a contractor at the time), so much so that I returned to work just two weeks later whilst our daughter was in hospital for a year. Whilst working, I got the job substantively and never took any maternity leave (unpaid) when our daughter did come home. I carried on working. He still refused to help financially - he was living in the house I bought prior to meeting him. I then sold the house and bought another one that was a real family home all out of my money with not a penny from him - and it is only my name on the mortgage. I then paid for the divorce after I uncovered him having an affair. He walked away with what he came with - nothing and did not request a share of the house - even though I could prove he never contributed to purchasing it or paying for it. I agreed he could keep his pension. He agreed to pay£50/week into our daughter's bank account by way of maintenance. However - should he be contributing more due to fact I pay the mortgage tp keep a roof over her head (£1000/month)all the bills, childcare fees as I work full-time, sport club fees for our daughter, music tuition and additional support due to additional educational requirements due to our daughter being premature. We have no communication so this is not something I can broach with this man, who is unreasonable at best of times, snd who has only ever said '£50/week is more than CSA would give you'. He has also decided not to see his daughter for almost the past year as has not texted to confirm he will see her during the day one Saturday(he has never had her overnight, has refused). We don't know where he lives but believe he may still work for the same company and he may have got re-married. Any advice you can give would be appreciated. Best wishes Any advice you can
georgia1 - 3-Feb-16 @ 4:10 AM
Hi there, my partner moved out recently, we have always paid 50% of mortgage, bills, food etc out of our joint account.He has said he will continue to pay his share of mortgage and bills but no longer pay any food and other costs.Am I entitled to some form of maintenance payment for our son who lives with me?
rugbymum - 31-Jan-16 @ 3:14 PM
My situation is incredibly bad, I split with a woman after a brief relationship,everything she had told to snare me was lies when I tried to amicably end things with her she announced she was pregnant and immediately set out on a massive hate and slander campaign, I went to the police 6 times in October 2014 and even done a statement on the 5th of November but the police seemed completely uninterested in helping, on the 6th of November the police shared an appeal and description for a sex attack that happened not far from my home (which apparently occurred 29th of September 2014) I will add at this point I was still in a relationship with said women and have evidence to prove I was with her that evening. On the 6th of November she uploaded Kate perrys dark horse a song about revenge to her Facebook pagewith the words 'so flipping true' and a winking emoji face. I saw the post at time via a fake id set up to monitor the online slander and wondered what the psycho had done next.......I was to find out the next day, 2 plain clothes officers were repeatedly knocking my door so I went and answered, my first words were...this is to do with (name withheld) the officers immediately lied with 'no can we come in'frightened I let them in on which they announced they were arresting me for rape on a 13 yr old girl i cannot describe how awful the next 24 hours were, upon my release (the victim didn't pick me out of id parade which obviously she wouldn't when I was only there as an act of revenge) I tried to file a complaint against the woman for maliciously diverting an investigation but they refused to listen and still had the nerve to bail me on original charge to my home address where I lived in sheer terror whilst filing multiple complaints against the force. All the while the woman's online harassment of threats and slander continued but as now I was a suspected 'rapist' officers would not even come to look at evidence. The first investigation revealed multiple facts and also the error that caused my arrest. Basically the anonymous crime stoppers line has certain measures to rule out what's. Malicious and what is possibly good info. The arresting officers acted without checking any background they offered an apology and a feeble amount of compo and stated that the women won't be investigated as they can't say she made the call it's a loophole in the system I have battled and battled the police over this to no avail corruption is rife in this force protecting there precious hotline is more important than prosecuting a dangerous sociopath. Even the police believed the child she was carrying was not mine but she contacted csa 3 months after he was born and I paid for a DNA test..,. To my absolute astonishment it turns out to be mine,although someone I knew had met this women in hospital and in there she was telling everyone the father was a nightclub doorman so it makes sense why she was so hell bent on destroying me as she doubted I was the
Jim - 16-Jan-16 @ 8:48 PM
Hi, me and my daughters father are separated and we both can't decide on days for him to have her as he thinks picking her up from nursery at 5 and not bring her home till 8oclock at night sometimes with her tea in a cardboard box from macdonalds is acceptable baring in mind she's has to be up in for nursery in the morning! At the moment he has her every other Saturday (4 times a month) and doesn't pay me any child maintenance at all! He is now wanting to take me to court and get half custody! What will have happen?
Charley - 15-Jan-16 @ 2:09 PM
I have recently stopped communication with my sons dad and am concerned about the arrangement we have had in the past and how it will continue. I have never lived with my sons father and for 8 years he has payed my£150 per month. I did not challenge this as i did not want to rock the boat but nowi realise i have been under paid as for 6 of those years he earned 45,000 net. Can i claim retrospectivly for the shortfall? Also, now he is earning a wage form a group run by a group of trustees. Will this effect my claim in terms of direct from wages as he is not employed by a 'company' but a community group? Also, the rest of his income is from occupational pensions. Will this count as earnings and can i claim direct from this too? with thanks
jo - 9-Jan-16 @ 5:45 AM
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