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How Much Will I Have To Pay?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 28 Sep 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]
Cinda - Your Question:
Do you work out there earning before or after tax?

Our Response:
We work out the calculations before tax in order to find out how much tax and NI an individual would have to pay.
ChildSupportLaws - 29-Sep-16 @ 12:14 PM
Do you work out there earning before or after tax?
Cinda - 28-Sep-16 @ 11:37 AM
Also what about if he owes from arrears? Will he still have to pay anything from his bursary? Thank you
nat8908 - 24-Sep-16 @ 8:31 PM
My ex partner(32) has just started a full time degree. Before this he was on benefits so I was receiving the flat rate, which is fine. Will I still get the flat rate now as the only money he receives now is his student bursary? Thank you or any advice.
nat8908 - 24-Sep-16 @ 8:21 PM
I am separated from my daughters farther, his name is on the birth certificates and they were born 2011 and 2014, he doesn't pay anything towards them as he is currently receiving benefits and now he is saying he doesn't want to have them anymore he keeps changing his mind when he does have them, he used to have them two days a week over night now he is changing this or saying not at all, I don't want my kids not seeing thier dad as they idolise him but he is doing this to try and hurt me. Where do I stand on this ?
Pip - 23-Sep-16 @ 3:59 PM
I'm British and living in England. My ex wife is American and has moved to India with my son. She is financed by her millionaire parents and on divorce we sold the house with her taking over half the equity and all its contents. Informally, we agreed it was a clean break. Now wants child maintenance from me. Can she use the UK Courts as an American in India?
Barry - 23-Sep-16 @ 1:33 PM
ExpatDad - Your Question:
Once our divorce and settlement/maintenance agreement was made an order of the court in South Africa (we were married in SA), my ex wife and children relocated back to the UK to settle. As the non-resident parent, I have adhered to our maintenance agreement since it's inception but now that I have remarried and returned to the UK, my ex wife is wanting to approach the UK Government to increase my maintenance obligations, because she feels I can afford to pay more now that I am earning in Pounds. Our maintenance agreement specifically catered for the option that if I chose to return to the UK, I would continue to pay the Pound equivalent of the Rand value to her, which I have continued to do. My question is this: If we have a South African maintenance agreement in place, that we have both signed and agreed to, which I am also adhering to, will the UK Government be able to implement and enforce an new maintenance plan to increase my payments to suit her?

Our Response:
If circumstances have changed (which they obviously have) then your ex can ask for a variation to the order in the UK, based upon those changes.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Sep-16 @ 9:52 AM
Once our divorce and settlement/maintenance agreement was made an order of the court in South Africa (we were married in SA), my ex wife and children relocated back to the UK to settle.As the non-resident parent, I have adhered to our maintenance agreement since it's inception but now that I have remarried and returned to the UK, my ex wife is wanting to approach the UK Government to increase my maintenance obligations, because she feels I can afford to pay more now that I am earning in Pounds.Our maintenance agreement specifically catered for the option that if I chose to return to the UK, I would continue to pay the Pound equivalent of the Rand value to her, which I have continued to do.My question is this:If we have a South African maintenance agreement in place, that we have both signed and agreed to, which I am also adhering to, will the UK Government be able to implement and enforce an new maintenance plan to increase my payments to suit her?
ExpatDad - 31-Aug-16 @ 9:27 AM
Hello I have a child with my ex partner and I have him three nights a week every week plus six full weeks a year holidays.I buy all his cloths and all his school uniform.I also have to buy extra things for my home due to my sons disabilities which my ex gets benefits for.Now she is asking me for money even though I sometimes have my child more nights than she does.
Kev - 26-Aug-16 @ 6:37 PM
jo - Your Question:
My ex husband is now getting maintenance payments from me after threatening to "get messy" as I had started divorce proceedings against him. I don't have any contact with my daughter (not seen or heard anything for nine months) he will not encourage her to have anything to do with me or my whole family (this is a due to him gradually brainwashing my daughter) I'm just wondering why I'm even paying this as he has totally deleted me from her life, but us happy to take my money.

Our Response:
As with every non-resident parent, by law you are responsible for paying towards the day-to-day care of your child. Child maintenance and child access are two separate issues, meaning you still have to pay maintenance regardless of whether you see her or not. If you wish to apply for access to your daughter, then you can do this through court.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Aug-16 @ 1:45 PM
My ex husband is now getting maintenancepayments from me after threatening to "get messy" as I had started divorce proceedings against him. I don't have any contact with my daughter (not seen or heard anything for nine months) he will not encourage her to have anything to do with me or my whole family (this is a due to him gradually brainwashing my daughter) I'm just wondering why I'm even paying this as he has totally deleted me from her life, but us happy to take my money.
jo - 21-Aug-16 @ 11:55 PM
Weach - Your Question:
My son lives with me and see's his dad twice a week. He has been paying maintenance since he was about 2 years old. His dad is self employed but has quite a lot of money does very well. Our son is about to start private school (full fee paying place as suggested by his father). His father has now cancelled all maintenance payments to me and says this is because of his schooling. Any advice?

Our Response:
You don't say if you have a family-based arrangement, if so there is little you can do except to contact the CMS and see whether you can claim child maintenance on top of the school fees, or suggest mediation to your ex as a way of trying to resolve the issue. Legal advice would be another option as much depends on the situation and whether your ex has taken an executive decision and not consulted you (as the other parent with PR) that maintenance would be stopped.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Aug-16 @ 2:11 PM
My son lives with me and see's his dad twice a week.He has been paying maintenance since he was about 2 years old.His dad is self employed but has quite a lot of money does very well.Our son is about to start private school (full fee paying place as suggested by his father).His father has now cancelled all maintenance payments to me and says this is because of his schooling.Any advice?
Weach - 10-Aug-16 @ 3:32 PM
Hi, I have a son with my ex partner to whome i have never been married too. I have always financially supported my son, by paying trough the child support agency, now called child maintainance agency. The calculation has been made based on myP60. I recently sold a flat and as a resultI have made some capital gain, can you please clarify if my ex partner is in title to receive 15% of the income made? In addition can you pleas explain if my ex partner was in title to receive additional contribution for a rental income of the flat I previously owned?
Ado - 30-Jul-16 @ 3:11 PM
Hi, I have a son with my ex partner to whome i have never been married too. I have always financially supported my son, by paying trough the child support agency, now called child maintainance agency. The calculation has been made based on myP60. I recently sold a flat and as a resultI have made some capital gain, can you please clarify if my ex partner is in title to receive 15% of the income made? In addition can you pleas explain if my ex partner was in title to receive additional contribution for a rental income of the flat I previously owned? Kind regards Adolfo
Ado - 30-Jul-16 @ 3:02 PM
Hi,I've just started working and I have a zero hours contract my ex is being awkward over private payments,I've been looking at the CSA website for information on how much I will have to pay on a zero hours contract but it's not very helpful,any ideas thank you
Outlaw - 14-Jul-16 @ 8:23 PM
Or, more importantly than my comment below, why is the number of nights a fixed number on here and wide bands on the guide I mentioned below. Thanks again.
Paul - 12-Jul-16 @ 8:54 PM
Hi, Why is the information presented here different from that in the CMS guide called "How we work out child maintenance" found on the .gov.uk site? Your site states 15% of my NET weekly income and the guide says 12% of my TAXABLE GROSS weekly income. Both give two different answers and if you use the calculator found on both websites I get a third, even higher number. Thanks.
Paul - 12-Jul-16 @ 8:38 PM
Bob - Your Question:
Hi iv been paying my ex child maintenance since we split up mutual agreement but she keeps requesting more and the money I have been giving is not going on the kids it gets spent on hair make up nails ectI have my children 3 weekends out off for and bank holidays and 3 weeks threw the yea and my ex don't feed clean or cloth my children properly they get pot noodle for dinner or cake and crisps or takeaway most off their clothing is to small for them she tells them she hates kids they get a bath/shower every 3 days what can I do seems to be a loosing battle wich I won't give up on

Our Response:
There is only so much your ex can demand in a family-based child maintenance agreement and if that amount is more than requested through the CMS, then it may be an option to set your ceiling through its level which can be accessed via the CMS calculator link here. There are no rules to specify what your ex is spending the money you contribute to your children on, as it may go towards unseen things such as gas, electricity and water bills and general keeping a roof over your childrens' heads. If you think your children are being neglected then you would need to seek legal advice regarding this.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Jul-16 @ 1:48 PM
Hi iv been paying my ex child maintenance since we split up mutual agreement but she keeps requesting more and the money I have been giving is not going on the kids it gets spent on hair make up nails ect I have my children 3 weekends out off for and bank holidays and 3 weeks threw the yea and my ex don't feed clean or cloth my children properly they get pot noodle for dinner or cake and crisps or takeaway most off their clothing is to small for them she tells them she hates kids they get a bath/shower every 3 days what can I do seems to be a loosing battle wich I won't give up on
Bob - 5-Jul-16 @ 7:52 PM
Hi, My daughter is 19 later on this year & has been at college for full time course in Beauty & has been accepted for full time Level 2 Hairdressing this year. Her dad has paid maintenance willingly at slightly less than 15% for her(no other children involved on either side) but has all of a sudden halved it with no prior notice. Can he do this?
Anniexxx - 1-Jul-16 @ 11:48 AM
T - Your Question:
Hi, I am the non-resident parent and the mother lives in Switzerland (And is Swiss). She is asking for a lot of money but if she gets what she wants then it means I will be financially inable to see my child ever. Is there a specific calculator or department that assists with such matters?The UK calculators probably don't factor in air cost and hotel costs for visitations of child abroad, as I want to see my child as much as possible.Thank you,

Our Response:
If you’re the parent paying maintenance, and you have to pay travel costs or expenses, you may be entitled to apply for a variation. If your application is accepted, the CMS will make a new maintenance calculation, based on your gross income, less these expenses, please see CAB link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Jul-16 @ 10:07 AM
Hi, I am the non-resident parent and the mother lives in Switzerland (And is Swiss). She is asking for a lot of money but if she gets what she wants then it means I will be financially inable to see my child ever. Is there a specific calculator or department that assists with such matters? The UK calculators probably don't factor in air cost and hotel costs for visitations of child abroad, as I want to see my child as much as possible. Thank you,
T - 30-Jun-16 @ 10:09 AM
Hi my ex currently earns £5000 a week.I understand that the maintenence cap is at £2000.Do the CSA ever take this into account? He left us with absolutely nothing?He took the family car, demanded that me and the children move or is the rented property we lived in together.I had to borrow money from family and friends to move, buy some second hand furniture, rental deposit..... Initially he gave an overpayment which he insisted on even though I had repeatedly told him that he wasn't paying the correct amount.But he wanted to pay less per month and a larger amount at the beginning.He refuses any firm of communication apart from through a solicitor which I currently pay for.He has said that he will reclaim the overpayment if I ever contact him directly.I have adhered to this because I believe he would just stop the payments. I work part time in a school as this fits around the children, but the nursery fees well exceed my pay.I do get government help with this and they pay up to 75%. He does not have any contact with the children. Would the CSA ever consider awarding a proportion of his actual earnings rather then capping the amount at nursery 40% of his earnings.
Julie - 28-Jun-16 @ 9:12 PM
Hi my ex currently earns £5000 a week.I understand that the maintenence cap is at £2000.Do the CSA ever take this into account? He left us with absolutely nothing?He took the family car, demanded that me and the children move or is the rented property we lived in together.I had to borrow money from family and friends to move, buy some second hand furniture, rental deposit..... Initially he gave an overpayment which he insisted on even though I had repeatedly told him that he wasn't paying the correct amount.But he wanted to pay less per month and a larger amount at the beginning.He refuses any firm of communication apart from through a solicitor which I currently pay for.He has said that he will reclaim the overpayment if I ever contact him directly.I have adhered to this because I believe he would just stop the payments. I work part time in a school as this fits around the children, but the nursery fees well exceed my pay.I do get government help with this and they pay up to 75%. He does not have any contact with the children. Would the CSA ever consider awarding a proportion of his actual earnings rather then capping the amount at nursery 40% of his earnings.
Julie - 28-Jun-16 @ 8:54 PM
Frank - Your Question:
Hi my child will be 20 in November, I have been the absent parent and paying maintenance. However, my child has moved in with me due to poor relationship with my ex how do I go about stopping payments - I usually pay to the csa.

Our Response:
You should call the CSA directly and report the change in circumstances, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Jun-16 @ 2:06 PM
Hi my child will be 20 in November, I have been the absent parent and paying maintenance. However, my child has moved in with me due to poor relationship with my ex how do I go about stopping payments - I usually pay to the csa.
Frank - 26-Jun-16 @ 11:55 PM
For self employed people.what is included as an reasonable business expense, eg would csatake into account a personal loan which was used to purchase a work vehicle? .
john - 13-Jun-16 @ 11:29 AM
debstet - Your Question:
I would like to know if my husband has to pay more if he has worked over time for the last 6 week's.?? He has worked 7 days and is getting a big payout at the end of the month can I claim more than the£57 a week for two children.

Our Response:
You would have to contact the CMS regarding this.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Jun-16 @ 10:32 AM
I would like to know if my husband has to pay more if he has worked over time for the last 6 week's.?? He has worked 7 days and is getting a big payout at the end of the month can I claim more than the£57 a week for two children.
debstet - 8-Jun-16 @ 11:54 AM
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