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How Much Will I Have To Pay?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 19 Feb 2017 |
 
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 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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[Add a Comment]
Orphy - Your Question:
I have a daughter with a UK resident and in almost 3years now I haven't heard from him. All attempts to reach him has proven futile. I lost my job and it's been really tough for us. I live with my daughter in Ghana and he leaves in the UK. Please advise on how I could get him to pay for the child support. Thanks

Our Response:
The Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit helps to register and enforce child maintenance orders internationally, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Feb-17 @ 11:16 AM
I have a daughter with a UK resident and in almost 3years now I haven't heard from him. All attempts to reach him has proven futile. I lost my job and it's been really tough for us. I live with my daughter in Ghana and he leaves in the UK. Please advise on how I could get him to pay for the child support. Thanks
Orphy - 19-Feb-17 @ 12:12 PM
Under shared care - who pays for childcare etc on the non resident parents days? My understanding us that a lower amount of maintenance is paid as costs will be incurred however I receive the lowest rate of maintenance and pay for everything including childcare on his days. Is that right? I can't find an answer to this anywhere.
Anon123 - 15-Feb-17 @ 9:10 PM
nat - Your Question:
My ex husband is a company director of a family buisness which is very successful he earns around 3500 /4000 a month with two large diverdans a year we have a 9 year old son who lives with mevstaysc1 night a week at his dad's he pays me 700 a month would I be better off claiming csa

Our Response:
You can find out how much he should be paying via the CMS calculator via the link here. However, much depends upon how much income your ex declares to the HMRC, which (given expenses) can often be quite different to what you assume he is earning. As CMS assesses each cased based on the non-resident parent's earnings, this can either go in your favour, or you may realise you are better off financially in a family-based child maintenance arrangement.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Feb-17 @ 10:02 AM
Tb51 - Your Question:
I earn £52k a year and have my youngest daughter (15) 7 nights / nine days per fortnight. I gave her £50k from the house and 8 years of my pension. We were together 16 years.My ex has remarried and they both workI pay my ex £250 per month. It was £500 before my eldest turned 18.This seems excessive. Is it correct?

Our Response:
You can double check via the CMS calculator here .
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Feb-17 @ 3:04 PM
How can it be right that the payments are calculated PRE-tax.. But then I am having to pay those amounts POST-tax? Because of this. I am actually paying MORE each month, even though I have recently had a child with my new partner. This is surely going to impact on what I can afford care wise for my child that is living with me, yet the CMO don't seem to take this into account?? If the amounts were deducted PRE-tax (like pension payments) then this would have less of a hit on my actual take home earnings.. I just can't get my head around it! I have always payed for my child and always will.. But I have to care for my other child too, and that includes paying for the house that he lives in!
Craig - 13-Feb-17 @ 2:26 PM
My ex husband is a company director of a family buisness which is very successful he earns around 3500 /4000 a month with two large diverdans a year we have a 9 year old son who lives with mevstaysc1 night a week at his dad's he pays me 700 a month would I be better off claiming csa
nat - 13-Feb-17 @ 5:09 AM
I earn £52k a year and have my youngest daughter (15) 7 nights / nine days per fortnight. I gave her £50k from the house and 8 years of my pension. We were together 16 years. My ex has remarried and they both work I pay my ex £250 per month. It was £500 before my eldest turned 18. This seems excessive. Is it correct?
Tb51 - 12-Feb-17 @ 9:32 PM
Kate - Your Question:
Hi I have one child to my ex partner, he works on average 40 hours per week. He also has a child to another partner. Neither of he children live with him. Is two calculations needed? Or is it the amount of 2 children then divided the amount we would receive? And what percentage would it be, or what should he be paying to provide for his child? Thank you

Our Response:
You can find out via the gov.uk link here and here. I hope this helps answer your question.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Feb-17 @ 11:54 AM
Hi I have one child to my ex partner, he works on average 40 hours per week. He also has a child to another partner. Neither of he children live with him. Is two calculations needed? Or is it the amount of 2 children then divided the amount we would receive? And what percentage would it be, or what should he be paying to provide for his child? Thank you
Kate - 5-Feb-17 @ 5:42 PM
My partners ex wife moved away to Isle of Man with his daughter and he has to pay for travel each month when he visits should this reduce his maintenance? He always pays all her travel costs when she visit during the school holidays should that be right
Sarahwhitton - 3-Feb-17 @ 11:27 PM
My ex had my child 2 nights week. He pay 60 pound monthly. He works 10 hours weeklycleaning job but has security badge but can afford the gym brand new Xbox go out with his new girl friend but hardly has anything to do with my child while she there as his parents deal with her. He doesnt pay rent to parents. Should he be paying more And not have any contact give up his rights on her and leave it all to me and my husband to be
Melv - 3-Feb-17 @ 5:49 PM
Alexander - Your Question:
I now have custody of my 10 year old son. Me ex is on incapacity benefit and does not work. Can I claim maintenance from her? It is not the money but the principal of the it all as she was always quick to ask me for extra money while he resided with her. Now boot on other foot and says she is not entitled to pay me anything

Our Response:
You may be able to claim the flat rate of £7 per week if your ex wife is in receipt of incapacity benefit, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Feb-17 @ 12:51 PM
I now have custody of my 10 year old son. Me ex is on incapacity benefit and does not work. Can I claim maintenance from her? It is not the money but the principal of the it all as she was always quick to ask me for extra money while he resided with her. Now boot on other foot and says she is not entitled to pay me anything
Alexander - 2-Feb-17 @ 3:12 PM
Lizzie - Your Question:
Does the CSA take into account Private School Fee's when assessing a claim? My ex boyfriend feels that as he pays my sons school fees (his choice, I would be happy for him to go to state school) he shouldn't be liable for any other expenses and refuses to give income details. Can you advise please?

Our Response:
You can still claim for child maintenance if your son is already established in a school when you split up. You may wish to speak with the Child Maintenance Service directly reagrding this matter, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 30-Jan-17 @ 11:32 AM
Does the CSA take into account Private School Fee's when assessing a claim? My ex boyfriend feels that as he pays my sons school fees (his choice, I would be happy for him to go to state school) he shouldn't be liable for any other expenses and refuses to give income details. Can you advise please?
Lizzie - 29-Jan-17 @ 4:51 PM
My husband has 5 children 2 with 1 mum 2 with another 1 with me the 2 eldest are now Working and out of full time education, (he's no longer paying for them) my question is does the amount he pays mums 2 have to go up ?
bo - 28-Jan-17 @ 4:24 PM
I have a autistic son who is 18 and still at collage so his dad pays me 200 pound a month and moans that he doesn't have enough for himself and his new girlfriend his job is high paid and he has only just put it up after paying 100pound a month
Elaina sargeant - 20-Jan-17 @ 10:59 PM
Caz - Your Question:
Hi my partner pays child mantaince for his 2 kids age 17 and 11 but they come to our house and stay at the weekends should he still be paying this also we pay bedroom tax to accommodate them is that correct as I have 2 kids to him also but don't claim as he stays with us but does not work

Our Response:
Yes, your partner should be paying child maintenance to his children if there is no agreement of shared 50/50 care. With regards to his eldest, 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 the 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 his maintenance payments will continue until his child finishes the course or until they turn 20.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Jan-17 @ 2:42 PM
Hi my partner pays child mantaince for his 2 kids age 17 and 11 but they come to our house and stay at the weekends should he still be paying this also we pay bedroom tax to accommodate them is that correct as I have 2 kids to him also but don't claim as he stays with us but does not work
Caz - 20-Jan-17 @ 7:00 AM
My partner is paying csa for 3 children all to different women. The kids ages are 18, 16 & 11. He doesn't earn the same amount every week so should he still be paying the same amount of csa each week when his wage can sometimes be hundreds less than the previous week??
none - 18-Jan-17 @ 2:35 PM
Boo - Your Question:
I have a son that is 7 years old he's dad pay £90 pound a week to me for our son.sometimes he go on with the money has my son get bigger think cost more money so if like don't have the money left ask him but let was think about going through the children maintenance he never go out he way to see him last have to take my son to my mum's house to my son to see he's father come up from London and mymum live in Warwickshire and l live in Huddersfield he's dad never call our son it is only me that call him for our son can talk to him please can someone help me !

Our Response:
You can check whether you would be paid more or less than the amount currently paid by your ex to support your child via the CMS calculator here.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Jan-17 @ 1:47 PM
MummyOfbeautifulBabi - Your Question:
Hello I have a two year daughter with my ex partner ( her dad obviously) he hasn't paid a Penny for her even though we agreed on a £20 a week payment he said he couldn't pay me until after Christmas so I kindly waited and still nothing ( every time I ask for even a fiver to help he refuses) I wouldn't bother asking but I'm struggling on the money I'm getting and can't keep affording to get loans etc to help me through, I'm just wondering if I was to claim through this how much would I get? He is on roughly £700/£800 benefits a month, only has the one child who he has No contact with and has none in his care or living with him

Our Response:
Please see CMS link here which should help answer your question.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Jan-17 @ 11:20 AM
Hello I have a two year daughter with my ex partner ( her dad obviously) he hasn't paid a Penny for her even though we agreed on a £20 a week payment he said he couldn't pay me until after Christmas so I kindly waited and still nothing( every time I ask for even a fiver to help he refuses) I wouldn't bother asking but I'm struggling on the money I'm getting and can't keep affording to get loans etc to help me through,I'm just wondering if I was to claim through this how much would I get? He is on roughly £700/£800 benefits a month, only has the one child who he has No contact with and has none in his care or living with him
MummyOfbeautifulBabi - 15-Jan-17 @ 10:33 AM
I have a son that is 7 years old he's dad pay £90 pounda week to me for our son .sometimes he go on with the money has my son get biggerthink cost moremoneyso if like don'thave the moneyleft ask him butlet was think about goingthroughthe childrenmaintenancehe nevergo out he way to see him last have to take my son to my mum'shouse to my son to see he's fathercomeup from London and mymumlivein Warwickshireand l livein Huddersfield he'sdad never call our son it is only me that callhimfor our son can talk to him pleasecan someonehelp me !
Boo - 13-Jan-17 @ 11:31 AM
Hiya I've been contacted to pay child maintenance.. my 13yr old daughter doesn't live with her father but it doesn't stop him from claiming csa.. well it seems no one care that my ex is actually committing fraud.. what the hell can I do..If I was working then they could take me to court then I could do something..but im not I'm actually on benefits so they just keep taking money out of my benefits.. the fraud department are investigating it..but the CSA doesn't care the just want my money..it's definitely not going to my daughter..
Miss m - 11-Jan-17 @ 8:18 PM
Janjan - Your Question:
I have a 5 month old son I'm getting child maintenance from his dad but I only received £30.50 per month what do I need to do

Our Response:
Much depends on whether the agreement is a family-based agreement or a CMS organised one. If it is a family-based agreement and you think you should be receiving more, then please see the CMS calculator here.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Jan-17 @ 11:51 AM
I have a 5 month old son I'm getting child maintenance from his dad but I only received £30.50 per month what do I need to do
Janjan - 10-Jan-17 @ 1:29 PM
I have never claimed cms from my childs dad as he has never wanted anything to do with him im making a claim now as he should help he helped make him after all will i get back dated from the day my son was born hes now 4 or the day i claimed?
Charlie - 7-Jan-17 @ 10:57 PM
sharon - Your Question:
I am receiving maintenance which was set by court order for the father to continue payments until the child reaches 18 or finishes higher education whichever is first. My son has gone to university and living in halls so still comes home during holidays and weekends etc. Please could you explain what the requirements are for when I am likely to no longer expect payments for my son? I have seen reports that courts can extend maintenance to cover the duration of higher education if the non resident parent has the ability to cover the costs.Thanks

Our Response:
Child maintenance payments do not naturally extend to university education and only extend to your son's qualifications not being higher than A-level equivalent. Child maintenance payments are aligned to stop once child benefit stops. Yes, child maintenance may be officially extended to cover university, but this would have to be decided by the courts. Of course if your ex wishes to continue to support his son directly (as he is living away from home), that is up to his own discretion. However, as it stands currently, you are in receipt of a benefit you are not entitled to.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Jan-17 @ 12:13 PM
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