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How Much Will I Have To Pay?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 27 Nov 2016 |
 
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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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Tony - Your Question:
I am confused, I used to pay via CSA for my child maintenance to my x wife but they have told me they don't look after it anymore. Since all of this happened I have lost my job, got another job 25k less than before. I know that income is on gross salary amount now. What I am confused is that some places suggested that I should paid 16% of my weekly gross salary up to £800pw and 12 % on the remaining weekly amount-( I have 2 children and they stay with me 60+ nights a year). Others suggest it should more. what is right?

Our Response:
If your circumstances have changed you need to report it, please see link here . The CMS link should also help you, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Nov-16 @ 11:50 AM
I am confused, I used to pay via CSA for my child maintenance to my x wife but they have told me they don't look after it anymore. Since all of this happened I have lost my job, got another job 25k less than before. I know that income is on gross salary amount now. What I am confused is that some places suggested that I should paid 16% of my weekly gross salary up to £800pw and 12 % on the remaining weekly amount-( I have 2 children and they stay with me 60+ nights a year). Others suggest it should more... what is right?
Tony - 27-Nov-16 @ 12:06 PM
Hi There, I´ve been paying an agreed monthly amount to my ex who lives with our child. This amount was agreed between ourselves without the need for any agencies. She has now requested more money and decided to go through CSA to receive it. As CSA will make me pay from the point her application was made ( this week) 1 - Will they take into account the payments I´m currently making and deduct accordingly ( I bank transfer, so this can be proven) or 2 - Should I cancel all future payments (as she´s advised me today she´s submitted her application) and await CSA to tell me how much I will have to pay moving forward. Of course, I will set aside the money as if I´m still paying. But I need to avoid paying double as of course it is unlikely she will send me back any overpayments. BR, Steve
Steve - 18-Nov-16 @ 6:09 PM
Adrian - Your Question:
I think either you or the new CMS are mistaken in saying that the maintenance is worked out on the net income, they have changed to working it out on the gross income !!! This has meant them estimating my child maintenance payments have increased from £500 a month to £750 a month..I can't afford the increase..I've been broke ever since the divorce as my ex kept the house we lived in so now has no mortgage but mine is almost £200k.

Our Response:
Yes, this is still showing the CSA process which is still in force for many existing NRPs. We will put in a paragraph in for those claiming via CMS.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Nov-16 @ 12:57 PM
I think either you or the new CMS are mistaken in saying that the maintenance is worked out on the net income, they have changed to working it out on the gross income !!! This has meant them estimating my child maintenance payments have increased from £500 a month to £750 a month............I can't afford the increase.........I've been broke ever since the divorce as my ex kept the house we lived in so now has no mortgage but mine is almost £200k.
Adrian - 15-Nov-16 @ 3:10 PM
Chooey - Your Question:
I have a private financial arrangement with my ex-partner as regards assistance with costs for our son. Over the last 6yrs he has been staying overnight with me a minimum of 150 times per annum and over the latter 2 yrs at least 190 times per annum due to extra curricular activities & tuition as I am the only (willing)parent who can transport and support him in this way. I also on top of a monthly pay at least 50% for his clothing,school uniform,toiletries and further general expenditure as is required plus I make sure he has a paid spring and summer break! I live on a fixed pension and fell that now that my son is nearing 18 yrs of age (in full time education)that it is only reasonable that I can stop the monthly amount and just continue with the other direct support as stated above ( & to a greater amount). I would appreciate some advice on my planned Yours sincerely Glyn.

Our Response:
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 or until they turn 20, please see link here. This means, you can do this as long as your ex agrees. However, if you stop before your son finishes the course, and your ex does not agree, then she would be entitled to claim through the Child Maintenance Service.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Nov-16 @ 10:31 AM
I have a private financial arrangement with my ex-partner as regards assistance with costs for our son. Over the last 6yrs he has been staying overnight with me a minimum of 150 times per annum and over the latter 2 yrs at least 190 times per annum due to extra curricular activities & tuition as I am the only (willing)parent who can transport and support him in this way. I also on top of a monthly pay at least 50% for his clothing,school uniform,toiletries and further general expenditure as is required plus I make sure he has a paid spring and summer break! I live on a fixed pension and fell that now that my son is nearing 18 yrs of age (in full time education)that it is only reasonable that I can stop the monthly amount and just continue with the other direct support as stated above ( & to a greater amount). I would appreciate some advice on my planned Yours sincerely Glyn.
Chooey - 1-Nov-16 @ 12:05 PM
I've just found out that my Ex partner was a partner for another company for the past 5 years but has not declared this to the CSA. Is there anything I can do?
Unknown - 25-Oct-16 @ 10:51 PM
The Courts set maintenance for my 2 children at 1% of my gross monthly salary. I have not been allowed by my ex wife to see my children and they are so scared they will not respond to emails. My wife is saying I should be paying 16% of gross salary. Who is right and what should I do?
NM - 25-Oct-16 @ 8:03 PM
Samuel25 - Your Question:
I am currently separated from my ex partner we have a 3 year old child together. I work 25/30 hours per week and I am really struggling to support my self living on my own my son stays with me 3/4 nights per week how much maintenance should I have to pay if my ex partner is claiming full child tax and child benefit and my son stays a few days a week at my place.

Our Response:
You can find out how much you should be paying via the CMS and gov.uk link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Oct-16 @ 10:55 AM
I am currently separated from my ex partner we have a 3 year old child together. I work 25/30 hours per week and I am really struggling to support my self living on my own my son stays with me 3/4 nights per week how much maintenance should I have to pay if my ex partner is claiming full child tax and child benefit and my son stays a few days a week at my place.
Samuel25 - 9-Oct-16 @ 11:49 AM
I have not been living with my ex since I was 4 months expecting and now my child is 18 months old. His father has never really paid contribution towards his necessities and not been around or had much interest from the very beginning until my son was over 1 years old. I always gave him access and even invited him to my birth although we were not on good terms. His financials contribution was only picked up on when I contacted the child support agency, and him being a director of 3 companies. all his accounts show he is not earning from each company which I am full aware that he is not providing the HMRC with the factualincome amount in order not to pay for my sons maintenance. The CSA have had information that suggests that he is not earning enough and does not have to pay anything towards his finances but this is absurd and he is fooling the system. He was happy to pay me privately an acceptable amount per month as a mutual agreement towards my sons expenses but as this letter from child support agency came through he stopped this payment although he is earning and working full time self employed and earning comfortably. It really frustrates me as the only person this is and will effect is my son in the future and his father is only concerned about him self and what suits him best. Who can I turn to for advise? How can I prove that he is defrauding the system so he does not have to pay his way. Its totally unacceptable and due to his spiteful behavior towards me its effecting me, causing me stress and hurt knowing that his childish behavior will only effect my son in the process.
NINA - 3-Oct-16 @ 2:55 PM
My son who is 13 had moved in with me recently for maintenance payments from his mother does her new husbands wages get taken in to consideration or just hers
Bob - 30-Sep-16 @ 1:46 PM
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
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