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How Much Will I Have To Pay?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 20 Sep 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/CMS immediately. If you are paying less than you should be then your child could suffer. Additionally, if the CSA/CMS finds out, you may have to make up for what you should have been paying. More positively, you could be paying too much and the figure needs to be lowered. You must also keep the CSA informed of any change of address.

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[Add a Comment]
So I have found out that my ex's 3rd child is my baby, he is now 4. I currently pay £380 towards the 2 children we had together age 13, 10 and the CMS are trying to take £300 a month for a 2 year old I have from another relationship.If this 4 year old gets added onto the CMS along with my two eldest what affect if any will this have on the claim for the 2 year old.Sorry I am sure I could of explained it better but this is new and confusing to me
Louie - 20-Sep-17 @ 12:31 PM
I'm all for child support. But how come they say that your child needs lets just say £500 a month to live on. When if you don't get child support and getting income support you don't get anywhere near this amount to support a child. So why dose the government think it's ok to yet again rob the tax payer of all their money. I know for a fact that my husbands EX usesd the money for holidays with her friends. Not taking her child with her . We never missed a payment, UNTILL YET ANOTHER BALIFFS LETTER CAME. And we paid the thing off , so that month she never got Money. It was not a day over late payment and she was on the phone to the csa. My husband used to let her deal with the bill payments. But she never paid any. Leaving a mass of debt that came to my husband. Over the years we have paid off thousands of pounds clearing the mess she left him in. She moves form house to house not for the BALIFFS to catch up with her. By the way she was the one having an affair that ended the marriage. We now live in a caravan as we can't afford to rent UNTILL the child support stops.( when the child is 20.)How can this be right. Please someone tell me.
Ginny - 16-Sep-17 @ 12:01 PM
My partner has been paying £195 a month for his daughter. I have 7 children that my partner supports at our house and now we have a child together. Does this mean the amount he pays for first child reduces or stays same as he's been paying same amount before he moved in and no other children to provide for and now he's got 8. His monthly income before tax is £1964
Jonesy - 4-Sep-17 @ 7:23 AM
I've just been awarded child maintenance for my son from August 2017 . It is my understanding the figure yo be paid was calculated on the 2017 tax year. Can you confirm if that covers April 2016 till April 2017 or April 2017 until April 2018 please ? I'm a little confused as my exhusband informed me he was leaving his employment and was supposed to leave may 2017 ( to avoid having to pay maintenance) yet the figure given to me had been based on his income that I knew about. I've called the CMS but they just say it's worked out on tax year 2017?They confirm there has been no contact made with my ex. I'm confused as yo if I will receive payment or not. Due to start oct 2018. Thank you
Noop - 25-Aug-17 @ 2:59 PM
Sorry my English is not good but I will try to Explain I split with my partner in 2013 we have two children together in 2014 I tolk him to child maintenance support but since then he been moving house to another house, he does work a good job which pay 500 to 700 per week the problem heis self Employed and dont pay any tax last time they check in HR they said He open the A company every year and close it And open The next year with Different Names and close it. Now is 4years never pay anything to the kids even birthday card,and child maintenance support they can't do anything. Please what can I do help me please.
Jk - 12-Aug-17 @ 8:55 AM
tot - Your Question:
Hi, I am paying £50 a week on top of buying all of my child's nappies, milk, etc. I buy any other items needed,as my child grows, like a booster seat. I am now being asked to pay over £100 a week. I have my child for one night a week. I don't think I should be paying anymore than what I am paying/buying now, am I correct?

Our Response:
If you are paying via a family-based arrangement, then you can see how much you should be paying via the link here based upon your earnings. If you are paying via CMS, then it is at your discretion whether you pay more or not. But you will not be forced to pay anything extra through CMS.
ChildSupportLaws - 31-Jul-17 @ 10:31 AM
Hi, I am paying £50 a week on top of buying all of my child's nappies, milk, etc. I buy any other items needed,as my child grows, like a booster seat. I am now being asked to pay over £100 a week. I have my child for one night a week. I don't think I should be paying anymore than what I am paying/buying now, am i correct?
tot - 28-Jul-17 @ 9:52 AM
Eleanor - Your Question:
I split with my husband in April 2017. We have two children.Due to my new job keeping me away midweek residential training for 17weeks it made sense he stayed in the family home with the childrenand I arranged rent. In another family home. Three bedroom also. I collect them on my way home Fridays straight from school and they stay until Sunday evening. I am now home permanently again albeit in a full time job. I would hope they will do equal time with us each now. We are less than a mile away from each other in the same village. Both the children are teenagers. How can costs to one or the other be calculated?

Our Response:
Calculating costs can be done via a family-based agreement which can either be arranged between you or via mediation.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Jul-17 @ 12:35 PM
Ben - Your Question:
I have been paying £300 per month to my ex for a few years now as part of a family based arrangement for my two children. Both her and I have remarried. She has recently asked me for a further contribution towards school uniforms and school travel for next year which would run into hundreds of pounds for me to pay. As far as I am concerned this is what my (hardly unsubstantial) maintenance payments should be used for. I have a family of my own to support now, so it would be diverting badly needed money away from my step-children (their father is dead so we aren't getting any support from him). Does she have any grounds for asking for extra money or would I legally be entitled to decline or provide a reduced amount?

Our Response:
A family-based arrangement it just that - agreed between you. A good benchmark is to see what you would be paying if you were paying via CMS, please see calculator here.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Jul-17 @ 12:29 PM
Jim - Your Question:
I have been split up from my wife for about 8 months now. I try to help out as much as I possibly can. Both my boys live with their mother but stay at least 2 nights a week at either my house or my mother's house they also spend a fair deal of time at mine and my mother's houses without staying over due to my ex working late. I work shifts so getting a routine sorted is difficult. I was just wondering how much the maintenance payments would be if the boys spend approx 30% of their time with me or my mother/step father? I don't want to dodge any maintenance but I do want it to be fair

Our Response:
You can see how much you should be paying by the child maintenance calculator here.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Jul-17 @ 11:35 AM
I split with my husband in April 2017. We have two children.Due to my new job keeping me away midweek residential training for 17weeks it made sense he stayed in the family home with the childrenand I arranged rent. In another family home. Three bedroom also. I collect them on my way home Fridays straight from school and they stay until Sunday evening. I am now home permanently again albeit in a full time job. I would hope they will do equal time with us each now. We are less than a mile away from each other in the same village. Both the children are teenagers. How can costs to one or the other be calculated?
Eleanor - 24-Jul-17 @ 5:24 PM
I have been paying £300 per month to my ex for a few years now as part of a family based arrangement for my two children. Both her and I have remarried.She has recently asked me for a further contribution towards school uniforms and school travel for next year which would run into hundreds of pounds for me to pay. As far as I am concerned this is what my (hardly unsubstantial) maintenance payments should be used for. I have a family of my own to support now, so it would be diverting badly needed money away from my step-children (their father is dead so we aren't getting any support from him). Does she have any grounds for asking for extra money or would I legally be entitled to decline or provide a reduced amount?
Ben - 24-Jul-17 @ 4:27 PM
I have been split up from my wife for about 8 months now. I try to help out as much as i possibly can. Both my boys live with their mother but stay at least 2 nights a week at either my house or my mother's house they also spend a fair deal of time at mine and my mother's houses without staying over due to my ex working late. I work shifts so getting a routine sorted is difficult. I was just wondering how much the maintenance payments would be if the boys spend approx 30% of their time with me or my mother/step father? I don't want to dodge any maintenance but I do want it to be fair
Jim - 24-Jul-17 @ 1:57 PM
Hi I have recently contacted the CSA regarding maintainer payments for my son! My ex was unemployed last year and so the letter he has received is based on last years earnings which was about £1300 they say he only has to pay me £365 for the entire year with is £1 a day for my son! He is now in full time employment and earning nearly £500 a week. Do I have to accept this payment based on his earnings of last year or can something be done? I just think it's unbelievable that he's earning that amount and only has to pay a £1 a week!
Lou - 21-Jul-17 @ 8:11 PM
@Tori - it sounds as though your ex is a serious child maintenance dodger and scared stiff you'll go to CMS. If he looks as though he is earning a good amount and you think he is, then CM will go on the amount of tax he pays per year. It's risky but it's definitely worth having a word with CMS. If he's got 158 properties, he must be on a good salary. What car does he drive, what's his house like? You can take him to court too if his lifestyle is flash and you think he might be earning more. A court will look more closely at his accounts than CMS might.
Henn - 6-Jul-17 @ 4:06 PM
Dave - Your Question:
Hi, I have greed to pay the CMS calculation of £279 per month to my wife for my daughter. This was calculated by CMS contacting HMRC for my earnings which I have no problem with. My daughter goes to a church school which costs about £160 per month and my wife wants an extra £80pcm towards this. I strongly disagree with my daughter going to this school as I feel the teaching and curriculum used are poor. I would much rather she attends a good state school. If my wife goes back to CMS to get my payments increased are they likely to agree with her and increase my payments?Thanks for your help.

Our Response:
It is unlikely the CMS would increase your payments as the payments are assessed as a specific percentage of your earnings. The only recourse your wife has, is to apply through the courts for help towards school fees. You are currently under no obligation to pay this extra money. However, if your wife decides to apply to court and the court decides in her favour, you may have to pay arrears.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Jul-17 @ 2:07 PM
My ex hasn't paid maintenance for since my daughter was born 15yrs ago. I did get in touch with the CSA around 2006 when she was 4 and they told me that they didn't have enough evidence (or along those lines) and closed the case. We'd had a bad break up and didn't have the money for solicitors and court. I made contact with my daughter's Dad in March of this year and said it was about time he started contributing. He's given me £200 per month which i have to ask for as he won t set up a direct debit. He has his own business and owns 158 properties which he rents out. I had no idea about how much maintenance should be given but he told me that £200 per month is what he gives for his other child and has said that I'll get nothing if I go through the CSA as his solicitor will tie them in nots. Is there anything that can be done?
Tori - 5-Jul-17 @ 7:44 PM
Hi, I have greed to pay the CMS calculation of £279 per month to my wife for my daughter. This was calculated by CMS contacting HMRC for my earnings which I have no problem with. My daughter goes to a church school which costs about £160 per month and my wife wants an extra £80pcm towards this. I strongly disagree with my daughter going to this school as I feel the teaching and curriculum used are poor. I would much rather she attends a good state school. If my wife goes back to CMS to get my payments increased are they likely to agree with her and increase my payments? Thanks for your help.
Dave - 5-Jul-17 @ 9:44 AM
Tracey - Your Question:
My husband and his ex had an agreement on child maintenance. She has now contacted the CMA to arrange direct pay and they say he has to pay £150 a week more because they calculate payments based on income befor tax and NI. Is this right? It seems very harsh. We have a disabled child and he isn't being considered in this decision. We could lose our home and I am terrified.

Our Response:
Yes, it is taken from the paying parent's gross annual yearly income before Income Tax and National Insurance are taken off. But after occupational (employer) or personal pension scheme contributions are taken away. The non-resident parent will usually pay less child maintenance if they are paying either the basic or reduced rate, and they or their partner are receiving Child Benefit for other children living with them.You can see more via the gov.uk link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 29-Jun-17 @ 3:25 PM
My husband and his ex had an agreement on child maintenance.She has now contacted the CMA to arrange direct pay and they say he has to pay £150 a week more because they calculate payments based on income befor tax and NI.Is this right?It seems very harsh.We have a disabled child and he isn't being considered in this decision.We could lose our home and I am terrified.
Tracey - 28-Jun-17 @ 2:25 PM
Laughable- Your Question:
My sons dad has 1 child living with him and oays for another through a family arrangement he is self employed. First he tried to declare nil income this was rejected then he claimed my son wasnt his so we did a dna test which he was. Payment has been calculated at 14.65 a week is this serious? It doesnt even pay for a days childcare/food or clothes for that matter. He is putting his earning in his wifes bank to avoid paying more what can be done? I work full time and single on my own with 2 kids 14.65 is nothing to me and it will not have any benefit what so ever to my son childcare is 300 a week alone.

Our Response:
If you feel your ex is being fraudulent and earning more then he says, then you may be able to take the matter to court. However, you would have to be able to prove this. Child maintenance is based upon the amount of tax your child's father pays through HMRC. You would have to be able to prove he earns a lot more. However, this is not an easy task. Therefore, you may wish to seek legal advice to see whether you have a case.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Jun-17 @ 2:36 PM
My sons dad has 1 child living with him and oays for another through a family arrangement he is self employed. First he tried to declare nil income this was rejected then he claimed my son wasnt his so we did a dna test which he was. Payment has been calculated at 14.65 a week is this serious? It doesnt even pay for a days childcare/food or clothes for that matter. He is putting his earning in his wifes bank to avoid paying more what can be done? I work full time and single on my own with 2 kids 14.65 is nothing to me and it will not have any benefit what so ever to my son childcare is 300 a week alone.
Laughable - 26-Jun-17 @ 8:10 PM
Ian - Your Question:
Hi - I have kids(which live with their mothers) can you tell me how much I should be left to live on please-take home pay,as I am really struggling,and it seems pretty pointless working,I am currently sofa surfing as I can't afford anywhere to live, Thank You - Ian

Our Response:
You can work out hiow much you should be paying via the CMS calculator here. If you are in arrears the CMS can take up to 40% of your salary. Otherwise, on the basic rate, if you’re paying for one child, you’ll pay 12% of your gross weekly income, two children, 16% of your gross weekly income or if you have three or more children, you’ll pay 19% of your gross weekly income.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Jun-17 @ 3:55 PM
Hi - I have kids(which live with their mothers) can you tell me how much I should be left to live on please-take home pay,as I am really struggling,and it seems pretty pointless working,I am currently sofa surfing as I can't afford anywhere to live,Thank You - Ian
Ian - 15-Jun-17 @ 2:23 PM
Waste of time - Your Question:
I have 5 children, 1 I don't see, been paying was for the last 17 years to her mum, get a letter saying it's gone to cms now, letter came today I've now got to pay 300 a month for one child. I earn just over 2000 a month and have 4 children living at home. How do you justified give 300 to one child, when I can't even afford to give that to my other 4 children. The mum is laughing and won't budge on a sensible agreement. Surely this can't be right, where is the equal in that?

Our Response:
You can check what you should be paying via the gov.uk link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Jun-17 @ 3:37 PM
Phil - Your Question:
My ex is due in a couple of month and we have split up. How much would I have to pay per month if I'm only on £22,000 if it was a direct payment. Thank you

Our Response:
You can calculate how much you would have to pay via the CMS calculator here.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Jun-17 @ 11:15 AM
My ex is due in a couple of month and we have split up. How much would I have to pay per month if I'm only on £22,000 if it was a direct payment. Thank you
Phil - 11-Jun-17 @ 8:04 PM
I have 5 children, 1 I don't see, been paying was for the last 17 years to her mum, get a letter saying it's gone to cms now, letter came today I've now got to pay 300 a month for one child. I earn just over 2000 a month and have 4 children living at home. How do you justified give 300 to one child, when I can't even afford to give that to my other 4 children. The mum is laughing and won't budge on a sensible agreement. Surely this can't be right, where is the equal in that?
Waste of time - 9-Jun-17 @ 6:25 PM
I have recently had a claim made against me because I wasn't paying enough.. I did only pay £100 a month for 2 children, but doing this I have payed for hair cuts an clothes an general welfare.. I earned £26,470 with a lot of overtime, bonuses an premium hours for working shifts 2-10 an nights in 2015. I received my p60 later then usual an only earned £24,000. I am now not struggling cos am only on 22 grand basic.. this system is wrong I have my children regular an now can't afford more petrol or food so who is in the wrong I now cannot afford to live or support my children how I was.
Maz - 27-May-17 @ 2:10 PM
I have a private arrangement with my ex for a set amount each week. But I noticed over the course of a year gaps in payment. 11 to be exact. He claim that because he is self employed and 9.5 weeks of that he was off sick or on holiday and was not getting paid there for did not need to pay those weeks. Is that correct?
Kayla - 26-May-17 @ 7:42 PM
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