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How Much Will I Have To Pay?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 26 Jun 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]
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
Hi My son pays through csa for 1 child (£120) and he has a private arrangement where he pays by direct debit (£100) for his 2nd child, monthly payments. Will csa take into account the direct debit payment if he informs them. The children have separate mother's my son is not with either mother.
Nona - 21-May-16 @ 12:45 PM
Hi i wonder if any one could help me? I have been with my partner for 6 months, and we would like to move in with eachother. Up until now he has been supporting the ex and kids and house etc but recently has decided to get set csa payments set up and stop supporting the ex just his children. He has 2 kids with her and i was wondering if anyone new if he moves in with me then sets up the csa payments will they take my wage into account aswell? As much as i know they are his kids i do not want to pay maintenace for children that arent actually mine! Thanks for your help! X
Lilly - 20-May-16 @ 3:56 PM
Tammy - Your Question:
Does the way that CMS calculates maintenance payments mean that resident parents that had a case with CSA will now be entitled to less than they were through CSA as I have just had to change my case over & with £60 outstanding from the CSA case & no payment this month the monthly Payments I receive now has gone down by £45 a month. Thanks

Our Response:
You would have to ask the CMS directly regarding this. It may be that the case was reviewed on being taken over by the CMS and a discrepancy was found.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-May-16 @ 10:52 AM
Debbie - Your Question:
Have just separated from husband 2 months ago. We have 3 children, he earns roughly £160 per week, plus overtime and putting 7% into a pension. He hasn't given me any money as yet but he says he only has to pay me £27 per week for ALL of the children. I know you can't give an exact figure, but does this sound reasonable or should it be more or less? Would rather settle this without needing to involve csa officially

Our Response:
You can see how much your ex should be paying via the CMS calculator here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-May-16 @ 12:56 PM
Does the way that CMS calculates maintenance payments mean that resident parents that had a case with CSA will now be entitled to less than they were through CSA as I have just had to change my case over & with £60 outstanding from the CSA case & no payment this month the monthly Payments I receive now has gone down by £45 a month. Thanks
Tammy - 19-May-16 @ 8:59 AM
Have just separated from husband 2 months ago. We have 3 children, he earns roughly £160 per week, plus overtime and putting 7% into a pension. He hasn't given me any money as yet but he says he only has to pay me £27 per week for ALL of the children... I know you can't give an exact figure, but does this sound reasonable or should it be more or less? Would rather settle this without needing to involve csa officially
Debbie - 18-May-16 @ 7:05 PM
bob - Your Question:
Please could someone help me work out how much I should be paying,both ex partners have different figures and I have been on the csa Web site and got a different figure to them.I just need some clarification on how much I need to pay.thank you

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot give a clearer figure than the CSA/CMS can give. You may wish to contact the CSA/CMS directly.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-May-16 @ 10:38 AM
please could someone help me work out how much I should be paying, both ex partners have different figures and I have been on the csa Web site and got a different figure to them. I just need some clarification on how much I need to pay. thank you
bob - 15-May-16 @ 10:31 AM
My ex partner hasMy daughtermost weekendShe 13yrs he buys her things if she needs but I don't get money from him andnow he wants to write letterto housing say she stay their weekends so he can get a flat from council will it affect my benefitscan you give me some advice plz
franny - 10-May-16 @ 10:36 PM
My ex hasshared care don't pay maintenancewhy he don't buy him nothing e.g. clothesschool trips why that's not fare on me paying for everythingand providing most of his clothes when he stays over can you give me some advice plz
franny - 10-May-16 @ 10:29 PM
Hello, i am in the process of getting divorced and my ex wife and child still live in the marital property until the divorce is finalised. my ex has refused to contribute to the mortgage which is in my sole name and has now instructed the CMS to claim child maintenance. Will they take into account the mortgage payments i am making on the property they are living in when working out the Child maintenance?
ran - 8-May-16 @ 5:20 PM
Hi ! I currently pay 243 a month for my sons childcare which goes straight to the nursery and then I give my ex 50 into her bank for my son ! I only have my son about 2 - 3 times a month and when I go to see him I have to travel 4 hours there and 4 hours back home . I used the calculator and it said I should pay 35 per week , does this cover childcare if I go through Csa and pay my ex ?
Gaz - 7-May-16 @ 10:05 PM
My partners ex has the opportunity now to have custody of her son full time after 7 years but will not allow us to sell the marital home unless we give her £28k up front for maintenance for the next 6 years (and that takes him up to 18) has anyone done this before & can the ex still make a new claim if sshe uses all the money up? I mean we would get some sort of legal document but I have read these do not always stand up if she decides to make a claim against us. Advice would be great.
Partly30 - 6-May-16 @ 4:19 PM
Dad paying CMS - Your Question:
Hi, currently paying ex direct debit what the CMS worked out I should. I have a few questions, as I can't find the CMS email, and I prefer emails. Contacted the Child Maintenance Options via email, but they said as they're a different organisations, they can't help. Questions:1

Our Response:
There are rather a lot of question here for me to answer. The first few can be answered by the gov.uk site, under; changes you need to report, here. This should take us to question 4) If you lose your job, you the CMS will change your payments accordingly and you will be put on a flat rate. If you use a statutory child maintenance service and you receive benefits, you will be expected to pay a flat rate of child maintenance. If you have a Child Support Agency case, the flat rate is £5 a week. If you have a Child Maintenance Service case, the flat rate is £7 a week. With regards to redundancy; redundancy pay may affect your payments, but only in some cases. You would need to get expert advice on whether your redundancy package would count as earnings. The CAB explains about this and pensions, see link here. If you move abroad, you are still eligible to pay for the upkeep of your child. Some countries have Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders, REMO orders, some don't, see link here. With regards to your last question, this may be a bit hopeful, but if you win the lottery it depends on how much you have won and of course any investments/interest as a result would could as earnings. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-May-16 @ 12:19 PM
Hi, currently paying ex direct debit what the CMS worked out I should. I have a few questions, as I can't find the CMS email, and I prefer emails. Contacted the Child Maintenance Options via email, but they said as they're a different organisations, they can't help. Questions: 1) Do I need to let the CMS know if I change job? 2) What happens if I then start a new job, by law will I need to notify CMS? 3) Do I need to let the CMS know if my salary changes- more or less? In the welcome book, page 40 it says: “you do not have to tell us about this if your child maintenance payments are based on a gross income figure given to HM Revenue & Customs are based on a gross income figure given by you, your employer or your accountant – although you can if you want to” Does this mean if I find a new job that’s 25% higher salary in the near future, I don’t need to let CMS know about this, as the HM Revenue & Customs will work this out the following tax year? 4) What happens if I lose my job, will I still have to pay for child maintenance? Will a P45 be enough prove? 5) Redundancy packages- will this be taken account with the CMS? Do I have to pay my redundancy packages towards child maintenance? 6) How do I prove I'm paying a private pension? 7) What if I change address during the time with CMS, will I need to let them know? 8) What happens if I move abroad? Can I just continue paying the same amount of money what I'm currently paying to my ex? I'm not really keen letting my ex know what I’m doing. Do I need to let the CMS know if I’m moving abroad? If I don’t let the CMS or my ex know I’m moving abroad, do the CMS or my ex have the rights to sue me via court? How would CMS calculate child maintenance? 9) What happens when I come back to UK after 2-3 years from abroad, will my CMS case continue or will I have to reapply CMS for child maintenance? 10) Does my ex have the rights to ask for arrears if I come back to UK from abroad, say after 2-3 years? Working abroad not a UK base company. 12) Very unlikely… what if I win the lottery and my ex finds out, will the CMS count willing the lottery as income? I hope you can answers these questions, I really can't find these answers online.
Dad paying CMS - 5-May-16 @ 5:09 PM
Lisad54 - Your Question:
My son has one cild and has him minimum of three to five nights a week and pays£240 a month should he ask for this to be reviewed?

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

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

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

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

Our Response:
Having another child will affect how much you pay. You can see how much you should be paying via the link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 31-Mar-16 @ 2:21 PM
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