Home > Child Support & Family > How Much Will I Have To Pay?

How Much Will I Have To Pay?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 15 Jan 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]
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
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
sharon - 5-Jan-17 @ 2:02 PM
My two kids who live with me full time are both in full time education. One is 17 and the other 18. They both have part time jobs. Does what they earn effect what their father pays me? He has asked me for their income details saying the child maintenance agency (who he pays through since csa stopped) have asked him for these details. I was aware that their income while in full time education has no effect on what he pays, an I right?
Clare - 29-Dec-16 @ 1:15 AM
Steve - Your Question:
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

Our Response:
You can see how much you should be paying via the calculator here. I'm afraid we can't advise whether you should stop payments or not, as only the CMS/CSA can help you with this. Hopefully, you will find the answer on the site in FAQs.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Dec-16 @ 9:59 AM
Cheeks - Your Question:
I have two children with my ex and we share 50/50 residency and I pay 200 per month but she keeps all child benefit and earns more than me, what should I be paying?

Our Response:
You can check via the CMS calculator here.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Dec-16 @ 2:32 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 - 19-Dec-16 @ 7:57 AM
I have two children with my ex and we share 50/50 residency and I pay 200 per month but she keeps all child benefit and earns more than me, what should I be paying?
Cheeks - 17-Dec-16 @ 9:38 PM
I have a lettef saying I must pay £73 per week for my son but for 2 and a half years I have been paying £100 per week how come?
Jimboy - 17-Dec-16 @ 2:56 PM
Steve42 - Your Question:
I have two children from two relationships and am currently paying each of their mothers £240pcm.One is reasonable the other totally the opposite and is constantly demanding more.How do I calculate what I should be paying each of them based on weekly earnings of £600 having them less than 52 nights in a year?

Our Response:
Please see CMS calculator here which should allow you to make calculations across two resident parents.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Dec-16 @ 2:34 PM
I have two children from two relationships and am currently paying each of their mothers £240pcm. One is reasonable the other totally the opposite and is constantly demanding more. How do I calculate what I should be paying each of them based on weekly earnings of £600 having them less than 52 nights in a year?
Steve42 - 8-Dec-16 @ 11:56 AM
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
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