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How Much Will I Have To Pay?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 18 Jan 2018 |
 
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]
Meeeee - Your Question:
My partner pays the correct amount for his child. His ex only lets him see her 3 to 5 hour per week despite him asking for more contact. She says his csa payments will be increased soon but I dont see this as fair as he wants more contact but she says theyre going shoppin n all other excuses. She wont let her stay over night. My question is if the paying parent doesnt have the child over night is there a certain amount of hours per week he could have her to be classed as joint parenting?

Our Response:
Child maintenance and child access are not connected. If your partner wishes to see his child more often, then he would have to either suggest mediation as a way of resolving this issue between them, if his ex refuses, then he would have to apply to court. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order. Once a court order is in place, his ex would have to keep to it. Therefore, he may wish to seek some legal advice if he wishes to take the matter further. You can see more regarding mediation via the link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Jan-18 @ 12:30 PM
My partner pays the correct amount for his child. His ex only lets him see her 3 to 5 hour per week despite him asking for more contact. She says his csa payments will be increased soon but i dont see this as fair as he wants more contact but she says theyre going shoppin n all other excuses. She wont let her stay over night. My question is if the paying parent doesnt have the child over night is there a certain amount of hours per week he could have her to be classed as joint parenting?
Meeeee - 18-Jan-18 @ 5:33 PM
Div - Your Question:
Hi there, I haven't seen my son in about two months because I don't stay with the mother, and she just uses him against me, when I upset her. I guess I don't want to go to court or a lawyer, because I know in time I will get to see my son. I make £700 per month. 400 a month from college plus, my part time job varies from 100 a month-300 a month. Over all I make about 700. How much am I legally obliged to pay?

Our Response:
You would only pay child maintenance based on the amount of 'taxable' income you earn. You can see how much you would have to pay via the CMS link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Jan-18 @ 3:48 PM
Tully - Your Question:
My girlfriend and I have 2 children and are separating. What is my obligation towards finance and also with regards housing. We would have equal care. Everything is amicable, which is great for the kids.

Our Response:
You can calculate how much you are likely to pay via the CMS link here. You can also see more via the CAB link here , which should help answer your question.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Jan-18 @ 3:05 PM
My girlfriend and I have 2 children and are separating. What is my obligation towards finance and also with regards housing . We would have equal care . Everything is amicable, which is great for the kids.
Tully - 18-Jan-18 @ 10:19 AM
Hi there, I haven't seen my son in about two months because I don't stay with the mother, and she just uses him against me, when I upset her. I guess I don't want to go to court or a lawyer, because I know in time I will get to see my son. I make £700 per month. 400 a month from college plus, my part time job varies from 100 a month-300 a month. Over all I make about 700. How much am I legally obliged to pay?
Div - 18-Jan-18 @ 9:51 AM
Jay - Your Question:
Hello really need advice, I was seeing a girl for a few weeks she had the implant I have seen it in her arm. A week or two later after first sexual intercourse she tells me she’s taken a pregnancy test and it’s positive, she then agreed to have an abortion as we had only know each other a few weeks after this all intercourse was with a condom I did not trust that thing in her arm Now we have split up she’s completely lashed out at me saying very hurtful things and threatened my health which I can take but is now claiming she never had the abortion and is gonna take me for everything I have (not sure if I believe her)I need advice on what I can do if it is true, as it wasn’t unprotected sex due to implant in her arm and that she’s lied about abortion I don’t want anything to do with her as she’s crazy and violent, again assuming what she says is true can she force me to pay anything or can I deny it’s mine or what ? This thing has never happened to me before and I’m scared outta my mind

Our Response:
Regardless of issues over contraception and whether you have been tricked or not into having a child, if this 'girl' is pregnant and chooses to have the child, then as the biological father you will be jointly financially responsible for helping to bring up the child. If you deny the child is yours, then you will have to pay child maintenance (if she claims via Child Maintenance Service) until you prove whether the child is yours or not via a DNA test. If the child is not yours, then child maintenance payments will stop and you should be able to claim the money is refunded. If the child is yours, then you will continue to pay. There are certain instances where you can refuse to pay child maintenance until the test results are revealed, but this may mean that you may have to pay back-pay if the test results are positive (you would have to discuss this with CMS). Your best option is to try to establish whether she may be pregnant or not. If you can try to have an amicable/rational discussion to see whether this is in fact true or not - this will serve you better than fighting with her, or burying your head in the sand and trying to deny any involvement, or hoping if you ignore it this issue may go away.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Jan-18 @ 3:12 PM
Hello really need advice, I was seeing a girl for a few weeks she had the implant I have seen it in her arm. A week or two later after first sexual intercourse she tells me she’s taken a pregnancy test and it’s positive, she then agreed to have an abortion as we had only know each other a few weeks after this all intercourse was with a condom I did not trust that thing in her arm Now we have split up she’s completely lashed out at me saying very hurtful things and threatened my health which I can take but is now claiming she never had the abortion and is gonna take me for everything I have (not sure if I believe her) I need advice on what I can do if it is true, as it wasn’t unprotected sex due to implant in her arm and that she’s lied about abortion I don’t want anything to do with her as she’s crazy and violent, again assuming what she says is true can she force me to pay anything or can I deny it’s mine or what ? This thing has never happened to me before and I’m scared outta my mind
Jay - 6-Jan-18 @ 1:17 AM
My ex partner and I haven't been together for around 4 years now. We have 3 children together, he has them Tuesday nights, and Friday nights but he doesn't pick them up until evening on Friday, and drops them off early Saturday. He pays me £25 a week for 3 children, with no other expenses for their needs. And is still not happy with the arrangements and feels he is paying too much, although he's a fully qualified plumber. How much will he have to pay if I take him for child manetainence?
xxk_smith - 3-Dec-17 @ 5:23 PM
Lj - Your Question:
I pay child maintenance for 2 children on the basis of having them 3 nights a week. Although it was more like 3 and a half nights on average. Since getting my plan of payment my ex wife has started a new job and it seems I have them 4 nights a week on most weeks now and my parents take and pick them up from school a lot during the day. My questions are - does any of the circumstances above affect how much I should be paying? a) having them more nights a week b) my ex wife now getting a wage c) she is having them less time during the day and my parents are having them more.

Our Response:
The Money Advice link here , should help answer your question.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Dec-17 @ 2:36 PM
My partner has received a letter saying he owes 5550 in child maintaince arrears his boys are now 24 and 26. When they split they initially lived with their mother but they then went to stay with their nanna. He paid money directly to her but we have no proof. If we have to repay this what sort of figure would he be looking at paying back he earns about £260 a week. Any advice greatly appreciated
Workhorse - 28-Nov-17 @ 11:57 AM
I pay child maintenance for 2 children on the basis of having them 3 nights a week. Although it was more like 3 and a half nights on average. Since getting my plan of payment my ex wife has started a new job and it seems I have them 4 nights a week on most weeks now and my parents take and pick them up from school a lot during the day. My questions are - does any of the circumstances above affect how much I should be paying? a) having them more nights a week b) my ex wife now getting a wage c) she is having them less time during the day and my parents are having them more.
Lj - 27-Nov-17 @ 10:38 PM
My partner and I are about to get married and his ex with whom he has one child) is threatening to contact the CSA for child support (even though he already pays her far more than he is required too). my question is, once married, will the CSA be able to consider my wages as I earn far more than my partner does. we also have one child together.
concerned# - 24-Nov-17 @ 11:38 AM
Row - Your Question:
I have three children with my exhusband. He earns about 4 x my wage annually, so over £100k. At first we split the care 50/50 and he paid for school uniform, clubs, clothes etc. He has always refused to pay any money directly to me. Now the older two children spend more time with him as it is closer to school etc and it makes it easier for them. I am happy for them to be with me more but they found it hard travelling between 2 houses all the time so I decided it was best for them to do what they found better for them. My exhusband is now saying that I have to pay him £320 a month for their care, even though he earns so much more (he is taking the three of them and his two step children to Australia for three weeks in the summer so he can't exactly be skint!)and he has said he is going to go through the CSA. Do o really have to pay, even though my income is so much lower????

Our Response:
All non-resident parents are deemed by law to be responsible for paying towards the day-to-day upkeep of their child, regardless of what the other parent earns.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Nov-17 @ 3:15 PM
Trig - Your Question:
If I am paying child maintenance does that give me entitlement to half of the child's holidays

Our Response:
Child access and child maintenance are not connected. Regardless of whether you see your child or not, you are still responsible by law for paying towards the day-to-day upkeep of your child. If you want to make arrangement for seeing your child and you can't agree access with your ex, then mediation is the next option to consider.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Nov-17 @ 3:12 PM
I have three children with my exhusband. He earns about 4 x my wage annually, so over £100k. At first we split the care 50/50 and he paid for school uniform, clubs, clothes etc. He has always refused to pay any money directly to me. Now the older two children spend more time with him as it is closer to school etc and it makes it easier for them. I am happy for them to be with me more but they found it hard travelling between 2 houses all the time so I decided it was best for them to do what they found better for them. My exhusband is now saying that I have to pay him £320 a month for their care, even though he earns so much more (he is taking the three of them and his two step children to Australia for three weeks in the summer so he can't exactly be skint!)and he has said he is going to go through the CSA. Do o really have to pay, even though my income is so much lower????
Row - 18-Nov-17 @ 5:49 PM
If I am paying child maintenance does that give me entitlement to half of the child's holidays
Trig - 18-Nov-17 @ 5:16 AM
Niki - Your Question:
My husbands pays child maintenance for his three children and has done for the last 10 years. With recent changes to CSA he has been sent a letter to say how much he will pay going forward however the salary they quoted was way more than he earns. On calling CSA he was told that the figure was based on 2015/16 earning, which is still incorrect. He explained but was told that's was the only figure they were happy to go by, even though wrong. We have the children every weekend and through the week but so that is not an issue. How do we get the correct figure taken rather than a made up figure? In addition we still have to feed and clothe the children, plus holidays etc and have a daughter of our own to support.

Our Response:
Usually the figure is given via HMRC. You may wish to appeal the figure via the link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Nov-17 @ 12:55 PM
My husbands pays child maintenance for his three children and has done for the last 10 years. With recent changes to CSA he has been sent a letter to say how much he will pay going forward however the salary they quoted was way more than he earns. On calling CSA he was told that the figure was based on 2015/16 earning, which is still incorrect. He explained but was told that's was the only figure they were happy to go by, even though wrong. We have the children every weekend and through the week but so that is not an issue. How do we get the correct figure taken rather than a made up figure? In addition we still have to feed and clothe the children, plus holidays etc and have a daughter of our own to support.
Niki - 14-Nov-17 @ 7:30 PM
Stressedmum - Your Question:
Hi my partner and I have just split up we have a child together who is 8 months old he has not paid a penny for anything for her since she was born. He is paying child maintanence for another child, if I go through cms what percentage of his wages will they take for our child and the one he is already paying for

Our Response:
If the paying parent’s gross weekly income is between £200 and £3,000 and they pay child maintenance for other children, this is taken into account when working out how much they should pay. The Child Maintenance Service simply reduces the amount of weekly income that it takes into account. For example, if the paying parent is paying for: one other child, their weekly income will be reduced by 11%, two other children, their weekly income will be reduced by 14%, three or more other children, their weekly income will be reduced by 16%. Please see Money Advice link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Nov-17 @ 11:39 AM
Hi my partner and i have just split up we have a child together who is 8 months old he has not paid a penny for anything for her since she was born. He is paying child maintanence for another child, if i go through cms what percentage of his wages will they take for our child and the one he is already paying for
Stressedmum - 12-Nov-17 @ 7:45 PM
Hi my ex is self employed after tax yakes home 400 a week and only gives me 45 a month for 3 kids he lives with hes mom so has nothing to pay out so how is this right
Myboys - 11-Nov-17 @ 12:06 PM
Hi, My girlfriend who lives with me is taking our 2 year old daughter and going back to live with her parents in southern Ireland after a relationship breakdown.Im self employed ,earn 4000 a month before tax,how much if any maintainance do I have to pay and for how long? and what rights will I have?
joe - 11-Nov-17 @ 6:38 AM
Hi, I have an 8 month old son with my ex , he hasn't contributed since I was pregnant till today. He lies about not having money but he earns money from football and I have many proof of him going out spending money. What should i do?
Mari - 11-Nov-17 @ 4:57 AM
Busy bee - Your Question:
Hi I pay £70 a week for my daughter and I have her every other weekend from Friday afternoon till Sunday afternoon, I’m self employed and earn £575 a week before tax and expenses, my daughter also lives 100 miles away so I travel 4hours round trip to pick her up and the same on the Sunday to drop her off, it works out at £120 in fuel a month would this be taken into concideration into what I should be paying?

Our Response:
You may be able to apply for a special expenses variation, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Nov-17 @ 3:45 PM
Bab - Your Question:
Hello my partner has a ten year old son with previous partner. My partner has not worked since beginning of February and couldn't claim any benefits after mid September. I work full time and pay all the Bill's ect and we have a daughter together. His ex is now taking him to csa for payment towards his so. As I will no longer pay. We are not married but does my income mean I will have to pay? I have paid this since February and refuse to pay anymore he should be providing not me. Please advise?

Our Response:
It is not your responsibility to pay child maintenance to your partner's ex for your partner's child. If your partner is unemployed you can see how much he should be paying via the link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Nov-17 @ 2:02 PM
Nic - Your Question:
Can you please help my daughter has 2 children by her ex partner. They have been split for 2 1/2 years. He has always paid towards the cchildren by this month he has decided to drop the payment by £55 as he has started to have the children over night does my daughter have to provide clothing etc whist the children are at his house. Up to now she has always do so and always had the dirty washing returned. Thank you

Our Response:
Your daughter is under no obligation to provide the children with clothes when they visit their father. As a rule, this is usually agreed by parents and generally the non-resident parent will have a spare set of clothes for the children at their home.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Nov-17 @ 2:21 PM
Can you please help my daughter has 2 children by her ex partner. They have been split for 2 1/2 years. He has always paid towards the cchildren by this month he has decided to drop the payment by £55 as he has started to have the children over night does my daughter have to provide clothing etc whist the children are at his house. Up to now she has always do so and always had the dirty washing returned. Thank you
Nic - 4-Nov-17 @ 1:26 PM
Hello my partner has a ten year old son with previous partner. My partner has not worked since beginning of February and couldn't claim any benefits after mid September. I work full time and pay all the Bill's ect and we have a daughter together. His ex is now taking him to csa for payment towards his so. As I will no longer pay. We are not married but does my income mean I will have to pay? I have paid this since February and refuse to pay anymore he should be providing not me. Please advise?
Bab - 4-Nov-17 @ 12:43 AM
Hi I pay £70 a week for my daughter and I have her every other weekend from Friday afternoon till Sunday afternoon, I’m self employed and earn £575 a week before tax and expenses, my daughter also lives 100 miles away so I travel 4hours round trip to pick her up and the same on the Sunday to drop her off, it works out at £120 in fuel a month would this be taken into concideration into what I should be paying?
Busy bee - 3-Nov-17 @ 5:10 PM
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