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How Much Will I Have To Pay?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 23 Mar 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]
Jonnychip - Your Question:
I currently pay a mutual amount to my wife for my 2 children. My son turns 18 soon and she still wants the same. how much % of my pay do I then pay for 1 child. and is it based on gross weekly pay or net.? I don't have my kids overnight at all. Im happy going through the family based arrangement but she wants CMS involved. Is this a must if that's what she wants. I don't mind paying but not giving her the same for 1 child as she had for 2 My friend wanted CMS involved but because the absent parent was involved wanted to pay on a family based arrangement then my friend was declined CMS pay and collect scheme.

Our Response:
You can work out what you would be paying through the CMS via the calculator here.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Mar-17 @ 12:23 PM
I currently pay a mutual amount to my wife for my 2 children. My son turns 18 soon and she still wants the same.. how much % of my pay do I then pay for 1 child.. and is it based on gross weekly pay or net.? I don't have my kids overnight at all.. Im happy going through the family based arrangement but she wants CMS involved.Is this a must if that's what she wants.. I don't mind paying but not giving her the same for 1 child as she had for 2 My friend wanted CMS involved but because the absent parent was involved wanted to pay on a family based arrangement then my friend was declined CMS pay and collect scheme...
Jonnychip - 23-Mar-17 @ 9:57 PM
Em - Your Question:
Hi I want to claim matinence from the father of my children but he does not work or claim benifit, I'm assuming he does cash in hand work as he is off on holiday to Greece in June and has sufficient funds to dress well, smoke, drive etc, what happens in this case? Need advice please

Our Response:
If your ex is not working and paying tax via HMRC, then it is impossible to claim for child maintenance. If your ex is evading paying tax, then you would have the option of reporting him to CMS, if you can prove where he is working etc.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Mar-17 @ 10:42 AM
Shelly - Your Question:
My ex partner of 6years works many hours doing cash in hand jobs to avoid payment, we both had fertility treatment after trying for four years,had a beautiful baby we both wanted and knew was disabled but after our baby at six months had heart surgery he left, and not bothered to see her and when I've contacted him thru phone for maintenance he saying he will not pay and has moved on with his life. Is there any chance a can get a maintenance order thru court?? instead of csa as he dodges by working cash in hand not to pay?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, if your ex is working cash-in-hand and not paying tax or NI, then it is impossible to get child maintenance payments from him, even through court.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Mar-17 @ 2:05 PM
Hi I want to claim matinence from the father of my children but he does not work or claim benifit, I'm assuming he does cash in hand work as he is off on holiday to Greece in June and has sufficient funds to dress well, smoke, drive etc, what happens in this case? Need advice please
Em - 21-Mar-17 @ 10:43 AM
My ex partner of 6years works many hours doing cash in hand jobs to avoid payment, we both had fertility treatment after trying for four years,had a beautiful baby we both wanted and knew was disabled but after our baby at six months had heart surgery he left, and not bothered to see her and when I've contacted him thru phone for maintenance he saying he will not pay and has moved on with his life. Is there any chance a can get a maintenance order thru court?? instead of csa as he dodgesby working cash in hand not to pay?
Shelly - 20-Mar-17 @ 9:51 PM
my partner and I separated in 2005, CSA arrested his wages for payments. In Oct 2014 he stopped paying and was over £600 in arrears due to non notification fo change of circumstance. He moved to the Isle of Man in Nov 2014. CSA have no jurisdiction in IOM. I raised a court action to obtain monies, without a court order he paid the arrears directly to me. He still had not paid any mny for his son since 2014 to Feb2017.He lost his job and moved back to the UK in Jan 2017. I contacted CSA to make efforts to claim back the arrears of non payments to be told that the case was closed and referred to the CSM. CSM wont take on the case as my son is no longer in education. I am in Scotland so contacted a lawyer, under the law no action can be raised as since the CSA/CSM were instructed to collect maintenance the courts have no ability. the only way i could make a court order would be if my ex partner had entered into an agreement and signed a contract for the maintenance to be paid, as this was dealt with through CSA this did not happen. Surely it is a legal requirement to maintain your child, the sum owed is in the region of £3000. this is for the period of Oct2014 till his son left full time education in Dec2015.Ive been fighting since Feb 2015.
Kaz - 16-Mar-17 @ 1:12 PM
@Advice needed - they shouldn't base it upon your new husband's wage as he is not seen as being responsible for supporting your child. You need to ask them why they want details of your husband's wages as what he earns is irrelevant.
MitchellD - 15-Mar-17 @ 2:36 PM
I am really confused between the CSA and CSM. I brought my daughter up alone from the age of 2 months old and her father avoided any payments due to being in and out of work. I later met and married a partner 8 years ago who works away during the week and comes home on wknds...he has supported my daughter as if she was his own. My daughter has now decided to live with her father and partner who are both claiming benefits and do not work....she seems to think this is the better lifestyle (due to not having rules and boundaries in place and wants to party all the time) she is 16 and in full time education. I am more than willing to use my wage (I have always worked) and pay maintenance but they are basing it also on my husbands wage? Is this right? If he is not the biological father will his earnings be taken into account? I understand we are married but why should it be his responsibility after all he has done! Advice needed really quickly please as they are ringing and demanding money all the time.
Advice needed - 14-Mar-17 @ 11:14 PM
Ive have a five year old daughter .me and her dad are not togeather I claim benifits her dad lives with someone else and shes works full time. Plus she claims for him
Noradee - 13-Mar-17 @ 10:58 PM
If a man has 3 children by 3 different mothers (who doesn't live with him), what percentage of his earnings would the csa take and would it be divided equally between his children?
CAL77 - 11-Mar-17 @ 10:17 AM
help - Your Question:
Please can someone give me some advise as I am getting conflicting information from CSA and CSM. I have two children both living with with there mother. I am currently paying through the CSA. I know one case closes next month and she has applied to go through them and I pay without being charged by CSM. The second is proving more difficult and is adamant she wants me to be charged for as much as I can be charged including admin charges. What I need advise on is firstly how will this work if one case is closing and the second may still be open with the CSA. How will this work as I am sure this will have an impact in what I am to pay? Secondly do I get a choice in how I pay as I am worried I will have no say in this and may end up being charged just because the mother wants to punish me as much as she can. Much help will be appreciated.

Our Response:
You would have to speak to the CMS directly regarding this as we do not have knowledge of its administrative processes.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Mar-17 @ 12:08 PM
Please can someone give me some advise as I am getting conflicting information from CSA and CSM. I have two children both living with with there mother. I am currently paying through the CSA. I know one case closes next month and she has applied to go through them and I pay without being charged by CSM. The second is proving more difficult and is adamant she wants me to be charged for as much as I can be charged including admin charges. What I need advise on is firstly how will this work if one case is closing and the second may still be open with the CSA. How will this work as I am sure this will have an impact in what I am to pay? Secondly do i get a choice in how I pay as I am worried i will have no say in this and may end up being charged just because the mother wants to punish me as much as she can. Much help will be appreciated.
help - 2-Mar-17 @ 11:12 AM
Hi, my partner has a son who's 13. He has been paying maintainence since he and his ex split up. His ex has been in a long term relationship with another man for the last 5 years. They live together and he works but she does not. They have 4 other children at the house besides my partners son. His ex has been saying for a while that she no longer wishes their son to live with them and that he should come and live with us. This is imminent, it will happen within the next couple of weeks as she cannot cope with a teenager. We very much want him to come and live with us and are prepared to do everything to ensure that he has a happier life with us than what he has been having recently. My question is how do we get the child benefits off his ex without causing problems, it is likely she will not give this up easily. Also would my partner be entitled to any maintainence from them, and would both their incomes as a couple be counted? Thank you
Shazzag - 23-Feb-17 @ 6:12 PM
me - Your Question:
I need some help, my partner and I seperated and I am paid £300 for our two children, now he has other commitments and wanted to reduce it.,I involved the CSA to help support me and this has been reduced to £30 a reduction of £270 now can that be !!!!!!! surely the minimum per child must be more than £15 per month - that is aprx £3.50 per child per week. What decade are we living in ? I cannot l survive like this, this HAS to be wrong. Help - thankyou

Our Response:
Child maintenance payments are based upon your children's father's earnings. Please see linkhereto see how payments are worked out.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-Feb-17 @ 11:01 AM
I need some help, my partner and i seperated and i am paid £300 for our two children, now he has other commitments and wanted to reduce it.,I involved the CSA to help support me and this has been reduced to £30a reduction of £270 now can that be !!!!!!! surely the minimum per child must be more than £15 per month - that is aprx £3.50 per child per week.What decade are we living in ? I cannot l survive like this, this HAS to be wrong. Help - thankyou
me - 22-Feb-17 @ 3:55 PM
Orphy - Your Question:
I have a daughter with a UK resident and in almost 3years now I haven't heard from him. All attempts to reach him has proven futile. I lost my job and it's been really tough for us. I live with my daughter in Ghana and he leaves in the UK. Please advise on how I could get him to pay for the child support. Thanks

Our Response:
The Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit helps to register and enforce child maintenance orders internationally, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Feb-17 @ 11:16 AM
I have a daughter with a UK resident and in almost 3years now I haven't heard from him. All attempts to reach him has proven futile. I lost my job and it's been really tough for us. I live with my daughter in Ghana and he leaves in the UK. Please advise on how I could get him to pay for the child support. Thanks
Orphy - 19-Feb-17 @ 12:12 PM
Under shared care - who pays for childcare etc on the non resident parents days? My understanding us that a lower amount of maintenance is paid as costs will be incurred however I receive the lowest rate of maintenance and pay for everything including childcare on his days. Is that right? I can't find an answer to this anywhere.
Anon123 - 15-Feb-17 @ 9:10 PM
nat - Your Question:
My ex husband is a company director of a family buisness which is very successful he earns around 3500 /4000 a month with two large diverdans a year we have a 9 year old son who lives with mevstaysc1 night a week at his dad's he pays me 700 a month would I be better off claiming csa

Our Response:
You can find out how much he should be paying via the CMS calculator via the link here. However, much depends upon how much income your ex declares to the HMRC, which (given expenses) can often be quite different to what you assume he is earning. As CMS assesses each cased based on the non-resident parent's earnings, this can either go in your favour, or you may realise you are better off financially in a family-based child maintenance arrangement.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Feb-17 @ 10:02 AM
Tb51 - Your Question:
I earn £52k a year and have my youngest daughter (15) 7 nights / nine days per fortnight. I gave her £50k from the house and 8 years of my pension. We were together 16 years.My ex has remarried and they both workI pay my ex £250 per month. It was £500 before my eldest turned 18.This seems excessive. Is it correct?

Our Response:
You can double check via the CMS calculator here .
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Feb-17 @ 3:04 PM
How can it be right that the payments are calculated PRE-tax.. But then I am having to pay those amounts POST-tax? Because of this. I am actually paying MORE each month, even though I have recently had a child with my new partner. This is surely going to impact on what I can afford care wise for my child that is living with me, yet the CMO don't seem to take this into account?? If the amounts were deducted PRE-tax (like pension payments) then this would have less of a hit on my actual take home earnings.. I just can't get my head around it! I have always payed for my child and always will.. But I have to care for my other child too, and that includes paying for the house that he lives in!
Craig - 13-Feb-17 @ 2:26 PM
My ex husband is a company director of a family buisness which is very successful he earns around 3500 /4000 a month with two large diverdans a year we have a 9 year old son who lives with mevstaysc1 night a week at his dad's he pays me 700 a month would I be better off claiming csa
nat - 13-Feb-17 @ 5:09 AM
I earn £52k a year and have my youngest daughter (15) 7 nights / nine days per fortnight. I gave her £50k from the house and 8 years of my pension. We were together 16 years. My ex has remarried and they both work I pay my ex £250 per month. It was £500 before my eldest turned 18. This seems excessive. Is it correct?
Tb51 - 12-Feb-17 @ 9:32 PM
Kate - Your Question:
Hi I have one child to my ex partner, he works on average 40 hours per week. He also has a child to another partner. Neither of he children live with him. Is two calculations needed? Or is it the amount of 2 children then divided the amount we would receive? And what percentage would it be, or what should he be paying to provide for his child? Thank you

Our Response:
You can find out via the gov.uk link here and here. I hope this helps answer your question.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Feb-17 @ 11:54 AM
Hi I have one child to my ex partner, he works on average 40 hours per week. He also has a child to another partner. Neither of he children live with him. Is two calculations needed? Or is it the amount of 2 children then divided the amount we would receive? And what percentage would it be, or what should he be paying to provide for his child? Thank you
Kate - 5-Feb-17 @ 5:42 PM
My partners ex wife moved away to Isle of Man with his daughter and he has to pay for travel each month when he visits should this reduce his maintenance? He always pays all her travel costs when she visit during the school holidays should that be right
Sarahwhitton - 3-Feb-17 @ 11:27 PM
My ex had my child 2 nights week. He pay 60 pound monthly. He works 10 hours weeklycleaning job but has security badge but can afford the gym brand new Xbox go out with his new girl friend but hardly has anything to do with my child while she there as his parents deal with her. He doesnt pay rent to parents. Should he be paying more And not have any contact give up his rights on her and leave it all to me and my husband to be
Melv - 3-Feb-17 @ 5:49 PM
Alexander - Your Question:
I now have custody of my 10 year old son. Me ex is on incapacity benefit and does not work. Can I claim maintenance from her? It is not the money but the principal of the it all as she was always quick to ask me for extra money while he resided with her. Now boot on other foot and says she is not entitled to pay me anything

Our Response:
You may be able to claim the flat rate of £7 per week if your ex wife is in receipt of incapacity benefit, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Feb-17 @ 12:51 PM
I now have custody of my 10 year old son. Me ex is on incapacity benefit and does not work. Can I claim maintenance from her? It is not the money but the principal of the it all as she was always quick to ask me for extra money while he resided with her. Now boot on other foot and says she is not entitled to pay me anything
Alexander - 2-Feb-17 @ 3:12 PM
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