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: 18 Nov 2017 |
 
How Much Child Support Csa Parent Rate

Child maintenance is financial support that helps towards your child's everyday living expenses and is paid on a regular basis. The parent that pays child maintenance is the non-resident parent i.e. the one who does not live with the child or have day-to-day care for the child. Child maintenance is paid to the parent the child lives with (the resident parent). In some cases, this may not be a parent, such as a grandparent or guardian with full care.

Why pay maintenance?

Paying maintenance for your child is extremely important. The person with full care of your child will no doubt be doing their best, however, the extra money that you pay can help to give your children a more stable and better quality upbringing. Maintenance payments will generally go towards food, clothes, school trips, books, toys and games, toiletries, medicines, childcare, activities, etc.

How much to pay?

The amount of child maintenance that you have to pay as a non-resident parent depends on a number of factors such as income, the number of children living with you and the number of children you have, whether you are the resident parent, are in receipt of benefits and whether or not the child also stays with you sometimes.

Types of maintenance arrangement

There are two main ways to arrange child maintenance:
  • Family-based arrangement
  • Child Support Agency (CSA) or Child Maintenance Service (CMS)

If you are on good terms with the resident parent, it may be that you can come to some arrangement about how much you pay and how often.

The alternative and most popular option is to pay maintenance through the CSA and CMS.

How is child maintenance calculated?

The CSA and CMS calculates maintenance, whilst taking into account several factors which includes net weekly income (CSA), gross weekly income (CMS).

The four rates applied to the non-resident parent's net weekly income include:

  • basic rate
  • reduced rate
  • flat rate
  • nil rate

Basic rate

Any new claims are now organised through the CMS. Between 2014 and 2017 the Child Support Agency (CSA) will contact all existing clients to end their current child maintenance arrangements to put in place a new arrangement.

The following information is based on existing calculations made via the CSA. For new claims via the CMS, you can contact the CMS directly on 0800 0835 130.

Reduced rate

If the non-resident parent earns between £100 and £200 per week, they will pay a flat rate plus a percentage of their weekly income. This will vary depending on how many children they have that require maintenance. The flat rate is £5 per week, plus 25% of their income for one child, 35% of their income for two children, and 45% of their income for three or more children.

Flat rate

If the non-resident parent earns between £5 and £100 per week, they will pay a flat rate of £5 per week. This includes people who are on state benefits, Job Seeker's Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Bereavement Allowance, Income Support, State Pensions and certain other benefits. This rate will be the same regardless of how many children they have. In the case of state benefits, the child maintenance is usually deducted at source.

Nil rate

If the non-resident parent earns less than £5 per week, for example if they are a full time student, are under 16 years old, in prison, 18 or under in further education (no higher than A level) or are in a care home, the nil rate will apply. This means that they will not be required to pay anything.

What if a parent has other children?

If a resident parent has children with several different non-resident parents, the CSA will make these calculations separately. For example, if a woman has two children by one father and one by another man, the men will only pay for their own children respectively. Similarly, if a non-resident parent is paying money to several children in different households, the CSA will generally divide the money equally between the children.

If the non-resident parent has some CSA arrangements and some Family-Arrangement maintenance then unfortunately, the CSA cannot take into account the Family-Arrangement maintenance paid. It can, however, take into account any court orders in relation to maintenance.

What happens if the child stays overnight with both parents?

If the child stays overnight with the non-resident parent at least 52 nights a year i.e. on average at least one night a week then both parents have "shared care".

In the case of the basic and reduced rates, the amount of child maintenance that the non-resident parent has to pay is reduced in equal proportion to time the child stays with them. For example, if a parent is to pay £35 per week in maintenance but the child stays with the resident parent for 2 out of 7 nights per week, that £35 will be split into sevenths i.e. £35 divided by 7 nights x 5 nights that the child lives with the resident parent = £25. This is in addition to the flat rate of £5 which is always to be paid.

For the flat and nil rates, the amount to pay is nil.

What happens if the parent with care claims benefits?

Previously if the resident parent was claiming child maintenance, they were not always able to claim in full for benefits . However, since April 2010, benefits will not be affected by the amount of child maintenance received.

What happens if the non-resident parent is self-employed?

Calculations are made in the same way for self-employed non-resident parents as those who are employed. The CSA does have to calculate the earnings differently by working out the average weekly earnings for the past tax year. If this cannot be done, i.e. the business has not been up and running for a full year, then the CSA will use the gross income of the business to date. Reasonable business expenses and VAT are then deducted to obtain a weekly income figure, which is used to determine which rate of child maintenance should be paid.

What happens if the non-resident parent refuses to give their financial information to the CSA?

If a non-resident parent refuses to give information and it cannot be obtained from other sources, then a "default maintenance decision" is applied. This is a default rate which is as follows:

  • £30 a week for one child
  • £40 a week for 2 children
  • £50 a week for 3 or more children

The non-resident parent must pay from the date that the default maintenance decision was applied.

Other Factors

The CSA can also consider other elements before making a determination on maintenance payments. These can include fees for boarding school, special expenses that the non-resident parent pays for disabled children who live with them, mortgage payments for a property in which the parent with care and the child/children live (as long as the non-resident no longer has a legal interest in it) or loan payments for a loan taken out for the family's benefit while the non-resident parent was still living with the parent with care and the child/children.

Challenging the Decision

If you are not paying child support or have an application against you can find out if you have to pay child support. It is possible to ask the CSA to review a decision on maintenance payments.

Do you have to notify the CSA of changes to your circumstances?

The answer is yes. If you have a change in circumstances, you must notify the CSA/CMS immediately. If you are paying less than you should be then your child could suffer. Additionally, if the CSA/CMS finds out, you may have to make up for what you should have been paying. More positively, you could be paying too much and the figure needs to be lowered. You must also keep the CSA informed of any change of address.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
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
Wilksy - Your Question:
My partner pays full maintenence for both his children weekly but he has them for around 17hrs per week but not overnight. Its an agree ment between himself and the mother. Is he supposed to get a reduction due to the amout of time he looks after them?

Our Response:
Only overnight stays are counted when assessments for child maintenance are being made.
ChildSupportLaws - 31-Oct-17 @ 11:32 AM
My partner pays full maintenencefor both his children weekly but he has them for around 17hrs per week but not overnight. Its an agree ment between himself and the mother. Is he supposed to get a reduction due to the amout of time he looks after them?
Wilksy - 30-Oct-17 @ 11:12 AM
My ex has another child now and his mum wants to go through cms, me and him have an agreed amount of £100 a month for our daughter and they had the same. Now shes doing this what would be better for my daughters dad financially,,me to claim cms to or carry on with our arrangement hes a great dad and i would like to do whats best for him and our daughter? Many thanks
tamcha79 - 22-Oct-17 @ 3:26 PM
Will - Your Question:
Hi I have a child who I pay £20 a week for plus I buy clothes and nursery expenses etc. I have my child 6 out of 14 days and I earn £300 a week. Should I be paying this much as a few people have said I pay too much. Thanks.

Our Response:
You can see how much you should have to pay via the link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Oct-17 @ 3:51 PM
Hi I have a child who I pay £20 a week for plus I buy clothes and nursery expenses etc. I have my child 6 out of 14 days and I earn £300 a week. Should I be paying this much as a few people have said I pay too much. Thanks.
Will - 18-Oct-17 @ 9:44 PM
Meg - Your Question:
What happens if the person is paying csa for 1 child but as anouther child with someone else and lives with them would he still have to pay the same amount to the first child?

Our Response:
On the basic rate, if the non-resident parent is paying for one child, they’ll pay 12% of their gross weekly income, for two children, they’ll pay 16% of their gross weekly income.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Oct-17 @ 4:00 PM
What happens if the person is paying csa for 1 child but as anouther child with someone else and lives with them would he still have to pay the same amount to the first child?
Meg - 16-Oct-17 @ 10:47 AM
Hi. Just wondered what % of wage should be paid fortwo children that stay 3 nights a week (from previous marriage) when I have a child that lives full time (from a different relationship)
Mania - 14-Oct-17 @ 8:16 PM
@ginny same here I support my son have him 3 nights a week, she sends him to school in a uniform that is taking to bits, never works and spends the money on nights out and holidays, I asked my ex to arrange a tutor for our son as he is struggling at school yet she won't do it as she may have to contribute (I'm unable to as get tutoring here as I work shifts). The whole system stinks. Its just another way of penalising men and making money for lawyers
Gman - 13-Oct-17 @ 12:09 AM
@Jghmc - I think it's calculated through HMRC which works a year behind, so it's calculated on your figures for last year. Next year you will be calculated on your earnings for this. It's tough if your earnings drop.
SiH - 12-Oct-17 @ 11:16 AM
Why am I to pay child maintenance based on figures from.last year when my income this year is lower? The calculator gives me a different figure to the figure I am provided with because I am on a lower income..
Jghmc - 10-Oct-17 @ 7:59 PM
EC72 - Your Question:
Advice please. My ex earns £5118 per month before tax (£3599 after tax). He pays maintenance for 2 children who he has for 2 nights every fortnight. As he earns over £100 - £200pw what is the percentage he should pay over that amount. Can you give me an idea what he should pay monthly please?

Our Response:
Please see the CMS calculator here which allows you to put the details in yourself in order to find out what your ex should be paying.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Sep-17 @ 9:50 AM
Advice please. My ex earns £5118 per month before tax (£3599 after tax). He pays maintenance for 2 children who he has for 2 nights every fortnight.As he earns over £100 - £200pw what is the percentage he should pay over that amount. Can you give me an idea what he should pay monthly please?
EC72 - 27-Sep-17 @ 11:46 AM
Louie - Your Question:
So I have found out that my ex's 3rd child is my baby, he is now 4. I currently pay £380 towards the 2 children we had together age 13, 10 and the CMS are trying to take £300 a month for a 2 year old I have from another relationship. If this 4 year old gets added onto the CMS along with my two eldest what affect if any will this have on the claim for the 2 year old. Sorry I am sure I could of explained it better but this is new and confusing to me

Our Response:
On the basic rate, if you’re paying for rne child, you’ll pay 12% of your gross weekly income, two children, you’ll pay 16% of your gross weekly income and three or more children, you’ll pay 19% of your gross weekly income, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Sep-17 @ 12:33 PM
So I have found out that my ex's 3rd child is my baby, he is now 4. I currently pay £380 towards the 2 children we had together age 13, 10 and the CMS are trying to take £300 a month for a 2 year old I have from another relationship.If this 4 year old gets added onto the CMS along with my two eldest what affect if any will this have on the claim for the 2 year old.Sorry I am sure I could of explained it better but this is new and confusing to me
Louie - 20-Sep-17 @ 12:31 PM
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Latest Comments
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    Re: How Much Will I Have To Pay?
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