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: 8 Jul 2019 |
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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
A friend Earns £687.03 per wk. he has just received a letter statinghe will have to start paying £360 per month for he’s 13ry old. After taking out the Mortage, Petrol to and from work, all general bills etc he is left to live off less than he’s paying. The mother receives all benefits and a disabled benefit, Housing Benefit etc, plus the CSA. All I want to know is .... Dose this sound the correct payments ? Thanks
Help - 8-Jul-19 @ 10:03 PM
Hi, I'm having trouble working out what I should pay as I have 2 ex's, one of which is very reasonable to my circumstances, the other is not. Ex no.1 i have 2 children with aged 15 and 13. They see me every 3rd weekend and 4 full weeks per annum. Ex no.2 i have children with aged 7 and 6 who i visit 2-3 times a week as i am on good terms with ex. I currently pay £240 every 4 weeks to each childs mother but my circumstances have just changed. My take home pay after tax is £1900. My key outgoings (if they matter) are as follows; Rent, £1000 per month Council tax £120 per month Utility/phone/house bills £150 per month Car finance £225 per month Car tax/insurance £80 per month Ccj's £40 per month Child support £480 per month Travel costs £100 per month I've not included anything for my own personal living costs and food etc and am struggling to get my head round what's a fair amount to pay child support wise. Any help on how to make a fair assessment/calculation would be greatly appreciated. X
LondonDad - 4-Jul-19 @ 6:54 PM
I get £14 every other week for my child, he won’t provide clothes, food, haircuts, school dinners, school trips all he will pay is the £28 a month but yet has him every other weekend and works but doesn’t declare it!!! How can Father’s get away with this sort of rubbish they see there child but yet won’t provide for them, if you can’t go half on your child’s needs than you should stop seeing them there better off with out you in there lives.
Ex - 17-Jun-19 @ 8:36 AM
Hi , cms has just cot in contact with me about my daughterabout me paying £100 a month , when spoken to cms the told me i sould payfor yr child but the child in question is 22yrs of age not living with her mother but with her boyfriend in nother village so way should i pay in the first place and were a to who does my money go to can any one help me pleas
Big boy - 16-Jun-19 @ 7:01 PM
My daughter was put in my care 8 years ago, no child support because daughter mother got married and husband paying child support and stop paying as they come of age so I pay £20 to new system to get £7 a week but decline paying me nothing because they are state benefits and have her daughter once a week is that true and I’m £20 worse off because of false info on new csa booklets. Where do I go from here. Thanks chris austin.
Austin - 15-May-19 @ 5:29 PM
Hello everyone I pay my ex £700 a month and when I asked the csa how they work this out they said it's worked out fair to I pay the same as the ex to bring up the kids. I'm very sure my kids don't get 1400 a month spent on then so it works out I'm paying 100% of their up bringing and she not having to put her hand in her pocket at all it's very unfair as I'm loving on the bread line I'm having my parents help me out every month so I don't lose my house as I have also had to spend all my savings in court fighting to see my kids that cost me a year of the kids lives and 12k to prove the ex was a compulsive liar The system is a sham it's unfair and wrong
Azz - 10-May-19 @ 4:00 PM
My husband pays child support for his son (13 yo) to his ex girlfriend and she is asking for more which I do think she is entitled to. He rarely stays with us. However we have a child together also who does live with us and I don’t understand how to work out how much to give his ex. The calculator doesn’t seem to account for having a second child that lives with us. Unless I am being stupid or that doesn’t make any difference?
Mooommy - 23-Apr-19 @ 10:01 AM
My partner and I do all the transportation of the children as their mother refuses to meet us half way to collect or drop off the children. He also pays weekly maintenance for them. Can he reduce the amount he pays weekly in order to over the cost we incur to transport them?
Becca - 12-Apr-19 @ 4:17 PM
Ex pays £6 for two kids walked out of police officer job as he did not want to pay me , I sleep with people for cash due to no money for kids .
Jade - 9-Apr-19 @ 2:18 PM
My ex earns £851.70 a week has a child who lives with him & our child who lives with me. Csa have just reduced maintenance by £19 a week due to his travel costs . This is even on wks he does not travel or does not travel the 4 journeys he states. Our daughter is disabled & this does not seem fair on her . Is this right ? How do they work out how much to take of for travel ? Thanks
Confused - 3-Apr-19 @ 3:34 PM
Hello, I have been split for a while I am self employed, I am in need of knowing what I need to deduct for the total sum I need to pay for child maintenance. In really need to know as I have not a clue. Please help
Kb - 28-Feb-19 @ 5:54 PM
How much csawill I get if my x partner is paying for three other children and I have one child with him
Rjiddh - 2-Feb-19 @ 3:45 PM
Hi my ex partner earns 500 a week I got a 6 month old son...How much will I get a week?
jen - 2-Dec-18 @ 9:27 AM
Today I was advised from CMS how much they are taking from me which has resulted in me having to hand in my notice todayand give everything up as I have been scrapping by on less than £150 A month the extra £108 they want is going to leave me with £42. Which I will need to leave on, feed my child when he is with me and normal cost of living. CMS are worse the debt collectors and how there staff sleep at night is beyond me. So by xmas I will unemployed and have no where to live Merry Christmas peeps.
Givenup. - 27-Nov-18 @ 11:41 PM
CSA/CMA is a joke, im paying 40%of my wage to these for one child, and it's crippling me financially. Once I've paid bills I've got literally nothing left, no money for my daughter's school trips or son.s bus fare nonew clothes for us every month can't afford a car or blooming home insurance for that matter. It's ruining my marriage and my relationship with my kids at home because I can't afford nice things for them, but when my son from my ex comes over he's got all the latest designer clothes and games. And we're borrowing money every month to see us through.
Mugsrus - 25-Nov-18 @ 11:25 AM
I pay almost 300 I month but if I earn more than last p60 it will go up but what % is it I can earn extra without it going up I did hear 25% is this true? thanks
dan - 9-Nov-18 @ 6:34 PM
Hay me and my pertner just split up and his has the 3childen three days week how much support dose he to pay plaese
Ray - 8-Nov-18 @ 2:27 PM
Hi.. I have a 6 years old daughter.. last day we have done the word settlement about my daughter's support. He said that he had only 5,000 monthly income.but then after that day i do my own investigation about his income.i found out that he lie. He had almost 13,000 a month. What can I do.. what case do i need to file.
Sirk - 2-Nov-18 @ 11:05 AM
Hi really struggling with the new cms.paying 700 a month is killing me I then have to obviously pay my bills oh and maybe have something to eat all from 2000 a month have 4 children 2 with one and 2 with another one is single other is living as married couple last 2yrs is this correct don’t know what to do ? Please if anyone could advise would appreciate
Jay74 - 31-Oct-18 @ 6:48 PM
I have two children with my ex husband who earns 800 a week. What should he be paying me for them?
Lj - 19-Sep-18 @ 12:32 PM
@Anastasija -£210.12 worked out on a 4x weekly month, unless there are charges factored in too. Speak to CMS they will give you a breakdown.
MarKB - 10-Sep-18 @ 10:37 AM
Hi.if in a letter says the paying parent have to pay £50.28 weekly,how much it would be monthly?the total amount says 2620.70.Thank yoi
Anastasija - 9-Sep-18 @ 12:43 PM
My ex earns over 1000 a week. do i still pay maintenance?
Ali - 27-Aug-18 @ 8:52 PM
My husband pays £140 a month for his child to a previous relationship and we have 3 of our own children who are very young. The calculations made by CSA are from his self employed work which varies all the time. Because the payment has to be made it leaves our own children with not much. Why are my children worth so much less than his other child who gets the set amount when I’m not working or receiving benefits yet the mother of his other child is living on full benefits/housing etc just for having kids and not wanting to work? Why are my children entitled to less of his money?
Ms - 22-Aug-18 @ 12:11 AM
My ex and I have a son who is 17 years old and turns 18 in January. He has left school and begins college this month, doing a course that equates to an NC or SVQ2 level. My understanding of this is I am still legally responsible to pay my ex when my son is in full time education, no higher than A-level education, which is the level this course would be? When the ex and I split years ago, I went on to have 2 children with my current partner. Both children still in primary school and nursery. I never reduced the amount I paid my ex. This is something that would be factored in to payments if I was to go through the CSA or whatever the name is these days? Having a quick look at the maintenance calculator available online, having 2 further children with my new partner seems to have little to no change at all.
Sammy - 20-Aug-18 @ 4:42 PM
@MJE as child maintenance is assessed on earnings from the a previously he might have been earning less. It's the only way they can extract money if there are no HMRC tax records for 2016/17 (they have to work from previous years to do their calculations). You should get this year's earnings attributed to next year's child maintenance.
RoryR - 17-Aug-18 @ 2:10 PM
@Jayg - if you are not working, then your ex may have to pay child maintenance to his child. Give CMS a call to find out.
Grey78 - 13-Aug-18 @ 11:08 AM
Our two children are split. The six year old lives with dad and three year old with me. Their dad works full time. I live in a new relationship and do not work. Does my ex have to pay maintenance for the child who lives with me and would I have to pay maintenance to him for the child he has.
Jayg - 12-Aug-18 @ 6:53 AM
Today I have been awarded £11pw going on the calculation you have got from HMRC for tax year 2015. We are now in 2018 and my ex partner takes home over £400pw. Please explain how this is a fair calculation. The response I got on the phone was this is what HMRC have given us, despite being a calculation of over 3 years ago? This surely can’t be correct and I should have to wait a year for you to review?
MJE - 1-Aug-18 @ 10:49 PM
I have a daughter with my previous wife.for who i pay maintenance.i now have a son with my new wife does he come into acount when working out maintenance payments.
Jmrit - 1-Aug-18 @ 7:26 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments