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The Use of Child Support Payments

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 23 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Csa Child Children Maintenance Support

It is internationally recognised that parents have a responsibility to support their child, or children. Part of this responsibility means providing financial assistance to cover the cost of the child’s day-to-day expenses throughout their formative years.

This periodic payment can be privately agreed between the child’s parents or can be assessed, calculated, collected and distributed by the Child Support Agency (CSA)or Child Maintenance Service (CMS).

The Cost Of Living

The parent with care shares a home with their child and has therefore numerous living costs to cover. The non resident parent is expected to contribute financially towards their child’s welfare and will therefore have to pay maintenance to the parent with care.

Where parenting is shared equally between both adults the cost of the maintenance payments will be reduced accordingly.

What is not taken into consideration however, is the rising cost of raising children. Although maintenance payments are calculated as a percentage of the non resident parent’s income the amount of payment received by the parent with care generally has to stretch to cover a growing number of essentials.

Whilst the parent paying maintenance may feel hard done by and aggrieved at having to fork out child support the custodial parent still has to contend with balancing finances to make ends meet.

Expense Expectations

Maintenance payments are intended to be used in the best interest of the child and to cover the child’s expenses. This may include shelter, food, clothing, childcare costs and any educational needs.

Maintenance can provide essential funds for a number of specific items like school fees, nursery care or any medical expenses that the child requires. It is therefore acceptable to use maintenance monies to pay for expenses like residential heating costs, but not acceptable if it is used as spending money for luxuries.

Worth Considering

It is a good idea to keep a record of how maintenance payments are spent, in case child support becomes an issue between the parent with care and non resident parent. Items that should be listed include all school and educational expenses, clothing, books, sporting goods or items required for the child’s extracurricular activities and any additional living expenses that may be incurred by the child in their custodial home.

Parents who share care, or have agreed maintenance privately, may also benefit from drawing up a list of costs and payments for future reference.

Standard Requirements

It is expected that children will share in the living standard of both parents. This means that a parent who is financially secure, and may be enjoying an elevated standard of living, must share home comforts with their child, regardless of the other parent’s lower income provisions.

In a situation where the non resident parent is able to provide a comfortable amount of maintenance, due to their greater level of income, it is expected that this payment will be used to meet the child’s requirements and additional custodial household expenses, which may also benefit other people living in the same home as the child.

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Loumc89 - Your Question:
Hi, My ex is not refusing to buy clothes for when my two girls stay at his house. He has bought clothes to keep at his in the past and now because they have out grown the ones he had he is saying I need to supply the clothes, he is saying that with my cms and child benefit money I can do this. My child benefit has nothing to do with him does it?

Our Response:
You do not have to supply clothes to your ex. It is something you should agree between you, but you personally are under no obligation.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Jul-17 @ 9:43 AM
Hi, My ex is not refusing to buy clothes for when my two girls stay at his house. He has bought clothes to keep at his in the past and now because they have out grown the ones he had he is saying I need to supply the clothes, he is saying that with my cms and child benefit money I can do this. My child benefit has nothing to do with him does it?
Loumc89 - 23-Jul-17 @ 7:24 PM
lovemy boys - Your Question:
I pay my ex £300 per month. Plus I pay nursary fees and for swimming leasons. All their clothes, she has now told me she wants more money and if I dont give it to her she will stop me seeing my boys. I struggle every month to do this as it is. I have said if she wants more ill have to stop paying for swimming. Again I was told she would stop me seeing them. Can she do it?

Our Response:
In situations like this, I can only advise you suggest mediation to your ex in order to try to resolve these issues. Your ex cannot hold your children to ransom over money and a court would not approve of this. However, she can attempt to and you would have to take the matter further i.e court in order to try to get a resolution and a fixed contact order. Mediation is the first port of call when you cannot resolve an issue between you. If your ex refuses to attend or the mediation process breaks down, then your only recourse will be court, but gettting it to court will take time. Another option would be to ask a solicitor to write your ex a letter that outlines your rights and the action you propose to take if the matter is not resolved.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Jul-17 @ 12:29 PM
I pay my ex £300 per month. Plus i pay nursary fees and for swimming leasons. All their clothes, she has now told me she wants more money and if i dont give it to her she will stop me seeing my boys. I struggle every month to do this as it is. I have said if she wants more ill have to stoppaying for swimming. Again i was told she would stop me seeing them. Can she do it?
lovemy boys - 20-Jul-17 @ 9:41 PM
Meme - Your Question:
Hi my ex gives me 40 a week for 2 children one 6 and one nearly 2 he refuses to help pay for uniform and school trips and demands that I always provide nappies and wipes for the youngest. He only has them one night sometimes less a week is this the correct amount of money as I'm struggling myself and he expects me to pay for everything else

Our Response:
If you and your ex have a family-based arrangement, then child maintenance should be agreed between you both. As child maintenance is based upon the paying parent's income, if you know your ex's salary you can get a rough guideline of what your ex should be paying via the CMS link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Jul-17 @ 12:27 PM
Hi my ex gives me 40 a week for 2 children one 6 and one nearly 2 he refuses to help pay for uniform and school trips and demands that I always provide nappies and wipes for the youngest. He only has them one night sometimes less a week is this the correct amount of money as I'm struggling myself and he expects me to pay for everything else
Meme - 17-Jul-17 @ 6:45 PM
@Meg - he can get his own. You don't have to pay for this. Child maintenance is for the support of your child's needs when your child is with you. You don't have to give the father anything unless of course you choose to. It's like him saying (when she's older) you buy all her her food and everything she needs when she comes to me!
Maddy - 17-Jul-17 @ 4:19 PM
Hi, my ex is saying that I have to give him the powder milk and food for our girl when she is with him ( which is 2 days a month ) because he basically pays for it with the £200 he gives me for her day to day living. Do I have to give it to him or can he get his own ?
Meg - 16-Jul-17 @ 7:16 PM
DazzleDash - Your Question:
My ex pays through the CSA for our 2 children but demands that I buy all the clothes including those for when they are with him. Surely this is not fair as I end up giving him money back!

Our Response:
Ideally, it should be agreed between you. You are under no obligation to buy your children's clothes when they are with your ex. 
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Jul-17 @ 2:21 PM
Lovemyson020414 - Your Question:
Hi, I pay my sons mum child maintenance every month without fail via bank transfer. She doesn't work but lives in a privately rented house. she gets part of her rent payed for her but because of how much the rent is a month she can't afford to pay the top up so she uses all the money I give her for her rent top up. My question is, can she use the child maintenance money as her rent top up? Thank you

Our Response:
Your child's mother can use the child maintenance in any way she sees fit and does not have to justify what she spends it on. The reason a non-resident parent pays child maintenance to the resident parent is as a contribution to the child's day-to-day welfare and to help keep a roof over the child's head.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Jul-17 @ 10:47 AM
My ex pays through the CSA for our 2 children but demands that I buy all the clothes including those for when they are with him. Surely this is not fair as I end up giving him money back!
DazzleDash - 12-Jul-17 @ 5:24 PM
Hi, I pay my sons mum child maintenance every month without fail via bank transfer. She doesn't work but lives in a privately rented house.. she gets part of her rent payed for her but because of how much the rent is a month she can't afford to pay the top up so she uses all the money I give her for her rent top up. My question is, can she use the child maintenance money as her rent top up? Thank you
Lovemyson020414 - 11-Jul-17 @ 3:30 PM
The Law is not there to protect children, there is no protection when the children are given to the mother and then leave to live with the Dad. You won't get your home back to live in with the kids. The CSA will also continue to take money off you and give it to the mother whilst you are trying to support them. and give to the mother who no longer cares for them. If you take the CSA to ICE then the CSA will take revenge and take money from your wages and and admit they took money not due to them and laugh at you when you say you want it back and tell you that your MP will do nothing. In my case all this is True and George Freeman my MP said there was nothing he could do.In my book taking money and admitting you were not entitled to it is theft.I will never trust a Politician or government agency. Should I report this Theft to the Police ?
Disillusioned Father - 4-Jul-17 @ 10:27 PM
Dotingdad - Your Question:
Hi, my ex has said that she is going to start going through the csa. I give her £60 a week plus I pay £60 a month for after school activities plus I put £30 a month into each of our sons bank accounts. I also buy the kids clothes as my ex hardly ever does, and if it was left to her they would walk around in clothes too small/ ruined. If I have to pay a lot more I will not be able to this anymore. Is there anything I can do? Thanks

Our Response:
By law every parent is responsible for paying child maintenance to help contribute to the day-to-day needs of their child/children. If your ex agrees with the way you choose to pay maintenance, then this is considered a family-based arrangement. However, if the mother of your children doesn't agree then she is within her rights to apply via the Child Maintenance Service. You can see how much you would be paying via the CMS link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Jul-17 @ 12:39 PM
Hi, my ex has said that she is going to start going through the csa. I give her £60 a week plus I pay £60 a month for after school activities plus I put £30 a month into each of our sons bank accounts. I also buy the kids clothes as my ex hardly ever does, and if it was left to her they would walk around in clothes too small/ ruined. If I have to pay a lot more I will not be able to this anymore. Is there anything I can do? Thanks
Dotingdad - 3-Jul-17 @ 6:20 AM
Billy - Your Question:
Hi. My ex pays me £62/ week through CMP.He recently asked me to renew our son's passport as he plans to take him on holiday. I suggested that we pay half the amount each and he point blank refused and said that the CMP should ' be ample ' to cover it. Is that something I have to accept? Thanks for your time

Our Response:
If your ex wishes your son to have a passport and he wishes to take him on holiday, then he should really pay or at least contribute half. Child maintenance is towards the child's day-to-day welfare, food, clothes, bills etc. Therefore, if you disagree with his stance some further negotiation may be needed in order to reach a suitable compromise.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Jun-17 @ 11:25 AM
Hi. My ex pays me £62/ week through CMP . He recently asked me to renew our son's passport as he plans to take him on holiday. I suggested that we pay half the amount each and he point blank refused and said that the CMP should ' be ample ' to cover it. Is that something I have to accept? Thanks for your time
Billy - 26-Jun-17 @ 2:30 PM
My ex pays me £17 per week and has my daughter 3 nights per week. We both work full time. My ex doesn't do any school drop offs or pick ups. I do all school drop offs and pick ups twice per week and the other days she goes to after school club. I pay for the afterschool club £35 per week as my ex refuses to pay half. He picks her up from afterschool club on his days and gives me the invoice to pay the bill. Is there any support I can get from him for this as afterschool club alone is double what he gives me in maintenance? In the school holidays this cost goes up to £120 per week which he also refuses to give any money towards as he says that what his £17 is for. For info I do not get any tax credits or working tax credits or any other benefits other than child benefit. I think he is probably right from doing a little research but can you confirm?
Dorris - 22-Jun-17 @ 8:17 PM
Hello, I receive maintenance from my kids' dad through the CMS. We have a shared residence arrangement in place regulated by the Court Order. He expects me to pay for absolutely everything, including the classes that the children attend while in his care. I am happy to pay for all the other classes; however I understand it should be his decision whether he takes the kids to the classes or not. I am no prepared to pay for classes that they may or may not attend (even though I arranged for the classes originally as per kids' wishes and there was no problem up until now). He is also expecting me to provided spare clothes, spare uniforms for his house, even though the children spend there 50% of the time.
Anna - 20-Jun-17 @ 5:23 PM
Raggydoll34 - Your Question:
Hi my ex husband pays child maintenance through the child maintenance service for 3 children 2 don't see him anymore at all so don't go and only my one son goes every other weekend Friday night to Sunday night and also he has him in some of the school holidays so for that I lose a percentage off his maintenance money so my ex gets a discount, do I have to send my sons clothes to his dads ? As all the money he pays doesn't purely go on clothes goes on other things as well like school meals, school equipment, school trips and also gets saved for uniforms a lot of the times my current partner buys them clothes. I used to send the clothes but they would either come back ruined or go missing so I stopped sending them. My ex got our son clothes for his but he now saying that he won't buy anymore clothes for his house and I have to send my ones as money he pays is for 7 days a week 52 weeks a year and said that child maintenance service said this to him so not sure if that true or not should he still provide for what his son needs at his house when he stays or not? As he gets a discount off what he has to pay for how many times my son goes a year be great if someone would let me know thanks

Our Response:
First of all, your ex does not get a 'discount', child maintenance is paid in accordance with the amount of time your ex spends with his child and it is him that financially provides for your son across that period. However, you are not obliged to pay for clothes etc in the period of time your son spends at his father's house. Most non-resident parents provide for their children in the time spent at their home, which includes clothes etc. Child maintenance is for the day-to-day needs of your child. Anything beyond this payment should be negotiated between you both, there are no specific rules.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Jun-17 @ 10:09 AM
Hi my ex husband pays child maintenance through the child maintenance service for 3 children 2 don't see him anymore at all so don't go and only my one son goes every other weekend Friday night to Sunday night and also he has him in some of the school holidays so for that I lose a percentage off his maintenancemoney so my ex gets a discount, do I have to send my sons clothes to his dads ? As all the money he pays doesn't purelygo on clothes goes on other things as well like school meals, school equipment, school trips and also gets saved for uniforms a lot of the times my currentpartner buys them clothes. I used to send the clothes but they would either come back ruined or go missing so I stopped sending them. My ex got our son clothes for his but he now saying that he won't buy anymore clothes for his house and I have to send my ones as money he pays is for 7 days a week 52 weeks a year and said that child maintenance service said this to him so not sure if that true or not should he still provide for what his son needs at his house when he stays or not? As he gets a discount off what he has to pay for how many times my son goes a year be great if someone would let me know thanks
Raggydoll34 - 16-Jun-17 @ 10:03 PM
McKinsey - Your Question:
Hi, I'm an absent parent. I pay £500 per month child support for my 13 year old daughter. I checked the CSA calculator and this figure is about right. If anything it's slightly more than I should be paying - but I don't want to rock the boat. I am taking my daughter to a family wedding in a couple of months and she needs a dress. My ex refuses point blank to buy it. I could buy it and then knock it off the child support. Am I being unreasonable ?McKinsey

Our Response:
Unless your ex agrees otherwise, the amount you pay in child maintenance is set in stone. If you wish to take your child to a family wedding, it should be you who pays for the dress. Child maintenance is towards your child's day-to-day needs and extras that you personally wish to provide, should be provided by you.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Jun-17 @ 4:11 PM
Candy- Your Question:
My son pays maintenance for his 1 year old daughter. Is ex as told him that he needs to by a buggy because she has had to get a double buggy because she now has 2 children. Does he have to do this when he pays maintenance

Our Response:
Anything further he wishes to pay on and above child maintenance is at his own discretion. He is under no obligation to pay for this.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Jun-17 @ 3:16 PM
Hi, I pay £205 month maintenance despite having my daughter 3 overnights, full day Sundays, do school drop offs/pick ups (thus no child care package). I have since stopped buying additional clothes as feel it's unfair? Prior to the parent with care going to the csa I was also buying uniforms and clothes, as I state I have since stopped this - do to think this is right or fair given my input for my daughter. Kind regards Jamie
Jamie - 7-Jun-17 @ 8:57 AM
My son pays maintenance for his 1 year old daughter. Is ex as told him that he needs to by a buggy because she has had to get a double buggy because she now has 2 children. Does he have to do this when he pays maintenance
Candy - 6-Jun-17 @ 7:18 PM
My ex has 2 of our children (2 and 5 years old) for 6 hours every Sunday. He also pays CM. I used to give a baby food jar and yogurt for the youngest child for the lunchtime as he was a baby and couldn't eat everything. Now I stopped buying baby jars and cook myself, and my son is already 2 y.o., so I informed my ex that I won't be sending food for our youngest child anymore and he would be responsible for his lunchtime during contact time. Besides there were not any issues with older child lunchtime, my ex always got lunch for her not asking me about that. After the notice my ex informed me he would take out my younger child food expenses from cm. It's not big amount I understand that but it can be just beginning. Does he have right to do it? Do child maintenance payments cover food expenses during contact time made by NRP ? Thanks.
LucyG - 4-Jun-17 @ 12:18 AM
Hi, I'm an absent parent. I pay £500 per month child support for my 13 year old daughter. I checked the CSA calculator and this figure is about right. If anything it's slightly more than I should be paying - but I don't want to rock the boat. I am taking my daughter to a family wedding in a couple of months and she needs a dress. My ex refuses point blank to buy it. I could buy it and then knock it off the child support. Am I being unreasonable ? McKinsey
McKinsey - 3-Jun-17 @ 7:23 AM
@marie - if he wants to take them on holiday he should pay for the passports. Child maintenance is for the kids day-to-day needs. You have every right to refuse.
IanB900 - 25-May-17 @ 12:47 PM
My ex husband is self employed, and lives with his new partner and her child from her previous marriage. He pays £31 per week in total for our two children who live with me. Unfortunately we are not amicable and he refuses to pay anything other than this amount, even when the kids are going on school trips which costs several hundreds of pounds etc. He has now told me he wants to take them on holiday, but they need passports for this. He says I have to apply for these and pay for the whole cost too, as I am the parent who receives payments. I simply can't afford it. Am I obliged to pay for the passports? We have shared custody of both children, aged 9 and 13.
Marie - 19-May-17 @ 4:14 PM
Ahoxo - Your Question:
HiMy partner has 2 children (aged 6 & 8) from a previous marriage. All 3 of us are on very good wades, and my partner pays his ex £700 a month to cover costs for food ect. We have requested to have the kids 50/50, but she simply won't allow it, because of the money, but we have them 3 times a week and in that time we obviously provide the kids with a great lifestyle, including the standard; clothes, food, days out, toys, holidays ect, ect.Myself and my partner are a little confused as to what the child maintence he pays is actually used on, as he still buys school uniform, and she takes half, and he pays half for ballet ect, as well as school food money ect ONTOP of the child maintenance, is that correct? What exactly is the £700 a month used for then?

Our Response:
Child maintenance is based purely on the paying parent's earnings and your partner's ex does not have to justify what she spends the money on (it could be towards utility bills etc/general day-to-day care). However, your partner does not have to pay anything above and beyond the child maintenance payments, if he does it is at his discretion.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-May-17 @ 2:10 PM
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