Home > Child Support Defined > The Use of Child Support Payments

The Use of Child Support Payments

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 15 Nov 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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Laiyah - Your Question:
Hi My ex has reached out to me after never paying anything towards his son. I don't know if he is in working or not. He now wants to contribute financially but I dont know how much he should be paying. How can I find out how much he is earning so that he doesnt underpay me.

Our Response:
You can either agree a family-based child maintenance arrangement where you both come to an arrangement that suits you both, where you don't question what your ex is earning. Or you can apply via Child Maintenance Options, where charges will be incurred. However, if you apply via this route, CMS will find out on your behalf what your child's father is earning.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Nov-17 @ 11:04 AM
Hi My ex has reached out to me after never paying anything towards his son. I don't know if he is in working or not.He now wants to contribute financially but I dont know how much he should be paying. How canI find out how much he is earning so that he doesnt underpay me.
Laiyah - 15-Nov-17 @ 5:31 PM
My ex does not pay maintenance at all. He is a lorry driver and he earned £720 for the tax YEAR ending 2015/16. Why does the parent moth care have to prove the nrp is working cash in hand - I amhundreds of miles away from him although I have gotten most of my information from internet and HMRC and companies house - all these who's be linked and surely if someone isn't claiming benefits and can live off £720 as a long distance lorry driver there should be red flags in the air from all the above bodies surely????
Gbook - 10-Nov-17 @ 5:54 PM
Little loo- Your Question:
HiMy partner and his ex are now divorced. They have one child together who he has 2 nights a week and all day on the weekend. He wants more but his ex wont allow this as she admittedly said she is lonely. He pays his payments of around 200 a month in advance. Provides clothes thats they needs. Takes them to various places on a weekend. Ie eat out at breakfast. Bowling. Swimming. Shopping. His ex is now making him pay for after school clubs on the night he has her and the morning club the following day. This totals to £50 a month extra. The csa have told us more than once we dont need to pay these fees as they are taken into account from my partners payments. But his ex is doing everything she can to make him pay more money. Ie telling the school he needs to pay.She has recently said he can collect her an extra day after school but has MUST take her to an activity at his expense and must be returned after. What can we do to stop making us pay extra payments.

Our Response:
Whatever your partner pays above child maintenance is at his own discretion. If he does not wish to pay any extra, he simply only has to say 'no'. However, £50 per week can fall short on the expense of a child when we take into account all the payments the mother may have to spend also. According to the Child Poverty Action Group, it costs It £143,000 in total to bring up a child to age 18 and meet their minimum needs. Thisn equates to around £150 a week. Your partner may wish to use this as a benchmark figure.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Nov-17 @ 2:14 PM
Hi My partner and his ex are now divorced. They have one child together who he has 2 nights a week and all day on the weekend. He wants more but his ex wont allow this as she admittedly said she is lonely. He pays his payments of around 200 a month in advance. Provides clothes thats they needs. Takes them to various places on a weekend. Ie eat out at breakfast. Bowling. Swimming. Shopping. His ex is now making him pay for after school clubs on the night he has her and the morning club the following day. This totals to £50 a month extra. The csa have told us more than once we dont need to pay these fees as they are taken into account from my partners payments. But his ex is doing everything she can to make him pay more money. Ie telling the school he needs to pay. She has recently said he can collect her an extra day after school but has MUST take her to an activity at his expense and must be returned after. What can we do to stop making us pay extra payments.
Little loo - 9-Nov-17 @ 9:52 PM
Halfaweekdad - Your Question:
I have my daughter 2 nights / 3 days one weekAnd the next week 3 nights / 4 days.I pay my ex £76 a month, go half on school dinners, uniforms & clubs.it totals to about £110 a month. I feed and clothe my daughter the time I have her, I dont ask for clothes from her mother and things like toys etc are for the most part free to go between houses.My ex is asking for an additional 68 a month to pay towards swimming lessons and horse riding lessons and making me feel guilty because I can't afford it.What is the legal situation on this?

Our Response:
As you have mostly shared-care of your daughter, then really all payments should be split down the middle. If you pay via a family-based arrangement then payments are up for negotiation. You may also wish to check how much you would pay via CMS, please see link here . If it is less, then you may wish to request a more official arrangement to pay child maintenance by.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Nov-17 @ 2:08 PM
I have my daughter 2 nights / 3 days one week And the next week 3 nights / 4 days. I pay my ex £76 a month, go half on school dinners, uniforms & clubs.it totals to about £110 a month. I feed and clothe my daughter the time I have her, i dont ask for clothes from her mother and things liketoys etc are for the most part free to go between houses. My ex is asking for an additional 68 a month to pay towards swimming lessons and horse riding lessons and making me feel guilty because I can't afford it. What is the legal situation on this?
Halfaweekdad - 7-Nov-17 @ 10:40 PM
Vic1234 - Your Question:
HiMy husband has an 11yr old son who he pays £411 per month. We have 2 children at home age 2 and 5 and another on the way. We live approximately 516 miles away from his son, my husband travels down to see him once a month but his ex does not help ease the finacial cost of this in the slightest. He has to pick him up from his door and does not provide any clothes for him. This is putting us under financial strain because the cost to travel down and back, accommodation, car hire plus keeping up with clothes for a growing child is costing us a further £350 sometimes more per month. Its getting to the stage where my husband isn't going to be able to keep up regular contact because it is costing too much. My question is is she allowed to do this ie not send him with clothes and expect my husband to do all the running about ? Thank you

Our Response:
If your husband has certain expenses, such as travel he may be able to ask the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to adjust the amount of maintenance he should pay, please see link here . With regards to supplying clothes, this should be negotiated between both parents. However, most parents keep some clothes and other belongings for the child at the respective homes. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Nov-17 @ 2:07 PM
Hi My husband has an 11yr old son who he pays £411 per month. We have 2 children at home age 2 and 5 and another on the way.We live approximately 516 miles away from his son, my husband travels down to see him once a month but his ex does not help ease the finacial cost of this in the slightest. He has to pick him up from his door and does not provide any clothes for him. This is putting us under financial strain because the cost to travel down and back, accommodation, car hire plus keeping up with clothes for a growing child is costing us a further £350 sometimes more per month. Its getting to the stage where my husband isn't going to be able to keep up regular contact because it is costing too much. My question is is she allowed to do this ie not send him with clothes and expect my husband to do all the running about ? Thank you
Vic1234 - 1-Nov-17 @ 6:20 AM
I pay £500 pm child support for my two children and have them alternate weekends. My ex wife has told the children to tell me I have to give them sandwiches or pay for the school meals myself on the day I drop the to school which is every other Monday. Is she allowed to do this or should the money I give her cover the meals. It's a trivial amount but I'm looking at the basic principal
Big g - 26-Oct-17 @ 4:01 PM
@Suz - he doesn't have to pay any more than CMS calculates.
JasMJ - 24-Oct-17 @ 1:59 PM
Hi. My husband left 7yrs ago. I always paid all the childcare even on the days that he had them. I've now gone down the CSA route as he changed the amounts he paid month to month. The csa have said he should pay £230 a month.My question is should he be paying his part of the childcare for the days he has them. Otherwise I'll be paying £199 childcare s month. Thanks Suzanne.
Suz - 21-Oct-17 @ 10:50 AM
Agnes - Your Question:
My ex husband is a lorry driver, he evidences earnings to csa (£166) per week. He also does cash in hand job.he works 5-6 days per week from 5am till 7pm. How can I proof his cash in hand job? He is never available to take/pick up child from school as he is at work. He has been on 6 holidays this year. He has two cars and two bikes, etc. Please help

Our Response:
You cannot prove his cash-in-hand job, as it is not considered legal. You would not be granted child maintenance from this as he is not paying tax through HMRC, which CMS use to calculate how much child maintenance a non-resident parent should pay.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Oct-17 @ 3:24 PM
Jon Ed - Your Question:
HelloMy girlfriend has a 4 year old son - we were recently taken to court by her ex, the child's father, and the court awarded that her son go to school near to her ex's house and that he stay with his dad Monday to Friday. We wanted her son to go to school near us and proposed a plan that required no child minder, just after-school clubs ad hoc.My girlfriend's ex has now produced a bill for childminder fees due to his inability to maintain the care that was awarded to him in the Child Arrangement Order. He wants us to pay half of his fees. We consider that an unnecessary expense as we wouldn't have needed childminders if her son had been in school near us.Have we a right to disagree with the childminder fees and refuse to pay?

Our Response:
Yes, your girlfriend is under no obligation to pay unauthorised childminding fees, unless a court order has ordered otherwise.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Oct-17 @ 3:19 PM
Hello My girlfriend has a 4 year old son - we were recently taken to court by her ex, the child's father, and the court awarded that her son go to school near to her ex's house and that he stay with his dad Monday to Friday. We wanted her son to go to school near us and proposed a plan that required no child minder, just after-school clubs ad hoc. My girlfriend's ex has now produced a bill for childminder fees due to his inability to maintain the care that was awarded to him in the Child Arrangement Order. He wants us to pay half of his fees. We consider that an unnecessary expense as we wouldn't have needed childminders if her son had been in school near us. Have we a right to disagree with the childminder fees and refuse to pay?
Jon Ed - 18-Oct-17 @ 9:33 PM
My ex husband is a lorry driver, he evidences earnings to csa (£166) per week. He also does cash in hand job.he works 5-6 days per week from 5am till 7pm. How can I proof his cash in hand job? He is never available to take/pick up child from school as he is at work. He has been on 6 holidays this year. He has two cars and two bikes, etc. Please help
Agnes - 17-Oct-17 @ 9:41 PM
Barry - Your Question:
@Jonathon H thank you for your reply but I understand that and that’s why I am currently paying both CSA and half the mortgage but I’m also sofa surfing with no where to live because of the obligations I have. There must be something somewhere that explains what ‘CSA’ actually covers instead of ‘the child’s day-to-day expenses’. Just doesn’t seem right.

Our Response:
Child maintenance is based upon the earnings of the non-resident paying parent. By law, every NRP who pays tax through HMRC has to pay a percentage of their earnings to help support their children, regardless. On the basic rate, if you’re paying for: One child, you’ll pay 12% of your gross weekly income, two children, 16%, and three or more children, you’ll pay 19% of your gross weekly income. The receiving parent does not have to justify what they use child maintenance for, it can be unseen items such as utility bills etc. In many cases parents will come to a mutual negotiation which is called a family-based arrangement, whereby both parents negotiate what they deem is to be fair, especially if there is a mortgage involved and you as the NRP are contributing to this. However, if your ex applies to CMS, then your only recourse would be able to apply for a variation, please see link here . Your best approach is to ring CMS directly to help explore your options. If you are paying money directly into your children's bank accounts, this will be seen as voluntary and you are not obliged to keep this up. You may also wish to register with our Separated Dads forum, where other dads who have been through/or are going through a similar situation may be able to advise.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Oct-17 @ 10:53 AM
@Jonathon H thank you for your reply but I understand that and that’s why I am currently paying both CSA and half the mortgage but I’m also sofa surfing with no where to live because of the obligations I have. There must be something somewhere that explains what ‘CSA’ actually covers instead of ‘the child’s day-to-day expenses’. Just doesn’t seem right.
Barry - 15-Oct-17 @ 11:34 AM
I have my son, approx 3 nights a week but I still pay £350 a month for my sons maintenance, his Mother is obviously not investing much of this money on him, he is sent to cool in tatty jumpers, has homes in his school shoes needs football boots,. She sees football boots as something I should contribute too, she has now decided he is to come off school dinners and go on to packed lunches, which means I now have to provide and make packed lunches (after having worked 12 hr shifts), meaning and additional £20 or so a month to my expenses. Can I claim this back off the maintenance I already pay, this is maintenance decided by government as she is not willing to come to a mutual payment agreement.
Gman - 12-Oct-17 @ 9:49 PM
@Barry - you are required by law to pay child maintenance, so you have to pay this. The rest depends on how much your ex is earning and whether she can pay towards the mortgage too, if she is living in the house. By taking out a mortgage you have an obligation to pay it and if the mortgage doesn't get paid, what happens? In situation such as this, you should sort this out between you. I'm sure it's in no one's best interests if the house gets repossessed. If you have a large salary and your ex isn't working or only working part-time, then she can take it to court to try to make you pay. The court will look at whether you can afford to pay child maintenance and the mortgage, or not.
Jonathon H - 12-Oct-17 @ 2:31 PM
Afternoon, I’m looking for some advice/information. I am paying above and beyond the CMA recommendation so my children can continue with there lives without any issues, with this I am also paying half the mortgage and contributing to the children’s savings accounts too. My question is should I be paying half the mortgage or should the CMA cover this or should it be a subsidised amount as the CMA also says it may be used to pay for ‘shelter’? Thank you in advance.
Barry - 10-Oct-17 @ 1:35 PM
Handy - Your Question:
I have 3 children and they live with me on a shared residence. I pay CSA for them as well as half the mortgage where my ex wife lives with the children.She refuses to send uniform and I have to buy new things every 4 weeks and this keeps going on and on. What can I do about it as im not willing to send the kids to school with out uniform.

Our Response:
You would have to really negotiate between you and your ex regarding this in order to attempt to organise some workable system. Perhaps, if you both shared the purchase of the uniforms, then you could share the uniforms across houses.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Oct-17 @ 11:08 AM
I have 3 children and they live with me on a shared residence. I pay CSA for them as well as half the mortgage where my ex wife lives with the children. She refuses to send uniform and I have to buy new things every 4 weeks and this keeps going on and on. What can I do about it as im not willing to send the kids to school with out uniform.
Handy - 8-Oct-17 @ 12:56 PM
So it’s correct to say that if my ex gives me £280 a month and I have 2 kids one who is in full time childcare at £950 a month and the other is at school and she does extra activities a term too totalling£48 and I buy all clothing and I work full time and earn over 16,500 a year and am not entitled to the free hours for 2 years olds. Then he does not have to pay half for his kids that the tiny amount above provided is all he needs to do legally. Is that fair when he earn double I do
Not amused - 26-Sep-17 @ 9:32 PM
LB81 - Your Question:
HiIs anyone able to help me with my comment below?

Our Response:
You do not have to pay anything beyond what the CMS assesses you have to pay. Some non-resident parents do pay extra towards childcare costs voluntarily, that's up to you. You can see more via the gov.uk link here regarding your second question.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Sep-17 @ 2:10 PM
Hi Is anyone able to help me with my comment below?
LB81 - 26-Sep-17 @ 10:35 AM
@betty - your ex doesn't have to pay anything above and beyond child maintenance, if he does it is voluntary.
Aid*( - 25-Sep-17 @ 3:56 PM
Hi I have looked at the salary calculator and based on the frequency of nights I will have my son and it has given me a figure I should py. However my wife is saying this wont be enough to cover childcare costs? Could she ask for more than the advised amount. Will she get support from the government with childcare costs or anything else. She works part time. Approximately 24 hours per week.
LB81 - 24-Sep-17 @ 3:58 PM
My child has a school residential coming up costing £350. My ex says he doesn't have to contribute half towards it as it's covered in child maintenance. Is this right?
Betty - 23-Sep-17 @ 5:43 PM
I'm a father of an amazing 7 year old girl.Her mother and I pretty much enjoy shared care of our daughter - she had her only 1 night every 2 weeks more than me.So I basically incur all the same costs as the mother.Her mother earns considerably more money than I do.Yet I still have to pay child maintenance which I can not afford, and do not benefit from the statuary state help that the mother does.How is this right?If child maintenance is for the benefit of the child, why is the so called 'resident' parent not means tested and an assessment made of their needs?
Aust1n - 22-Sep-17 @ 4:49 PM
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