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The Use of Child Support Payments

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 16 Apr 2018 | 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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WDTF - Your Question:
Hi can someone advise if the mainantce I pay each month covers for school uniform please?

Our Response:
You do not have to pay any more than CMS requests that you pay. However, if you wish to contribute more if the maintenance doesn't cover the cost of school uniforms, then this is at your discretion.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Apr-18 @ 11:52 AM
Hi can someone advise if the mainantce I pay each month covers for school uniform please?
WDTF - 16-Apr-18 @ 5:21 PM
@Mickydicky - your income will be taken into consideration. If you are on even money then child maintenance can be negated, but if you're not, then it's more likely your ex will ahve to continue to pay.
Ellis. - 16-Apr-18 @ 3:43 PM
I am the resident parent of one child.My ex pays maintenance.In the past he has diverted income, thereby reducing payments, but is back to good behaviours now.He wants to get a court order permitting him shared care.We currently work towards best endeavours to shared care, but he wants to formalise it as he believes it will negate him having to pay maintenance.The CMA site would indicate the contrary, but some google searches indicate he may be able to avoid payments.I earn 1/4 of his income.Can you define the actual position?Do we need to go to court or would mediation be the first port of call?
Mickydicky - 16-Apr-18 @ 1:42 PM
kev - Your Question:
I pay 250 per month for two children, what does csa actually pay for? A list be very helpful. Can it may towards birthday party?

Our Response:
There is no defined 'list'. Child maintenance payments are payments towards the day-to-day general support of your children whist under the roof of the primary carer. So, it can go towards; parties, food, school lunches, school trips, travel, clothes, ultility bills, sundries, days out, pocket money etc. If you break it down your payment equates to £31.25 per week towards the day-to-day care of each child. You can see more about the cost of raising a child via the CMS link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Apr-18 @ 10:51 AM
I pay 250 per month for two children, what does csa actually pay for? A list be very helpful. Can it may towards birthday party?
kev - 15-Apr-18 @ 12:06 PM
EmilyJayne - Your Question:
My ex pays £60 by direct pay each week on a Friday. As it's the Easter holidays we have agreed to have them a week at a time. I have had them this week and him next. I want to know if he still has to pay me child maintenance this week? I can't seem to find much on this on the internet so need help please. Thank you

Our Response:
Much depends whether you have a family-based agreement or one through CMS. If it's a family-based arrangement, then you would agree between you. If he was assessed through CMS, then he would still have to pay as payments are averaged out across the year.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Apr-18 @ 2:57 PM
My ex pays £60 by direct pay each week on a Friday. As it's the Easter holidays we have agreed to have them a week at a time. I have had them this week and him next. I want to know if he still has to pay me child maintenance this week? I can't seem to find much on this on the internet so need help please. Thank you
EmilyJayne - 30-Mar-18 @ 10:43 AM
Hi My son pays for his child who is 2 maintenance but he has to go round to the mothers home every night after work to put his son to bed and has him every weekend from Saturday through to Sunday evening. She gets 2.5 days free nursery and is now complaining that the £265 my son pays in CMS is not enough to cover the costs of having her son. She uses her CMS money to top up her rent so she can live close to her ex husband and their two children, which she moved to 6 weeks after the court ordered this arrangement.My question here is; does the mother not have an obligation to provide a roof over her sons head and what my son pays her is for food and clothing (not that she feeds him very well at all as he is usually starving when my son has him on the weekends)? Bazz
Bazz - 27-Mar-18 @ 6:37 PM
DT - Your Question:
Hi there, Sorry if this has been asked before but I need some advice.I provide £350 a month in CMS which is what the guidance says and now I am being asked to pay another £360 a month for child care.At the moment I’m only allowed to see my daughter once a week. What am I obliged to pay? Can I stipulate what additional I pay on top of CMS? Any advice would be welcomed

Our Response:
You do not have to pay anything beyond child maintenance payments assessed by CMS. Anything you pay beyond this amount is discretionary.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Mar-18 @ 3:35 PM
SideFX - Your Question:
I pay monthly maintenance as per the calculator on the.GOV site. My ex now wants me to contribute to swimming lessons, football etc. Do I have to pay this on top of the maintenance?

Our Response:
Whatever you pay above and beyond child maintenance is at your discretion. You are not obliged to pay more than child maintenance requests - some parents choose to, some not.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Mar-18 @ 12:45 PM
I pay monthly maintenance as per the calculator on the .GOV site. My ex now wants me to contribute to swimming lessons, football etc. Do I have to pay this on top of the maintenance?
SideFX - 21-Mar-18 @ 9:27 PM
Hi there, Sorry if this has been asked before but I need some advice. I provide £350 a month in CMS which is what the guidance says and now I am being asked to pay another £360 a month for child care. At the moment I’m only allowed to see my daughter once a week. What am I obliged to pay? Can I stipulate what additional I pay on top of CMS? Any advice would be welcomed
DT - 20-Mar-18 @ 6:39 PM
Bob - Your Question:
Following an acrimonious and expensive divorce, I have obligations under a Court Order to pay all childcare costs. This is a "shared parenting" arrangement and states that the children live with each parent according to a defined schedule.The children live with my ex-wife for 60% of the time and they live with me for 40%. Our two homes are a mile apart and similar in size. Both of us work full-time. In addition to the obligations in the Court Order, my ex-wife applied to the CMS as her 60% makes her the "primary carer". Conversely, my 40% makes me "non-resident" and I pay 12% of my income in statutory payments, plus the childcare costs stipulated in the Court Order. I cannot see how these childcare costs can be considered "voluntary" or "discretionary" as the Court Order tells me I must pay or risk criminal punishment. How is it that two branches of the Law can each impose obligations without considering how I am expected to meet the total obligation? What can I do?

Our Response:
If the shared-parenting arrangement did not specify child maintenance should be paid (as in shared-care arrangements child maintenance can be waived), then you should be able to refer the matter back to court for a change in circumstance. It sounds as though child care payments were awarded on the basis you have your child only 40% of the time, meaning this would take up the deficit where child maintenance is not requested. However, much depends upon how the matter was originally decided in court and whether you were requested to pay child maintenance and/or whether childcare fees were instead of child maintenance. You may wish to speak to your solicitor and CMS directly regarding this. But, you shouldn't have to pay both childcare and child maintenance in a shared-care arrangement. It sounds as though your ex is trying to pull a fast one.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Mar-18 @ 10:30 AM
lucas - Your Question:
Hi, my daughter and son stay with me overnight 2 days a week and I drop my son off at preschool and my daughter at school my question is does my ex partner have to provide school uniform for my daughter as im being left with no uniform for her but she does provide clothes for my son, I provide clothes for them when they sstay with me and I am paying csa payment which have been calculated through the csa directly. Thanks

Our Response:
There are no rules either way here. It should be negotiated between you both.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Mar-18 @ 3:46 PM
Following an acrimonious and expensive divorce, I have obligations under a Court Order to pay all childcare costs. This is a "shared parenting" arrangement and states that the children live with each parent according to a defined schedule.The children live with my ex-wife for 60% of the time and they live with me for 40%. Our two homes are a mile apart and similar in size. Both of us work full-time. In addition to the obligations in the Court Order, my ex-wife applied to the CMS as her 60% makes her the "primary carer". Conversely, my 40% makes me "non-resident" and I pay 12% of my income in statutory payments, plus the childcare costs stipulated in the Court Order. I cannot see how these childcare costs can be considered "voluntary" or "discretionary" as the Court Order tells me I must pay or risk criminal punishment. How is it that two branches of the Law can each impose obligations without considering how I am expected to meet the total obligation? What can I do?
Bob - 19-Mar-18 @ 3:08 PM
STC - Your Question:
I am paying child maintenance to me ex partner. She is in the family home with our 2 children. I paid off the mortgage with £121,000 of my inheritance after my mother passed away. I have made all of the monthly mortgage payments also up until I settled the mortgage. Less than a year later, she wanted a separation and wants to stay in the house. I am now renting a one bedroom flat. Child maintenance is for food clothing and housing costs etc. Am I able to lawfully ask for a reduction in the amount of maintenance I pay as there is no 'housing cost' as I paid off the mortgage? She is refusing to pay me any rent? What am I legally entitled to as a rent if she wants to remain in the property? I am not opposed to her and the children remaining in the property until the youngest reaches 18 but surely I am entitled to something???

Our Response:
Your only option would be to refer the matter to court to let the court decide what happens with the house. Child maintenance is based upon current earnings, not assets. You may wish to seek legal advice regarding trying to secure what happens to your house in the future. If your ex is was your partner and not your wife, then you should be able to have the house returned to you at some point, please see CAB link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Mar-18 @ 12:52 PM
VSH - Your Question:
Hi, I pay currently £300+ through CSA for living costs. I have just been approached to pay towards a school trip, I was under the impression school costs and school trips should be included in this amount? Could someone please confirm this and possibly point me to a list of all the things this CSA should pay for? Thanks

Our Response:
Anything you pay above and beyond what CMS assesses you should pay, is deemed as voluntary and at your discretion.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Mar-18 @ 9:24 AM
Hi, my daughter and son stay with me overnight 2 days a week and i drop my son off at preschool and my daughter at school my question is does my ex partner have to provide school uniform for my daughter as im being left with no uniform for her but she does provide clothes for my son, i provide clothes for them when they sstay with me and i am paying csa payment which have been calculated through the csa directly. Thanks
lucas - 18-Mar-18 @ 7:38 PM
Hi, I pay currently £300+ through CSA for living costs. I have just been approached to pay towards a school trip, I was under the impression school costs and school trips should be included in this amount? Could someone please confirm this and possibly point me to a list of all the things this CSA should pay for? Thanks
VSH - 18-Mar-18 @ 9:18 AM
I am paying child maintenance to me ex partner. She is in the family home with our 2 children. I paid off the mortgage with £121,000 of my inheritance after my mother passed away. I have made all of the monthly mortgage payments also up until I settled the mortgage. Less than a year later, she wanted a separation and wants to stay in the house. I am now renting a one bedroom flat. Child maintenance is for food clothing and housing costs etc. Am I able to lawfully ask for a reduction in the amount of maintenance I pay as there is no 'housing cost' as I paid off the mortgage? She is refusing to pay me any rent? What am I legally entitled to as a rent if she wants to remain in the property? I am not opposed to her and the children remaining in the property until the youngest reaches 18 but surely I am entitled to something???
STC - 17-Mar-18 @ 4:17 PM
ginge - Your Question:
I pay through csa a percentage of my earnings each week to my ex wife. The previous two years we had a family based arrangement where I provided for my daughter whilst in my care and vise versa. My ex recently went behind my back to csa and I have agreed to pay a percentage weekly.I have asked my ex if she could provide a weekend bag when my daughter comes to visit as I'm now paying maintenance.My ex is refusing and saying I should still provide whilst my daughter is here for contact as well as pay csa. Could you please verify what should happen in this situation. Thank you

Our Response:
Your ex is under no obligation to provide a 'weekend bag' for your child when she comes to visit. Child maintenance is paid as a contribution to your child's day-to-day care when at the resident's parent's house. Non-resident parents are financially responsible to provide for their children when their children are staying with them.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Mar-18 @ 12:19 PM
I pay through csa a percentage of my earnings each week to my ex wife. The previous two years we had a family based arrangement where I provided for my daughter whilst in my care and vise versa. My ex recently went behind my back to csa and I have agreed to pay a percentage weekly. I have asked my ex if she could provide a weekend bag when my daughter comes to visit as I'm now paying maintenance. My ex is refusing and saying I should still provide whilst my daughter is here for contact as well as pay csa. Could you please verify what should happen in this situation. Thank you
ginge - 14-Mar-18 @ 6:54 PM
Bee - Your Question:
If you are the parent who receive child matanance, are you responsible for paying for food, drink and so on, when the child go’s and see’s the paying parent?

Our Response:
No. Child maintenance is paid by the non-resident parent to the resident parent. The resident parent can do what he/she wishes to do with the money, as it is paid towards the child's day-to-day needs. You do not have to pay towards anything while the child is at the paying parent's house.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Mar-18 @ 3:49 PM
If you are the parent who receive child matanance, are you responsible for paying for food, drink and so on, when the child go’s and see’s the paying parent?
Bee - 12-Mar-18 @ 11:17 AM
Lavo - Your Question:
I pay my ex child support as worked out on the calculator. This has been ongoing now for almost a year. However, I also contribute to some of her bills, for example I pay for her broadband and Sky TV. Am I entitled to reduce my maintenance payment if I am continuing to pay for these.

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether you pay via CMS. You are under no obligation to pay for your ex's broadband/Sky TV, this is at your discretion. If you have a family-based child maintenance arrangement - then what/how you pay should be agreed between you both.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Mar-18 @ 9:30 AM
I pay my ex child support as worked out on the calculator. This has been ongoing now for almost a year. However, I also contribute to some of her bills, for example I pay for her broadband and Sky TV. Am I entitled to reduce my maintenance payment if I am continuing to pay for these.
Lavo - 4-Mar-18 @ 9:59 AM
My partner and his ex girlfriend both have a child each in their custody. He’s always paid child maintenance and after a year from having his daughter he’s claimed child maintenance as she has refused to pay. Our son starts nursery in a few months and was wondering if this affects the maintenance he pays towards her? She pays the bare minimum for her daughter but works full time and has a good income. Just wanting to know how she’s managed to worm her way out of paying the recommended payments.
Chloeee - 28-Feb-18 @ 6:39 PM
Nick - Your Question:
I'm paying my daughter's maintenance every month. I gave her some cash lately and her mother took it from her. My ex wife is unemployed and living from benefits. Is there is any way I can control her spending child maintenance and if she spend it on my daughter needs ??

Our Response:
The resident parent does not have to justify what they spend child maintenance on.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Feb-18 @ 2:02 PM
I'm paying my daughter's maintenance every month. I gave her some cash lately and her mother took it from her. My ex wife is unemployed and living from benefits. Is there is any way I can control her spending child maintenance and if she spend it on my daughter needs ??
Nick - 26-Feb-18 @ 8:10 PM
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