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The Use of Child Support Payments

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 6 Aug 2020 | 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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Hi - I hope you can help. I have recently split with my fiancé, we have a 1 year old baby together and he has a 7 year old to another woman. My ex works Monday - Friday long hours so can’t have our son during the week, however he has said he will have our son every other weekend - Friday and Saturday night. I have calculated the maintenance payments and it is telling me that the amount he should pay is £65 per week to me and £65 per week to his ex wife. However, I have to find the nursery fees which are £138 per week and I also have our son For the majority of the time. Can anyone explain to me if this is fair? My ex earns a great deal more than me and I am having to fund towards my sons nursery fees - food - clothing - shelter etc?? Thanks
Amz - 6-Aug-20 @ 5:38 AM
I split up with my ex 2 years ago. He pays nothing towards our son. He has him 1 night whenever it suits him. Today he told me I will need milk, food and clothes for our son. In the past I've done this so I know my son has had food. My ex is on benefits like me he's on uc and lives in a 1 bedroomed flat. He seems to think that the food I get for me and my son I should provide for him when he has him. I've not had a penny off him even though he's had a few jobs in the past. He was an abusive man, physically, mentally and emotionally and he's still doing it now!! I have to ask him to have our son and when I do it's why, what you doing where you going, or it's a bit early in week (monday) to be asking if I'm doing anything at weekend. I just need to know I don't have to provide essentials when he's got our son only if I feel the need to
Cazza - 22-Jul-20 @ 7:51 PM
My ex partner looks after the children for 3 nights and pays me the maintenance less these 3 days. Who should therefore buy shoes, clothes for children, and pay for school trips? Should it be divided equally?
Kakadu - 17-Jul-20 @ 9:40 AM
Hi I currently pay £160 per month child support for my 5 year old son. I go onto the gov website every April to recalculate what my payments should be to keep it fair. This has never been an issue about the amount I pay. On average my son spends 3 nights a week at my house. His mum usually sends him a weekend bag of clothes and is pretty strict in asking for stuff sending back and moans that I don’t have much clothes for my son to keep at my house. While I agree it would be easier for him to have some clothes at mine I don’t full agree that I should be the one paying out for the clothes. I always thought that my maintenance payment was for clothes ? Is there anyone who can give me advice on this please.
CJ - 15-Jul-20 @ 1:12 PM
My ex has our son 3 nights per week, I have him 4. He pays me 40 pound a week, privately agreed. I need to buy school uniform for my son costing around 100 pounds. My ex wont go halfers with me and says I have to take it from the maintenance money. Is this correct? Also he says if he wanted to he could demand that I provide him with clothes/ shoes etc "by law" because he has him 3 nights and he pays me 40 pound a week. Is this correct? Thanks.
Funmum - 27-Jun-20 @ 9:38 PM
Hi, myself and ex partner have recently gone through the CMS to arrange maintenance paid by myself. She is now telling me I have to pay more money for childcare fees. When I have the children I don’t need childcare. Do I have to pay towards childcare if paying the correct amount of maintenance? ( I also pay for their swimming lessons, school trips and uniform on top) Thanks
Ben - 9-Jun-20 @ 1:55 PM
Hello I wonder if anyone can advise. My daughter’s partner left my daughter and his child . He pays £180 per month as he says that this is all he should pay under the CSA. He has left my daughter with a mortgage, household bills, toddler and dog and moved in with someone else. My daughter works full time and has just changed her job as he would not come and pick the baby up for her to get to work in time. Childcare costs are £700 per month so my daughter is left trying to find £520 for childcare plus money for food, clothing and a roof over the baby’s head. Is it that he only pays this amount?
Kal - 13-Mar-20 @ 8:39 PM
I have been separated from my ex for 6 years have 3 children 19,15 and 9. Both boys live with me and daughter lives with my ex, maintenance has only been paid with the help of the csa for the past 2 years and contact was running smoothly on my part with my youngest (eldestest has been disowned by him) but sporadic on his part, past few months maintenance payments have been short yet I've still to run a house pay bills and feed our boys on my own which I am trying to do but I also study and work part time and pay maintenance for my daughter , it's very draining, mentally and physically trying to create a better life and run the one you have with little support. My ex has been dragging his feet about providing payslips since November and me and my middle child are now arguing because ive ceased contact till its all sorted. I find it hard to do the right thing in this circumstance
Angel81 - 25-Feb-20 @ 12:30 AM
My sons partner asked him to leave Last September,he has paid her £270per month for his 2 children,he looks after them 2 evening per week and has them every other weekend. He buys there clothes and shoes etc. . She is now asking for money for childcare costs whilst she works in the evening. She is extravagant and spends money on false eye lashes & hair and alcohol . Just recently we have found that she has been lying to him about house hold bills whilst they were together,she had control of his wages and was buying beauty products and saying that the bills were far higher than they were
Poppy - 11-Feb-20 @ 7:06 PM
Hi does anyone know, if I have to pay maintenance, if I have all my receipts from when I have bought my son things when I see him every week, sometimes I don't buy him things, but when I haven't I always make sure I spend more on him the following week, is there a way around this or do I not have a choice, any advice would be appreciated, and I am yet to see him in any items of clothing or anything that I have bought him
Shaunito - 8-Feb-20 @ 8:41 PM
Hi there could you let me know if I'm paying to much to my ex. I pay 450 a month I have one child my ex works as well. I pay a mortgage and bills. I have my child 2 days one week and 4 the week after and some half terms. I spend money on him while his with me and take him on holidays. I would like to have him more but the ex said no.
Jo - 6-Feb-20 @ 9:37 AM
I have read and sympathise with the majority of the above. My daughter is in a similar situation whereby her still current husband pays the minimum CSA, will only have the children 1 to 2 nights a week because that is the minimum requirement for the CSA payments and doesn't think he should help with childcare during the school holidays, although my daughter is working to help make ends meet. He expects her to use all her days off to look after them, but that he shouldn't. It goes on, but what I would like to say to all parents out there who are fighting over who pays this or that, does this or that, look at the picture from the child's point of view. You may have separated, but you should be thinking, what can I do to make sure my children don't suffer because as parents, we no longer live together? What is the maximum I can provide them with to ensure that they have the same standard of living as if we were all still together? What is the maximum support I can give to help provide for and bring up my children in a loving, caring environment without it having any impact on their way of life. These children have been brought into this world by both parents, and both parents whether still together or not, should be trying their best to fulfil the needs of the children, not try to contribute as little as possible.
Tess - 3-Feb-20 @ 12:46 PM
Hello. My ex and I have a private maintenance agreement and he is asking not to pay maintenance in the two weeks he's taking him on holiday for later this year, however I will still have to pay the rent for the house my son will return to, so think he should still pay the maintenance money. He said he's happy to keep covering the odd day, here and there, but not for a long holiday term. I need some advice, please!
Nat - 29-Jan-20 @ 11:58 AM
Hi Please can I have some advice, my ex pays the minimum maintenance he can get away with, he is self employed and draws a minimum wage to show on his accounts but draws dividends to top this up. Maintenance is calculated on the lowest he gets paid. He expects me to pay for everything with this money, but I need advice as to whether this should be used for passports and stuff the children need to go on holiday with him, if its his choice to take them why should it come out of the maintenance payments I use for normal clothing and bills for their living costs. I offered to pay half but that's not good enough, sharing costs benefits us both
Kip - 13-Nov-19 @ 1:02 PM
i currently pay above the required amounts in a family arrangement, i have my kids 2 nights per week and i would like 3 but ex wont have it... she is constantly lying to CSA/School about me not paying and now has cancelled afterschool childcare and saying if i am late on pickup, she will instruct school to charge me... so she is being paid for childcare through benefits, through my maintenance and still wanting me to pay. what can i do to stop this irrational behaviour.. i have never missed payments, never been late to pickups, never missed any event, yet the system seems to allow mothers to lie and manipulate as much as they want without issue.
splr - 4-Nov-19 @ 5:49 PM
Hi, I currently pay half a mortgage , full maintenance (£335 a month ) and now my ex is saying if I want to have my child for overnight, I have to pick up one days nursery too. Is this right?
Pete2019 - 29-Oct-19 @ 7:34 AM
Hi, I split with my ex 12 months again. He'd demanded contact Thurs-Sun and I'd agreed simply due to a lot of emotional blackmail (a bit too late I've grown wise to the fact he'd demanded this as he'd done his research and had stated these as his formal days so support payments would be minimal) This contact is sporadic--changes his mind when it suits. A lot of arguments over him expecting me to use up my annual leave for him to have a 'life' (holidays, nights out, a week off after a vasectomy--done the rest of womankind a favour there) he doesn't pay a single penny towards childcare, and refuses to pay any maintenance (I am getting to a point where I am going to seek legal action) I only work part time so I can have a relationship with my son who is still only very little, and also to try and keep childcare costs down. My ex Meanwhilst states he pays 200 pounds travel expenses a month (I don't drive) the travel time is shared between he and his parents as are travel costs (although he has gaslit me on this one and denied he ever told me this) Just wondering where I stand towards him also contributing towards childcare costs, he's also claimed to me that they would take into account his petrol costs when agreeing maintenance payments but not our sons childcare costs, is this correct or am I being mis informed? Thanks
J - 15-Sep-19 @ 7:36 AM
I currently pay voluntary £250 a month for my daughters maintenance plus roughly £260 towards her private nursury fees. I just wanted to know if I pay too much or too less ? Because many people have told me i pay way too much baring in mind this leaves me with next to nothing each month paying this..
Bigbob - 7-Sep-19 @ 2:46 PM
Hello, Hope you can help me with a dilemma. My partner and I have recently split up and our daughter is 4. My partner has custody (non court enforced) of our daughter and our break up is relatively amicable (considering!!). I have started to pay maintenance to her as per GUV.UK rates and always top it up when needed eg. spoiling young madam when necessary. The thing I'm not sure about is responsibility about childcare costs? I currently pay all of them, but am I now entitled to ask her to pay half?
jimmymac1 - 15-Aug-19 @ 9:10 PM
My husband and I separated 1.5yrs ago although he didn't leave the family home till 7mths ago. I get basic maintenance for our 3 girls. He refuses to pay/contribute over and above for extras eg sch uniform, sch dinners, regular after school activities etc. He's taking the girls away for a weeks caravan holiday and says he's going to reduce my maintenance as he has them.....i am stretching my maintenance along with my child tax credit and allowance to cover day to day plus our youngest is starting secondary school in August (Scotland) and that's a full new uniform. Can he pick and choose where and when he reduces or does he have to keep to the monthly basic maintenance CMS calculated. The girls do not stay with him during the week or on weekends. Very rarely will the youngest go for 1 night on a weekend and when she has she always had asked for a friend to go with her.
T - 5-Aug-19 @ 9:42 AM
Hi I have 3 children with my ex, 2 in school and 1 about to start nursery. Up until now I have been working evenings and all weekend (when I don’t have the kids) to get my hours in at work. I have then had my youngest during the day so their mum can work. I pay child maintenance to their mum each week (plus fuel, food etc for when I have the youngest) but I am now looking to change my job where I would get my evenings and weekends back. On top of my child maintenance payments would I be expected to pay half the childcare fees too? Thank you in advance
George - 24-Jul-19 @ 11:58 PM
My ex claims travel expenses out of the maintenance he pays but he has not been the one driving to collect the children for past 4 weeks. Is this right?
Bill - 23-Jun-19 @ 6:32 PM
My ex pays a voluntary maintenance of £200 a month. I’m returning to work and have to put my daughter in nursery and want the maintenance to increase to £330 to cover half the fees. Is there anyway I can take legal action to get him to increase maintenance.
Abby - 29-May-19 @ 5:07 PM
My boyfriend has a son who is 5 months old and the mother wants to put him in nursery and is asking for £200 to send him because he’s bored with her. So we have offered to have him more and she said no and also won’t go back to work because if she does it would be less. Would csa make him pay?
S - 28-May-19 @ 8:09 PM
My husband gets his daughter 2 overnights per week, 1 week at Easter 2 weeks at summer this was agreed through a court order he had to obtain to get visitation . His ex won’t send clothing or school clothes down even though he pays child maintainance to her firstly was cash in hand now through CSA . Should she be providing clothing for those overnights . Thanks
Nic - 22-May-19 @ 2:40 PM
My partner has his ex 13 nights a month and pays his ex £328 a month . She isrefusing to provide clothes shoes and nappies for the two children . Should she provide this stuff
Bex - 7-May-19 @ 7:40 PM
Hi ya...I need some advice.My son is 8 and my ex has him 1 weeknighta week.I am paying for after school club as he cannot get there for when school finishes... is that my responsibility?I have to pay for the rest of the week for afterschool club as we are both working parents.But is this legally covered by CSA payments or not? thanks
Mitch - 25-Apr-19 @ 2:50 PM
Hi, I live in Scotland an know that there are different rules etc but my daughter has a place in college and will still be in full time education, my ex husband had agreed to pay while she is still in an education but has now back tracked as he says my daughter will get a bursary and now says that he is stopping his payments, we have never went down the formal route and involve the CSA(or equivalentto what it was) and has just been an agreement between ourselves made 4 years ago when we split, he had also not long started with his employer and we based payments on his basic wage with a promise to pay more when he starts overtime, which he will have done for a few years now but he never paid extra and I never questioned it as I didn't want to risk no payments, as far as I know...IF...she gets a bursary then that will be for college supplies not for living costs, is that right or can he stop his maintenance payments, is there something in place of what was the CSA that can help
Clan - 22-Apr-19 @ 9:40 PM
Hi I have a 5 year old and a 1 year old. We have split up this year. Since then the care has been shared. Over a month period there is 2 weeks where I have my kids from school finishing till 9pm mon wed thu and then fri through till Sunday night. And on the other 2 weeks I have my kids wed after school until Saturday morning. This is to accommodate her working every night as a dance teacher. Both our current partners help with this child care and my mum does also. I feed cloth and provide shelter for boys when they are with me and she does same when they are with her. I buy new school clothes throughout year. She is well aware to ask when they need over and above. We took them on summer holiday last year and plan to do so again this year. We take turns at having xmas and new year so I will have them this year. There is a lawyers letter been drafted with the agreement of days and then we both agreed in order to avoid court. It is only today she is demanding I pay her child maintenance. Am i obliged topay this. Opinions ?
Daz - 18-Apr-19 @ 9:36 PM
Does anyone know if I should be paying for half the mortgage for the house my ex and child live in AND maintenance?
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