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The Use of Child Support Payments

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 20 Jan 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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[Add a Comment]
I pay child maintenance every month and are almost Divorced. I have my child once a week. My soon to be ex is now not sending my son with a change of clothes oreven a coat stating that I need to buy all of this on top of what I pay. Surely my maintenance pays towardsthe clothes and this is just her being difficult?
JJ - 20-Jan-18 @ 12:40 PM
Goon - Your Question:
I pay maintenace to my ex wife but she just gives it all to my daughter its about £300 this is not right

Our Response:
It is up to your ex wife to decide what she wishes to do with the money. Many non-resident parents would prefer the money to go to their child rather than directly to their ex.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Jan-18 @ 3:45 PM
I pay maintenace to my ex wife but she just gives it all to my daughter its about £300 this is not right
Goon - 16-Jan-18 @ 7:02 PM
I was never in a relationshipwiththe motherofmy child but I have been paying maintenance fromthestart. And now she threatens to go to court as she is demanding more payment. She always denands more where her own interest matter. She always says it's for our daughter, but yet she asked familyto buy the child stationaryfor christmas as she can't afford it.. but now that she is demanding more money. A child doesnt need Dstv, nor a I pad, or to eat junk food every weekend and doesnt need new clothesevery day. Don't claim those things in the interestsof the child becausethey are not. That's the problem where a lot of mothers get away with the amounts that they get. It's not fair.
Craig - 16-Jan-18 @ 10:27 AM
Brownie - Your Question:
My ex pays child maintenance and has told me he expects me to renew our daughter's passport out of the maintenance. I told him it's not a day to day expense and now he is threatening court action add the Child maintenance people say that it is nothing to do with them (i agree) and we should sort it out between ourselves. Can you please advise the legal standpoint. Thankyou for your time. B

Our Response:
Your ex would not be allowed to apply to court over this. It would be expected to be sorted out between you both mutually and/or through mediation first before a court will allow him to apply.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Jan-18 @ 2:10 PM
My ex pays child maintenance and has told me he expects me to renew our daughter's passport out of the maintenance. I told him it's not a day to day expense and now he is threatening court action add the Child maintenance people say that it is nothing to do with them (i agree) and we should sort it out between ourselves. Can you please advise the legal standpoint. Thankyou for your time. B
Brownie - 14-Jan-18 @ 8:30 PM
I pay child maintenance every month, does that cover me for nursery costs? on top of what i pay to my ex partner i still have to buy my child cloths nappy's wet wipes and food ect, i pay £200 a month and i earn 19,000 a year before tax and deductions.
B - 5-Jan-18 @ 1:57 PM
hi,my daughter is 16 in January but shes not staying on at school but wants to go to collage to study music,do i still have to pay my x maintenance. ???
fester - 31-Dec-17 @ 1:00 AM
Hi, I have 2 children aged 5 & 8. My ex partner has them both every other weekend (fri-sun) and 1 night the following week, I receive £176 p/m for maintenance which he was not happy about paying to begin with. My daughter attends gymnastics which my ex thinks that should be left to me, aswell as things like school uniforms, Halloween costumes etc. I understand that maintenance which I receive covers daily living etc but was not sure that it covered other necessities which I mentioned above, which he claims it does. if you could please advise me that would be great. thanks.
JK - 29-Dec-17 @ 1:33 PM
Hi, My ex signed and dated an agreement which stated that when he left this June 2017 he would pay £100.00 weekly Maintence for his son.He has been paying this amount until after Boxing Day this year.He has reduced the amount to £75.00.His job/ financial situation has not changed.What are my options? It’s a detailed agreement.Our divorce is very bitter, on his behalf.We are awaiting the decree Nisi court hearing date.He is upset about child contact with our Son, even though he has very good access.There was domestic abuse in our marriage.He is using Maintence reduction as a leverage to intimidate and cause distress. Please advise my options?I know he will go up a pay grade next year as he works for the nhs as a mental health nurse manager.I know that he will be doing a lot of overtime to save towards a new house.I am aware of his pay grade now and his secure allowance amount he’s paid. Thanking you for your kind help. Elizabeth 28.12.17
Elizabeth - 28-Dec-17 @ 7:47 AM
My partner has two children and that he pays £305 a month for and we are having a tough time with the mother who is now saying she doesnt have to provide anythink when we have the children. She is with holding contact as it suits her and has stopped us having the children over night and gets very nasty verbally. She is now refusing to send the children with carseats,nappies,wipes, suitable juice bottles and little necessities. We are providing it so its not an issue but does this effect the amount of CSA he should be paying? And is this right that she can do this, cause i feel its just neglect and effects the children.
Custard88 - 27-Dec-17 @ 11:42 AM
Mimee - Your Question:
My brother has just been assessed to pay his 8 year old £380 per month CMS. He has two further children and with this expense, plus his own living costs, would leave him with £75 for food, petrol, clothing his 2 daughters etc etc. I cannot see how this is reasonable. Can it be disputed? Thanks.

Our Response:
Child maintenance is a non-negotiable payment with all non-resident parents charged the same based upon the salary they earn and the tax they pay via HMRC. On the basic rate, if the non-resident parent is paying for one child,then they will pay 12% of their gross weekly income. With two children, the non-resident parent will pay 16% of your their weekly income, and if the person has three or more children, they will pay 19% of their gross weekly income. You can see more via the link here, which should help answer your question.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Dec-17 @ 10:33 AM
My brother has just been assessed to pay his 8 year old £380 per month CMS. He has two further children and with this expense, plus his own living costs, would leave him with £75 for food, petrol, clothing his 2 daughters etc etc. I cannot see how this is reasonable. Can it be disputed? Thanks.
Mimee - 18-Dec-17 @ 3:11 PM
roy - Your Question:
Hi, I pay £200 a month child maintenance, my son who is 1yr 6m goes to nursery 2 days a week and I have him 2 times a week and a night over. My ex also wants childcare payments on top she claims tax credit and single parent benefits and she works at the nursery 3 days a week. All together I would pay £380 a month, is this about normal?Cheers

Our Response:
You do not have to pay above and beyond the amount you are assessed by CMS. Anything you pay above this amount is discretionary.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Dec-17 @ 3:41 PM
Hi, i pay £200 a month child maintenance, my son who is 1yr 6m goes to nursery 2 days a week and i have him 2 times a week and a night over. My ex also wants childcare payments on top she claims tax credit and single parent benefits and she works at the nursery 3 days a week. All together i would pay £380 a month, is this about normal? Cheers
roy - 15-Dec-17 @ 10:01 AM
Mum - Your Question:
My son is paying the agreed amount for his daughter. His ex wife is about to start working and has demanded that he now pay child care as well. He wants to have his daughter two nights a week but her mother has said she won’t allow this, this would cut the cost of child care. She is doing this to make his payments higher. He also pays and extra £240 a month for a car for her. My question is does he have to pay the child care costs in addition. Thank you

Our Response:
Your son doesn't have to pay extra for childcare. This is usually a negotiable amount that 'some' non-resident parents may help to contribute towards, if and where an alternative arrangement cannot be found. Mediation would be the next option for your son to suggest, if he feels his ex is not considering other options (such as your son having your daughter more) to cut the costs of childcare. Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court. It is a formal negotiation and courts can accept the agreement of the mediation instead of having to go through the court process, although it is subject to final court approval. Mediation takes place in front of a neutral third party. The mediator has no pre-conceptions and will not force you to make an agreement. They will assist the two parties in taking turns in the conversation, exploring all possiblities and helping them reach a decision that they are ready to agree with. Your son is only obliged to pay child maitenance, anything above and beyond this is purely discretionary.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Dec-17 @ 9:37 AM
B - Your Question:
My childs father made a first payment of 300 and then had a massive dispute with the third women he has now had children with. They came to a decision that he would stop working and she wrote a letter to say that he was living off her. He works on the side making a lot of money cash in hand. I took him to court and proved all of this and he was ordered to pay me thousands. The courts stated that the sucess rate of winning these cases were low but I had that much evidence it went in my favour. He was reported to tax evasion but as far as I am aware nothing ever came of it. Im guessing because it was cash in hand and within 'friends' houses that his work takes place so I guess its hard to catch. He also then decided to go to college which apparently makes him exempt from paying maintenance. It has been over 3 years since the first and only payment, ive not seen any of the money the court awarded him to pay yet he always has the best things. His second daughter by another women also recives nothing. What steps can I take to recieve the money owed and maintenance? Could he potentially never have to pay so long as he stays 'living off his partner'? I just dont understand how how they can get away with it? I went to college and university raising my daughter and still had to pay for everything.

Our Response:
You may be able to attempt to enforce the judgement, please see link here. However, the simple answer here is that if your ex has no money or is living off his partner, then the court is rendered powerless, as it cannot make his partner pay his debt. In other words, a person has to have money in order to be able to extract money. You may wish to seek further legal advice.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Dec-17 @ 2:05 PM
My son is paying the agreed amount for his daughter. His ex wife is about to start working and has demanded that he now pay child care as well. He wants to have his daughter two nights a week but her mother has said she won’t allow this, this would cut the cost of child care. She is doing this to make his payments higher. He also pays and extra £240 a month for a car for her. My question is does he have to pay the child care costs in addition. Thank you
Mum - 14-Dec-17 @ 10:00 AM
My childs father made a first payment of 300 and then had a massive dispute with the third women he has now had children with. They came to a decision that he would stop working and she wrote a letter to say that he was living off her. He works on the side making a lot of money cash in hand. I took him to court and proved all of this and he was ordered to pay me thousands. The courts stated that the sucess rate of winning these cases were low but i had that much evidence it went in my favour. He was reported to tax evasion but as far as i am aware nothing ever came of it. Im guessing because it was cash in hand and within 'friends' houses that his work takes place so i guess its hard to catch. He also then decided to go to college which apparently makes him exempt from paying maintenance. It has been over 3 years since the first and only payment, ive not seen any of the money the court awarded him to pay yet he always has the best things. His second daughter by another women also recives nothing. What steps can i take to recieve the money owed and maintenance? Could he potentially never have to pay so long as he stays 'living off his partner'? I just dont understand how how they can get away with it? I went to college and university raising my daughter and still had to pay for everything.
B - 12-Dec-17 @ 9:25 PM
@Steve - then you don't have to pay anything above and beyond your general payment. The thing is, if it was a valid request that suited you both that your daughter is in nursery, then it's understandable to contribute (ie if you both worked and neither had the days off to look after her). But if your ex isn't working and just wants free time, then it's not up to you to help finance your ex to stay at home and not look after your kid. You just have to justify if her reason is valid....and it's not in this case.
RossM - 12-Dec-17 @ 1:40 PM
@RossM thank you for your response and yes you have a very valid point, however my ex partner doesn't work and the other half of the nursery bill comes from her new partners wage, my problem is that my child doesn't need to be in full time nursery as she qualifies for 3 free days, I'm grateful for said new partners contribution but it's a totally unnessary bill, after being left with debt I'm in a difficult situation
Steve - 12-Dec-17 @ 9:03 AM
@Steve - you don't have to give her more than child maintenance to help support your child on a daily basis. But remember you are your child's other parent too and you can ask the question; why your ex should foot the whole nursery bill for your child? It's a big bill and your ex is entitled to work just as much as you are. Ethically speaking you might want to share the nursery bill.
RossM - 11-Dec-17 @ 4:10 PM
Charlotti - Your Question:
Hi travel expenses are taken into account when working out child mainitence so he would be correct in his assumption esp as he lives 300 miles away.

Our Response:
If he lives 300 miles away and child maintenance haven't taken travel into account, then he may be able to apply for a variation, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Dec-17 @ 3:34 PM
Hi travel expenses are taken into account when working out child mainitence so he would be correct in his assumption esp as he lives 300 miles away.
Charlotti - 10-Dec-17 @ 10:24 PM
I pay 200 a month to my ex partner for our child, does this payment account for a 800 pound a month nursery fee? My ex partner is asking for a total of 450 a month, is this right? Or is she asking for more than I'm entitled to give her?
Steve - 10-Dec-17 @ 7:08 PM
Lyn - Your Question:
Hi, My husband has a shared residence order for his daughter and she lives with us generally speaking for 3 out of 7 nights a week. My husband pays regular maintenance to his ex and always has. We also have to buy clothes, shoes and coats for his daughter at our house, and we pay the monthly fee for her to attend brownies.His daughter is now due to go on an overnight school trip and his ex has asked for half of the fees. We believe that the maintenance payments should pay for this trip, but would like to know if this is legally acceptable as it's not clear to us exactly what the maintenance payments should be used for.

Our Response:
Child maintenance payments are used towards your husband's daughter's day-to-day needs. Any payments above and beyond this are negotiable. Most non-resident parents keep clothes, toys etc at their house ( the non-resident parent cannot be expected to pay towards these). If the overnight trip is expensive, then it is understandable the resident parent may ask for extra help. However, much depends upon what your husband thinks is fair when assessing whether he should pay extra, but it is not compulsory.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Dec-17 @ 10:00 AM
Hi, My husband has a shared residence order for his daughter and she lives with us generally speaking for 3 out of 7 nights a week. My husband pays regular maintenance to his ex and always has. We also have to buy clothes, shoes and coats for his daughter at our house, and we pay the monthly fee for her to attend brownies. His daughter is now due to go on an overnight school trip and his ex has asked for half of the fees. We believe that the maintenance payments should pay for this trip, but would like to know if this is legally acceptable as it's not clear to us exactly what the maintenance payments should be used for.
Lyn - 7-Dec-17 @ 8:46 AM
Chels - Your Question:
Hi I wonder if you could help, I'm living with a new partner I live an hour and a half from my ex n I don't drive. My ex takes our 2 kids every other weekend. He was happy to drive through on the friday and pick them up from me n drop them back to me at the train station on the sunday for the first few months but is now refusing to pick/drop off the kids up on his weekend n saying I need to drop them off to him n pick them up again. It's a 7hr round trip involving 4 buses and 4 trains for me n the kids so I wondered where I stood on picking them up and dropping is it his responsibility or mine?

Our Response:
It would generally be a split responsibility (for instance one parent picks up and one drops off). However, if you have no means of transport, another arrangement may work better. This is an issue that should be resolved between you or via mediation on the basis on what is in the best interests of the children. However, it is unfair to ask you both drop off and pick up the children.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Dec-17 @ 2:01 PM
Rita - Your Question:
My sons dad pays 300 a month and I’m also on state benefits. It’s great helps out but we still never seem to have enough. He has offered to give me shares in his company which pay dividends of about 800 a month which would be great. My only problem is would this council out my benefits??? Like housing benefit and income support because if it did when would be back at square one

Our Response:
Yes, if you have income from another source then this is likely to affect your state benefits.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Dec-17 @ 10:03 AM
My sons dad pays 300 a month and I’m also on state benefits. It’s great helps out but we still never seem to have enough. He has offered to give me shares in his company which pay dividends of about 800 a month which would be great. My only problem is would this council out my benefits??? Like housing benefit and income support because if it did when would be back at square one
Rita - 3-Dec-17 @ 3:21 AM
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