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Who Can Apply for Child Support?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 21 Apr 2017 |
 
Child Support Non-resident Application

It isn’t just biological parents that have the right to apply for child maintenance payments. Any person who is ‘with care’ is entitled to apply to the Child Support Agency (CSA) for maintenance; this is also the case with non-resident parents.

If more than one person has care of a child, and at least one of them has parental responsibility of that child, the person who has parental responsibility can apply to the CSA. For example, if a child lives partially with its father and partially with the father’s parents (the child’s grandparents) it is the father who has parental responsibility so it is he who is entitled to apply to the CSA.

Parental Responsibility

So what is parental responsibility? If the child’s parents were married at the time of the child’s birth, it follows (as it does in law) that they have parental responsibility for the child. Parental responsibility survives divorce. In terms of remarriage, a step-parent can obtain parental responsibility by being given it by the parent.

If the parents are not married, the mother can formally agree to give the father parental responsibility. It is also possible for a person to apply to the court (in England and Wales) for the purpose of obtaining parental responsibility. If the child is born on or after 1st December 2003, and the unmarried father’s name is on the birth certificate, he will automatically have parental responsibility. If the child is born before this date, there is no such automatic right. In these circumstances an unmarried father who is not named on the birth certificate must either apply through the court or make a formal arrangement with the mother.

Maintenance Agreements

If there is a maintenance agreement made before 5th April 1993 in place that is in writing, is an agreement (i.e. agreed between the parties) and has been made by the non-resident parent for periodic payments relating to maintenance for the benefit of a child or children, this prevents a voluntary application being made to the CSA for child maintenance. Bear in mind that an agreement in these circumstances does not have to have been in force before this date, and is allowed to have been varied since then.

Maintenance Orders

If a court made a maintenance order before 3rd March 2003 relating to a child or children, this prevents a voluntary application being able to be made to the CSA. Similarly, if an order was made after 3rd March 2003 but has not been in force for at least a year then you will also be prevented from making an application. (‘In force’ means that there must have been some practical effect: e.g. there may now be no further liability to pay maintenance, or the liability to pay may not have started yet.)

In conclusion, if there is a maintenance agreement that was made prior to 5th April 1993, or a consent order then there can be no voluntary application to the CSA. However, if the ‘with care’ parent was claiming job seekers allowance or income support prior to 14th July the CSA will be able to deal with this application.

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[Add a Comment]
Hi, my ex is moving to US and I have won sole residency through the courts. My ex has visiting rights and may not work in the US am I still entitled to claim maintainance? Thanks
AS - 21-Apr-17 @ 2:04 PM
Hi my sons dad is claiming to have received a letter from CSA but I have never applied to the CSA ever. Can the government get in touch with him without my say so? Kind regards
Giselle - 13-Mar-17 @ 9:00 AM
Kaz15 - Your Question:
My ex partner has mental health issues and I'm not getting financial support from him can I claim child maintenance on his behalf ?

Our Response:
I don't quite understand your question. You can claim child maintenance 'from' him if you are the mother of his children and he is earning enough to be able to pay, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Mar-17 @ 1:50 PM
My ex partner has mental health issues and I'm not getting financial support from him can I claim child maintenance on his behalf ?
Kaz15 - 6-Mar-17 @ 6:19 PM
Tracyo - Your Question:
My 20 year old sons ex is trying to say because he as no money coming in, not working or claiming and doesn't even live with us that csa have said she can claim from my husband for her child. Is this true. We've never had anything to do with her or the child

Our Response:
The only person your son's ex can claim child maintenance for her child from is the biological father, i.e your son.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Jul-16 @ 12:16 PM
My20 year old sons ex is trying to say because he as no money coming in, not working or claiming and doesn't even live with us that csa have said she can claim from my husband for her child. Is this true. We've never had anything to do with her or the child
Tracyo - 25-Jul-16 @ 3:42 PM
@mine - she may be able to. However, you need to inform the CSA of this change (if you are going through the CSA) in order that the situation can be reviewed. Also, if your son is not in full-time education then you may be eligible to stop payment at age 16 onwards anyway.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Apr-15 @ 2:03 PM
My son 17yr has moved in with his nan is she able to claim csa of me
mine - 14-Apr-15 @ 5:28 PM
@Drowe - I have included a link here regarding how child maintenance is worked out, which will tell you every child permutation. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Mar-15 @ 12:18 PM
Hi, my ex partner is receiving Child Maintenance from her daughters biological father. There is the potential that she'll go through the CSA for the two children we have together. I was with my now ex for 5 years, little girl is now 5.5 years old. What's the legal stance in this respect? Would she potentially get maintenance from me, over and above the biological father? I'm not looking to shirk my responsibilities, just curious as to what the position was.
Drowe - 7-Mar-15 @ 9:27 PM
@grammy - you may find some useful information via the Grandparent Association link, here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Mar-15 @ 2:19 PM
I have full custody of my 2 gran babies am i entitled to get child support from my son and the mum
grammy - 27-Feb-15 @ 10:59 AM
Marry 14 yr.two yr. she put domestic violence against me never convicted just 5yr.restrict order for my (kids)5 and 3 yr.old she know puts child support knoing that I am not the biological father.Is two years we been separated and know she lives with is boyfriend and her new born child and she is still marry to me.to top if off I went to get the copys of both kids and I am not in the birth certificate they just got my las name.she never change her maiden name.I don't know what to do.
Pac man - 14-Aug-14 @ 1:21 AM
Im a single parent,never married my babies father. Hes been giving me problems when hes suppose to send child support money.I dont know if i can claimchild maintainance through the courts because hes not permanently employed. His contract is renewed each month. I would like to know if i can be able to claim even if hes not permanently employed. Im unemployed at the moment and i rely on him to meet all our babies needs. my baby is 13 months old.
lebo - 1-May-14 @ 7:52 PM
Our son moved outof his own accord and went to live with his friend and parents when he was 16. He is now 18 and they have just filed for child maintenance from us. Is this legal?
Jan - 2-Feb-14 @ 8:28 PM
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