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Who Has to Pay Child Support?

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 16 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Support Csa Child Support Agency

All parents have the responsibility to financially support their children, and to provide a safe environment for them to grow up in. Due to separation or divorce however, circumstances sometimes unexpectedly change, and the child, or children, may have to divide their time between their parents.

Child support payments provide a form of security for the child and parent with care, but require a commitment from the parent who leaves the family home.

Why Child Support Exists

The Child Support Agency (CSA) was launched in the UK in 1993, and was created to financially help and support all separated families - where one parent lives with the child/children and the other parent lives elsewhere. The non resident parent is expected to contribute to the welfare of their child, and it is the CSA’s job to enforce these maintenance payments if the absent parent refuses to pay this regular contribution.

Are You Liable To Pay?

The father of the child – regardless whether or not the parents were married – is responsible for financially supporting the child. Many unmarried fathers sign a declaration, acknowledging paternity, when the child is born and others are genetically tested in order to prove paternity. Parents of stepchildren however, are not obligated to pay maintenance support unless the child is legally adopted.

In cases where communication has broken down between the parents a father is still expected to contribute financially even though he may have limited visitation rights. However, if the parent with care disappears and makes visitation impossible for the non resident parent, child support payments can be suspended.

Shared care reduces the cost of maintenance a non resident parent is expected to contribute. By sharing parental duties and spending an equal amount of time with the child, including overnight stays, a non resident parent acknowledges responsibility and reduces maintenance costs accordingly. This is calculated as a reduction of one-seventh for each day.

Do Men And Women Have The Same Rights?

Child Support does not discriminate between genders and the Child Support Agency is only concerned with ensuring parents acknowledge responsibility and financially support their child or children. If the father has custody of the child he is therefore the parent with care. This gives him the right to claim maintenance support from the child’s mother.

Maintenance payments are expected to be paid until the child reaches the age of majority, which can range from 16 to 19, depending on the child’s schooling and educational needs. The parent’s responsibility to financially support though, is terminated if a child is legally adopted at any age. If the non resident parent is paying backdated maintenance this is expected to be continue until the debt is covered.

Failure To Pay

The CSA works alongside the Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission (CMEC) and has the power to enforce maintenance payments directly through the parent’s employer, by freezing assets and forcing the sale of property. The non resident parent can also be imprisoned for failure to pay maintenance.

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[Add a Comment]
Loobie - Your Question:
My ex and I seperated 3 years ago and we have a 4.5 year old son together. For the first 12 months he put £50 a week into my bank account, but then just stopped and hasn’t paid anything towards our son for nearly 2 years. He has our son 1 night every week or 2 weeks (depending on whether it suits him). What can I do to try and get some financial support from him? Thanks.

Our Response:
If your ex is earning an income and paying tax via HMRC, then yes you can, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Nov-17 @ 2:30 PM
Pri - Your Question:
Thank you for your comment. What if the children do not live here but the ex has come here to either try and claim benefits or get him to pay. He has debts that he needs to clear as the funds were borrowed to pay his ex how would csa get in touch and pay for maintenance. Is there a set amount for each child?

Our Response:
The Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order (REMO) Unit helps to register and enforce child maintenance orders internationally, please see link here. If his ex has come to the UK to get him to pay, then she is entitled to do this via CMS. You can see more about how much your partner would be expected to pay, please see link here . There is also a child maintenance calculator via the link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Nov-17 @ 11:45 AM
Thank you for your comment. What if the children do not live here but the ex has come here to either try and claim benefits or get him to pay. He has debts that he needs to clear as the funds were borrowed to pay his ex how would csa get in touch and pay for maintenance. Is there a set amount for each child?
Pri - 16-Nov-17 @ 8:27 PM
Pri - Your Question:
Hi my partner is British and his ex is of eu national. He provided over 100000 thousands of pounds when he was financially stable. He even built a home fir her and his children back in Europe when they were living there. Their marriage broke down a few years ago abd she robbed him of every penny and cleared the joint account. He has had to start over but since then she has recently moved to the UK and threatening him with child maintenance can this be done despite her having everything? She doesn't let the children have contact with him.but yet demands to be paid?

Our Response:
Child maintenance is a separate issue from all the other financial issues you have raised in your question. This means they would have to be dealt with separately. If your partner feels he has been badly done to in terms of his ex having 'robbed him of every penny', he can request redress through the courts. However, yes his ex can claim child maintenance as child maintenance is towards the day-to-day support of his children and by law he has a responsibility to pay this. Likewise, child maintenance and child access have no relationship with each other and are too separate issues. If your partner's ex has stopped access, then your partner can take the matter to court. If he does not have the money to pay for legal representation, he can self-litigate.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Nov-17 @ 1:54 PM
Hi my partner is British and his ex is of eu national. He provided over 100000 thousands of pounds when he was financially stable. He even built a home fir her and his children back in Europe when they were living there. Their marriage broke down a few years ago abd she robbed him of every penny and cleared the joint account. He has had to start over but since then she has recently moved to the UK and threatening him with child maintenance can this be done despite her having everything? She doesn't let the children have contact with him.but yet demands to be paid?
Pri - 15-Nov-17 @ 8:38 PM
My ex and I seperated 3 years ago and we have a 4.5 year old son together. For the first 12 months he put £50 a week into my bank account, but then just stopped and hasn’t paid anything towards our son for nearly 2 years. He has our son 1 night every week or 2 weeks (depending on whether it suits him). What can I do to try and get some financial support from him? Thanks.
Loobie - 14-Nov-17 @ 2:44 PM
tracy - Your Question:
I have my sisters twins that live with me as she past away they are 18 and in full time educationThere dad has halved the maintenance as he said he carnt afford it some times I get nothing. He says he lives in Italy and does not pay uk tax, does he still have top pay.I'm a single parent on low wage

Our Response:
Please see REMO link which helps to register and enforce child maintenance orders internationally, here.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Nov-17 @ 1:38 PM
I have my sisters twins that live with me as she past awaythey are 18 and in full time education There dad has halved the maintenance as he said he carnt afford it some times I get nothing. He says he lives in Italy and does not pay uk tax, does he still have top pay. I'm a single parent on low wage
tracy - 1-Nov-17 @ 10:07 AM
Sofi - Your Question:
I have 2 kids 11 and 7 I work full time does the father still have to give chikd support even if I work full time?

Our Response:
Yes, the father of your children (if he has an income) is by law responsible for paying child maintenance, regardless of what your own income is.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Oct-17 @ 3:04 PM
Ash - Your Question:
I've had my daughter living with me for 6 years now. Her mother has her average 1 night a week. She never helps with any costs of clothes trips etc. She is 12 now and her first 6 years I paid £40 a week and supported trips and uniform and new clothes. The mother doesn't work but is married he works and she stays at home. She Claims she can't afford to support. Can I claim anything???

Our Response:
Child maintenance is based upon the non-resident parent's earnings. If your ex is not earning, then she will not be eligible to pay, please see link here. Your ex's husband is not considered to have any financial responsibility towards your child. Your only recourse is to claim child benefit and child tax credits, if you work. Please also see the Entitled To link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Oct-17 @ 11:57 AM
Mark - Your Question:
Hi. My ex-wife and I are amicably divorced and both have our own new properties. The marriage had just run it's course after 10 years. We have two daughters ages 7 and 9 who we share time and costs with equally. Until two months ago I paid £200 per month into her bank account towards the costs of the girls' school clubs, extras, etc. This was a figure we agreed upon when we first split, almost 4 years ago. We both feed and clothe them separately. We also shared ad-hoc payments such as school uniforms, trips, birthday party costs etc as and when required.We recently agreed to both pay £200 per month into a separate account so we could keep everything transparent, and both see what costs were being paid out.My ex-wife is now claiming that I should still be paying her £200 per month into her account as I was before, which I disagree with. We both work and have similar (fairly low) incomes. If anything she has a more stable income and a better capacity for work as I am self-employed, whereas she works as a solicitor. We share everything related to the children, be it care, clothing, food, time, school runs, everything! I have tried to be as detailed and as succint as I can so I appreciate that you might not be able to give the fullest of answers, but does it sound like I should stick to my guns and refuse to pay the extra £200 per month as I don't believe she is entitled to it?

Our Response:
If you have a greed shared-care, then you have a right to insist that you share the costs equally. If you cannot agree between you then you may wish to suggest mediation. You don't give the reason why your ex thinks she should be awarded child maintenance. If the children stay overnight with each parent equally and shared-care is an agreed arrangement, then there is no reason why your ex should be awarded child maintenance unless there is a salary inequality such as she cannot work full-time as she has to take/pick the children up from school etc.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Oct-17 @ 3:11 PM
I've had my daughter living with me for 6 years now. Her mother has her average 1 night a week. She never helps with any costs of clothes trips etc. She is 12 now and her first 6 years I paid £40 a week and supported trips and uniform and new clothes. The mother doesn't work but is married he works and she stays at home. She Claims she can't afford to support. Can I claim anything???
Ash - 16-Oct-17 @ 2:47 PM
@Ellis - theoretically no. Your partner should not have to pay full child maintenance of he has the kids overnight five nights per week. But you watch, she'll soon have the kids living back with her if it threatens her money. If she objects the only answer is court :(
BenH - 16-Oct-17 @ 12:37 PM
My partner has his two children (15,13) 5 days a week, they stay with their mother his ex only 2 days a week, she has custody andalso claims child benefits. He has always paid her maintenance money via a personal agreement with her. Should he still be paying her now the children live with him more than her?
Ellis - 15-Oct-17 @ 9:13 AM
Hi. My ex-wife and I are amicably divorced and both have our own new properties. The marriage had just run it's course after 10 years. We have two daughters ages 7 and 9 who we share time and costs with equally. Until two months ago I paid £200 per month into her bank account towards the costs of the girls' school clubs, extras, etc. This was a figure we agreed upon when we first split, almost 4 years ago. We both feedand clothe them separately. We also shared ad-hoc payments such as school uniforms, trips, birthday party costs etc as and when required. We recently agreed to both pay £200 per month into a separate account so we could keep everything transparent, and both see what costs were being paid out. My ex-wife is now claiming that I should still be paying her £200 per month into her account as I was before, which I disagree with. We both work and have similar (fairly low) incomes. If anything she has a more stable income and a better capacity for work as I am self-employed, whereas she works as a solicitor. We share everything related to the children, be it care, clothing, food, time, school runs, everything! I have tried to be as detailed and as succint as I can so I appreciate that you might not be able to give the fullest of answers, but does it sound like I should stick to my guns and refuse to pay the extra £200 per month as I don't believe she is entitled to it?
Mark - 14-Oct-17 @ 3:00 PM
I have 2 kids 11 and 7 i work full time does the father still have to give chikd support even if i work full time?
Sofi - 13-Oct-17 @ 3:51 PM
Hello, my ex and I seperated, and we now share 50/50 custody of our 2 children, does he still have to pay a reduced amount in maintenance or does he not have to pay anything at all? Kind regards.
Pj - 11-Oct-17 @ 5:53 PM
Mar - Your Question:
My friend’s ex has just taken custody of her eldest (15) , she has their youngest (11) He started off by halving the maintenance he was giving but is now suggesting he may stop altogether as they now have one dependant each - is he legally allowed to do this ?

Our Response:
Much depends upon how the father is paying. If child maintenance is paid via a family-based arrangement between both parents, then her ex will not have to pay any arrears, if he stops paying. If he is paying from CMS, then he will face arrears if he stops paying without authorisation. In addition, just because they have one child each, it may not absolve him from paying child maintenance towards his other child. Much depends upon the wages of each parent and whether there is a financial imbalance which means he may have to continue to pay. If he stops paying while they have a family-based arrangement, your friend may wish to request some further advice from CMS directly.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Oct-17 @ 2:28 PM
AdviceNeeded - Your Question:
The relationship between my me and my wife has broken down and we are considering separating. There is no infidelity or anything like that, we just don't get on after 17 years together despite 5 years of counselling.We have 7-year old and 2-year old boys. We both work and earn a similar income, my wife actually has the potential to earn slightly more than me but took the decision to work reduced hours during the week so that she can drop the children off at school / nursery and pick them up again. I was happy with them going into childcare, which we could easily afford but my wife made the decision to reduce her hours to which I agreed.My question is whether I would be required to pay her maintenance on top of childcare if she were to decide to quit work once we separated. She has already indicated that she wants to stay in our house and for me to move out, with me continuing to contribute to the mortgage. She has also indicated that she wants to carry on going on the same holidays and maintain her lifestyle.At this rate I will be living in a modest house, with little disposable income paying for my wife's comfortable lifestyle. Is it really as unbalanced against the father as all the reports in the press and online make out? Do I really have equal rights or is it all stacked against me? Would I not be better off quitting my job, going on benefits and just accepting that my life is over?

Our Response:
In situations such as this, where you cannot agree, mediation may help you come to some financial agreement. You would not be required to pay childcare on top of child maintenance and the mortgage if this would leave you financially unable to cope yourself. Anything over and above child maintenance is voluntary. It's important for both parents to work together here financially and fairly, so that the kids come first in any agreement with the parents taking second stage.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Oct-17 @ 11:47 AM
My friend’s ex has just taken custody of her eldest (15) , she has their youngest (11) He started off by halving the maintenance he was giving but is now suggesting he may stop altogether as they now have one dependant each - is he legally allowed to do this ?
Mar - 8-Oct-17 @ 9:06 PM
The relationship between my me and my wife has broken down and we are considering separating. There is no infidelity or anything like that, we just don't get on after 17 years together despite 5 years of counselling. We have 7-year old and 2-year old boys. We both work and earn a similar income, my wife actually has the potential to earn slightly more than me but took the decision to work reduced hours during the week so that she can drop the children off at school / nursery and pick them up again. I was happy with them going into childcare, which we could easily afford but my wife made the decision to reduce her hours to which I agreed. My question is whether I would be required to pay her maintenance on top of childcare if she were to decide to quit work once we separated. She has already indicated that she wants to stay in our house and for me to move out, with me continuing to contribute to the mortgage.She has also indicated that she wants to carry on going on the same holidays and maintain her lifestyle. At this rate I will be living in a modest house, with little disposable income paying for my wife's comfortable lifestyle. Is it really as unbalanced against the father as all the reports in the press and online make out? Do I really have equal rights or is it all stacked against me? Would I not be better off quitting my job, going on benefits and just accepting that my life is over?
AdviceNeeded - 8-Oct-17 @ 11:35 AM
Amy - Your Question:
I have a 13 month old daughter and have separated from her father. He refuses to pay any maintenance for his daughter and in the 13 months he has paid £50 if that. I have contacted child maintenance services but he has told them he is not working and is claiming benefits. I know for a fact this is a lie as his older daughter has told me he is working and so has a mutual friend. Child maintenance services are somehow letting him get away without paying me a penny (even the minimum £7 a week) and are not doing anything further. I do not see how it is legally possible in this day and age for a parent to not pay maintenance toward their child?! How is this possible that he is able to get away with this?! Somebody pleeeeease advise me further I am at my wits end!

Our Response:
Unless you can prove your ex is working and/or paying child maintenance via HMRC, then there is little you can do (i.e if your ex is working cash-in-hand). However, if your ex is paying tax through HMRC, then CMS will be informed of this and assess him accordingly. If you still feel you are being treated unfairly, then your only recourse is to complain. Please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Oct-17 @ 3:54 PM
I have a 13 month old daughter and have separated from her father. He refuses to pay any maintenance for his daughter and in the 13 months he has paid £50 if that. I have contacted child maintenance services but he has told them he is not working and is claiming benefits. I know for a fact this is a lie as his older daughter has told me he is working and so has a mutual friend. Child maintenance services are somehow letting him get away without paying me a penny (even the minimum £7 a week) and are not doing anything further. I do not see how it is legally possible in this day and age for a parent to not pay maintenance toward their child?! How is this possible that he is able to get away with this?! Somebody pleeeeease advise me further I am at my wits end!
Amy - 4-Oct-17 @ 8:17 PM
Iheartmykids - Your Question:
Hello, I have paid child maintenance all of my daughters life along with clothing, school fee's holiday and clubs. 3 months ago her mother kicked her out and she came to live with me. Her mother refused to give me any money in that period and even refused to pay £35 towards her college fee's for the year. My daughter has now returned home to her mum because she wants to be closer to her friends. Her mum has asked me for child maintenance which I have refused because my daughter told me that her mum was not giving her a penny towards travel, food or clothes while she was living there. She even went on holiday in April and refused to take my daughter because she had already been away to Florida with me in March.despite that fact that her mum did not pay anything towards it the Florida trip, nor provided clothes or spending money. I have no issues ensuring my daughter receives it but do not want to give her mum any money. In the time she was here I bought her new clothes, a car and also gave her regular money for travel/fuel. Her mother has contacted the CSA for payments. Please can you advise where I stand?

Our Response:
You don't say how old your daughter is. If she is under school-leaving age and your daughter is now living with your ex, then she has a right to claim child maintenance from you, as you are deemed legally responsible for financially supporting your child until she leaves full-time education. Likewise, when your daughter came to live with you, if your ex was earning you were legally eligible to claim child maintenance from her. But you cannot claim it retrospectively (if you are considering this as an option). If you have a family-based child maintenance arrangement currently between you, you are not liable to have to pay back pay. However, if the arrangement is organised via CMS, then you will go into arrears and will be requested to bring payments up to date.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Oct-17 @ 2:18 PM
Terry - Your Question:
Our 17 year old daughter ran away to her grandmothers as she not liking controls on internet access we put in place as she had proven history of not keeping herself safe. We have had no contact with the grandmother for some time as she has verbally abused us for years. She will do anything to get at us so this played straight inter her hands. The grandmother now says she will pursue us for money, and unfortunately our daughter is being used as a pawn in these games and can't see it. Where do we stand.

Our Response:
If the grandmother refuses to send your child back to you and/or your child refuses to come home, you could speak to the police. If your child is 17, you still have parental responsibility of her and therefore are still responsible for her until she turns 18. If your child is living with someone without PR and without your consent, the police may be able to return her home. Otherwise, you would have to apply to court to have your daughter returned. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Oct-17 @ 11:06 AM
Our 17 year old daughter ran away to her grandmothers as she not liking controls on internet access we put in place as she had proven history of not keeping herself safe. We have had no contact with the grandmother for some time as she has verbally abused us for years. She will do anything to get at us so this played straight inter her hands. The grandmother now says she will pursue us for money, and unfortunately our daughter is being used as a pawn in these games and can't see it. Where do we stand.
Terry - 1-Oct-17 @ 10:30 AM
Hello, I have paid child maintenance all of my daughters life along with clothing, school fee's holiday and clubs. 3 months ago her mother kicked her out and she came to live with me. Her mother refused to give me any money in that period and even refused to pay £35 towards her college fee's for the year. My daughter has now returned home to her mum because she wants to be closer to her friends. Her mum has asked me for child maintenance which I have refused because my daughter told me that her mum was not giving her a penny towards travel, food or clothes while she was living there. She even went on holiday in April and refused to take my daughter because she had already been away to Florida with me in March...despite that fact that her mum did not pay anything towards it the Florida trip, nor provided clothes or spending money. I have no issues ensuring my daughter receives it but do not want to give her mum any money. In the time she was here I bought her new clothes, a car and also gave her regular money for travel/fuel. Her mother has contacted the CSA for payments. Please can you advise where I stand?
Iheartmykids - 30-Sep-17 @ 5:10 PM
@TC - if his girlfriend has authorised the CSA to take money from his account, then yes.
YNP - 26-Sep-17 @ 10:45 AM
Ca - Your Question:
My husband has an 11year old that lives 500miles away. He sees her roughly twice a year. He pays child support every two weeks which is when he gets paid. He has now lost his job. am I responsible for paying child maintenance? I work full tim le and earn a good wageI have very little to do with her and do not consider her part of the family.We have a child together and another on the way.

Our Response:
You are not responsible for paying child maintenance to your ex's child. Only the parent with parental responsibility is responsible for paying child maintenance.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Sep-17 @ 3:48 PM
My ex was ordered to pay CSA for our 2 children last year. He started paying it but I have now noticed the money is being paid from his girlfriends bank account & not his. Is this allowed?
TC - 25-Sep-17 @ 10:49 AM
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Latest Comments
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