Home > The Basic Facts > Who Has to Pay Child Support?

Who Has to Pay Child Support?

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 21 May 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Jonny - Your Question:
Hi, looking for advice. I recently started getting CSA maintenance statements out of the blue saying over the last 25 years they have asked me to pay 0.00 child maintenance and I owe 0.00 in arrears,the thing is I have had no contact with this child who will now be about 25 years old so don't no why CSA is contacting me I have never paid any maintenance for the last 25 years or been asked too. My question is that I am starting a job in uk after 15 years living abroad and not paying any income tax or national insurance if I start work will the CSA start asking me to pay backdated maintenance from when the child was born to the age of 18

Our Response:
If the mother of your child applied to the CSA at any point then a claim will have been made for you to help support your child financially as is the law. Child maintenance is calculated based on declared earnings via HMRC and if you have not been paying tax in the UK and have not been tracked via REMO (the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Order, REMO unit), then CSA will have not been able to extract child maintenance. I'm afraid we are not familiar with the finer administrative workings of CSA (now CMS) and cannot say whether there will be any financial repercussions. To find out you would have to take professional legal advice to see whether a claim may still exist.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-May-17 @ 11:10 AM
Hi, looking for advice. I recently started getting CSA maintenance statements out of the blue saying over the last25 years they have asked me to pay 0.00 child maintenanceand I owe 0.00 in arrears,the thing is I have had no contact with this child who will now be about 25 years old so don't no why CSA is contacting me I have never paid any maintenance for the last 25 years or been asked too. My question is that I am starting a job in uk after 15 years living abroad and not paying any income tax or national insurance if I start work will the CSA start asking me to pay backdated maintenance from when the child was born to the age of 18
Jonny - 21-May-17 @ 8:24 AM
Betty - Your Question:
Hi, I have a question regarding child maintenance.i have recently seperated from my partner and have two sons with him.my 9 year old is living with me and the 14 year is living with his dad.how would child support work in our situation?i am currently in emergency accomadation and on jsa benefit and struggling to make ends meet.my ex partner has more than double the amount of benefit money coming in than me due to 'disability benefits'. Please advise?

Our Response:
Your best option is to contact CMS directly for advice. Regardless of the fact your son is living with his father, if you are in receipt of benefits you still may be able to claim for the son who is living with you.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-May-17 @ 2:52 PM
Hi, I have a question regarding child maintenance...i have recently seperated from my partner and have two sons with him..my 9 year old is living with me and the 14 year is living with his dad...how would child support work in our situation?...i am currently in emergency accomadation and on jsa benefit and struggling to make ends meet...my ex partner has more than double the amount of benefit money coming in than me due to 'disability benefits'... Please advise?
Betty - 19-May-17 @ 1:09 PM
cokezerohero - Your Question:
Hello. I'm the biological father of 2 children. Now both children live with their stepparents (long story) with a residents order in place, which I agreed to. I have been paying child maintenance since 2005, when me and my partner split up and now both stepparents plan to adopt my children (children are of age to agree to adoption), to which I have no real say over due to the fact both children were born prior to 2004 and I have no rights as a biological father. My question is; once the adoption process is complete, am I still liable for paying child maintenance?

Our Response:
Once your children are adopted, then financially you will no longer be responsible and you will not pay child maintenance.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-May-17 @ 10:51 AM
Hello. I'm the biological father of 2 children. Now both children live with their stepparents (long story) with a residents order in place, which I agreed to. I have been paying child maintenance since 2005, when me and my partner split up and now both stepparents plan to adopt my children (children are of age to agree to adoption), to which I have no real say over due to the fact both children were born prior to 2004 and I have no rights as a biological father. My question is; once the adoption process is complete, am I still liable for paying child maintenance?
cokezerohero - 16-May-17 @ 2:31 PM
Julie - Your Question:
We have paying child mainance for the past 5 year for my husbands son who has lived with his grandmother as did not get on with his mother , he basically stayed with the grandmother most of his life. She recently died and his son who is 19 1/2 has taken over his grandmothers council house and living there on his own , he attends college part time and has a part time job. The mother is now claiming she is his guardian and we need to pay his son directly ? I called child maintained and they told me the money stops but my husbands ex constantly calls and texts saying we need to pay , the son is capable of looking after himself and the mother has never looked after him it was always the grandmother. Who is in the right ? Should we pay now ?

Our Response:
As a rule, every parent has the basic responsibility to provide for their child up until the age of 16, when they are legally allowed to leave school and get a job. After this age, it depends what the child chooses to do. If they continue in full-time non-advanced education not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week, then maintenance payments will continue until the child finishes the course or until they turn 20. So, unless your husband's son is in full-time government approved education as laid out in the gov.uk link here, then your husband would not have to pay child maintenance. If there is a parent or guardian who is receipt of child benefit for him then that parent may have a case to claim. However, the parent would not be eligible to claim if the son is not in their care. It's a tricky question to answer due to the fact it is an unusual situation. But if there is no child benefit being paid, then child maintenance will not apply.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-May-17 @ 10:26 AM
We have paying child mainance for the past 5 year for my husbands son who has lived with his grandmother as did not get on with his mother , he basically stayed with the grandmother most of his life . She recently died and his son who is 19 1/2 has taken over his grandmothers council house and living there on his own , he attends college part time and has a part time job . The mother is now claiming she is his guardian and we need to pay his son directly ? I called child maintained and they told me the money stops but my husbands ex constantly calls and texts saying we need to pay , the son is capable of looking after himself and the mother has never looked after him it was always the grandmother . Who is in the right ? Should we pay now ?
Julie - 11-May-17 @ 10:45 AM
Ryan - Your Question:
Hi, I am in a tough situation. I have a 5 year old who I adore and I have an agreement with her mother on what maintenance she wants each month and I pay his through my bank, originally cash but I realise this isn't smart as there is no proof. She has a new partner and they have been living together for a year and they now have their own child. They have started hasseling me for more money. My problem is that the money does not get spent on my child as she is in clothes that are too small for her, ripped and she does not get all the things she needs while her mother walks around in new clothes and goes out to nice places etc. She has had this man living there while she is claiming benefits as a single parent plus the money she gets off me and now she wants more through the CSA. Yet he has been bringing an income into the household all this time plus her single parent benefits. I want to provide and support my daughter and I get her nice things and stuff she needs and never see them again. Why should I pay more money when my daughter does not see the benefit and she is claiming as a single mum while having another man living there? Now they have there own child why should I have to pay more rather than our original agreement we agreed? What can I do I don't want to pay more money that does not go on my daughter. Please help. Thank you.

Our Response:
The fact your ex is claiming benefits and living with another man, has no bearing on you personally having to pay child maintenance for your child. Child maintenance is based solely on the paying parent's income and the responsibility the paying parents has for helping to support their child's day-to-day needs. If your ex is fraudulently claiming benefits, that is a completely different matter and one that if she is caught she may face prosecution. However, it will not alter your payments, you will still have to pay the same.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-May-17 @ 2:04 PM
Hi, I am in a tough situation. I have a 5 year old who I adore and I have an agreement with her mother on what maintenance she wants each month and I pay his through my bank, originally cash but I realise this isn't smart as there is no proof. She has a new partner and they have been living together for a year and they now have their own child. They have started hasseling me for more money. My problem is that the money does not get spent on my child as she is in clothes that are too small for her, ripped and she does not get all the things she needs while her mother walks around in new clothes and goes out to nice places etc. She has had this man living there while she is claiming benefits as a single parent plus the money she gets off me and now she wants more through the CSA. Yet he has been bringing an income into the household all this time plus her single parent benefits. I want to provide and support my daughter and I get her nice things and stuff she needs and never see them again. Why should I pay more money when my daughter does not see the benefit and she is claiming as a single mum while having another man living there? Now they have there own child why should I have to pay more rather than our original agreement we agreed? What can I do I don't want to pay more money that does not go on my daughter. Please help. Thank you.
Ryan - 6-May-17 @ 9:53 AM
Natalie - Your Question:
Hi difficult one my ex husband is taking me to court for residency of his non biological son he has contact fortnightly weekends his biological father pays cm but would my ex have to pay any cm

Our Response:
Only the biological father is eligible to pay child maintenance.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-May-17 @ 2:16 PM
Hi difficult one my ex husband is taking me to court for residency of his non biological son he has contact fortnightly weekends his biological father pays cm but would my ex have to pay any cm
Natalie - 3-May-17 @ 10:57 PM
A friend of mine has an 11 year old he has never seen, before she was born her mum threw him out and moved his friend in. He has had a dna test and the child is his. Initially she was registered with just her mother's details I have reason to believe after about a year she then took her new partner in and re-registered her with her new partner as the father. Where does this leave my friend, he never agreed to adoption and when he gets letters the child is still in her mother's name even though we believe she is actually carrying the partners name as he is legally (albeit fraudulently)registered as her father.
SM - 3-May-17 @ 6:08 PM
missy - Your Question:
Hi I have a restraining order from my 11 year old daughters father for domestic violence, my daughter wont have any contact with him as she is afraid of him. He drinks a lot and shouts etc when he has her. She hasn't seen him since December 2016 and he refuses to pay any child maintenance, he has also told cms that he lives and works in Qatar which is untrue, he lives with his girlfriend and her daughter near my daughters school. ( His girlfriends daughter is actually in the same class as my daughter at school). The CMS are now tracking his bank accounts, HMRC and and assets. Im really sickened by the fact he supports is girlfriends daughter but does help in any way for his own. Is there anything else I can do? Obviously this is through CMS as he's not allowed anywhere near me. Im working 7 days a week to keep a roof over my daughters head, food, clothe her etc. Could anyone give me any advice please?

Our Response:
There is not much more you can do if CMS are tracking him via HMRC. Child maintenance is based upon the non-resident parent's earnings and if your ex is earning in the UK, HMRC will pick up on this. Your only other option would be to seek legal advice an attempt to take the matter to court. However, in order to do this you would need to have a strong case as taking the matter to court will cost you, if you lose.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-May-17 @ 10:32 AM
Hi I have a restraining order from my 11 year old daughters father for domestic violence, my daughter wont have any contact with him as she is afraid of him. He drinks a lot and shouts etc when he has her. She hasn't seen him since December 2016 and he refuses to pay any child maintenance, he has also told cms that he lives and works in Qatar which is untrue, he lives with his girlfriend and her daughter near my daughters school. ( His girlfriends daughter is actually in the same class as my daughter at school). The CMS are now tracking his bank accounts, HMRC and and assets. Im really sickened by the fact he supports is girlfriends daughter but does help in any way for his own. Is there anything else i can do? Obviously this is through CMS as he's not allowed anywhere near me. Im working 7 days a week to keep a roof over my daughters head, food, clothe her etc. Could anyone give me any advice please?
missy - 2-May-17 @ 2:25 PM
Ryan - Your Question:
Hi, I am in a tough situation. I have a 5 year old who I adore and I have an agreement with her mother on what maintenance she wants each month and I pay his through my bank, originally cash but I realise this isn't smart as there is no proof. She has a new partner and they have been living together for a year and they now have their own child. They have started hasseling me for more money. My problem is that the money does not get spent on my child as she is in clothes that are too small for her, ripped and she does not get all the things she needs while her mother walks around in new clothes and goes out to nice places etc. She has had this man living there while she is claiming benefits as a single parent plus the money she gets off me and now she wants more through the CSA. Yet he has been bringing an income into the household all this time plus her single parent benefits. I want to provide and support my daughter and I get her nice things and stuff she needs and never see them again. Why should I pay more money when my daughter does not see the benefit and she is claiming as a single mum while having another man living there? Now they have there own child why should I have to pay more rather than our original agreement we agreed? What can I do I don't want to pay more money that does not go on my daughter. Please help. Thank you.

Our Response:
You will not have to pay more money on top of money paid via CMS. You can see how much you should be paying via the link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Apr-17 @ 11:37 AM
Hi, I am in a tough situation. I have a 5 year old who I adore and I have an agreement with her mother on what maintenance she wants each month and I pay his through my bank, originally cash but I realise this isn't smart as there is no proof. She has a new partner and they have been living together for a year and they now have their own child. They have started hasseling me for more money. My problem is that the money does not get spent on my child as she is in clothes that are too small for her, ripped and she does not get all the things she needs while her mother walks around in new clothes and goes out to nice places etc. She has had this man living there while she is claiming benefits as a single parent plus the money she gets off me and now she wants more through the CSA. Yet he has been bringing an income into the household all this time plus her single parent benefits. I want to provide and support my daughter and I get her nice things and stuff she needs and never see them again. Why should I pay more money when my daughter does not see the benefit and she is claiming as a single mum while having another man living there? Now they have there own child why should I have to pay more rather than our original agreement we agreed? What can I do I don't want to pay more money that does not go on my daughter. Please help. Thank you.
Ryan - 27-Apr-17 @ 6:00 PM
Small - Your Question:
My partner has a child as a result of a one night stand. At the start she told him she was pregnant and didn't want him to have anything to do with the child nor did she want money. Fast forward to when the child was 6 months old she got in touch wanting money. The mother is now engaged to be married. If her husband to be adopts the child will my partner still have to pay maintenance? If he doesn't and she doesn't tell us how do we find out about the adoption? Thanks

Our Response:
If your partner give consent for the mother's new partner to adopt his child (consent must be requested if your partner has parental responsibility), then all responsibility will be waived and your partner would stop paying child maintenance. If his name is not on the birth certificate, and an adoption takes place, then by law the mother will have to inform CMS.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Apr-17 @ 12:16 PM
My partner has a child as a result of a one night stand. At the start she told him she was pregnant and didn't want him to have anything to do with the child nor did she want money. Fast forward to when the child was 6 months old she got in touch wanting money. The mother is now engaged to be married. If her husband to be adopts the child will my partner still have to pay maintenance? If he doesn't and she doesn't tell us how do we find out about the adoption? Thanks
Small - 20-Apr-17 @ 6:53 PM
My husband has children with his ex wife and one with me. He can't work and is receipt of DLA. I work and earn 19k as well as getting child benefit and child tax credits at the moment which he is named on but its paid to me. Would I have to pay CSA if the ex decides to reclaim it (as old claim stopped)
Erin - 16-Apr-17 @ 1:36 PM
CW - Your Question:
Hi, I'd like some guidance on the following situation please:A man has one biological child and has cared for one non-biological child (stepchild) with a woman whom he is married to.They then divorce and the Court imposes an Order that the man must pay maintenance for both children. The man then unilaterally varied the amount paid and effectively ceased paying for the non-biological child. The woman is trying to enforce the payments for the non-biological child and backdate them from when the man ceased paying.The man has not seen this non-biological child since the man and woman separated, and the child has a living biological father who I do not believe is paying maintenance.Does the woman have any right to seek enforcement of the payment from the man who is not the biological father of the child?

Our Response:
It is an unusual situation for the court to impose that a non-resident parent must pay child maintenance for a non-biological child, unless that parent has officially adopted the child. However, if there is a court order in place for the NRP to do this, then he has to abide by that order, otherwise the resident parent can apply back to court to have the order enforced. It is impossible to predict what a court may decide, but a court can overturn the original decision if and where it sees fit. Therefore, much depends upon the wider circumstances and as always a court will decide predominantly on what it thinks is in the best interests of the child. If an adoption did take place, then regardless of whether the non-biological father sees the child, the court can rule that the father continues to support the adopted child and pay arrears.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Apr-17 @ 11:26 AM
Hi, I'd like some guidance on the following situation please: A man has one biological child and has cared for one non-biological child (stepchild) with a woman whom he is married to. They then divorce and the Court imposes an Order that the man must pay maintenance for both children. The man then unilaterally varied the amount paid and effectively ceased paying for the non-biological child. The woman is trying to enforce the payments for the non-biological child and backdate them from when the man ceased paying. The man has not seen this non-biological child since the man and woman separated, and the child has a living biological father who I do not believe is paying maintenance. Does the woman have any right to seek enforcement of the payment from the man who is not the biological father of the child?
CW - 11-Apr-17 @ 4:32 PM
Hi! My expartner lives abroad. We were not married and had no properties or anything in both names. We moved abroad because of his job and I was depending on him. One day he asked me to leave with our son 4 years old then. More bad things happened but to long to write. I cane back to Uk I asked for help as I had nothing and he refused he said it would take our boy away If i can't afford to look after him. My brother helped and now I provide roof have a job etc for the boy. My ex comes or demand to see him and I allowed to see him when he wants and our kid is free on Easter he did not confirm days it looks like he was not comming so I had to book boy in holiday club my ex 1 week before said is comming I said is already book he can't this time and then he says I'm not allowing contact and stop the little help he was giving. Is that wright. He does nothing, he lives abroad the little money he sent stop by him now and it looks like he stills has a write to see our boy and all the wrights in the world. I know is the kids right to see his father but is not the kids wright as well that his pathet respects him helps with his financial expenses or takes him to a Doctor etc At the moment is like I do everything he does nothing just living abroad pays nothing but then when he wants to because is the "kids wright" he comes to visti a well clean and raise child claiming he has all the rights is that the way it is?
Ll - 8-Apr-17 @ 8:08 AM
Hi my partner has lived with me for 3 years I have two children not with him and he has two children with his ex. He pays csa regular as clock work for his two children. My question is can she now claim money for the two children off my son who lives with us and has a good paid full time job as he's 18 years old? As she tried to get it off me when I was working but I fell very ill had to give up work to find I'm now 3 month pregnant with his child. She would have been entitled to money out of my wages and wondering if she can do the same to my son. Thanks in advance any information much appreciated.
Bubblebee - 23-Mar-17 @ 11:43 AM
My friend was in a relationship when his partner decided to move on with her life , left the family home and her son with my friend (he is the father) that was 4 years ago and now his son is 6 and my friend has done a good job bringing him up . They always go everywhere together and his son is his world . The mother hardly ever see her son does not pay any money for him . I just wanted to know can she take him at any point and can he get her to pay maintenance for her son .
mrmagoo - 18-Mar-17 @ 9:14 PM
fatty - Your Question:
My children's dad and I use to share the care both financially and physically as he watches them on the weekend for to go to work but for the past 6 months he's not turn up or pay a single penny he says that he don't have to pay because there's nothing the CSA can do as he now only gets a pension is that true ? I even sent him a family base arrangement that he completely ignored saying they cant do anything as there is no wages to deduct from

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether your children's dad is in receipt of an occupational or personal/private pension or a state pension. The latter, is not classed as taxable earnings, but occupational and private pensions can be, which means you would be able to claim. Please see here.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Mar-17 @ 10:25 AM
my children's dad and I use to share the care both financially and physically as he watches them on the weekend for to go to work but for the past 6 months he's not turn up or pay a single penny he says that he don't have to pay because there's nothing the CSA can do as he now only gets a pension is that true ? I even sent him a family base arrangement that he completely ignored saying they cant do anything as there is no wages to deduct from
fatty - 16-Mar-17 @ 12:42 PM
Holly- Your Question:
My 6 year old son lives with me but my 16year old daughter who is still at school not working lives with my ex, should he be paying money to me

Our Response:
Generally, much depends upon whether you have a family-based arrangement which means you agree between you whether child maintenance is paid or not. Generally speaking, if you both are looking after one child each, then child maintenance is generally written off. But, much depends upon your financial circumstances in comparison with your ex's. Therefore, you may wish to seek advice via the CMS to see whether your ex may be eligible.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Mar-17 @ 11:56 AM
My 6 year old son lives with me but my 16year old daughter who is still at school not working lives with my ex, should he be paying money to me
Holly - 9-Mar-17 @ 6:44 PM
Casper - Your Question:
Just to fill you in my wife and I have split after our baby was born, I also have 2 kids from a previous relationship to whom I pay 350 pounds per month for. I always have paid this directly via bank transfer. What would happen now would I be looking at 350 plus maybe an additional 250 or so for the other child?

Our Response:
You can see via the gov.uk link herehow child maintenance is worked out with regards to other children.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Mar-17 @ 2:34 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ChildSupportLaws website. Please read our Disclaimer.