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

Who Has to Pay Child Support?

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 23 Mar 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]
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
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?
Casper - 7-Mar-17 @ 10:26 PM
Pammmypants - Your Question:
My stepdaughter is now living with us but we are still paying csa to her mum. What do we have to do to charge this

Our Response:
You would have to contact CSA directly to see what you would have to do in order to prove your step-daughter is living with you. Much also depends upon whether the child's mother is claiming child benefit for her still. The move is unlikely to be made official until the current resident parent/primary carer is in receipt of child benefit.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Mar-17 @ 1:39 PM
My stepdaughter is now living with us but we are still paying csa to her mum.What do we have to do to charge this
Pammmypants - 2-Mar-17 @ 3:19 PM
Kb - Your Question:
My husband pays CMS for one child who lives with thete mother. We have a child together and I am looking at becoming a foster carer. With the extra children in the house will his CMS payments change?

Our Response:
Your husband's payments may go up if he is earning more as a result of being a foster carer. But, in the case of having foster children, they wont come down from having more children in the house, as you will be paid for doing it.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Mar-17 @ 12:50 PM
My husband pays CMS for one child who lives with thete mother. We have a child together and I am looking at becoming a foster carer. With the extra children in the house will his CMS payments change?
Kb - 28-Feb-17 @ 10:54 PM
Marty - Your Question:
My son got kicked out by his cruel mother on 25th December 2016 for her new husband didn't get on with him. My son now has a student bedsit, with the help of myself, and his college. But I am still paying £90 to her through the CSA. I have contacted the CSA, and they were totally unhelpful.I still help my son out with a little money, and groceries when I can afford it. but this £90 a week is crippling me. I know she is also claiming that our son still lives with her, and any monies she can claim for, as he is still a full time student.Please can you advise me on who to contact to make sure she doesn't keep claiming illegally, and that I can make sure my son has what is due to him, to help towards his bills.Many thanks.

Our Response:
You may wish to contact the CSA and the Child Benefit Office with evidence that your child is living away from home i.e rental agreement/utility bills etc. Another route is ask a solicitor to write a letter to your ex asking for a re-imbursement of the money you have been paying to her while she is claiming child benefit fraudulently.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Feb-17 @ 2:52 PM
My son got kicked out by his cruel mother on 25th December 2016 for her new husband didn't get on with him. My son now has a student bedsit, with the help of myself, and his college. But i am still paying £90 to her through the CSA. I have contacted the CSA, and they were totally unhelpful. I still help my son out with a little money, and groceries when i can afford it. but this £90 a week is crippling me. I know she is also claiming that our son still lives with her, and any monies she can claim for, as he is still a full time student. Please can you advise me on who to contact to make sure she doesn't keep claiming illegally, and that i can make sure my son has what is due to him, to help towards his bills. Many thanks.
Marty - 28-Feb-17 @ 8:07 AM
JCB - Your Question:
The father of my 2 children which are now 13 and 11 has never paid maintenance,although going through csa and them telling me it's gone to the enforcement team several times over still owing over 30k arrears in child maintenance still gets away with paying nothing,although he has a job house cars and holidays every year.he chose to stop seeing the children 9 years ago and has made no contact or tried to make contact although I have seen his mother on a few occasions at our local hospital where she works and in town when we have been shopping,yet no effort of contact has ever been indicated.i have lost all faith in the csa as they have managed to do absolutely nothing with my case.

Our Response:
If your ex has a job and is earning, have you thought about seeking legal advice about taking the matter to court? The court would look into his financial affairs in more depth. However, if the CSA have been unable to implement a deduction of earnings, there must be a reason why.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Feb-17 @ 2:31 PM
Flora - Your Question:
Hi. My friend's ex is due to give birth, she is claiming the child is his, although they never agreed on having a child, or plan their life together. Can he be forced to do a DNE test? If not, does she have a right to claim child support from him?

Our Response:
If your friend's ex claims he is the father and she wishes to claim child maintenance from him, then he will be by law expected to pay. If he feels the child may not be his, then he can request a DNA test either from his ex directly, of if she doesn't agree, he can request one through the courts, please see link here. If the test comes back negative then he can stop paying child maintenance. If the paternity test comes back positive to say he is the father, then child child maintenance payments will continue.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Feb-17 @ 12:18 PM
The father of my 2 children which are now 13 and 11 has never paid maintenance,although going through csa and them telling me it's gone to the enforcement team several times over still owing over 30k arrears in child maintenance still gets away with paying nothing,although he has a job house cars and holidays every year.he chose to stop seeing the children 9 years ago and has made no contact or tried to make contact although I have seen his mother on a few occasions at our local hospital where she works and in town when we have been shopping,yet no effort of contact has ever been indicated.i have lost all faith in the csa as they have managed to do absolutely nothing with my case.
JCB - 19-Feb-17 @ 10:49 PM
Hi. My friend's ex is due to give birth, she is claiming the child is his, although they never agreed on having a child, or plan their life together. Can he be forced to do a DNE test? If not, does she have a right to claim child support from him?
Flora - 19-Feb-17 @ 3:11 PM
I have just seperated from my wife and have two children.We will be splitting access equally,2-3 nights a week every weekday with me plus every other weekend. How does this affect any payments.Also,she is substantially bigger earner than me circa 10000 per annum and I will be the one paying the childcare fees for our youngest.
Mike - 19-Feb-17 @ 11:16 AM
Adam - Your Question:
Hi. I have a 5year old with one ex and a 2year old with a different ex. I have the 2year old regularly over night where as I struggle to see the 5year old. I understand that the 5year olds mother should receive more as I don't have her over night, but her claim is getting higher each month.

Our Response:
If you feel that your ex is using higher child maintenance payments as an excuse for you to have your child less overnight, then you would either have to suggest mediation to discuss the issues, or consider taking the matter to court on these grounds. You may wish to seek legal advice in order to explore your options.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Feb-17 @ 2:25 PM
Hi. I have a 5year old with one ex and a 2year old with a different ex. I have the 2year old regularly over night where as I struggle to see the 5year old. I understand that the 5year olds mother should receive more as I don't have her over night, but her claim is getting higher each month.
Adam - 1-Feb-17 @ 8:07 PM
Sam - Your Question:
Hi I have just found out I have a 17 year old son who I knew nothing about. I had just turned 15 at the time I met his mother who was 23 back then.What are my rights in relation to paying csa when I was only 15 at the time?

Our Response:
You would not have to pay child maintenance retrospectively, as in you wouldn't have to pay if the mother had never put in a claim. However, if the mother had put in a previous claim and for some reason you managed to avoid paying, only then would you be liable for arrears. If your son is in full-time further education currently, then you will also be responsible for paying towards his welfare until he leaves education up to A'Levels or the equivelent.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Jan-17 @ 12:23 PM
Hi I have just found out I have a 17 year old son who I knew nothing about. I had just turned 15 at the time I met his mother who was 23 back then. What are my rights in relation to paying csa when I was only 15 at the time?
Sam - 26-Jan-17 @ 7:07 PM
Trev - Your Question:
My son is 10 years old and I have always paid maintenance for him and fought to see him by paying for solicitors and getting court orders put into place! His mother has always used him as a weapon against me and now he has turned round and said he doesn't want anything to do with us anymore? We're not entirely sure why but will definitely have something to do with her manipulation of him!If he has made this decision is this the case I can refuse to pay child maintenance?? Surely if his mum and my son don't want anything to do with me or my family then they shouldn't expect support??

Our Response:
Child access and child maintenance have no connection with each other and whether you see your child or not, you are still by law required to pay child maintenance until your child leaves further education. If you have a court order to see your child and your ex is refusing access and is in breach of the order, then you can apply to take the matter back to court to have the order enforced.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Jan-17 @ 12:22 PM
My son is 10 years old and I have always paid maintenance for him and fought to see him by paying for solicitors and getting court orders put into place! His mother has always used him as a weapon against me and now he has turned round and said he doesn't want anything to do with us anymore? We're not entirely sure why but will definitely have something to do with her manipulation of him! If he has made this decision is this the case I can refuse to pay child maintenance?? Surely if his mum and my son don't want anything to do with me or my family then they shouldn't expect support??
Trev - 24-Jan-17 @ 6:34 PM
Butter - Your Question:
Hi, my partner and I separated almost 2 yrs ago, initially he was paying a certain amount for our 2 girls and how he's stopped. I am considering going via the CMS to demand payment. His name is not on the their birth certificate though but he know definitely they are his children. Is it still possible to pursue this.

Our Response:
Yes, you can pusue a child maintenance claim regardless of whether the father is named on the birth certificate or not.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Jan-17 @ 2:14 PM
Hi, my partner and I separated almost 2 yrs ago, initially he was paying a certain amount for our 2 girls and how he's stopped. I am considering going via the CMS to demand payment. His name is not on the their birth certificate though but he know definitely they are his children. Is it still possible to pursue this.
Butter - 23-Jan-17 @ 10:51 PM
Pete - Your Question:
My daughter lives with me (father) and my son lives with my ex ,I pay child support for my son who I see 2 to 3 times a week ,I receive no help from my ex for my daughter and she does not work but her partner is in a high paying job am I entitled to anything? Thanks

Our Response:
I'm afraid it is not based on your ex's partner's earnings (he cannot be expected to be financially responsible for your child), it would be based on your ex's own earnings. Therefore, if she is not earning, she is considered exempt from paying.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Jan-17 @ 2:50 PM
My daughter lives with me (father) and my son lives with my ex ,I pay child support for my son who I see 2 to 3 times a week ,I receive no help from my ex for my daughter and she does not work but her partner is in a high paying job am I entitled to anything? Thanks
Pete - 20-Jan-17 @ 7:40 AM
Hi if there is a child arrangement order is in place and father stops contact and applies for csa and the partner of the parent who contact has been stopped will the payments come out of his wages or will there be no payment made as the parent has no money
Bubs - 16-Jan-17 @ 6:25 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.