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Who Has to Pay Child Support?

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 30 Nov 2016 | 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]
Colin - Your Question:
My son has lived with me since he was 12 he will be 18 next May. I am just curious as to know whether his mum should help towards his college fees as she has never paid any money for my son. The problem is she has never worked and always claimed. She has three of the kids by two other dads!! she has done hardest to make sure that the two of other dads they pay as much as they can. it would just be nice if maybe she had to put her hand in her pocket to help out.

Our Response:
If your ex is in receipt of benefits, then she would be classified in the nil, or flat rate category (£7 a week). Much also depends upon whether your son's course is a government approved training course, as to whether you are eligible to claim. You may wish to give Child Maintenance Services a call for further advice.
ChildSupportLaws - 30-Nov-16 @ 2:30 PM
My son has lived with me since he was 12 he will be 18 next May. I am just curious as to know whether his mum should help towards his college fees as she has never paid any money for my son.The problem is she has never worked and always claimed. She has three of the kids by two other dads!! she has done hardest to make sure that the two of other dads they pay as much as they can .. it would just be nice if maybe she had to put her hand in her pocket to help out ..
Colin - 30-Nov-16 @ 9:08 AM
My X husband pays me child maintanence for one child he also has another child who will be 18 inmarch. When he no longer has to pay her maintenance will my payments go up?I'm not greedy but I have struggled to keep our child as he has had to share payments with the other mother for the child they conceived whilst we were married
Jk - 22-Nov-16 @ 8:32 PM
my daughter is 18 in January 2017 and is in full time education till July 2017. She may go to university is it law I have to pay maintenance whilst she is a uni student
Martina - 22-Nov-16 @ 8:19 PM
My son's dad has stopped seeing him. Due to things he has and actions towards my son, he no longer wants to see his father anymore either. He has chosen a girlfriend over his son. He has his wages arrested to pay maintenance as would not do this voluntarily. My question is, if his parental rights were to be taken away, would his payments stop?
Nick - 21-Nov-16 @ 8:14 PM
Meemee - Your Question:
Hi my ex husband pays csa monthly for our youngest but does not have any contact if my new partner of 8 yrs where to odopt legally does csa stop from his bilogical or continue

Our Response:
Yes, if your new partner adopts your son then child maintenance payments from the child's biological father would stop.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Nov-16 @ 12:03 PM
Hi my ex husband pays csa monthly for our youngest but does not have any contact if my new partner of 8 yrs where to odopt legally does csa stop from his bilogical or continue
Meemee - 14-Nov-16 @ 7:08 PM
Is the father still liable to pay if he has lost parental rights ?
jodie - 12-Nov-16 @ 11:36 AM
My son is 15 and has been contacted by an older girl who told him he is the father to her unborn child ... (she is 19) ... She has since blocked him on Facebook and comes from another part of the country. We have no way of contacting her and little information about her . Will my son identity be revealed to csa and would greater information be made available to is about the mother and child ... As we would love to contact her and the child and help them.
Tutbut - 3-Nov-16 @ 1:51 AM
Enquirer - Your Question:
An umarried couple who have never lived together split up; the woman then announces that she is pregnant. Is the man liable to pay CSA?

Our Response:
Yes, if the woman names the man as the father, and the man is the biological father then he will be expected to help support his child financially until the child leaves full-time education.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Oct-16 @ 2:36 PM
An umarried couple who have never lived together split up; the woman then announces that she is pregnant. Is the man liable to pay CSA?
Enquirer - 27-Oct-16 @ 9:27 PM
Me and the mother of our child split up, we were never married. We both have our daughter stay with each of us equal times a week. I have offered to provide anything our daughter needs, food, clothing, nappies, prams, beds etc. On top of this the mother now wants my help with money because she is falling behind on rent/bill payments. I barely get paid enough to cover my own rent and bills, and on top of this I am providing everything for our daughter in both homes. I have parental responsibility as I signed and put my name on the birth certificate. Do I have to pay anything?
Jj106 - 27-Oct-16 @ 3:05 PM
My ex has been diagnosed with cancer and is using that to not support his children...he said to me now I'm ill I don't have to support them..is this right? He also received quite a large sum through something he'd been paying into for years and still my children have received nothing.
Bo1975 - 27-Oct-16 @ 1:44 PM
Sam - Your Question:
Hi.Myself and my partner are a blended family with 4 children.Two of the children, his biological children are living with us half the week. I mean half exactly as Gordon won residency and care orders for the boys when he and his ex wife separated and one of the boys lives here full time. His ex wife bombards us CSA letternd CSA will not stop the claim?This is sexism that flies in the face of a man that actually looks after his children?Any advice on how to stop this

Our Response:
If your partner has a residency order in place through the courts, then he will be classed as the primary carer. His only recourse is to complain, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Oct-16 @ 11:53 AM
Hi. Myself and my partner are a blended family with 4 children. Two of the children, his biological children are living with us half the week. I mean half exactly as Gordon won residency and care orders for the boys when he and his ex wife separated and one of the boys lives here full time. His ex wife bombards us CSA letternd CSA will not stop the claim? This is sexism that flies in the face of a man that actually looks after his children? Any advice on how to stop this
Sam - 21-Oct-16 @ 12:44 PM
Jonny - Your Question:
I have 2 children to 2 different mums(one was my wife before she cheated) the other is from another failed relationship afterwards. I am on minimum wage and currently pay maintenance via direct pay to both mothers. They both have new, live in, partners who see my daughter's more than I do. My ex wife moved to another country making seeing my eldest few and far between other than Skype calls and my youngest, I have endured numerous solicitor meetings and a court date to get to see my youngest every Sunday. The reason for that is that I managed to get a job, but that job is Mon-fri, and as far as she(my ex) was concerned, weekends were her time with my daughter, I could only see her Mon-Friday. Now, I can barely pay my bills every month, let alone afford many "luxuries" when both my ex's are going on holidays, new cars etc(ex wife has been to USA twice already this year and a new car) My question is, should their "household income" not be taken into consideration now that they have 2 wages + my payments coming in? Especially as I see my daughters a ridiculous amount less than both new partners. Anytime I've tried for legal aid(as an example) I've had to declare "household income".I'm not denying I should pay, in fact I despise fathers who don't, but it should be on a scale of how much I get to see my daughters etc. Especially as my "just getting by" appears to be funding their luxuries.Thanks in advance

Our Response:
I'm afraid child maintenance and child access are not dependent upon each other. Each father is responsible for paying towards the day-to-day care of their children despite the resident-parent's household income.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Oct-16 @ 12:41 PM
I have 2 children to 2 different mums(one was my wife before she cheated) the other is from another failed relationship afterwards. I am on minimum wage and currently pay maintenance via direct pay to both mothers. They both have new, live in, partners who see my daughter's more than I do. My ex wife moved to another country making seeing my eldest few and far between other than Skype calls and my youngest, I have endured numerous solicitor meetings and a court date to get to see my youngest every Sunday. The reason for that is that I managed to get a job, but that job is Mon-fri, and as far as she(my ex) was concerned, weekends were her time with my daughter, I could only see her Mon-Friday. Now, I can barely pay my bills every month, let alone afford many "luxuries" when both my ex's are going on holidays, new cars etc(ex wife has been to USA twice already this year and a new car) My question is, should their "household income" not be taken into consideration now that they have 2 wages + my payments coming in? Especially as I see my daughters a ridiculous amount less than both new partners. Anytime I've tried for legal aid(as an example) I've had to declare "household income". I'm not denying I should pay, in fact I despise fathers who don't, but it should be on a scale of how much I get to see my daughters etc. Especially as my "just getting by" appears to be funding their luxuries. Thanks in advance
Jonny - 2-Oct-16 @ 3:35 PM
Mr m - Your Question:
Me and my partner been married for ten years and we got 3 kids together. She got a son from ex partner and who only paid £70 a month since the kid was seven now soon to be eighteen. Is there any way he can be taken to court cause I think he should have paid more than that!

Our Response:
Child maintenance is based on your partner's ex's earnings. If the order was made through court, then there is a likelihood his earnings may have risen in this time and therefore your partner could take the matter back to court and request a variation. If the father pays via the CMS, then his payments are assessed annually, therefore it is more likely he is paying the right amount, as it is assessed on the amount he currently earns.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Sep-16 @ 2:12 PM
Leonie - Your Question:
I just want to know that am I entitled to have more pay, regarding, that I have the full custody of my daughter. As her father never see her for 12 year's. And it's stated in the child Maintenance book that he should pay pay as he doesn't shared responsibilities to my daughter. I quiry to the child Maintenance but.They just totally ignored my case. I'm so depressed of all this. He said he supported his 2 mon biological daughers from his wife now. His wife worked at Royal Bath hospital as a registered nurse.I only worked as a carer, yo support my daughter full time.I long to hear from you.Many thanks Leonie

Our Response:
If you feel you have been treated unfairly by the CSA/CMS you can complain via the link here. If your ex is earning then he will be required to pay. However, it becomes more difficult to extract money if the paying person is self-employed and declaring a low income and/or unemployed.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Sep-16 @ 10:56 AM
Me and my partner been married for ten years and we got 3 kids together. She got a son from expartner and who only paid £70 a monthsince the kid was seven now soon to be eighteen. Is there any way he can be taken to court cause I think he should have paid more than that!
Mr m - 27-Sep-16 @ 10:50 AM
I just want to know that am I entitledto have more pay, regarding,that I have the full custodyof my daughter. As her fathernever see her for 12 year's.And it's statedin the childMaintenance book that he should pay pay as he doesn'tsharedresponsibilities to my daughter. I quiryto the childMaintenancebut ..They just totallyignoredmy case.. I'mso depressedof all this... He said he supportedhis 2 mon biological daughers from his wife now.. His wife worked at Royal Bath hospital as a registered nurse.I only worked as a carer, yo supportmy daughterfull time... I long to hear from you . Many thanks Leonie
Leonie - 26-Sep-16 @ 11:14 AM
kart - Your Question:
My friends marriage has recently broken up but are not yet divorced. When he married her she had a child from a previous relationship they had a child together after they married. Since breaking up the subject of financial support has come up, is he financially responsible (child support or maintenance) for the child that is not biologically his?

Our Response:
Non-biological fathers are not responsible for paying child maintenance to their non-biological children.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Sep-16 @ 2:14 PM
My friends marriage has recently broken up but are not yet divorced. When he married her she had a child from a previous relationship they had a child together after they married. Since breaking up the subject of financial support has come up, is he financially responsible (child support or maintenance) for the child that is not biologically his?
kart - 20-Sep-16 @ 5:09 PM
My partner has two children with his ex wife. He has shared responsibility, having them 3 nights a week , sometimes more. He has to travel 150 miles a week since she moved house to get them to school which means incurs significant fuel costs. She receives all the child allowance every month totally over £800 in six months. He currently pays her £50 a month in maintenance but now with the added fuel costs and us actually caring for them 45% of nights in a year is there any requirement for that to continue ? They have equal care and financial responsibility so does he have to pay her money ??
Shell - 2-Sep-16 @ 5:34 PM
Hi, my childs father has never had to pay child support l. The current reason been that he is in higher education (full time). However this will be his second degree at university having already graduated several years back. This means he will be funding his own studies as the course is not a NHS course or engineering. Is it right that he is accessed as owing nil contributions when he can afford to study additional further education. Could he potentially should repeatedly do multiple degrees along side his other earnings and never have to contribute? Thankyou in advance Nat.
Nat1980 - 1-Sep-16 @ 2:59 PM
Tassy - Your Question:
My husband and I are divorced. We have 2 children aged 17 and 18. He lives with one child, the 17 year old who is about to start her last year of A levels. I live with the 18 year old who is starting uni shortly. The children never stay at the other parents house. I am a single income parent. My ex lives with a woman in a joint income situation. They earn significantly more than I do. They also have 2 babies together and she has children from previous marriages. My question: as we both have full care of one child each and provide fully for that child, can my ex begin to claim money from me for our youngest? He is threatening to. I receive no support for our eldest from him.

Our Response:
Theoretically, yes he could claim child maintenance. Regardless of whether your ex is living with someone who earns an income this is not taken into consideration. What is taken into consideration is the earnings of the non-resident parent, i.e you. You can check how much you may be likely to pay via the CMS calculator here. If your son at uni is living at home and you are supporting him, this may counter any payment, therefore you should look into this. You may wish to seek further advice.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Sep-16 @ 2:57 PM
My husband and I are divorced. We have 2 children aged 17 and 18. He lives with one child, the 17 year old who is about to start her last year of A levels. I live with the 18 year old who is starting uni shortly. The children never stay at the other parents house. I am a single income parent. My ex lives with a woman in a joint income situation. They earn significantly more than I do. They also have 2 babies together and she has children from previous marriages. My question: as we both have full care of one child each and provide fully for that child, can my ex begin to claim money from me for our youngest? He is threatening to. I receive no support for our eldest from him.
Tassy - 28-Aug-16 @ 8:17 AM
My ex husband moved to Abu Dhabi Feb 2014. Since moving he said he doesn't have to pay maintenance as he doesn't see our daughter. Prior to him moving the CSA had to take it from source. He still has a house, fiancé and Twins in the UK who he supports. He has made random contributions £50 month about 6 times since being out there. He is in arrears with what was the CSA which I will have to try and claim when and if his contract ends and he returns to the UK. Can I do anything to make him pay. He moved out there on a much higher tax free wage. Regards.
Lynds - 21-Aug-16 @ 11:25 PM
I have 4 children with my ex and we split about 8 years ago. At the time we agreed he wouldpay £70 per week which in all that time despite him getting a better job and me poeading with him to increase it slightly he has never done. Althought he as never missed this £70 payment. He has always said this would continue until our youngest reached the age of 18.He has hardly took them out or offered to buy clothes etc in all this time.i feel that hes done ok out of this arrangement because if i had gone through the official channels he would of had to pay far more surely? My question.... our youngest who is now 17 is not sure he wants to go back to college full-time non-advanced education. My ex now says if he does not go back to college this payment will stop. I have already registered the youngest child with careers and applied for the 20 week extension for child tax credit and child benefit. So am i legally still entitled to support for these 20 weeks whilst still in reciept of this? Im expecting a phone call this weekend off him and would like to be prepared , polite! And no what my rights are over this matter. Thanks
Jj - 19-Aug-16 @ 12:11 PM
Hawker - Your Question:
Hi, I earn £42k, My wife earns £35k. She remains in our £300k marital home, I pay 50% of the Mortgage. we have 3 Teenagers, 17,16,16, and they stay with me 3-4 nights a week.How do we decide who pays maintenance to whom? If we use the.gov calculator, why does it not take into account her income, or my contribution to the mortgage, as well as pay for all my accommodation costs, and looking after the children for 6-7 day less than her each year?

Our Response:
You can agree what you both pay through a family-based arrangement where no rules apply, but you work out what is best for you all. Alternatively, you could try to sort out an arrangement through mediation or a solicitor. If you have shared care, then by rights no one parent pays maintenance, unless one earns significantly less than the other. However, you may wish to continue paying the mortgage on your house until your children have finished education (which is more than likely what a court would rule). You can also speak to Child Maintenance Services directly and they will advise you further. This advice may sound a touch vague, but unless one of you decides the agreement is unfair and wants to take the matter further either through CMS or court, then you are pretty much left to sort out your finances between yourselves.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Aug-16 @ 2:20 PM
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