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Who Has to Pay Child Support?

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 4 Feb 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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DA - Your Question:
I am at the final stages of a divorce which has been long drawn out and messy due to my ex partner being an alcoholic. This is the reason the marriage broke down. I have a 12 year old daughter whom I have been awarded full custody by the court 2 years ago. My daughter has continued to live with me when my partner left our home due to exessivd drinking. I have protected my daughter throughout this process and continue to support her single handed with no financial contributions from the mother. I have been left paying mortgages and all house bills along with the general day to day requirements of my daughter. My work hours are limited for obvious reasons. I would like to enquire where I stand in pursuing my ex partner for financial contributions going forward and also collect back dated payments due? I hear of this so any times re enforcing the fathers to pay child support. Can I enforce it from my daughters mother?

Our Response:
You can apply for child support from your child's mother, if the mother qualifies i.e she is earning a wage or she may have to pay a flat rate if she is in receipt of benefits (as child support is based on earnings). As specified in the article, Child Support does not discriminate between genders. Unfortunately, you cannot claim arrears for child maintenance unless you have already made a previous claim to CMS/CSA. You may also be able to claim other benefits, if you are not already, please see Turn2Us link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Feb-16 @ 1:03 PM
I am at the final stages of a divorce which has been long drawn out and messy due to my ex partner being an alcoholic. This is the reason the marriage broke down. I have a 12 year old daughter whom I have been awarded full custody by the court 2 years ago. My daughter has continued to live with me when my partner left our home due to exessivd drinking. I have protected my daughter throughout this process and continue to support her single handed with no financial contributions from the mother.I have been left paying mortgages and all house bills along with the general day to day requirements of my daughter. My work hours are limited for obvious reasons. I would like to enquire where I stand in pursuing my ex partner for financial contributions going forward and also collect back dated payments due?I hear of this so any times re enforcing the fathers to pay child support.. Can I enforce it from my daughters mother?
DA - 4-Feb-16 @ 10:00 PM
If my step dad gets arrested for abuse (this hasent happened ) would I go and live with my real dad or staay with my mother ?
Brett - 1-Feb-16 @ 3:12 PM
Lucyy - Your Question:
I'm 21 years old and my mother is still receiving child maintenance from my father, I don't have not contact with him and never have done, this also is not an arranged family based maintenance, so I was just wondering if this is correct ? As everywhere I have read it says it's only payable until 19yeara old, I'm also on esa benifit

Our Response:
Your mother should not be claiming child maintenance from your father if you claiming benefits and no longer qualify for child benefit of are not in full-time government approved further education. Your mother may be asked to pay this back if the CSA/CMS found out.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Jan-16 @ 2:47 PM
I'm 21 years old and my mother is still receiving child maintenance from my father, I don't have not contact with him and never have done, this also is not an arranged family based maintenance, so I was just wondering if this is correct ? As everywhere I have read it says it's only payable until 19yeara old, I'm also on esa benifit
Lucyy - 28-Jan-16 @ 12:10 PM
Hi there my partner and I have been paying csa for many years now for his son now we have just found out that his son has been put into care do we still need to pay csa?
Ashlea - 24-Jan-16 @ 9:45 PM
my husband ment to pay me csa on the 25 of janury but he just said to me that he not payin me because i can take it out of the bank n the he put it in his own bank can he do that or not
lisalucas - 18-Jan-16 @ 11:23 PM
goles - Your Question:
My ex miraculously fell pregnant 9 years ago. Understandably our relationship has always been strained. However I have always paid maintenance and more and had access every week.Having just move local to me after a divorce I have asked for joint custody. Would this be possible after 9 years?After repeatedly trying to ask for this it is clear that maintenance and weekend babysitting is more important than what our child actually needs, and now feel my daughter is being turned against me.Any advice welcome

Our Response:
Please see article: Applying for Custody: Court Procedure, here which outlines what the court takes into consideration when making decisions about shared -residency. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Jan-16 @ 2:20 PM
I have one Daughter and she going two year old this February and his Father is Pakistan were not married and we lived in a separate place .. And my Daughter last name she's using my last name not his Father last name.. And I want to ask is there's any posibility that my Daughter can have a support for his Father .. And his Father is Muslim and he want my Daughter same his religion do I need to fallow ???
Dethdeth - 14-Jan-16 @ 1:29 AM
I forgot to mention we were never married and I'm on the birth certificate.
goles - 13-Jan-16 @ 10:51 PM
My ex miraculously fell pregnant 9 years ago. Understandably our relationship has always been strained. However I have always paid maintenance and more and had access every week. Having just move local to me after a divorce I have asked for joint custody. Would this be possible after 9 years? After repeatedly trying to ask for this it is clear that maintenance and weekend babysitting is more important than what our child actually needs, and now feel my daughter is being turned against me. Any advice welcome
goles - 13-Jan-16 @ 10:35 PM
Ryan - Your Question:
Hello, I split with my ex-girlfriend just after she got pregnant (not because, we were at at the brink of collapse long before we found out) upon her leaving, stole several of my possessions and left me almost £40'000 pounds in debt, as I had taken out a loan to help pay off her debts and given all the money to her, which she promised to pay back and never did, also she had told me she would have a termination if I gave her £750 to have it done privately; she took the money and did not such thing. While I do have a steady job, it is by no means a highly paid one, she has ruined me financially and upon declaring herself bankrupt, I am no longer able to ever claim any of this money back through courts, despite having won my case, which in itself incurred roughly £1000 in expenses.I personally think it is unfair that my ex-girlfriend is able to swindle such a large amount of money from me and on top, will also come to me for child maintenance, would these factors be considered when she comes to me for child maintenance ?

Our Response:
I'm afraid regardless of what your ex has done, you will be responsible for supporting your child. Child support is based solely upon your earnings. I can only suggest you take legal advice.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Jan-16 @ 2:08 PM
Jo - Your Question:
I have a 16 year old son and 14 year old daughter. I have regular maintenance from my ex husband. My son is taking A levels and wants to go to University. My ex is saying he won't support him to go although he went to uni and will stop when he leaves school. Can you tell me what my options are? I know my son can take out loans but these won't cover all the costs. Thanks.

Our Response:
You don't say whether you have a family-based child maintenance agreement or not. If you do, then you have the option to apply through the courts for continued support for your son. The courts will assess whether or not your son needs financial support and generally the courts would rule in a student's favour. The CSA/CMS may also be able to authorise continued payment from your ex to support your son through his university course.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Jan-16 @ 11:31 AM
Hello, I split with my ex-girlfriend just after she got pregnant (not because, we were at at the brink of collapse long before we found out) upon her leaving, stole several of my possessions and left me almost £40'000 pounds in debt, as I had taken out a loan to help pay off her debts and given all the money to her, which she promised to pay back and never did, also she had told me she would have a termination if I gave her £750 to have it done privately; she took the money and did not such thing. While I do have a steady job, it is by no means a highly paid one, she has ruined me financially and upon declaring herself bankrupt, I am no longer able to ever claim any of this money back through courts, despite having won my case, which in itself incurred roughly £1000 in expenses. I personally think it is unfair that my ex-girlfriend is able to swindle such a large amount of money from me and on top, will also come to me for child maintenance, would these factors be considered when she comes to me for child maintenance ?
Ryan - 7-Jan-16 @ 9:56 PM
I have a 16 year old son and 14 year old daughter. I have regular maintenance from my ex husband. My son is taking A levels and wants to go to University. My ex is saying he won't support him to go although he went to uni and will stop when he leaves school. Can you tell me what my options are? I know my son can take out loans but these won't cover all the costs. Thanks.
Jo - 7-Jan-16 @ 4:33 PM
Jessika - Your Question:
Hello my dad stopped all contact with me when I was 3 (21 years ago) and just wondered if me or my mum could claim child maintenance for the last 21 years, hes never gotten in touch and even at my grandads funeral last year never said a word to me, my mum had lived in the same house for 24 years and she's never stopped access he just never tried

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. However, unless your mother lodged a claim with the CSA sometime in the past, then you cannot apply for retrospective payments of child support. As his child, you cannot claim directly either, only your mother could have applied.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Jan-16 @ 10:48 AM
Hello my dad stopped all contact with me when I was 3 (21 years ago) and just wondered if me or my mum could claim child maintenance for the last 21 years, hes never gotten in touch and even at my grandads funeral last year never said a word to me, my mum had lived in the same house for 24 years and she's never stopped access he just never tried
Jessika - 6-Jan-16 @ 12:35 PM
My husband has a 20 yearstepdaughter living with her mother. He insists that I must support his child since I am a mother to her as well. There is no money that I get from him monthly due to some personal reasons, so I feel he expects too much from me as a stepmother. What can I do, I think it is his responsibility to support the child
Rooi - 2-Jan-16 @ 6:15 AM
"However, if the parent with care disappears and makes visitation impossible for the non resident parent, child support payments can be suspended." Are you able to provide more detailed information on this, relevant law, cases etc, so it can be used as supporting evidence? Thank you
c19 - 31-Dec-15 @ 11:28 AM
Beebum - Your Question:
Hi me and my partner split up 6months ago and we have a 1 year son. The father has not given me any money to help since we splie because he said he doesnt have to. Is he right? He works full time, I work part time but struggle to pay for everything!

Our Response:
Please see the CMS website here for more information. It will tell you that you are entitled to child support for your son, especially if he works full time. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Dec-15 @ 3:05 PM
Hi me and my partner split up 6months ago and we have a 1 year son. The father has not given me any money to help since we splie because he said he doesnt have to. Is he right? He works full time, i work part time but struggle to pay for everything!
Beebum - 20-Dec-15 @ 3:01 PM
Liffster - Your Question:
My partner has a 7 year old daugther from a previous relationship. He is registered disabled and cannot work, and lives on his benefits. He is exept making maintenance payments, and my partner who has always worked full time hardly gets to spend any quality time with her daughter. Because he does not have to pay maintenance she is under the impression she is not entitled to any payment? I cant see how that is right? For the last 6 months they have both lived with me, at my address I assume that status would not affect any payment she is due?If she is entitled to anything can she get it back paid? She is being hounded for a 6k tax credit overpayment and is very untrusting of the system and worried about having to pay back anything that she receives.

Our Response:
I am a little confused regarding your question. If her ex is disabled and does not have to make payments (because child support payments are based on how much a person earns) then she would not be eligible for back payments. However, should her ex be able to work and earn, then whether she lives with your or not would make no diffference to her receiving payments from her ex. I hope this answers your question.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Dec-15 @ 11:12 AM
My partner has a 7 year old daugther from a previous relationship. He is registered disabled and cannot work, and lives on his benefits. He is exept making maintenance payments, and my partner who has always worked full time hardly gets to spend any quality time with her daughter. Because he does not have to pay maintenance she is under the impression she is not entitled to any payment? I cant see how that is right? For the last 6 months they have both lived with me, at my address I assume that status would not affect any payment she is due? If she is entitled to anything can she get it back paid? She is being hounded for a 6k tax credit overpayment and is very untrusting of the system and worried about having to pay back anything that she receives.
Liffster - 11-Dec-15 @ 8:42 PM
Hi me and my partner split a few months ago, I've just found out I'm pregnant. He's told me he wants nothing to with the baby, does he still have to financially support the baby when it's born
Jess - 28-Nov-15 @ 5:12 AM
Hi im looking at moving in with my girlfriend and her two children.Neither father of the children pays maintenance. I no its a harsh way to look at it but if my girlfriend and I split will I then be liable for maintenance as I will be financially responsable for them once we move in together.If I am liable are there time limits such as cohabiting for two years. Thanks for your help
taz - 26-Nov-15 @ 3:50 PM
Southpaw1975 - Your Question:
I am divorced and have one child.My son stays with my between 14-20 nights per month (rough average)I also contribute towards other outside costs.My ex wife is in full time employment and recieves family allowance.Should I still be paying CSA payments?

Our Response:
You would have to speak to the CSA directly regarding this. Or you can assess how much you should be paying by the CMS calculator via the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Nov-15 @ 10:48 AM
I am divorced and have one child. My son stays with my between 14-20 nights per month (rough average) I also contribute towards other outside costs. My ex wife is in full time employment and recieves family allowance. Should I still be paying CSA payments?
Southpaw1975 - 25-Nov-15 @ 3:39 PM
Rosie - Your Question:
Hi, my sons ex partner left him taking the baby. The mother married a man and had another son. The couple are separated. The ex husband pays maintenance for both boys. Is this correct that maintenance is paid to her by both men. Thank you.

Our Response:
Yes, if the men are both fathers of the children, then each is responsible for helping to support their own child.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Nov-15 @ 11:06 AM
Hi, my sons ex partner left him taking the baby. The mother married a man and had another son. The couple are separated. The ex husband pays maintenance for both boys. Is this correct that maintenance is paid to her by both men.Thank you.
Rosie - 18-Nov-15 @ 4:34 PM
charlie - Your Question:
My ex partner has his own business by for 18 yr has paid no support and hasn't bothered with his own children now all of a sudden after our youngest is no longer needing support he has applied to adopt a child with his wife and has shown he is financially stable aswell I believe he has hidden his correct income until now can I sue for fraud

Our Response:
I suggest you take legal advice regarding this. You would need to be able to prove that he has had an income and has kept this income quiet.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Nov-15 @ 11:55 AM
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