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Who Has to Pay Child Support?

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 15 Oct 2019 | 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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So I’m pregnant and my boyfriend (the father of the baby) works away Monday to Friday. My boyfriends mother thinks that he shouldn’t be paying any bills or put the house in his name (we lived at home still but have to move out with having a baby) she thinks it’s all my responsibility and all the bills will be mine and that my boyfriend will only be paying child maintenance, I don’t want to correct her because I don’t want an argument. But does anyone think I should correct her and say it’s not happening how she thinks. Does anyone think he should pay only child maintenance since he’ll only be home on the weekend? Help
Hannahh - 15-Oct-19 @ 1:58 PM
Hi there if you get married does csa take my new partners income into consideration? Or does it just go on my wages
Sammyt - 7-Sep-19 @ 9:36 PM
Can the mother of your children stop access from you being able to see them . I pay child maintenance. Have I got any rights ?
KD - 14-Aug-19 @ 12:37 PM
My husband's ex girlfriend constantly pressures him for more money on top of the weekly child support he pays her of 250 a month. She has now said that cos he has married me, that my wage should be taken into consideration and if he can't up the payments then I should be making up the difference. Can she claim from my income. We both work long hours and she claims state benefits whilst working on the side. It's a nightmare situation. Any accurate advice would be gratefully received. Thank you
Sam - 12-Aug-19 @ 11:46 AM
Hi can you direct me to the rule regulation or official policy in this countrythat states that a paying parent can suspend Child maintenance if the other parent frustrates contact. Because I'm pretty sure you have just made that bit up.
Sock - 13-Jul-19 @ 8:50 AM
My ex wife ( we divorced in 1986!) Is claiming £22k of child support for my daughter who is now 34 years old ..is this legal?
Kel - 11-Jul-19 @ 3:13 PM
I've ended the relationship with a married woman. She's just informed me she's pregnant with my child and wants to keep the baby, remaining married with four children already. Do I have to pay for child support for the baby? Dave.
Dave - 22-May-19 @ 7:56 PM
Wow come on here for a little advise and omg endless comments from money mad people! If you both have the children a few days a week I don't think either should pay maintenance. I have never agreed with a man paying child support for a mother not working and claiming benefits. The money you get to support your child doesn't come from working it's free and handed to you, leave your baby daddy alone he pays and supports the child the same as you do when he has them!!
No name - 8-May-19 @ 10:24 AM
My ex husband has our son fri eve until Sunday eve when he drops him at his mothers (my sons grandmother) until i pick him up tues afternoon.My ex refuses to pay any maintenance even though he earns £35000 per year and i am on benefits due to long term illness. Is this right or should he contribute? Thanks
lolly84 - 23-Apr-19 @ 6:39 PM
If my step child lives with a family member and neither parents. Should both parents have to pay maintenance?
Doris - 22-Apr-19 @ 1:04 PM
Hi, Me and my ex partner split about 4-5 years ago. My daughter has always lived with me Sunday, Monday, Tuesday then ill drop her at school on a Wednesday. She stops at her motherson a Wednesday night and sometimes a Friday or Saturday (2 nights in total if she's lucky). This has went on for years and now she is asking for CSA? What are my rights? Should I be claiming from her or should I be paying?
Graham - 4-Feb-19 @ 4:51 PM
Hi, I separated from my ex partner and raised her daughter as my own. I have parental responsibility of her daughter but never legally adopted her and she is not biologically mine. Do I have to pay maintenance?
DC - 12-Dec-18 @ 6:49 PM
Hi, my sons dad was paying Child support through the child maintains, when a payment was late I contacted them, only for them to inform me that my sons father had “lost his job” I believe he is still working but don’t know where, although I have a message from him and to my son that he was at work! He doesn’t support his son, only when my son is there with him and that is every other weekend! What advise can I get in regards to him supporting his child? He has a baby in the way due in January’ any help will be appreciated.
Ash - 6-Dec-18 @ 5:37 PM
I'm a father of a 13 years old son, I've been split from his mother for approx 5 years and we had an arrangement for me to pay £150 p/m and I bought all his school clothes/dinners/trips, boxing subs/kits football kits, Ive never asked for anything, she claims child support and tax credits etc, the problem lies that I work away on a 3 week on 3weeks off rotation so when I come home he's with me for 3 weeks. So in my eyes we are equal custody and there shouldn't be a paying parent. Am I right in thinking I don't need to pay maintenance?? Any help with this (grey area) would be very welcome. Many thanks Stevie
Stevie - 21-Nov-18 @ 7:54 PM
Sorry I forgot to mention.. He is now married and the joint income is higher than my wife and I Thanks
Confused - 21-Nov-18 @ 7:42 PM
Hi.. I have been married to my wife for 5 years. She has 2 children, 7 and 10 yrs old.. The children's dad has them every other weekend and pays 200 pounds a month forboth children.. I pay a considerably higher amount to house, feed, clothe and entertain them.. Should the dad that left them 7 years ago pay more? He earns more than I do monthly. It seems ridiculous. Thanks
Confused - 21-Nov-18 @ 7:38 PM
My partner has a 7 year old child and we are getting married next year, the CSA has given him a payment plan. when we marry will they take MY money in to consideration and force my partner to pay more?
Boo - 2-Nov-18 @ 12:44 PM
What utter rubbish,the child maintenanceservice is completely corrupt and man hating, if you'rea singleDadwith a court ordered custodythey still won'thelp you, they'llharass you, ignore letters, court orders and socialservices, my advice if youra Dad who has his kid'sliving withhim is to stearclear of them, they won'thelp you and will only cause youaggravation!
Single Dad (unicorn) - 27-Oct-18 @ 5:24 PM
I lost a court battle to see my son. The court also granted a surname change for my son. I am not allowed to see him only I can write to him 6 times per year. Should I still be paying child maintenance ?
Littlechef1974 - 3-Oct-18 @ 1:21 PM
Hi. My ex and I have been seperated from my child was 1, my child is now 6 years of age and I haven’t had any contact with her for 5 years as I couldn’t afford to keep taking my ex to court as I work full time and didn’t receive legal aid. To cut a long story short I pay child support monthly for a child who now thinks another man is her father. I have not been allowed any contact with child and my question is. Do I still have to pay child support if my ex is now working and also getting married to another man ?
Vinny - 30-Sep-18 @ 8:39 PM
Hi to I av to pay child support if my daughter has changed her surname to my ex wifes New married name
Spud - 23-Sep-18 @ 11:48 AM
So the biological dad currently pays maintenance money for his daughter but as my wife and I are moving and lost a court battle for the daughter to move with us, will the mum have to pay maintenance money to the father as she won't be working at all and I, the stepdad will be working full-time ( we have two kids of our own) and the biological dad of the daughter is on £60,000 a year wage.
Z - 26-Aug-18 @ 2:17 PM
J - Your Question:
My wife separated 3 years ago from her long term partner, they have two kids together under 16. The kids devide their time between both houses, but more time is spent with us overall. Our home is where their extended family, friends and school is located and the kids do not want to spend anymore time at their dads than they currently do. The ex has been paying £25 per child every week and occasionally contribution to school uniforms directly into my wife's account. However he has now came and questioned why he should have to pay at all as in his opinion we are providing no more than he is in terms of a home and keeping them a couple of nights etc. I get where he is coming from to be honest, however does he by law still have to pay maintenance, we have checked the CSA site and he would have to pay £26 per child. He lives with his new partner and one of her children. Does he have a case for claiming my wife for CSA ?

Our Response:
If your wife is working and they have shared-care of the children, then yes, he would have a case. In most shared-care arrangements were both parents are working and earning a similar amount then child maintenance is waived with neither parent paying towards the other, but both contribute to the children respectively.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Aug-18 @ 3:05 PM
My wife separated 3 years ago from her long term partner, they have two kids together under 16.The kids devide their time between both houses, but more time is spent with us overall. Our home is where their extended family, friends and school is located and the kids do not want to spend anymore time at their dads than they currently do.The ex has been paying £25 per child every week and occasionally contribution to school uniforms directly into my wife's account.However he has now came and questioned why he should have to pay at all as in his opinion we are providing no more than he is in terms of a home and keeping them a couple of nights etc.I get where he is coming from to be honest, however does he by law still have to pay maintenance, we have checked the CSA site and he would have to pay £26 per child.He lives with his new partner and one of her children.Does he have a case for claiming my wife for CSA ?
J - 7-Aug-18 @ 10:00 AM
Misss - Your Question:
Can I apply for child maintenance after 16 years of no contact with her biological father.he knew she was born but walked out

Our Response:
You would have to ring Child Maintenance Options via the link here to find out. There may be a cut-off point at aged 16 for new claims and then your recourse would have to be court.
ChildSupportLaws - 30-Jul-18 @ 9:52 AM
Can I apply for child maintenance after 16 years of no contact with her biological father .he knew she was born but walked out
Misss - 28-Jul-18 @ 8:36 PM
Lyca - Your Question:
Hello, I know somone who lives in Uk with her husband and has 2 children which are going to be 16. If the father declines to help financially his children anymore what can the mother do if she doesn’t work. Another question would be if the parents have divorced and the father has a higher income of £26,000 per annum what are his obligations to the children financially(as he does not want to help)

Our Response:
Every non-resident parent is responsible for helping financially towards the day-to-day care of their children. If your friend is the primary carer of the children, then she can either agree with her ex directly in what is called a family-based child maintenance arrangement or approach CMS, please see link here . If the children are aged-16 and CMS cannot help, then your friend can apply to court.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Jul-18 @ 10:45 AM
Hello, I know somone who lives in Uk with her husband and has 2 children which are going to be 16. If the father declines to help financially his children anymore what can the mother do if she doesn’t work. Another question would be if the parents have divorced and the father has a higher income of £26,000 per annum what are his obligations to the children financially(as he does not want to help)
Lyca - 8-Jul-18 @ 12:46 PM
Petrusha84 - Your Question:
Hi,my partner has 4 children with his ex wife.The children now live with their uncle and his partner.They have now contacted cma even though my partner has been paying them money every week directly through his bank.The kids mother is not supporting her kids whatsover and doesnt work.she has had 2 more kids.My question is are both parents responsible to pay child maintenance if the kids dont live with either of them? it seems a bit unfair for my partner to support his kids on his own when they have 2 parents.We also have one child together and I have 2 children from my previous relationship and I dont think its fair that my children should suffer because of this.Yes he should pay for his kids but so should their mother.Is there anything that we can do?

Our Response:
As a rule, both parents should pay towards the day-to-day care in the form of child maintenance. However, child maintenance is only taken from those who are earning and paying tax through HMRC. If your partner's ex is receiving benefits, then CMS will take £7 a week out towards child maintenance. If your partner makes a family-based arrangement, both parents can agree what they should pay.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Jun-18 @ 2:09 PM
hi,my partner has 4 children with his ex wife.The children now live with their uncle and his partner.They have now contacted cma even though my partner has been paying them money every week directly through his bank.The kids mother is not supporting her kids whatsover and doesnt work...she has had 2 more kids.... My question is are both parents responsible to pay child maintenance if the kids dont live with either of them? it seems a bit unfair for my partner to support his kids on his own when they have 2 parents.....We also have one child together and i have 2 children from my previous relationship and i dont think its fair that my children should suffer because of this.Yes he should pay for his kids but so should their mother...Is there anything that we can do?
Petrusha84 - 21-Jun-18 @ 11:18 PM
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