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Who Has to Pay Child Support?

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 8 Jul 2018 | 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]
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
Talaedana - Your Question:
I am a single woman and I have a good friend in another country, ive known him for an exceptionally long time and want to ask him to be a donor so to speak so that I may have a child, however I dont want him to be chased by CMS for money, I dont want money from him for doing this for me as this is my choice and I accept full responsibility, it would be unfair to get him involved in something that I specifically said I do not want from him and he is worried that if he does this favour for me, that he would be chased to pay for a child that I asked for, not him.I cannot find information on this at all and everything is a grey area, what are the rules? Can this be done without him being forced into this?

Our Response:
One way to approach this, is to have a written agreement drawn up through a solicitor. While, the agreement is not legally binding, if a dispute arises it acts as good evidence that a donor agreement between the two of you was reached. This means, the agreement will be considered by the courts as having weight.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Jun-18 @ 2:16 PM
I am a single woman and I have a good friend in another country, ive known him for an exceptionally long time and want to ask him to be a donor so to speak so that i may have a child, however i dont want him to be chased by CMS for money, i dont want money from him for doing this for me as this is my choice and i accept full responsibility, it would be unfair to get him involved in something that i specifically said i do not want from him and he is worried that if he does this favour for me, that he would be chased to pay for a child that i asked for, not him. I cannot find information on this at all and everything is a grey area, what are the rules? Can this be done without him being forced into this?
Talaedana - 16-Jun-18 @ 12:26 AM
Sunnie- Your Question:
Even if my brother told this lady as early as the pregnancy was a month old that he doesn't want any baby, he even suggested an abortion, but she said that it's against her Muslim Faith, should my brother still have to pay for the child maintenance when the child is born?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, yes. If the father wished the prevent a pregnancy, then he had the choice to use contraception. All biological fathers of children are by law responsible for financially supporting their children.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Jun-18 @ 11:20 AM
Even if my brother told this lady as early as the pregnancy was a month old that he doesn't want any baby, he even suggested an abortion, but she said that it's against her Muslim Faith, should my brother still have to pay for the child maintenance when the child is born?
Sunnie - 11-Jun-18 @ 12:55 PM
sunnie - Your Question:
A lady is pregnant for my brother, but my brother does not want the baby but the lady is insisting on keeping the baby, does my brother have to pay for child's support of this baby?

Our Response:
If the mother names your brother as the child's father, then your brother will be responsible for paying towards the day-to-day care of his child in the form of child maintenance.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Jun-18 @ 11:17 AM
A lady is pregnant for my brother, but my brother does not want the baby but the lady is insisting on keeping the baby, does my brother have to pay for child's support of this baby?
sunnie - 10-Jun-18 @ 12:06 AM
Minx - Your Question:
My ex partner pays maintenance for our 2 child but does he have to pay maintenance for his other child even though him and the other childs mother are in relationship

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether the other child's mother wishes to put in a claim. Or they may choose a family-based child maintenance arrangement which is agreed between themselves and not through CMS.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-May-18 @ 9:33 AM
My ex partner pays maintenance for our 2 child but does he have to pay maintenance for his other child even though him and the other childs mother are in relationship
Minx - 9-May-18 @ 12:49 AM
Hi When I met my husband I had 2 children. Their dad died 3 years after I met my husband. My husband has brought my 2 children up for 12 years. In the last 6 years we have had a further 2 children and married 2 years ago. My husband also has both my older 2’s children’s names as well as one of our new children’s names tattooed on his forearm and we legally changed the old 2 children surnames to my husbands. We have recently seperated and I put a claim into CMS. Now child maintenance car option told me I could t claim for the older 2 children butwhen out through to CMS they advised that because we married they could add them on. Everything have been really rocky, and he told me he wasn’t paying for the older 2 children. Their biological father died before we married. Where do I stand?
Brokengjrule - 7-May-18 @ 5:20 PM
Hi, I have a question here that I am not finding an answer for online as it is difficult to find the key words that would match an answer. In short I am a single dad who is raising my son with no financial help from my ex partner. My ex-partner is remarried and although she doesn't work (as she looks after her new husband's children) her husband does and he makes a salary good enough to live comfortably. The question is am I entitled to claim child maintenance or not. Thanks
David Ruiz - 6-May-18 @ 12:24 AM
Jo - Your Question:
Hi, I live with the father of our child but not getting on well, he said he is not going to move out and I'm not as well, we brought the house a year ago. He doesn't contribute to food shopping or any bills, doesn't buy nothing for our child as well. He is blowing all his money for nights out. The question is can I claim a maintenance from him through csa?

Our Response:
If you can prove you are separated and living under the same roof, it is possible. You would have to speak with CMS directly.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Apr-18 @ 10:02 AM
Hi, I live with the father of our child but not getting on well, he said he is not going to move out and I'm not as well, we brought the house a year ago. He doesn't contribute to food shopping or any bills, doesn't buy nothing for our child as well. He is blowing all his money for nights out. The question is can I claim a maintenance from him through csa?
Jo - 26-Apr-18 @ 10:31 AM
Hello, I was divorced several years ago and I have 2 children from that marriage for which I pay child support. But I am now considering living with a new partner and her child from her prior marriage. Her daughter looks at me as a step father and rarely sees her real dad. It’s very sweet but I can’t help worrying that if this new relationship ends after a period of us living as a family that I would have to pay child support for her as she looks at me as a father figure. Is this only applicable if my new partner doesn’t get child support already from her ex? I think she does but the conversation hasn’t come up yet. Thanks
G - 31-Mar-18 @ 8:05 AM
Leo.18 - Your Question:
Hello! I have 3 girls of 4.2 and 1 year, I am not married to the father of the girls. I would like to know where I can go to request a food allowance for my daughters. Thank you !

Our Response:
You can see more via the Trussell Trust link here, which should help you further.
ChildSupportLaws - 29-Mar-18 @ 11:20 AM
Hello! I have 3 girls of 4.2 and 1 year, I am not married to the father of the girls. I would like to know where I can go to request a food allowance for my daughters. Thank you !
Leo.18 - 28-Mar-18 @ 9:37 AM
rebeccarebecca- Your Question:
Im currently pregnant and not in a relationship with the father. I have a feeling he wont want any involvement with the baby when it arrives. if he doesnt register the birth with me and go on the birth certificate would I still be able to claim maintenance? what information do you need to contact him? he has requested a dna test, would it take longer to get that done through csa?

Our Response:
You can request the father of your child pays child maintenance even if he is not registered on the birth certificate. You can see more about DNA testing via the link here, which will tell you all you need to know.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Mar-18 @ 3:18 PM
confused - Your Question:
Question my friend has just been told that her partner of 19yrs has fathered another child this child is between there 2 youngest the question I have is that the mother has to prove he is the father and once she has done this if he is he is liable for maintenance she has been told that he doesnt have to pay as 14yrs has passed and he is no longer liable is this matter true?

Our Response:
This is not true. If your friend has been named as the father of the child, it is up to him to request the DNA test to prove whether he is or not. In the meantime, the father would have to pay child maintenance until it is proved he isn't. If he is, then child maintenance will continue to be paid.You can see more via the link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Mar-18 @ 12:41 PM
Question my friend has just been told that her partner of 19yrs has fathered another child this child is between there 2 youngest the question i have is that the mother has to prove he is the father and once she has done this if he is he is liable for maintenance she has been told that he doesnt have to pay as 14yrs has passed and he is no longer liable is this matter true?
confused - 12-Mar-18 @ 9:27 AM
im currently pregnant and not in a relationship with the father. i have a feeling he wont want any involvement with the baby when it arrives. if he doesnt register the birth with me and go on the birth certificate would i still be able to claim maintenance? what information do you need to contact him? he has requested a dna test, would it take longer to get that done through csa?
rebeccarebecca - 10-Mar-18 @ 10:42 PM
yorkiebar - Your Question:
Hi, I have been paying the CSA since 2007 and now the CMS. Before the CMS took over I got a statement of payments from the CSA. This made total sense and I started my own investigation into how much money I have actually paid to what is on there payment schedules. I now have all my bank statements in place and a quick spreadsheet later shows I have paid more than £3000 too much! How do I go about getting this money back. I have all the evidence, do I go to a solicitor or would someone from the CMS or CSA have a meeting with me to go through my findings. Any advice would be welcomed.

Our Response:
Contact the Child Maintenance Service or CSA if you’re unhappy with the service you’ve received, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Feb-18 @ 3:30 PM
Hi, I have been paying the CSA since 2007 and now the CMS. Before the CMS took over I got a statement of payments from the CSA. This made total sense and I started my own investigation into how much money I have actually paid to what is on there payment schedules. I now have all my bank statements in place and a quick spreadsheet later shows I have paid more than £3000 too much! How do I go about getting this money back. I have all the evidence, do I go to a solicitor or would someone from the CMS or CSA have a meeting with me to go through my findings. Any advice would be welcomed.
yorkiebar - 26-Feb-18 @ 7:01 AM
Jodelou - Your Question:
Hi my partner gives his children money every week and takes them out theu have a choice of theu come out or not but hes ex says she is going to claim csa but hes giving them money this started when she found myseld his girlfriend of 7 years is now pregnant wouls he be able to appeal because of this? Any info is appreciated thanks

Our Response:
If your partner and his ex have a family-based arrangement this is agreed between them both. If the family-based arrangement breaks down for any reason, then either party has the option to take the matter to CMS. You can see via the link here what your partner might be paying if his ex decides to take the CMS route.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Feb-18 @ 9:15 AM
Hi my partner gives his children money every week and takes them out theu have a choice of theu come out or not but hes ex says she is going to claim csa but hes giving them money this started when she found myseld his girlfriend of 7 years is now pregnant wouls he be able to appeal because of this? Any info is appreciated thanks
Jodelou - 21-Feb-18 @ 5:00 PM
Tocoinaphrase - Your Question:
How do I stand? My daughter was born in 2005 and I was not married to the mother who subsequently stopped me having visitation rights. She then sent my daughter to live with her father where she has been for the last nine years. I have paid through the CSA including arrears and was then paying the grandfather direct. With the change to CMS I was wrongly re-assessed with double my current earnings and am now being chased for the non-existent difference. I see my daughter but only on supervised visits but this has taught me that her Mother very rarely sees her and has two other children with her new partner. Does the mother have to contribute under these circumstances? She has not paid a penny in nine years where I pay thousands, this cannot be right.Thanks in advance.

Our Response:
The mother would be eligible to pay child maintenance also, if she is working and is classed as the non-resident parent. You can see how income affects how much a non-resident parent pays via the link here . With regards to visiting rights, regardless of whether you are registered on the birth certificate or not, you can still suggest mediation and if your ex refuses apply to court to have unsupervised visiting rights - as long as there is not a court order already in place specifying visiting should be supervised.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Feb-18 @ 10:15 AM
How do I stand? My daughter was born in 2005 and I was not married to the mother who subsequently stopped me having visitation rights. She then sent my daughter to live with her father where she has been for the last nine years. I have paid through the CSA including arrears and was then paying the grandfather direct. With the change to CMS I was wrongly re-assessed with double my current earnings and am now being chased for the non-existent difference. I see my daughter but only on supervised visits but this has taught me that her Mother very rarely sees her and has two other children with her new partner. Does the mother have to contribute under these circumstances? She has not paid a penny in nine years where I pay thousands, this cannot be right. Thanks in advance.
Tocoinaphrase - 7-Feb-18 @ 2:23 PM
Azza - Your Question:
I have been stopped from seeing my children for over four years by a mother who has lied in court and made false allegations causing me financial hardship and even homlessness yet she is still trying to get child maintainence from me. If I am willing to have joint custody but she is not allowing it surely it her choice so she should not be able to ask me for money when she is not allowing me to be a father in any other way.

Our Response:
Child maintenance and child access have no bearing on each other and are completely separate issues. Every non-resident parent is deemed by law responsible for financially contributing to their children's welfare on a day-to-day basis, regardless of whether they see the child or not. Child access should be dealt with through the courts, as a separate issue. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Feb-18 @ 3:23 PM
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