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Who Has to Pay Child Support?

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 26 Apr 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]
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
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.
Azza - 6-Feb-18 @ 12:48 PM
Mat - Your Question:
Hi I am just out of interest as there an argument between my sister and my mother my mother bought us up since birth and our farther was not around and can was after him for years but he only starting paying several years after now as my sister have left home and the money was payed to my mum when the csa caught up with him I think the money it's my mums as she put her hard work in bringing us up not my sisters hope some one can help me please as its pulling my family apart

Our Response:
Your sister has no claim to this money. Child maintenance payments are paid only to the resident parent, not the child.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Feb-18 @ 3:08 PM
Kiwi dad - Your Question:
Can a disgruntled mother make a claim against the father to get backpay of 15yrs for child maintenance. The father has not lived in UK for 11 years, never had a claim taken against him and also received a letter stating since he was not a UK tax payer he was not required to pay child maintenance.

Our Response:
Unless a claim has been previously made, a resident parent cannot claim back pay of child maintenance from a non-resident parent.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Feb-18 @ 2:36 PM
I have a 10 months old baby with my wife and we live together, I provide all my daughters need and support when I get back from work. Due to recent misunderstanding between my wife and I we don’t really talk but I make sure I do all my responsibilities now she brought a letter from csa saying I need to pay child support! ? We live in the same house and I see my daughter everyday and also provides everything is this right? What can I do?
JMI - 3-Feb-18 @ 7:28 AM
Can a disgruntled mother make a claim against the father to get backpay of 15yrs for child maintenance. The father has not lived in UK for 11 years, never had a claim taken against him and also received a letter stating since he was not a UK tax payer he was not required to pay child maintenance.
Kiwi dad - 3-Feb-18 @ 3:21 AM
Hi I am just out of interest as there an argument between my sister and my mother my mother bought us up since birth and our farther was not around and can was after him for years but he only starting paying several years after now as my sister have left home and the money was payed to my mum when the csa caught up with him I think the money it's my mums as she put her hard work in bringing us up not my sisters hope some one can help me please as its pulling my family apart
Mat - 2-Feb-18 @ 7:52 PM
Fletch2018 - Your Question:
Hi I was just wondering if the father is paying csa to the mother of the child but the child actually lives at their grandparents should the father still carry on paying the mother or the grandmother?

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether the arrangement is official or temporary. If the arrangement is official, then the grandparents can actually apply for child maintenance from both parents. If the arrangement non-official, then the non-resident parent would have to continue to pay the 'resident' parent.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Feb-18 @ 12:12 PM
Hi I was just wondering if the father is paying csa to the mother of the child but the child actually lives at their grandparents should the father still carry on paying the mother or the grandmother?
Fletch2018 - 31-Jan-18 @ 8:07 PM
Hi. I have a 15 year old son who's father has never assisted financially towards. He has only just begun to regularly see our son. How do I begin a case/claim now that the CSA doesn't accept new claims please?
JJ - 29-Jan-18 @ 2:00 PM
Leigh - Your Question:
I have recieved no maintenance for 12 years. Now my son may move in with his father, would I have to pay maintenance to his dad?

Our Response:
Any resident parent is eligible to make a claim against the non-resident parent to help financially support their child. Each non-resident parent's individual circumstances is taken into consideration in order to assess the claim.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Jan-18 @ 3:26 PM
I have recieved no maintenance for 12 years.Now my son may move in with his father, would I have to pay maintenance to his dad?
Leigh - 19-Jan-18 @ 12:12 PM
MD20 - Your Question:
I have been paying Child support for the past 13 years for a child I have never been given the opportunity to meet. The mother vanished and put a claim in for child support though the CSA. They couldn't divulge her details due to data protection and I have therefore never been able to find them. Due to delays with the CSA setting up the case I was considered non compliant and they took money from my salary for the past 12 years. I asked for a DNA test however they said as they'd assumed parentage (due to non compliance) I'd have to take it up with the courts as a private case. I couldn't as I had no details of the mother. I was never married or in a relationship with her nor am I on the birth certificate. In 2017 the CSA case ended and a case with the CMS was set. I immediately challenged paternity and they told me they couldn't presume parentage but asked me to arrange a DNA test with the Mother. I told them I didn't have any details for her and they said they may be able to arrange it. A week later they called me back and said they were going to presume parentage as I hadn't arranged the DNA test. I told them again I had no details for her. They managed to get in touch with her and I'm still waiting for her to do a DNA test.My question is: If she does do a DNA test and I am the father what rights do I have. I have been denied access for years. The CMS calculate similar to the CSA where you pay a higher amount if the mother restricts access, can this be challenged?

Our Response:
Even though the mother vanished, the courts do have ways of tracing a child. When a non-resident parent applies for contact via a C100 form, or to prove paternity, if the address of the other parent cannot be traced, the parent bringing the matter to court can fill in a C4 form which is an application for an order for disclosure of a child's whereabouts. This will allow the courts to put a trace on the child and allow the non-resident parent to apply to court for the order they wish to pursue (in your case it would have been a paternity test and contact to your child). On another note, child maintenance and child access are two separate issues and not to be confused. A non-resident parent by law is deemed responsible for paying child maintenance regardless of whether they see their child or not. The courts deal with access issues separately. The fact you have never applied through the courts is your decision, as in you could have had both issues (paternity and contact to your child) resolved years ago. If the DNA test comes back positive, then you would still have to apply to the courts for contact to your son. If your son is over the age of 13, then he will be given a personal preference regarding whether or not he wishes to meet you. 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, meaning there are no set answers here. In answer to your question about higher child maintenance paid if a NRP does not see their child, this is only attributed to overnight stays. A NRP who sees their child, pays less child maintenance if the child stays overnight for part of the week. I hope this helps clarify things.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Jan-18 @ 11:13 AM
I have been paying Child support for the past 13 years for a child I have never been given the opportunity to meet. The mother vanished and put a claim in for child support though the CSA. They couldn't divulge her details due to data protection and I have therefore never been able to find them. Due to delays with the CSA setting up the case I was considered non compliant and they took money from my salary for the past 12 years. I asked for a DNA test however they said as they'd assumed parentage (due to non compliance) I'd have to take it up with the courts as a private case. I couldn't as I had no details of the mother. I was never married or in a relationship with her nor am I on the birth certificate. In 2017 the CSA case ended and a case with the CMS was set. I immediately challenged paternity and they told me they couldn't presume parentage but asked me to arrange a DNA test with the Mother. I told them I didn't have any details for her and they said they may be able to arrange it. A week later they called me back and said they were going to presume parentage as I hadn't arranged the DNA test. I told them again I had no details for her. They managed to get in touch with her and I'm still waiting for her to do a DNA test. My question is: If she does do a DNA test and I am the father what rights do I have. I have been denied access for years. The CMS calculate similar to the CSA where you pay a higher amount if the mother restricts access, can this be challenged?
MD20 - 18-Jan-18 @ 4:36 PM
Stina - Your Question:
HiI am separating from my partner and we have three children. I have been a stay at home mum for the last 10 years as his work takes him away and is unpredictable so working wasn't viable with three young children.He owns three houses including the one we live in but they're all in his name. I haven't contributed financially but have obviously looked after the kids and home.As we're not married, what will he have to contribute? Also, at least for the next few years, even though I'm going back to work, I won't make enough money to provide housing and living income for us all. Thanks

Our Response:
You can see more via the CAB link here , which should tell you all you need to know. If your partner has three properties and you have children with him, then you may be able to ask a court to transfer the property into your name. The court will only do this if it decides it is in the best interests of your children. It is usually done for a limited period, for example, until your youngest child is 18 years old. This information and other about child maintenance is contained in the article. Taking some legal advice is also recommended.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Jan-18 @ 12:47 PM
Hi I am separating from my partner and we have three children. I have been a stay at home mum for the last 10 years as his work takes him away and is unpredictable so working wasn't viable with three young children. He owns three houses including the one we live in but they're all in his name. I haven't contributed financially but have obviously looked after the kids and home. As we're not married, what will he have to contribute? Also, at least for the next few years, even though I'm going back to work, I won't make enough money to provide housing and living income for us all. Thanks
Stina - 18-Jan-18 @ 12:25 AM
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