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Who Has to Pay Child Support?

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 9 Apr 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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My ex has been paying child maintenance through the CSA since our son was 3, he is now 13.I have had a long history of problems with him not paying what he should and not paying on time.This all seems to have resolved now and he has been regularly paying for the last few years. He has remarried, as have I, and gone on to have 2 other children with his new wife and they all live together in forces married quarters. About 3yrs ago,I requested the CSA to perform a pay review on him, which they did but I was shocked to learn from them that he was then having to pay child maintenance through the CSA for his other 2 children as well as my son.The letter stated that my ex would from then on be reducing the amount he paid to me as he now had to support his other kids and that he would be paying x amount to his wife. Don't get me wrong, if he should of been paying for those children I would not haveany issue with that but what I do have an issue with is the fact that he has blatantly lied to the CSA an made it seem like he is not living with those children when in fact he is and always has so that he doesn't have to pay as much for my son. When I rang the CSA to query this matter, I was told there was nothing they could do, they can't discuss what my ex has said due to data protection laws (fair enough)and that was the end of the matter as far as they are concerned. I know I'm one of the lucky ones who actually receives maintenance and don't want to sound like I'm wanting to bleed him dry but to me it's the fact that he would stoop so low as to cheat his son out of the financial support he deserves. I would greatly appreciate any help and advice on what, if anything I can do about this as surely this classes as fraud of some kind? Many thanks.
hacked off - 9-Apr-16 @ 7:44 PM
My ex has been paying child maintenance through the CSA since our son was 3, he is now 13.I have had a long history of problems with him not paying what he should and not paying on time.This all seems to have resolved now and he has been regularly paying for the last few years. He has remarried, as have I, and gone on to have 2 other children with his new wife and they all live together in forces married quarters. About 3yrs ago,I requested the CSA to perform a pay review on him, which they did but I was shocked to learn from them that he was then having to pay child maintenance through the CSA for his other 2 children as well as my son.The letter stated that my ex would from then on be reducing the amount he paid to me as he now had to support his other kids and that he would be paying x amount to his wife. Don't get me wrong, if he should of been paying for those children I would not haveany issue with that but what I do have an issue with is the fact that he has blatantly lied to the CSA an made it seem like he is not living with those children when in fact he is and always has so that he doesn't have to pay as much for my son. When I rang the CSA to query this matter, I was told there was nothing they could do, they can't discuss what my ex has said due to data protection laws (fair enough)and that was the end of the matter as far as they are concerned. I know I'm one of the lucky ones who actually receives maintenance and don't want to sound like I'm wanting to bleed him dry but to me it's the fact that he would stoop so low as to cheat his son out of the financial support he deserves. I would greatly appreciate any help and advice on what, if anything I can do about this as surely this classes as fraud of some kind? Many thanks.
hacked off - 9-Apr-16 @ 7:26 PM
My partner has two children with his first partner and one with his second partner his first partner is in an arrangement monthly his second partner was and was quite happy taking the weekly money until she decided it was not enough now she wants double the money cause she thinks he is wealthy which couldn't be any further from the truth he has property in his name but it's mortgaged his second partner has two other children to two other men who do not pay anything nor has she per sued them oh and both these mothers have never worked and claim everything going also she has not acknowledged any payments that have been paid we use to have the child every weekend this was not mentioned ether now bailiffs are involved the money they are asking to pay is extortion also I believe her first son she is claiming for as my partner was there from birth but is not the father for 10 years also he has not seen his own son in two years because she won't allow him near him until she gets the money she wants
Chizz - 7-Apr-16 @ 7:34 PM
Fog - Your Question:
My fiancé, has two children with his ex she also has another 2 children with her new hubby. The money she gets off him I don't believe goes to his children. My fiancé has his children 2 nights a week without fail sometimes more if on holiday the full week. He also spends a bomb on the kids as she buys them nothing no clothes shoes coats nothing he does it she knows this that's why she never bothers send with lice and dirty. Said to my fiancé keep the money spend on the kids can do this?? As she wastes the money on booze and things for her.

Our Response:
Unless a family-based financial arrangement is agreed between your partner and his ex, then he would have to continue to go through the proper channels and pay the maintenance directly to the mother. The mother does not have to justify what she spends the money on.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Apr-16 @ 2:59 PM
My fiancé, has two children with his ex she also has another 2 children with her new hubby. The money she gets off him I don't believe goes to his children . My fiancé has his children 2 nights a week without fail sometimes more if on holiday the full week. He also spends a bomb on the kids as she buys them nothing no clothes shoes coats nothing he does it she knows this that's why she never bothers send with lice and dirty. Said to my fiancé keep the money spend on the kids can do this?? As she wastes the money on booze and things for her.
Fog - 5-Apr-16 @ 11:55 PM
AS - Your Question:
My Best friend has recently found out that her fiancé (father of her 2 children) had an affair 2 weeks after her new born was born. He has now impregnated this other woman. He has expressed that he doesn't want anything to do with the child and has cut her off. If a paternity test is done and he is the father but yet still doesn't want contact ect, will he still need to pay CSA even though he told her he wanted nothing to do with her at 12 weeks pregnant?

Our Response:
Yes, if he is found to be the father he will be eligible to pay child maintenance until the child turns 16, whether he has contact with the child or not. If this woman decides to name him as the father on the birth certificate, he will also be eligible to pay child maintenance until the DNA/parentage issue has been solved, please see link: here.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Apr-16 @ 12:41 PM
My Best friend has recently found out that her fiancé (father of her 2 children) had an affair 2 weeks after her new born was born. He has now impregnated this other woman. He has expressed that he doesn't want anything to do with the child and has cut her off. If a paternity test is done and he is the father but yet still doesn't want contact ect, will he still need to pay CSA even though he told her he wanted nothing to do with her at 12 weeks pregnant?
AS - 4-Apr-16 @ 2:47 PM
nobbynoo - Your Question:
Hi,my son split with his x partner when his son was only 6 months old, he is now 8 years old.My Son has been paying CSA since they split at over £300 per month.not long after they split up ,my son found that his ex partner had been having an affair,and wenton to marry this person.My Son is so unsure that he is the childs biological father, as there is no resemblance at all.the childs Mother and step father have now split up, and the step father now has legal parentalrights for the child. Is my Son still responsible formaking csa payment for this child, and alsoif he was to do a dna, and finds that he is not the childs biological father, what would ,aboutthe £30,000 he hasalready paid ?My son is married and has 3 other children, yet his csa payments have never been changed.I would be most gratefull for your advice. Thank you

Our Response:
You can find out all you need to know via the gov.uk site here. Your son will be responsible for making payments until the parentage issue is solved. If his ex refuses a DNA test, then your son would have to take the matter to court. The court would make a ruling with regards to any repayment of CSA, if his ex was found to have been complicit in hiding the true biological parentage of the father. If his ex consents to the test and he is found not to be the father, he can contact the CSA or take legal advice regarding any re-imbursement of child maintenance money.
ChildSupportLaws - 31-Mar-16 @ 2:33 PM
Hi, my son split with his x partner when his son was only 6 months old, he is now 8 years old. My Son has been paying CSAsince they split at over £300 per month. not long after they split up ,my son found that his ex partner had been having an affair,and went on to marry this person. My Son is so unsure that he is the childs biologicalfather, as there is no resemblance at all. the childs Mother and step father have now split up, and the step father now has legal parental rights for the child. Is my Son still responsible formaking csa payment for this child, and also if he was to do a dna, and finds that he is not the childs biologicalfather, what would ,about the £30,000 he hasalready paid ? My son is married and has 3 other children, yet his csa payments have never been changed. I would be most gratefull for your advice. Thank you
nobbynoo - 31-Mar-16 @ 2:28 AM
i am a step dad.. i think ... am engaged to my girl after 5 yrs AND 4 YRS living together ... i look after the girls 8/9 tues weds thurs until 8 every night i feed them make sure home work is done bath is done ... and normal parent rules not uch tablet use no sweets no soft drinks ... they see dad ever other weekend they have takeaways sleep overs etc... stay.. at nans once a week have ice cream nan time... but i feel i am the only one who tells them off ... feeling like a mug what should i do
clayton1180 - 25-Mar-16 @ 12:20 AM
I am 17 years old and currently still in full time education. My parents are separated. My brother (who is 13) lives with our mother and I live with our Father. However, our Father has to pay child support for my brother but for some reason our mother does not have to pay child support for me. This is ridiculous! I do not see why women get the special treatment. Anyone know why she would not have to support me?
Katie - 24-Mar-16 @ 8:59 AM
Wales - Your Question:
My wife and I lived together and without me knowing claimed benefits for our daughter and claiming benefits as a person living on her own etc. the CSA have hit me with a bill saying that because she claimed benefits that I should have been paying CSA as the NRP. problem being I was resident with her as husband and wife. we emigrated and this has only come about since my return to the uk ( she remains abroad). I have explained to the CSA but they continue to hound me. I am having trouble obtaining evidence that we were resident together as most orgnasations don't keep records going that far back. the amusing part of this is that the CS wrote to me at our joint address once, but wont take that into account. Wife still abroad, don't know where and we aren't in contact. this is only one of the lies and deceit she has done.

Our Response:
This seems a little complicated. Therefore I can only suggest you appeal, please see link here and/or legal advice if this cannot be resolved on appeal.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-Mar-16 @ 11:15 AM
my wife and I lived together and without me knowing claimed benefits for our daughter and claiming benefits as a person living on her own etc. the CSA have hit me with a bill saying that because she claimed benefits that I should have been paying CSA as the NRP. problem being I was resident with her as husband and wife. we emigrated and this has only come about since my return to the uk ( she remains abroad). I have explained to the CSA but they continue to hound me. I am having trouble obtaining evidence that we were resident together as most orgnasations don't keep records going that far back. the amusing part of this is that the CS wrote to me at our joint address once, but wont take that into account. Wife still abroad, don't know where and we aren't in contact. this is only one of the lies and deceit she has done.
Wales - 22-Mar-16 @ 2:35 PM
My step son lives with me and my daughter, they are half siblings sharing a father, he is ten years old and has a mother who lives in the same town as us however in the three plus years he's lived with me she hasn't paid a penny to help with his upbringing. I originally didn't want to ask her for anything but recently I've changed my mind I think it's about time she helped towards the growing cost of his care, there's always something he needs and school trips are becoming more and more expensive, I am just totally unsure what I am able to claim from her, she doesn't work, is pregnant and has a new partner who is the sole breadwinner, I think she gets tax credits as she also has a child living with her from another relationship. There is so much conflicting information on the internet that I really don't know if or what I can get for my step so, I'm unable to ask her directly dad she is hard to get hold of and can be difficult. My step son does see his mother but not regularly and he doesn't stay there for any length of time and never overnight, any advice will be great, thankyou
confused? - 21-Mar-16 @ 10:01 PM
Shar - Your Question:
My sister has 4 boys between the ages of 2 up to 9 and has brought them up by herself in london. Unfortunately due to no housing she was forced to move out of london and now the farther of her children has advice he doesn't have to pay CSA as she has made it impossible for him to see his kids. My sister has not told him he is not allowed to see the kids in any way. She has now received a letter from his solicitor which states he doesn't have to pay any child benefit. Is this correct? As she was forced to move far away not by her choice to Doncaster.

Our Response:
Child maintenance (I presume that is what you mean) and access have no relationship, meaning a father has to pay to support his children regardless of whether he sees them or not (if he has an income).
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Mar-16 @ 1:39 PM
Kimmy - Your Question:
My daughters husband has a child from previous marriage , the child is 16 years of age and lives with her father and my daughter , on school holidays she goes to her mothers in a different state , then returns back to her fathers for beginning of school, have just been informed that he still has to pay his ex wife child support, because they say she lives with her mother 30% of the time because of school holidays, is this correct , as it doesn't sound fair that dad pays all schooling and cost of her living with them as in clothes food etc

Our Response:
Unfortunatley, if you are not resident in the UK, we cannot advise as we are a UK-based site advising only in UK child support laws.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Mar-16 @ 10:49 AM
My sister has 4 boys between the ages of 2 up to 9 and has brought them up by herself in london. Unfortunately due to no housing she was forced to move out of london and now the farther of her children has advice he doesn't have to pay CSA as she has made it impossible for him to see his kids. My sister has not told him he is not allowed to see the kids in any way. She has now received a letter from his solicitor which states he doesn't have to pay any child benefit. Is this correct? As she was forced to move far away not by her choice to Doncaster.
Shar - 17-Mar-16 @ 6:55 PM
My daughters husband has a child from previous marriage , the child is 16 years of age and lives with her father and my daughter , on school holidays she goes to her mothers in a different state , then returns back to her fathers for beginning of school, have just been informed that he still has to pay his ex wife child support, because they say she lives with her mother 30% of the time because of school holidays, is this correct , as it doesn't sound fair that dad pays all schooling and cost of her living with them as in clothes food etc
Kimmy - 17-Mar-16 @ 8:20 AM
Leon - Your Question:
Hi I have 4 children but my ex has soul custody however the children sleep and stay at mine for the same amount of time if not more often than they stay at their mothers I have been paying maintenance for about two years and pay for school uniforms trips shopping etc I am in full time work but struggle to make ends meet yet my ex claims all the benifits under the sun and charges me maintenance she can afford to go on holliday twice a year minus the children I might add surely this cant be right can anyone offer advice and tell me if this is the same for others

Our Response:
Unfortunately, this is a situation that many parents face when one parent claims the benefits, plus maintenance and another has the child equal time. As you may well know maintenance payments are reduced according to the amount of nights you have your children over. However, if you try to challenge this, many mothers will attempt to withdraw the overnight access so the child maintenance payments stay the same. Therefore, it is a conundrum that you may have to decide upon yourself, or apply to the courts to decide both your maintenance and access provision on your behalf. You can see how much you should be paying, according to the nights you have your children, here. You may also find our Separated Dads forum useful to ask this question.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Mar-16 @ 1:57 PM
Hi i have 4 children but my ex has soul custody however the children sleep and stay at mine for the same amount of time if not more often than they stay at their mothers i have been paying maintenance for about two years and pay for school uniforms trips shopping etc i am in full time work but struggle to make ends meet yet my ex claims all the benifits under the sun and charges me maintenance she can afford to go on holliday twice a year minus the children i might add surely this cant be right can anyone offer advice and tell me if this is the same for others
Leon - 9-Mar-16 @ 11:11 PM
Knocker- Your Question:
My partner is in debt with the csa, my question is if we married would my income be taken into account to pay the debt?

Our Response:
No, your income will not be taken into account to pay his debt, as his children are not your financial responsibility.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Mar-16 @ 11:57 AM
My partner is in debt with the csa, my question is if we married would my income be taken into account to pay the debt?
Knocker - 6-Mar-16 @ 8:39 AM
If a man is not named on the birth certificate, because the mother chose not to allow him on it. Does the 'father' still have to pay cash, even if he has asked for dla and she has refused?
Cc - 26-Feb-16 @ 10:33 PM
Hi my husband has 2 children sole custody. The mother is to pay £5/week but doesn't even though via CSA.They always write saying payment not received but she gets carers allowance and has since had children etc how is she avoiding paying?
lucy - 26-Feb-16 @ 1:22 PM
Hi my husband has 2 children sole custody. The mother is to pay £5/week but doesn't even though via CEA.They always write saying payment not received but she gets carers allowance and has since had children etc how is she avoiding paying?
lucy - 26-Feb-16 @ 1:20 PM
Shannon - Your Question:
I am a single mother with a 7 month old baby, the father to my boy doesn't want contact with him and has even quit his job so he doesn't have to pay CSA. He is currently on the birth certificate but if I apply and gain full custody of my son, does this mean he will not have to pay CSA at all?

Our Response:
The father is responsible for supporting his child financially regardless of your application for a child arrangement order.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Feb-16 @ 10:17 AM
I am a single mother with a 7 month old baby, the father to my boy doesn't want contact with him and has even quit his job so he doesn't have to pay CSA... He is currently on the birth certificate but if I apply and gain full custody of my son, does this mean he will not have to pay CSA at all?
Shannon - 25-Feb-16 @ 9:20 AM
Bobfather - Your Question:
My ex-partner (not married) and we have a child together. My child was born after 2006 and I am named on the birth certificate. My ex is refusing to pay for any of the household bills or the mortgage and I have been paying it all for many years (she works 18 hours, can work more, but doesn't want to). My child is eight 1/2 and at primary school. The atmosphere in the house is appalling and my child doesn't want to return home with his mother. I wish to move out, rent, half the mortgage and share the custody of my child until the house sells. She is saying that she is entitled to CSA. She still takes the child benefit (but makes no contribution to the cost of the house).My solicitor told me that we have equal parental responsibility. I want to see and look after my son for 50% of the time. As I understand, I shouldn't have to pay CSA if we share the responsibility and time?

Our Response:
I'm afraid this is all rather academic until you move out and the changes happen, which may not always happen according to plan with regards to access arrangements. Have you agreed shared care with your ex? If not, and you don't agree between you, you may have to take the matter to court if you wish to pursue this route. The courts may not always agree to shared access and prefer to make one parent the primary carer and one parent the non-resident parent (which then changes the situation and which would allow your ex to apply for child support, if she was named as the primary carer). There is a lot to go through before you go down the who pays child support route. This is best done as amicably as possible, i.e a family-based arrangement where you agree between you. Perhaps Mediation may be the way forward so you can agree a fair separation, pease see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Feb-16 @ 2:00 PM
My ex-partner (not married) and we have a child together. My child was born after 2006 and I am named on the birth certificate. My ex is refusing to pay for any of the household bills or the mortgage and I have been paying it all for many years (she works 18 hours, can work more, but doesn't want to). My child is eight 1/2 and at primary school. The atmosphere in the house is appalling and my child doesn't want to return home with his mother. I wish to move out, rent, half the mortgage and share the custody of my child until the house sells. She is saying that she is entitled to CSA. She still takes the child benefit (but makes no contribution to the cost of the house). My solicitor told me that we have equal parental responsibility. I want to see and look after my son for 50% of the time. As I understand, I shouldn't have to pay CSA if we share the responsibility and time?
Bobfather - 21-Feb-16 @ 4:12 PM
A woman I met 10 weeks ago, have never lived with and with whom we are hardly past the stage of dating has informed me that she is pregnant. Although asking her before we had sex, if she was taking contraceptive, to which she said yes... It turns out she was at best very lazy in her routine...and did not take the necessary care, which granted I didn't based on her initial answer either. I do not earn a lot and just want to know if I would be expected to pay maintenance under this situation.
C - 20-Feb-16 @ 11:53 PM
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