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Who Has to Pay Child Support?

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 19 Jan 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]
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
Ash - Your Question:
Can someone apply for this IF the mother has been absent from the child's life.Is a child or parent of a child entitled to back payments when the child reaches the age of maturaty if it hadn't been applied for previously.Please note this child was raised by father alone. However, only parent listed on birth certificate is mother.

Our Response:
The person bringing up the child (i.e the primary carer) can apply for child maintenance from the non-resident parent. This can be done regardless of whether the other parent sees the child or not. However, it should be during the time the child is of school age in full-time education not higher than A'Levels or the equivalent. The primary carer would not be entitled to request back pay of child maintenance, if and where no previous claim has ever been made.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Jan-18 @ 12:29 PM
Celtic - Your Question:
I accept in principle that I have to pay maintenance for my children. I am unemployed at present, receive no benefits. I live with my partner. Can her earnings/savings be assessed for child maintenance?If that is indeed the case, it is very unfair

Our Response:
Your partner is not deemed to be financially responsible for your child and her income would not be considered. Only biological parents are eligible to pay child maintenance to their children.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Jan-18 @ 11:11 AM
I accept in principle that I have to pay maintenance for my children.I am unemployed at present, receive no benefits.I live with my partner.Can her earnings/savings be assessed for child maintenance? If that is indeed the case, it is very unfair
Celtic - 15-Jan-18 @ 3:03 PM
Can someone apply for this IF the mother has been absent from the child's life. Is a child or parent of a child entitled to back payments when the child reaches the age of maturaty if it hadn't been applied for previously. Please note this child was raised by father alone. However, only parent listed on birth certificate is mother.
Ash - 15-Jan-18 @ 11:27 AM
Flamingo - Your Question:
My ex husband and I had a child and are now divorced. He moved on with another woman and had two children with her but they never got married. She is now claiming child maintenance from him. Question:- she has never mentioned that he has a child from a previous relation and hence is asking for the maximum payment.- will the maintenance he is paying me be affected (reduced) by those two other kids?Please advise thank you x

Our Response:
Your ex husband would have to declare that he was also financially supporting another child. However, if your husband is paying the basic rate and paying for; one child, he’ll pay 12% of his gross weekly income, for two children, he'll pay 16% and for three or more children, he will be expected to pay 19% of his gross weekly income, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Jan-18 @ 2:57 PM
My ex husband and I had a child and are now divorced. He moved on with another woman and had two children with her but they never got married. She is now claiming child maintenance from him. Question: - she has never mentioned that he has a child from a previous relation and hence is asking for the maximum payment. - will the maintenance he is paying me be affected (reduced) by those two other kids? Please advise thank you x
Flamingo - 10-Jan-18 @ 9:19 PM
Tututrue - Your Question:
Hi. my ex is from and still lives in the US. Having separated for 8 years, we recently met up in London and decided to give it another go. Visiting for a few months with the intention of seeing how it went and then one of us making the move. However, it didn't work out. Unexpectedly and accidentally, I have found myself pregnant. I am not in a good financial situation and this isn't ideal. However, I'm in my mid-thirties and was previously diagnosed with premature menopause. I was absolutely gutted as I want a family, so in a way it's a blessing. But I'm totally confused. Self-employed and only during term time, so there are periods where my income is low. I'm not a home owner and am scared of how I would make this work?? I'm trying to build my career, but I don't think I could terminate a pregnancy knowing it may not happen again. Although the idea of being a single working parent without much money does worry me. So one of my questions is would the father have to pay any maintenance? We are not married and he's a foreign citizen, does that make a difference? He isn't short of money, but is terrible with it. As well as having no communication skills! What help could I get?

Our Response:
The father of your child would be expected to pay child maintenance to help support yours/his child. Child maintenance is based upon his earnings. If you intend to apply for child maintenance internationally, please see link here. You should also get help through the likes of state benefits or housing benefit/working tax credits, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Jan-18 @ 3:54 PM
Hippo - Your Question:
Hi there,I seperated from my wife eight years ago. She moved out with our two children, I have been paying an agreed amount of maintenance since then based on me having the children two nights per week.In November my son decided to move back in with me and I continued paying my ex wife maintenance as originally agreed.I have yet to pay any maintenance this year a I am under the impression that as we are both accommodating one child each that no maintenance is due to either party?If I continue paying half the amount of maintenance for my remaining child surely my ex wife will need to pay me maintenance for my son?Where do I stand?Many thanks

Our Response:
Much depends upon the income of both you and your ex. If you both have a similar income, and you have one child each, then it stands to reason that child maintenance can be waived. However, if for instance, you are earning and your ex is not, then you would continue to help to pay to support your other child. Child maintenance is based on a non-resident parent's earnings. If in doubt, you may wish to speak to CMS directly.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Jan-18 @ 2:26 PM
Hi...my ex is from and still lives in the US.Having separated for 8 years, we recently met up in London and decided to give it another go.Visiting for a few months with the intention of seeing how it went and then one of us making the move.However, it didn't work out.Unexpectedly and accidentally, I have found myself pregnant.I am not in a good financial situation and this isn't ideal.However, I'm in my mid-thirties and was previously diagnosed with premature menopause.I was absolutely gutted as I want a family, so in a way it's a blessing.But I'm totally confused.Self-employed and only during term time, so there are periods where my income is low.I'm not a home owner and am scared of how I would make this work??I'm trying to build my career, but I don't think I could terminate a pregnancy knowing it may not happen again.Although the idea of being a single working parent without much money does worry me...So one of my questions is would the father have to pay any maintenance?We are not married and he's a foreign citizen, does that make a difference?He isn't short of money, but is terrible with it.As well as having no communication skills!What help could I get?
Tututrue - 8-Jan-18 @ 11:35 PM
Hi there, I seperated from my wife eight years ago. She moved out with our two children, I have been paying an agreed amount of maintenance since then based on me having the children two nights per week. In November my son decided to move back in with me and I continued paying my ex wife maintenance as originally agreed. I have yet to pay any maintenance this year a I am under the impression that as we are both accommodating one child each that no maintenance is due to either party? If I continue paying half the amount of maintenance for my remaining child surely my ex wife will need to pay me maintenance for my son? Where do I stand? Many thanks
Hippo - 8-Jan-18 @ 7:34 AM
My partner has just asked me to marry him. He pays maintenance to the single mother of his 4 children though and it has been mentioned that when we marry,my salary will be taken into account and maintenance likely increased... Indirectly meaning I will be contributing to the child maintenance payments for my new step children.Is this correct?
Amy17 - 31-Dec-17 @ 4:41 PM
@zachh92 - you have to pay child maintenance, it's not up to you to decide how your ex should live her life and how she should spend the money. You'll be better off paying it through CMS if you were paying three times the amount. You can then spend that on your kids. So it seems like it's a win win situation for you.
EllioT - 22-Dec-17 @ 2:42 PM
Blanny - Your Question:
I have not seen my daughter for 3 and half years because my ex wife thinks by not letting me see my daughter she thinks she can get more money My ex wife is damaging my life I want to see my daughter and also she does to, I will take it back to court because shes not even attempted to make contact which we had this in place 3 years ago I send two texts a week and no reply but yet my ex is on the phone all the time to child maintenance I should not have to pay nothing might sound harsh but my ex wife should be the one to be punished by law Please help I work part time but no one and no one is listening am at breaking point

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. However, if there is a court order in place and your ex has not kept to the court order, then you would have to refer the matter back to court as your ex is in contempt of court. Child maintenance and child access are different matters and should be dealt with separately. You are still obliged to pay child maintenance to help financially support your daughter's daily needs, regardless of whether you see her or not. However, if your ex has breached the court order, then it is the courts that would need to be able to deal with this issue if you cannot resolve it between 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.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Dec-17 @ 3:51 PM
Needhelp - Your Question:
Hi. I’m currently paying £50pw maintenance for my son to my ex partner. We are fighting in court for me to have joint custody. Once it’s hranted does this effect my payment of maintenance a week to the ex partner?

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether you will have your child overnight more, please see link here , which tells you how child maintenance is assessed.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Dec-17 @ 12:31 PM
I have not seen my daughter for 3 and half years because my ex wife thinks by not letting me see my daughter she thinks she can get more money My ex wife is damaging my life i want to see my daughter and also she does to, i will take it back to court because shes not even attempted to make contact which we had this in place 3 years ago i send two texts a week and no reply but yet my ex is on the phone all the time to child maintenance i should not have to pay nothing might sound harsh but my ex wife should be the one to be punished by law Please help I work part time but no one and no one is listening am at breaking point
Blanny - 13-Dec-17 @ 8:03 PM
Hi. I’m currently paying £50pw maintenance for my son to my ex partner. We are fighting in court for me to have joint custody. Once it’s hranted does this effect my payment of maintenance a week to the ex partner?
Needhelp - 13-Dec-17 @ 1:27 PM
@PhilW - it depends on whether it's done through CMS (which your wife can try to claim arrears), or a family negotiated agreement (which she can't claim arrears).
Judge - 8-Dec-17 @ 3:31 PM
Hi, my wife's ex has reduced the support he was paying (£80pw down to £60pw) following moving in with his new girlfriend who had two young girls. My wife has a series of texts from a few months back where he stopped altogether for a while building up almost £2,000. She sent week by week noting no payment and an ever increase deficit up to the £2,000. Is there action available for her to recoup that money as is just an ongoing arrears figure now. Thank you
PhilW - 26-Nov-17 @ 8:38 PM
hi i used to pay my ex partner triple the amount i should be giving her i got bank statements to prove it and i have him 3 days a week an one day for a few hours for tea and on top off that i was buying him nappies and clothes and i have stoped paying her money for my son as i got evidence of her spending it on alcohol and drugs but i agreed on going out my way to buy the stuff she needed for him but now she has gone threw an child maintence application on me , is there anything i can do to refuse to pay it her as i feel my son not safe ? thankyou
zachh92 - 25-Nov-17 @ 2:00 PM
My Brother has split from his wife of which he has a 12 year old daughter with. Although not exactly amicable he still had access. He has remarried and continued to see his daughter up in till about 1 month ago when she told him she wants nothing more to do with him. Does he still have to pay child maintenance?
Andrew - 24-Nov-17 @ 6:45 AM
My son who is 17 has just up and left to live with his dad ..his dad is not named on his birth certificate ..can he now apply for maintenance money from me
Rlia - 21-Nov-17 @ 9:29 PM
Amy - Your Question:
Hi,My partner and his ex used to share custody of children, since September mother put child in school in her area making it impossible for partner to have kids with his work patterns, she’s refusing to let him have the kids when he can (one 3 days 2 nights, other one whole day, one to one time bcos he’s at school) please no abuse in me asking this question! But. can mother expect partner to pay child support even though she’s the one who’s refusing access?

Our Response:
Child maintenance and child access are not related. Your partner is responsible by law for helping to support his child's day-to-day needs financially, regardless of whether he sees the children or not. If your partner wishes to see his children, then he would have to either suggest mediation, or if his ex refuses, apply to court. If your partner cannot afford legal representation in court, he can represent himself. He would need to apply for contact via a C100 form.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Nov-17 @ 2:07 PM
Jordan20 - Your Question:
I'm have been living with my partner for 12years and has never worked whilst we have been together and we have 2 children. During the time together he cheated and fathered a child with another woman who is now seeking for child support. My question is will I be asked to pay for this child because he is not in work?

Our Response:
Your partner's child is not your financial responsibility, so you personally will not be asked to pay child maintenance.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Nov-17 @ 2:01 PM
Hi, My partner and his ex used to share custody of children, since September mother put child in school in her area making it impossible for partner to have kids with his work patterns, she’s refusing to let him have the kids when he can (one 3 days 2 nights, other one whole day, one to one time bcos he’s at school) please no abuse in me asking this question! But.. can mother expect partner to pay child support even though she’s the one who’s refusing access?
Amy - 20-Nov-17 @ 10:13 PM
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