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Who Has to Pay Child Support?

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 19 Feb 2017 | 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]
JCB - Your Question:
The father of my 2 children which are now 13 and 11 has never paid maintenance,although going through csa and them telling me it's gone to the enforcement team several times over still owing over 30k arrears in child maintenance still gets away with paying nothing,although he has a job house cars and holidays every year.he chose to stop seeing the children 9 years ago and has made no contact or tried to make contact although I have seen his mother on a few occasions at our local hospital where she works and in town when we have been shopping,yet no effort of contact has ever been indicated.i have lost all faith in the csa as they have managed to do absolutely nothing with my case.

Our Response:
If your ex has a job and is earning, have you thought about seeking legal advice about taking the matter to court? The court would look into his financial affairs in more depth. However, if the CSA have been unable to implement a deduction of earnings, there must be a reason why.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Feb-17 @ 2:31 PM
Flora - Your Question:
Hi. My friend's ex is due to give birth, she is claiming the child is his, although they never agreed on having a child, or plan their life together. Can he be forced to do a DNE test? If not, does she have a right to claim child support from him?

Our Response:
If your friend's ex claims he is the father and she wishes to claim child maintenance from him, then he will be by law expected to pay. If he feels the child may not be his, then he can request a DNA test either from his ex directly, of if she doesn't agree, he can request one through the courts, please see link here. If the test comes back negative then he can stop paying child maintenance. If the paternity test comes back positive to say he is the father, then child child maintenance payments will continue.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Feb-17 @ 12:18 PM
The father of my 2 children which are now 13 and 11 has never paid maintenance,although going through csa and them telling me it's gone to the enforcement team several times over still owing over 30k arrears in child maintenance still gets away with paying nothing,although he has a job house cars and holidays every year.he chose to stop seeing the children 9 years ago and has made no contact or tried to make contact although I have seen his mother on a few occasions at our local hospital where she works and in town when we have been shopping,yet no effort of contact has ever been indicated.i have lost all faith in the csa as they have managed to do absolutely nothing with my case.
JCB - 19-Feb-17 @ 10:49 PM
Hi. My friend's ex is due to give birth, she is claiming the child is his, although they never agreed on having a child, or plan their life together. Can he be forced to do a DNE test? If not, does she have a right to claim child support from him?
Flora - 19-Feb-17 @ 3:11 PM
I have just seperated from my wife and have two children.We will be splitting access equally,2-3 nights a week every weekday with me plus every other weekend. How does this affect any payments.Also,she is substantially bigger earner than me circa 10000 per annum and I will be the one paying the childcare fees for our youngest.
Mike - 19-Feb-17 @ 11:16 AM
Adam - Your Question:
Hi. I have a 5year old with one ex and a 2year old with a different ex. I have the 2year old regularly over night where as I struggle to see the 5year old. I understand that the 5year olds mother should receive more as I don't have her over night, but her claim is getting higher each month.

Our Response:
If you feel that your ex is using higher child maintenance payments as an excuse for you to have your child less overnight, then you would either have to suggest mediation to discuss the issues, or consider taking the matter to court on these grounds. You may wish to seek legal advice in order to explore your options.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Feb-17 @ 2:25 PM
Hi. I have a 5year old with one ex and a 2year old with a different ex. I have the 2year old regularly over night where as I struggle to see the 5year old. I understand that the 5year olds mother should receive more as I don't have her over night, but her claim is getting higher each month.
Adam - 1-Feb-17 @ 8:07 PM
Sam - Your Question:
Hi I have just found out I have a 17 year old son who I knew nothing about. I had just turned 15 at the time I met his mother who was 23 back then.What are my rights in relation to paying csa when I was only 15 at the time?

Our Response:
You would not have to pay child maintenance retrospectively, as in you wouldn't have to pay if the mother had never put in a claim. However, if the mother had put in a previous claim and for some reason you managed to avoid paying, only then would you be liable for arrears. If your son is in full-time further education currently, then you will also be responsible for paying towards his welfare until he leaves education up to A'Levels or the equivelent.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Jan-17 @ 12:23 PM
Hi I have just found out I have a 17 year old son who I knew nothing about. I had just turned 15 at the time I met his mother who was 23 back then. What are my rights in relation to paying csa when I was only 15 at the time?
Sam - 26-Jan-17 @ 7:07 PM
Trev - Your Question:
My son is 10 years old and I have always paid maintenance for him and fought to see him by paying for solicitors and getting court orders put into place! His mother has always used him as a weapon against me and now he has turned round and said he doesn't want anything to do with us anymore? We're not entirely sure why but will definitely have something to do with her manipulation of him!If he has made this decision is this the case I can refuse to pay child maintenance?? Surely if his mum and my son don't want anything to do with me or my family then they shouldn't expect support??

Our Response:
Child access and child maintenance have no connection with each other and whether you see your child or not, you are still by law required to pay child maintenance until your child leaves further education. If you have a court order to see your child and your ex is refusing access and is in breach of the order, then you can apply to take the matter back to court to have the order enforced.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Jan-17 @ 12:22 PM
My son is 10 years old and I have always paid maintenance for him and fought to see him by paying for solicitors and getting court orders put into place! His mother has always used him as a weapon against me and now he has turned round and said he doesn't want anything to do with us anymore? We're not entirely sure why but will definitely have something to do with her manipulation of him! If he has made this decision is this the case I can refuse to pay child maintenance?? Surely if his mum and my son don't want anything to do with me or my family then they shouldn't expect support??
Trev - 24-Jan-17 @ 6:34 PM
Butter - Your Question:
Hi, my partner and I separated almost 2 yrs ago, initially he was paying a certain amount for our 2 girls and how he's stopped. I am considering going via the CMS to demand payment. His name is not on the their birth certificate though but he know definitely they are his children. Is it still possible to pursue this.

Our Response:
Yes, you can pusue a child maintenance claim regardless of whether the father is named on the birth certificate or not.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Jan-17 @ 2:14 PM
Hi, my partner and I separated almost 2 yrs ago, initially he was paying a certain amount for our 2 girls and how he's stopped. I am considering going via the CMS to demand payment. His name is not on the their birth certificate though but he know definitely they are his children. Is it still possible to pursue this.
Butter - 23-Jan-17 @ 10:51 PM
Pete - Your Question:
My daughter lives with me (father) and my son lives with my ex ,I pay child support for my son who I see 2 to 3 times a week ,I receive no help from my ex for my daughter and she does not work but her partner is in a high paying job am I entitled to anything? Thanks

Our Response:
I'm afraid it is not based on your ex's partner's earnings (he cannot be expected to be financially responsible for your child), it would be based on your ex's own earnings. Therefore, if she is not earning, she is considered exempt from paying.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Jan-17 @ 2:50 PM
My daughter lives with me (father) and my son lives with my ex ,I pay child support for my son who I see 2 to 3 times a week ,I receive no help from my ex for my daughter and she does not work but her partner is in a high paying job am I entitled to anything? Thanks
Pete - 20-Jan-17 @ 7:40 AM
Hi if there is a child arrangement order is in place and father stops contact and applies for csa and the partner of the parent who contact has been stopped will the payments come out of his wages or will there be no payment made as the parent has no money
Bubs - 16-Jan-17 @ 6:25 PM
Addy - Your Question:
Hi, my husband as a son at the age of 17 , he as left school and went on to collage but after a few month he decided he doesn't like it. He want to get a job instead. He lives with his mother. How do we get the CIA payment stopped now he's not at collage and can either parent sort it out or is it just the parent that he lives with that informs the Csa. As she keeps taking csa and fobbing us off that she will sort it.

Our Response:
You would have to contact CSA/CMS directly in order to sort this. If your husband's son is working and earning a wage then your husband can notify the agency concerned if his ex refuses to. Child maintenance should automatically stop when child benefit does.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Jan-17 @ 12:23 PM
Hi, my husband as a son at the age of 17 , he as left school and went on to collage but after a few month he decided he doesn't like it . He want to get a job instead . He lives with his mother . How do we get the CIA payment stopped now he's not at collage and can either parent sort it out or is it just the parent that he lives with that informs the Csa . As she keeps taking csa and fobbing us off that she will sort it .
Addy - 4-Jan-17 @ 4:05 PM
Hi, my partner and I split up when our child was 1.I have always had my child 2nights a week without fail and paid child support to my ex on s weekly basis. My ex does not pay for our child or buy her anything this is all done through my child's gran (my exs mum) she buys all her clothes, toys, etc. My child has always had her own clothes and toys at my home. My ex does not take our child anywhere or do any motherly things this is all done at our home. Even when it comes to Xmas I take her every year, she has never as little as to take her to see Santa or won't buy her an advent calendar. My ex only has her 3 nights a week as when not staying at mine she stays with my exs mum. Is there anything I can do with regards to payment and fighting this
Parent - 4-Dec-16 @ 9:58 PM
Colin - Your Question:
My son has lived with me since he was 12 he will be 18 next May. I am just curious as to know whether his mum should help towards his college fees as she has never paid any money for my son. The problem is she has never worked and always claimed. She has three of the kids by two other dads!! she has done hardest to make sure that the two of other dads they pay as much as they can. it would just be nice if maybe she had to put her hand in her pocket to help out.

Our Response:
If your ex is in receipt of benefits, then she would be classified in the nil, or flat rate category (£7 a week). Much also depends upon whether your son's course is a government approved training course, as to whether you are eligible to claim. You may wish to give Child Maintenance Services a call for further advice.
ChildSupportLaws - 30-Nov-16 @ 2:30 PM
My son has lived with me since he was 12 he will be 18 next May. I am just curious as to know whether his mum should help towards his college fees as she has never paid any money for my son.The problem is she has never worked and always claimed. She has three of the kids by two other dads!! she has done hardest to make sure that the two of other dads they pay as much as they can .. it would just be nice if maybe she had to put her hand in her pocket to help out ..
Colin - 30-Nov-16 @ 9:08 AM
My X husband pays me child maintanence for one child he also has another child who will be 18 inmarch. When he no longer has to pay her maintenance will my payments go up?I'm not greedy but I have struggled to keep our child as he has had to share payments with the other mother for the child they conceived whilst we were married
Jk - 22-Nov-16 @ 8:32 PM
my daughter is 18 in January 2017 and is in full time education till July 2017. She may go to university is it law I have to pay maintenance whilst she is a uni student
Martina - 22-Nov-16 @ 8:19 PM
My son's dad has stopped seeing him. Due to things he has and actions towards my son, he no longer wants to see his father anymore either. He has chosen a girlfriend over his son. He has his wages arrested to pay maintenance as would not do this voluntarily. My question is, if his parental rights were to be taken away, would his payments stop?
Nick - 21-Nov-16 @ 8:14 PM
Meemee - Your Question:
Hi my ex husband pays csa monthly for our youngest but does not have any contact if my new partner of 8 yrs where to odopt legally does csa stop from his bilogical or continue

Our Response:
Yes, if your new partner adopts your son then child maintenance payments from the child's biological father would stop.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Nov-16 @ 12:03 PM
Hi my ex husband pays csa monthly for our youngest but does not have any contact if my new partner of 8 yrs where to odopt legally does csa stop from his bilogical or continue
Meemee - 14-Nov-16 @ 7:08 PM
Is the father still liable to pay if he has lost parental rights ?
jodie - 12-Nov-16 @ 11:36 AM
My son is 15 and has been contacted by an older girl who told him he is the father to her unborn child ... (she is 19) ... She has since blocked him on Facebook and comes from another part of the country. We have no way of contacting her and little information about her . Will my son identity be revealed to csa and would greater information be made available to is about the mother and child ... As we would love to contact her and the child and help them.
Tutbut - 3-Nov-16 @ 1:51 AM
Enquirer - Your Question:
An umarried couple who have never lived together split up; the woman then announces that she is pregnant. Is the man liable to pay CSA?

Our Response:
Yes, if the woman names the man as the father, and the man is the biological father then he will be expected to help support his child financially until the child leaves full-time education.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Oct-16 @ 2:36 PM
An umarried couple who have never lived together split up; the woman then announces that she is pregnant. Is the man liable to pay CSA?
Enquirer - 27-Oct-16 @ 9:27 PM
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