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Who Has to Pay Child Support?

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 1 Sep 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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Sherlock - Your Question:
My daughter has two children one of 2 years and the other of 5 years by the same man.the man has never paid child maintanence since they have been born.i live spain and want my daughter to come and live with me and the kids.does this man have any say in the decision of moving abroad ?

Our Response:
If the father has parental responsibility, then your daughter will have to request the father's consent, please see link here . If he refuses, your daughter would have to apply to court. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the children in question. The court will always put the children’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Sep-17 @ 4:12 PM
My son is in education in the US. He has 3yrs to go on his scholarship. He maybe the father of a child in the near future. Can he be forced to give up his education and work to pay child maintenance id it proves he is the father
Johnny - 1-Sep-17 @ 12:34 PM
My daughter has two children one of 2 years and the other of 5 years by the same man .the man has never paid child maintanence since they have been born.i live spain and want my daughter to come and live with me and the kids.does this man have any say in the decision of moving abroad ?
Sherlock - 1-Sep-17 @ 12:20 PM
My friend has a child who stays with him 3 nights a week and 4 nights with the mother. Does he still have to pay child maintenance?
CJ - 15-Aug-17 @ 4:53 PM
@Reflection - you might have to pay the money directly to your ex's aunt. But, you still have to pay.
Nadia - 24-Jul-17 @ 11:26 AM
I live in Ireland , my ex wife lives in Rome after living in Sicily where my son is at school. She accepted a job in Rome and has now decided that my son's aunt will look after my son. I do not agree with this. When we lived in the U.K. we had a family based arrangement. Do I still have to pay my ex wife money ?
Reflection - 21-Jul-17 @ 7:08 PM
kj - Your Question:
My son has a daughter who lived with her Mother! She was taken into foster care 6 months ago due to the Mother seeing a boyfriend who was not allowed to be near children for various reasons! My son has been contacted by CSA claiming he has to pay! Is this correct? He has only started working after being unemployed for almost 1 year?? He has tried contacting Social Service who ignore his calls to see what is happening with his daughter? Not quite sure where to go from here?

Our Response:
Yes, your son would have to pay to help support his child if he is earning a wage. He would have to pay the money directly to the carer of his child. If his ex is working too, she would also be liable to pay.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Jul-17 @ 2:55 PM
My son has a daughter who lived with her Mother! She was taken into foster care 6 months ago due to the Mother seeing a boyfriend who was not allowed to be near children for various reasons! My son has been contacted by CSA claiming he has to pay! Is this correct? He has only started working after being unemployed for almost 1 year?? He has tried contacting Social Service who ignore his calls to see what is happening with his daughter? Not quite sure where to go from here?
kj - 20-Jul-17 @ 8:30 AM
Hi need advice, I've split from my ex and have a molestation order in place. We hAve 3 children together, from February I contacted csa and the order hm to pay 65 a week for the 3 children. I have still not received any payments and they are non looking to deduct from his bank. However in may my son moved in with him, he as since been working cash in hand to avoid paying for his children and is applying to csa for my son. Basically it works out I will potentially have to pay him £70 a week for my son whilst he will only have to pay £7 for the girls due to not working.After outgoing I only have £110 a week to live of due to childcare and as the girls in nursery. My son is 12 and therfore he has no childcare costs, however csa go on net pay. Can he do this,can a court overule and do they take outgoings in to consideration. If I go to court it will cost me thousands where he will get legal aid he is also saying he gonna go for full custody of the girls as he worked out he will finically be better off, I know the court won't award that due the domestic violence and his criminal record.But it will potenteialy cost alot of money for them to rule me full custody. I've tried to be civil and said that I'm happy for him not pay for the girls and he just take care of my son but he his more intent on ruin me than being civil. Please help need advice if I have pay him csa I will not be able to finically take care of my kids.
Taz - 15-Jul-17 @ 2:14 PM
Tom - Your Question:
My Dad left when I was 18 months old, he never paid child maintenance. I'm not sure on the exact amount, but it was so low my mum decided never to chase up over him not paying. Sadly my Mum died when I was 17 and my sister was 15. My question is whether he is still liable and If I could take legal action to get the money he never paid.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. However, unless you live in Scotland, a child cannot claim child maintenance for themselves.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Jul-17 @ 1:00 PM
Disney - Your Question:
Hi, I have a stepdson who will turn 20 in a few months, he has just finished college and has a part time job. He is undecided at what he wants to do next, get a job in the area of work he has been studying for or stay part time with his current job as he wants to go on more holidays! When can child maintenance officially stop as we have debts ourselves we need to pay off too and also want him to understand to go on more holidays etc you need to be able to fund it. Not saying at all that we won't give him money here and there though to help out.

Our Response:
Every parent has the basic responsibility to provide for their child up until the age of 16, when they are legally allowed to leave school and get a job. After this age, it depends what the child chooses to do. If they continue in full-time non-advanced education not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week, then maintenance payments will continue until your child finishes or until they turn 20. Child maintenance payments can cease when child benefit is not longer paid to the resident parent of your child. When the child leaves approved education, payments will stop either at the end of February, 31 May, 31 August or 30 November (whichever date comes first once the course has officially ended).
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Jul-17 @ 12:32 PM
My Dad left when I was 18 months old, he never paid child maintenance. I'm not sure on the exact amount, but it was so low my mum decided never to chase up over him not paying. Sadly my Mum died when I was 17 and my sister was 15. My question is whether he is still liable and If I could take legal action to get the money he never paid.
Tom - 11-Jul-17 @ 4:44 AM
Hi, I have a stepdson who will turn 20 in a few months, he has just finished college and has a part time job. He is undecided at what he wants to do next, get a job in the area of work he has been studying for or stay part time with his current job as he wants to go on more holidays! When can child maintenance officially stop as we have debts ourselves we need to pay off too and also want him to understand to go on more holidays etc you need to be able to fund it. Not saying at all that we won't give him money here and there though to help out.
Disney - 10-Jul-17 @ 8:55 PM
Georgie - Your Question:
Hello, How can I protect my data and information from my partners ex whom is wanting child maintenance? If she requests additional information on my income the cms would use data from the hmrc. (which I work to provide for my children she does not) as I am neither gave birth or fathered theses children I should not be held responsible?! Kind regardsGeorgina

Our Response:
Do you have parental responsibility for the children? If so, then you would be responsible for paying child maintenance.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Jul-17 @ 4:03 PM
Hello, How can I protect my data and information from my partners ex whom is wanting child maintenance? If she requests additional information on my income the cms would use data from the hmrc. (which I work to provide for my children she does not) as I am neither gave birth or fathered theses children I should not be held responsible?! Kind regards Georgina
Georgie - 30-Jun-17 @ 9:17 PM
Hi my ex wife had an affair with another soldier when I was on tour then left me to be with him. My kids were 11 and 15 at the time. she cleared out the savings and her car was in my name so I had to complete all payments on that which she then sold. When she left she said she didn't want custody of kids and had started them at boarding school. They stayed at boarding school till they completed gcse's. The whole time she rarely saw them and didn't pay maintenance she did pay out of 5 years about 100.00/month for a year towards the school Bill which I paid 400.00/month to but still have an outstanding debt of 7200.00. My youngest has just said she wants to move to her mum's for college or apprenticeship. If her mum claims csa I heard they can take a third of my wages as I'm in the army. I have a 4 month baby with my new wife and a mortgage if this is so me my eldest son wife and baby will be forsed to sell house and won't be able to afford to feed my family. Where do I stand?
dad - 24-Jun-17 @ 1:39 AM
Red - Your Question:
Hi. I need some advice on where I stand! I had a brief affair and understand this was wrong! During the affair she told me that she could no longer get pregnant and that to be safe she was on the pill! She on a mutual agreement went back to make things work with her husband! But notified me shortly after that she was pregnant and it was mine! I told her I had no interest in being a father again! She has since had the baby and after putting her husband on the birth certificate is now applying for csa!! I never wanted be a father and was told by her it was impossible for her to get pregnant again! Do I have any rights to give this up??

Our Response:
I'm afraid not. If you are the father of the child, then by law you are responsible for paying child maintenance until the child leaves full time education. If you think the child is not yours, you can pay for a DNA test to try to prove this. Whilst you are waiting for the DNA test you may not have to pay child maintenance. But as a rule child maintenance should be paid as if the child is confirmed to be yours then you will have to pay the arrears from the time the mother registered the claim. Should you wish to try to form a relationship with your child and wish to have access, you would have to suggest mediation to the mother or if she refuses, take the matter to court.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Jun-17 @ 3:28 PM
Hi. I need some advice on where I stand! I had a brief affair and understand this was wrong! During the affair she told me that she could no longer get pregnant and that to be safe she was on the pill!She on a mutual agreement went back to make things work with her husband! But notified me shortly after that she was pregnant and it was mine! I told her i had no interest in being a father again! She has since had the baby and after putting her husband on the birth certificate is now applying for csa!! I never wanted be a father and was told by her it was impossible for her to get pregnant again! Do I have any rights to give this up??
Red - 17-Jun-17 @ 3:24 PM
Zero - Your Question:
I need advice regarding the biological father of my children and his commitment to pay the ongoing mortgage on the family home (we own jointly) that since separation I have continued to reside in with our 2 children, 5 and 10. We separated in 2011 and he has continued to exert financial abuses and coercive behaviours to try force the sale of our childrens home although he has continued to overcommit on his exclusive expenditure and refuse any other contribution towards the children's basic amenity on a whim. Initially he outlined via a solicitors letter that he would contribute towards them in terms of mortgage and child maintenance until an overall financial agreement was made. He then refused and changed terms as and when to fund his own pensions investments holidays and homes. He now after years of rejecting contact or any next of kin responsibilities for children and dragging me through courts to manipulate the system to his advantage is stating he can no longer afford mortgage so needs me to sell the house and is issuing court proceedings. I have no job, have supported positive contact with children he only sees at his convenience and on his terms when trying to manipulate and present he has their best interests at heart but now having failed vast attempts to discredit me as a mother and seek residency and occupation of our home he is again without any genuine consideration for the children and their needs in some priority, stating he can no longer afford mortgage even though I know he can as his lifestyle contradicts his claims. He and his new partner simply want to evict the children and evade the financial commitment although this would mean the children and I are again penalised at his whim. How would the courts see fit in this? I have no job and already suffering chronic anxiety as a result of his ongoing vexatious campaigns, lies and manipulation regarding all matters concerning care and provision of our children. I have no means to appoint legal counsel but where can I turn for help in this and is there any way the courts would support this measure to oust the children from their home just so he can have financial advantage to exclude them in?

Our Response:
I'm afraid it is impossible to predict what a court may decide. The court will look in-depth into your ex's finances to make a financial judgement on what it thinks is in the best interests of your children. As a rule a court will allow the children to stay in the family home with the primary carer. However, much depends upon whether both you and/or he can afford the mortgage payments to allow this.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Jun-17 @ 2:45 PM
@Lizzy - the Child Maintenance Service won't tell you. His bank statements or earnings payslips should :(
Abs - 15-Jun-17 @ 12:41 PM
My partner has 3 teenager, 18, 16, 15; who currently live with their mother in the marital home, which my partner left 2 years ago but still pays full mortgage for (although it is joint). 26th Dec 2016 Ex kick out 16yr old (then 15) came to live with us.During this time Ex agreed that as both under 16's lived in each parents home, no maintenance was needed.She continued to claim the child benefit for 15yr old duringthis time; May 2017, 15yr (now 16) old goes back to mother;leaving school end of June, has a work based apprenticeship to start July (1 day college in Sept) Ex is now making demands for back payment of CM during the nearly 5 months 15yr old was living away from her and still wants the full mortgage paid, but refusing an offered an previously agreed amount prior to December. If CSA become involved it is likely partner will lose his accommodation as he will not be able to pay two mortgages and 3rd of his monthly salary.Does he still have to pay the Full mortgage on the marital home and CM for both under 18s?
Claire - 14-Jun-17 @ 3:35 PM
I suspect my husband fathered a child years ago with an employee of ours, how can i find out if he paid child support payments?
Lizzy - 13-Jun-17 @ 9:09 PM
HGTwo - Your Question:
The mother of my daughter has messaged me saying that she is going to contact her solicitor and take 20% of both mine and my wife's income. My daughter is approaching 18 and I have not been allowed to see her, but have paid consistently month in month out. All of this has come off the back of me simply asking for proof that my daughter is staying in further education past her 18th birthday.

Our Response:
Your ex is not entitled to any of your wife's income. On the basic rate of child maintenance, if you’re paying for one child, you’ll pay 12% of your gross weekly income or two children, 16% of your gross weekly income. Only if you are paying for three or more children would you be expected to pay 19% of your gross weekly income. You can see how much you should be paying using the CMS calculator here.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Jun-17 @ 4:24 PM
The mother of my daughter has messaged me saying that she is going to contact her solicitor and take 20% of both mine and my wife's income. My daughter is approaching 18 and I have not been allowed to see her, but have paid consistently month in month out. All of this has come off the back of me simply asking for proof that my daughter is staying in further education past her 18th birthday.
HGTwo - 7-Jun-17 @ 3:09 PM
Hi I have twin girls aged 7 months from a brief fling but the father has said he doesn't want anything to do with them because he doesn't want to pay for them... I only have his full name and his mother's address what would be the best thing to do to force payments from him...This person has a job and drives around in a Mercedes his not short of money....Any advice would be great....Thanks
Lulu - 3-Jun-17 @ 11:20 PM
I need advice regarding the biological father of my children and his commitment to pay the ongoing mortgage on the family home (we own jointly) that since separation I have continued to reside in with our 2 children, 5 and 10. We separated in 2011 and he has continued to exert financial abuses and coercive behaviours to try force the sale of our childrens home although he has continued to overcommit on his exclusive expenditure and refuse any other contribution towards the children's basic amenity on a whim. Initially he outlined via a solicitors letter that he would contribute towards them in terms of mortgage and child maintenance until an overall financial agreement was made. He then refused and changed terms as and when to fund his own pensions investments holidays and homes. He now after years of rejecting contact or any next of kin responsibilities for children and dragging me through courts to manipulate the system to his advantage is stating he can no longer afford mortgage so needs me to sell the house and is issuing court proceedings. I have no job, have supported positive contact with children he only sees at his convenience and on his terms when trying to manipulate and present he has their best interests at heart but now having failed vast attempts to discredit me as a mother and seek residency and occupation of our home he is again without any genuine consideration for the children and their needs in some priority, stating he can no longer afford mortgage even though I know he can as his lifestyle contradicts his claims. He and his new partner simply want to evict the children and evade the financial commitment although this would mean the children and I are again penalised at his whim. How would the courts see fit in this? I have no job and already suffering chronic anxiety as a result of his ongoing vexatious campaigns, lies and manipulation regarding all matters concerning care and provision of our children. I have no means to appoint legal counsel but where can I turn for help in this and is there any way the courts would support this measure to oust the children from their home just so he can have financial advantage to exclude them in?
Zero - 2-Jun-17 @ 2:12 PM
Lukey - Your Question:
Hi, my ex has registered my sons birth without me, by law can is it ok to suspend my first child maintenance payment until I am registered on the certificate ?

Our Response:
Your ex does not have to register your name on the birth certificate. If you wish to challenge this, you would have to do so through the courts, please see link here. However, despite you not being registered, if you are the biological father of your child, you are still deemed responsible for paying child maintenance. If you do not, you will be liable for arrears.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Jun-17 @ 2:20 PM
Hi, my ex has registered my sons birth without me, by law can is it ok to suspend my first child maintenance payment until I am registered on the certificate ?
Lukey - 1-Jun-17 @ 1:16 PM
ADDERS - Your Question:
My ex wants her partner to adopt my daughter from me. We currently have a financial agreement which I have never failed to keep up with. I live and work abroad and pay no tax or national insurance to the uk. She wants me to sign a contract that would mean that I would have to keep paying, even after the adoption, up until she finishes school at 18. Can this be enforced with me living abroad (in a REMO country)?

Our Response:
Once your child is adopted by someone else, by law you are no longer financially responsible, please see Family Lives link here. This means you are well within your rights to refuse to sign any financial agreement.
ChildSupportLaws - 30-May-17 @ 1:37 PM
My ex wants her partner to adopt my daughter from me. We currently have a financial agreement which I have never failed to keep up with. I live and work abroad and pay no tax or national insurance to the uk. She wants me to sign a contract that would mean that I would have to keep paying, even after the adoption, up until she finishes school at 18. Can this be enforced with me living abroad (in a REMO country)?
ADDERS - 30-May-17 @ 10:20 AM
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