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Who Has to Pay Child Support?

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 17 Sep 2020 | 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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Myself and my husband(seperated for over a year) have a child under a special guardianship order. We have had her from birth for 5 years. She sees us both as mum and dad and has minimal contact with birth parents/there choice.My ex hasnt supported us financially but still sees our child when hes free, usually at my house. I have asked him for support but he says he has no money, he works full time. Can i claim csa as we both have parental responsibility through the court order, i dont want to go down this route and have asked him again to please re-think but where do i stand? Any advice much appreciated
Mummy1985 - 17-Sep-20 @ 3:53 PM
I have two daughters one is living with me one is living with my ex. I earn more than my ex. At present I have no time with my other daughter. Where do I stand in regards to maintenance Many thanks
Deano - 8-Aug-20 @ 4:34 AM
Me and my ex husband have 4 children together. 2 of my children wish to live with him and the other 2 wish to stay with me, am I still entitled to some sort of child support or as we both have 2 of our children each am I no longer entitled to anything? Any information regarding this I would be grateful to know. TIA
Narly - 19-Jul-20 @ 9:22 PM
My ex husband has moved in with my best friend as partners. Can her wages be added to his as a household income for child maintenance for our children?
Jax - 7-Jul-20 @ 6:36 PM
We have found out my husbands daughter hasn’t been with her mum and has been living with her Nan for the last 3 months, do we still need to be giving her mum the money even though she is not there or shall we pay the Nan?
Lou - 1-Jul-20 @ 12:35 PM
A minor gets another minor pregnant. They are still at school. Are the parents of the minor legally obliged to pay the other money to support the child.
Legs - 22-Jun-20 @ 7:23 PM
I have been paying maintenance for two children 17 & 18 years as they are in college. My wife called me and said that my son should live with me as there is friction with her new husband. Do I need to pay her maintenance now?
Russ - 13-Jun-20 @ 8:12 PM
If my daughter has been staying with me since lockdown do I have to still pay child Maintenance to her mother? My daughter has been with me 24/7 since 20/3 I contacted the child maintenance people and all the said is we will look in to this, any information would be greatly appreciated
Johnny - 26-May-20 @ 7:58 PM
Good evening I have had my son living with me since 20/12/2014 when i left the army. I have constantly asked his mother to help with supporting him however she has never helped out. I did manage to get her to pay 75.00 a month during 2019 for about 5 monthsafter along battle.however since feb 2020 and the start of the virus it has stopped . She and her new husband are still working during this time. Can i ask where do i stand in this situation My son is still at school in year ten and is due to turn 15 in june. Many thanks mark gammon.
Mark - 5-May-20 @ 8:53 PM
My son lives with his man do I still have to pay maintenance
Deb50 - 28-Apr-20 @ 7:44 PM
I have found out that my daughter has been living with her Nan and not her mum for the last 2 months should I still be paying the mum if she not been there?
Mike - 26-Apr-20 @ 12:02 PM
My 16 year old adopted son ran away and is now living with his mates family. Do I have to pay child maintenance?
Bam - 22-Apr-20 @ 8:01 PM
I need some advice..and pointing in the right direction.. my son mum never let me see him till he was 8 year old her partner took over ..now they broke up. she gone to csa who told me I have to pay... I have been paying coming up to4 years now.. my son don't accept me being his father.. as he has a dad already from day one... his mum refused to put me on the birth certificate but she still gett ing my money for a child who don't want anything to do with me.. this is unfair.. help!
jay jay - 16-Apr-20 @ 3:15 AM
should my husband still pay child maintenance as his child was adopted by his ex’s new husband?
Nelly - 24-Jan-20 @ 10:36 AM
If my 16 year old left my house on her own accord to stay with her grandparents do we have to pay child maintenance ? ( she is at college and working part time)
Tony1 - 13-Jan-20 @ 11:53 AM
Just a quick question.. If the mother of my children is working then do I pay full child support?
Ross - 23-Nov-19 @ 11:30 AM
So I’m pregnant and my boyfriend (the father of the baby) works away Monday to Friday. My boyfriends mother thinks that he shouldn’t be paying any bills or put the house in his name (we lived at home still but have to move out with having a baby) she thinks it’s all my responsibility and all the bills will be mine and that my boyfriend will only be paying child maintenance, I don’t want to correct her because I don’t want an argument. But does anyone think I should correct her and say it’s not happening how she thinks. Does anyone think he should pay only child maintenance since he’ll only be home on the weekend? Help
Hannahh - 15-Oct-19 @ 1:58 PM
Hi there if you get married does csa take my new partners income into consideration? Or does it just go on my wages
Sammyt - 7-Sep-19 @ 9:36 PM
Can the mother of your children stop access from you being able to see them . I pay child maintenance. Have I got any rights ?
KD - 14-Aug-19 @ 12:37 PM
My husband's ex girlfriend constantly pressures him for more money on top of the weekly child support he pays her of 250 a month. She has now said that cos he has married me, that my wage should be taken into consideration and if he can't up the payments then I should be making up the difference. Can she claim from my income. We both work long hours and she claims state benefits whilst working on the side. It's a nightmare situation. Any accurate advice would be gratefully received. Thank you
Sam - 12-Aug-19 @ 11:46 AM
Hi can you direct me to the rule regulation or official policy in this countrythat states that a paying parent can suspend Child maintenance if the other parent frustrates contact. Because I'm pretty sure you have just made that bit up.
Sock - 13-Jul-19 @ 8:50 AM
My ex wife ( we divorced in 1986!) Is claiming £22k of child support for my daughter who is now 34 years old ..is this legal?
Kel - 11-Jul-19 @ 3:13 PM
I've ended the relationship with a married woman. She's just informed me she's pregnant with my child and wants to keep the baby, remaining married with four children already. Do I have to pay for child support for the baby? Dave.
Dave - 22-May-19 @ 7:56 PM
Wow come on here for a little advise and omg endless comments from money mad people! If you both have the children a few days a week I don't think either should pay maintenance. I have never agreed with a man paying child support for a mother not working and claiming benefits. The money you get to support your child doesn't come from working it's free and handed to you, leave your baby daddy alone he pays and supports the child the same as you do when he has them!!
No name - 8-May-19 @ 10:24 AM
My ex husband has our son fri eve until Sunday eve when he drops him at his mothers (my sons grandmother) until i pick him up tues afternoon.My ex refuses to pay any maintenance even though he earns £35000 per year and i am on benefits due to long term illness. Is this right or should he contribute? Thanks
lolly84 - 23-Apr-19 @ 6:39 PM
If my step child lives with a family member and neither parents. Should both parents have to pay maintenance?
Doris - 22-Apr-19 @ 1:04 PM
Hi, Me and my ex partner split about 4-5 years ago. My daughter has always lived with me Sunday, Monday, Tuesday then ill drop her at school on a Wednesday. She stops at her motherson a Wednesday night and sometimes a Friday or Saturday (2 nights in total if she's lucky). This has went on for years and now she is asking for CSA? What are my rights? Should I be claiming from her or should I be paying?
Graham - 4-Feb-19 @ 4:51 PM
Hi, I separated from my ex partner and raised her daughter as my own. I have parental responsibility of her daughter but never legally adopted her and she is not biologically mine. Do I have to pay maintenance?
DC - 12-Dec-18 @ 6:49 PM
Hi, my sons dad was paying Child support through the child maintains, when a payment was late I contacted them, only for them to inform me that my sons father had “lost his job” I believe he is still working but don’t know where, although I have a message from him and to my son that he was at work! He doesn’t support his son, only when my son is there with him and that is every other weekend! What advise can I get in regards to him supporting his child? He has a baby in the way due in January’ any help will be appreciated.
Ash - 6-Dec-18 @ 5:37 PM
I'm a father of a 13 years old son, I've been split from his mother for approx 5 years and we had an arrangement for me to pay £150 p/m and I bought all his school clothes/dinners/trips, boxing subs/kits football kits, Ive never asked for anything, she claims child support and tax credits etc, the problem lies that I work away on a 3 week on 3weeks off rotation so when I come home he's with me for 3 weeks. So in my eyes we are equal custody and there shouldn't be a paying parent. Am I right in thinking I don't need to pay maintenance?? Any help with this (grey area) would be very welcome. Many thanks Stevie
Stevie - 21-Nov-18 @ 7:54 PM
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