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Your Top Child Support Questions Answered

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 20 Apr 2018 |
 
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We have lots of comments and questions posted on our articles (keep them coming). Our legal expert, answers some of your top questions here:

My ex and I have two children, he re- married after our divorce, and is now divorcing his wife (number 2) and has 2 children with her. He says that my child support has to be lowered since he now has to pay for the other two children, is this true?
dort - 2012

Not necessarily. It is possible that you will be paid less but this depends on a number of factors.

The first question is whether he pays maintenance to you through a Family-Arrangement, the court or CSA. If it is under a Family-Arrangement, then he can pay a lower amount. The most sensible thing is for you to try and agree a different arrangement if he is struggling to pay. However, when he was married he was still supporting four children and so, hopefully it will not have to change too much. If you are unable to come to an arrangement then you can ask the CSA to calculate payments instead.

If there is a court order for your ex to pay child maintenance then your ex cannot just change the payments made. If he fails to pay the correct amount, then you can ask the court to enforce it. If, however, his child maintenance for his other two children is ordered by the court at the same time as his divorce then it might affect the payments he can make to you.

If the child maintenance is already paid through the CSA then it is calculated on one of four rates. The rate which is applicable to your ex will depend on his net weekly income. If, for example, your ex earns more than £200 per week, then he will pay what is known as a "basic" rate.

On this rate, when paying maintenance for children, he would have been paying 20% of his net weekly income. Now that he is paying for 4 children, however, he will have to pay 25% of his net weekly income. Even though he will now have to pay a higher amount, the sum paid is normally split equally between the children. Therefore on this rate, if he earns £200 per week, he would be paying approximately £12.50 x 4 children instead of £20 x 2 children. Using this example, he is paying more than before but this is split between more children, resulting in a smaller payment per child.

Taking another example, if he earns less than £200 but more than £100 net per week, then he is likely to be on the "reduced rate". If on this rate, then for 2 children your ex would have had to pay a flat rate of £5 per week plus 35% of any income he earns over £100 per week but below £200 per week. Let us take an example net weekly income of £150. He earns £50 more than £100 of which he must pay 35% plus £5. This would result in a payment of £11.25 x 2 children. Now that he has to pay for 4 children, the rate to be paid is £5 plus 45% of his net earnings over £100. Taking the example net weekly income of £150 again, this would come to £6.88 x 4 children, resulting in a reduced amount of income.

If you can keep communicating with each other then you will be in a better position to understand whether or not he genuinely cannot pay.

I have never ever taken my ex partner to the CMS for payments as I have always supported my daughter myself, but times are very hard and I cannot survive on my wages alone. Would he be made to pay for the whole 16 years once my application was submitted or would I have to take him to court for back payment?
sillybilly - 2017

Unfortunately, if there has never been an child maintenance arrangement or agreement in place before now then you will not be able to claim back payment for the whole 16 years. Sometimes, when you first make an application for CMS, it can take a while for the arrangement to be put in place. In this circumstance, your ex partner will have to pay arrears back to the time that your application to the CMS was made but cannot go back any further than that. The sooner you get a claim in, the better so that you can continue to support your daughter as you always have.

The only way you can try and claim back payment is if you did have a previous arrangement in place with your ex partner and he failed to pay. If this is the case and it was agreed that he was going to make payments to you and was lax about doing so, then you may be able to enforce the payment and back payment through the court. If you have evidence of an agreement, for example, letter, emails, messages etc then you will have a higher chance of winning a claim.What you will have to bear in mind is that going to court can be timely and expensive so you should seek the advice of a family law specialist before doing so.

My family are looking to move to Australia, I am divorced from the father of our daughter (she is 8 years old). She has not seen him in 18 months and he has not made attempt to see her. Visits were sporadic before this, but he stopped when I got re-married. Can I take her to Australia to live?
saz - 2012
 

You cannot just take your child out of the jurisdiction without permission. If you do, you be deemed to have abducted your child, even though you are the resident parent. The easiest way to get permission, if at all possible, is to seek it from your ex husband. If he gives permission then you and your daughter are able to leave. If he will not, then you will need to obtain leave from the court.The way to do this is to make an application for leave to remove your daughter from the jurisdiction. The court will usually grant permission if you have a carefully selected plan and it is in the best interests of your child. They will also take into account the wishes of your daughter i.e. the fact that she wants to move to Australia, the fact that she does not have regular contact with her father and the fact that you are taking her abroad for good reasons and not to take her away from her father. Other things to show the court are realistic proposals for your daughter to see her father if he should want to see her again and of course, if she wants to see him, where you plan to live, work and the schooling arrangements for your daughter etc.

Hi. I'm just after a little advice really if anyone can help? I am 39 weeks pregnant and un-employed only receiving maternity allowance. I live with my partner who has another child who is 18. When he changed jobs he informed the CSA and he had to fill out new details. The decision has come back and it would appear they have taken my benefits into consideration when calculating what my partner should pay! Can they do this? I was under the impression as the 18yr old child was nothing to do with me and the fact I don't work I'm on maternity allowance would mean I don't contribute? Also will the payments change when I give birth to our baby in the next couple of weeks?
dannib-123 - 2012
 

The CSA takes into account the net monthly income of the non-resident parent when calculating child maintenance. Income means earnings, wages, private pensions, bonuses, overtime pay, etc. Contractual maternity or paternity pay i.e. money agreed in you contract with your employer, tends to be classed as "income" whereas Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay, which is that which must be given to you by your employer by law.

This is the same for Maternity Allowance, which you normally get whilst pregnant and unemployed. It means that it is a benefit which is usually disregarded when classifying "income" and would therefore, in normal circumstances, would be disregarded by the CSA when calculating child maintenance.

In any event, the CSA when calculating income, takes into account the income of the non-resident partner rather than the household in most circumstances. That would be your partner's income, rather than your income and his together. It depends whether or not your benefit takes into account both your circumstances together.

Additionally, your partner should only be paying child maintenance for the 18 year old child if he is still classed as a child. This will be if either child benefit is still being received for your partner's child or if he is still in full-time education. If not, it is possible that he should not be paying at all.

You and your partner need to contact the CSA to explain your situation and check that your partner is on the correct rate and paying the correct amount and that the correct "income" is being taken into account.

With regards to your new born baby, within 7 days of giving birth, your partner needs to contact the CSA to let them know. This is because the change in circumstances could mean that your partner should start to pay less money. The sooner you notify of this, the better.

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[Add a Comment]
Hi my ex husband has been paying CSA for my two children for so many years and he's still paying even thought my youngest is 33 years old, I have not received a payment from CSA. Can I get a backdated payment from CSA. What can I do please help
Rose - 20-Apr-18 @ 6:49 PM
Ellesmummy - Your Question:
Hi my son pays vol child support for two girls @£80.00pw. He is self employed paying himself £150.00pw. He has asked his ex if he can pay monthly and she has blown her top. Saying she is seeking legal advice because she wants “that money “ weekly. Can she do this and force the way it is paid? Also can she spend that money on anything she likes?Thanks

Our Response:
Your son's ex does not have to justify what she spends child maintenance on. If they have a family-based child maintenance agreement then it should be agreed between the parents how it is paid. If the parents disagree with each other either of the parents can use CMS, or apply to court.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Apr-18 @ 2:56 PM
Hi my son pays vol child support for two girls @£80.00pw. He is self employed paying himself £150.00pw. He has asked his ex if he can pay monthly and she has blown her top. Saying she is seeking legal advice because she wants “that money “ weekly. Can she do this and force the way it is paid? Also can she spend that money on anything she likes? Thanks
Ellesmummy - 16-Apr-18 @ 8:31 AM
Hi, if I go through csa, will I receive less money if he has another child with an ex whom he pays for but not through the csa?
Maccy18 - 28-Feb-18 @ 2:14 PM
T - Your Question:
Hi, I have a small dilemma. I have a secret love child who I am currently supporting however this child lives abroad and culture wise the women will be looked down upon if she does not produce a man to sign the birth certificate, in the end her boyfriend signed the birth certificate but I have continued to support my child.could I claim this child on my application or would it be a waste of time and energy considering this is a love child?please advise.Thanks

Our Response:
You would have to speak directly to CMS regarding this matter. You will be asked to prove that you are supporting another child.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Feb-18 @ 10:39 AM
Hi, I have a small dilemma... I have a secret love child who I am currently supporting however this child lives abroad and culture wise the women will be looked down upon if she does not produce a man to sign the birth certificate, in the end her boyfriend signed the birth certificate but I have continued to support my child. could I claim this child on my application or would it be a waste of time and energy considering this is a love child? please advise. Thanks
T - 7-Feb-18 @ 11:09 AM
PetitChat - Your Question:
Thanks for your answer. I never said I don't want to pay for the school, I am asking what's the best way to share the cost. My point is why would I have to pay half of the school fees when there is most likely some money left over from a £600 child maintenance after expenses are paid. We are talking about a child who is not even 4 and has not started school yet. If mother who earns twice more than father wants to send the child to a private school, does is sound fair to split the fees 50/50?

Our Response:
If you have no objection to paying, then you can either agree between you or via mediation. There is no set way or rules to share the costs, just what you both feel is fair.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Feb-18 @ 12:30 PM
Thanks for your answer. I never said I don't want to pay for the school, I am asking what's the best way to share the cost. My point is why would I have to pay half of the school fees when there is most likely some money left over from a £600 child maintenance after expenses are paid. We are talking about a child who is not even 4 and has not started school yet. If mother who earns twice more than father wants to send the child to a private school, does is sound fair to split the fees 50/50?
PetitChat - 2-Feb-18 @ 11:49 AM
PetitChat - Your Question:
Hi, I know that school fees are not included in the child maintenance payment. In my case the mother earns close to 1.5-2 times more than me but is expecting me to pay half of the school fees on top of the £600 child maintenance I pay. What are the typical guidelines to share the cost?

Our Response:
Child maintenance and school fees are two separate issues. By law, you are responsible for paying child maintenance if you are the non-resident parent. There is no set guidelines regarding school fees. As parents, you either agree between you, try to come to a suitable arrangement through mediation, or if you refuse to pay, your ex would have to apply to court to try to force you. A court can order a non-resident parent to continue paying school fees, if for instance it an arrangement that has been in place for some time and is in the continued best interests of the child. But it will take into consideration what it thinks is fair given the financial circumstances of both parents.
ChildSupportLaws - 2-Feb-18 @ 9:53 AM
Hi, I know that school fees are not included in the child maintenance payment. In my case the mother earns close to 1.5-2 times more than me but is expecting me to pay half of the school fees on top of the £600 child maintenance I pay. What are the typical guidelines to share the cost?
PetitChat - 1-Feb-18 @ 2:41 PM
Hi my partner has a 20% share in our business partnership, I have the other 80% as the business was mine before he became a partner in it. He pays maintenance for 2 children based on his income. My question is can the cms go after my share of income from the business ? Out of nowhere the cms have asked for the profit and loss of the business and his tax return, the tax return we understand but not why they want the profit and loss of the company ?
Clarabelle - 19-Jan-18 @ 7:23 PM
Aniebop - Your Question:
I have currently never claimed csa off my ex for our 3 boys for the past 2 yrs we have split as I no he will do whatever he can to not pay it. We have no legal agreement in place but they stay with him 1 night a week every Sunday. They come back to me Monday morning to take to school. If I try to claim maintenance can he demand them more nights or if it went to court would the court grant him more nights as I no he will only be doin this to bring his payments down. He has no real intention to have them any extra and I don't want to send my boys somewhere they are not wanted just so I can claim maintenance id rather struggle on my own.

Our Response:
The benchmark standard child access is one night overnight and one or two evenings in the week (not overnight). Of course, every case is different. But I would not let the threat of court stop you from applying for your ex to pay child maintenance. Every parent is responsible for paying towards the financial care of their children on a day-to-day basis. If your ex is earning, then so should he.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Nov-17 @ 2:39 PM
I have currently never claimed csa off my ex for our 3 boys for the past 2 yrs we have split as I no he will do whatever he can to not pay it. We have no legal agreement in place but they stay with him 1 night a week every Sunday. They come back to me Monday morning to take to school. If I try to claim maintenance can he demand them more nights or if it went to court would the court grant him more nights as I no he will only be doin this to bring his payments down. He has no real intention to have them any extra and I don't want to send my boys somewhere they are not wanted just so I can claim maintenance id rather struggle on my own.
Aniebop - 27-Nov-17 @ 9:08 PM
Can I claim child support for my nephew who lives with me off his father? My sister died and my nephew is living with me, kind of an amicable decision through both parties and social services. His father pays nothing to support his son so can I claim through CMS?
Girls world - 24-Sep-17 @ 8:31 PM
small - Your Question:
My partner has a child after a one night stand (he was married to his ex wife at the time). when the childs mother told him, she said she didnt want anything from he and didn't want him to be involved in any way. About a year ago she got in touch saying she wanted money from my partner but still doesn't want him to have anything to do with the child. Can she do this?Also she is now engaged to an other man whom she has an other child with. If her partner has taken over parental responability, how could we find this out?the mother of the child is not forth coming with anything information.

Our Response:
You don't say whether your partner has parental responsibility of his child. If he has, then his ex's new partner cannot take over parental responsibility or apply to without your partner's consent. If he hasn't got PR, still non-resident parents regardless of whether they see their children or not, or whether they have PR, have to pay to help support the day-to-day needs of their child, if they are named as the father. Child maintenance and child access have no bearing on each other. However, your partner has a right to form a relationship with his child if he chooses, regardless of whether the resident parent says she does not wish the non-resident parent to be involved. If your partner wishes to take this route, then he would need to suggest mediation in the first instance and if the mother refuses, he would then have the option to apply to court. I hope this helps answer your question.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Apr-17 @ 10:20 AM
my partner has a child after a one night stand (he was married to his ex wife at the time) .when the childs mother told him, she said she didnt want anything from he and didn't want him to be involved in any way. About a year ago she got in touch saying she wanted money from my partner but still doesn't want him to have anything to do with the child.Can she do this? Also she is now engaged to an other man whom she has an other child with.If her partner has taken over parental responability, how could we find this out? the mother of the child is not forth coming with anything information.
small - 26-Apr-17 @ 9:58 AM
@Owls93 - he should be helping towards your child! If he doesn't help you voluntarily then I'd ring the CMS and find out for yourself.
Em - 24-Mar-17 @ 2:34 PM
Hi, I am still in a relationship with my sons father although we currently are not living together and aren't looking to be in the near future. My question is should he still pay me child maintenance to help support his son? He has told me that he looked into it and it is illegal to pay me maintenance as we are still in a relationship. He already pays the highest rate of csa to his other three children from two previous relationships so it wouldn't mean he had to pay out more money it would just mean it got split between them and my son. He doesn't help me financially I pay all my own bills and buy our son everything he needs. Thanks in advance
Owls93 - 24-Mar-17 @ 8:57 AM
My daughter will turn 18 this June but is still in full time education in Year 13. She has been accepted by a University to start a 3 year Degree course which starts in Sept 2017 - July 2020. My question is when does her father stop paying Child Support, is it when she turns 18 or when she finishes her degree course in July 2020 when she will be 21 years old??
Heather - 3-Mar-17 @ 11:40 AM
Hello The Cms is dishonest inept and a scam the provision of children out of poverty ? Children first It makes no sense to attack a low income for 24% charge It's sexist tax on the natural act of having children Because the state does not want to pay for single mothers having five kids to five different dads The Cms is a monopoly a law to itself The right to be a father employed and constant contact Does not exist Then it's action is dishonest and all payments are taken dishonestly by fraud If the pwc refuses offer then that void Under consumer transaction act Not to be punished by an agency pretending to be a goverment body The system is putting children in danger by using fraudulent tactics to exploit as much as we can grab Then no it's a lie and all lies after that fact are dishonest Being classed as non compliant because I want a fair rate of children tax Human rights laws debt management laws means tested ability to repay Does not exist 2 an 1/2 years I've paid £5500 and £1500 is a surcharge and of the £4000 this year £1300 has gone missing ? And I'm still arrears by £1600 plus cm payments How much money does this greedy company need Which the surcharge has nothing to do with children first or needs The Bristol report of 2005 states that regular income workers who have homes and regular contact Will be exploited and easy targets for excessive payments That are not in line with an income Or statutory bills Then it's not fair or balanced It's a scam and it's dishonest Hanging up on me when I state I feel that your financially abusing me and when is it going to stop The constant lies from Cms can I prove I've paid standing order or the doe Then it's mis managerment and malpractice Cms is also in contradiction to itself stating different contracts at the same time Stating if the pwc does not agree then nrp can have the right to pay by direct payment That also is a lie due no 24% surcharge involved No it's about money it's dishonest 15,000 a year is £4,000 child support payments with 24% surcharge Then no it's not a fair or balanced system If you reduce your income the payments still stay the same It's cocersive control by both pwc instructing Cms The law has to deal with both biological parents and their right to have contact a home an income Otherwise it's not fit for practice It lacks common sense to be abused to be denied the right to buy food or luxuries When pwc can claim £26,000 in benefits wages housing and chikd support payments And the nrp earns £8000 ? Less than a part time wage No the duress and anxiety this company has caused and still causing fathers to walk away from their children or committ sucide over money they don't have or earned Is not a fair or balance action of law abiding citizens who pay taxes The only criminals are the Cms
Dave - 18-Feb-17 @ 11:54 AM
Help- Your Question:
Hi. Can I put in a claim for CSA if the fathers name is not on the birth certificate? If not, what processes will I have to take in order to make the claim further to the above? And will receiving CSA impact potentially on other benefits I may receive, such as working tax, child tax etc? The father is currently stating he wants nothing to do with the baby. Thanks

Our Response:
Yes, you can apply for child maintenance from the father if you have not registered the father's name on the birth certificate, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 30-Jan-17 @ 9:50 AM
Hi. Can I put in a claim for CSA if the fathers name is not on the birth certificate? If not, what processes will I have to take in order to make the claim further to the above? And will receiving CSA impact potentially on other benefits I may receive, such as working tax, child tax etc? The father is currently stating he wants nothing to do with the baby. Thanks
Help - 29-Jan-17 @ 5:11 AM
Oh dear- Your Question:
Hi I have gotten a girl pregnant that I have only met once in 19 and not sure if I am even the father how and when do I start paying child support and how much of my wages am I required to give?

Our Response:
You can check how much you will be paying via the CMS calculator here. If you are disputing paternity then you can ask the mother of your child to consent to a DNA test. However, if she refuses you would have to apply through court, please see link here. You would also have to pay child maintenance until the results were confirmed either way.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Jan-17 @ 2:55 PM
Hi I have gotten a girl pregnant that I have only met once in 19 and not sure if I am even the father how and when do I start paying child support and how much of my wages am i required to give?
Oh dear - 19-Jan-17 @ 2:55 AM
Maria - Your Question:
Hi, I would like an advice. My ex partner is self employed, owes his own business and works every day. 4 years in the row the CSA decision was £0 to be paid towards the child support due to him earning £5 per week. And he has our daughter every other weekend. He clearly is dodging his tax returns to avoid payments. Can anything be done? I've contacted the tax fraud team but nothing seems to be done. Many thanks.

Our Response:
As child maintenance payments are based on information given directly from the HMRC, then if your ex is filling in his tax return and declaring he has little income, then there is little you can do via the CMS. However, if your ex's lifestyle is contrary to him having little in the way of earnings i.e fast cars, expensive house all from his own pocket, then you may wish to seek legal advice regarding taking the matter to court. If the matter goes to court, the judge will look at his income in depth and will be able to make a decision based upon these findings. If your ex is not filling in a tax return and you report him for fraud, it still doesn't help you gain child maintenance as there is nothing that can be legally claimed. Therefore, if you think you have a case for the courts you may wish to seek legal advice.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Jan-17 @ 12:23 PM
Hi, I would like an advice.My ex partner is self employed,owes his own business and works every day .4 years in the row the CSA decision was£0 to be paid towards the child support due to him earning£5 per week . And he has our daughter every other weekend.He clearly is dodging his tax returns to avoid payments.Can anything be done?I've contacted the tax fraud team but nothing seems to be done. Many thanks.
Maria - 5-Jan-17 @ 2:23 PM
I'm paying csa for my son who is disabled. His mother claims DLA for him. When he turns 16 I understand he will need to claim PIP and child benefit will cease. Would I continue to pay csa for him beyond 16 if he's claiming PIP and he stays in education until 19? He's has special needs so I've no idea what sort of education programme he would be following beyond 16 as he wouldn't be able to sit exams. Thanks
AJ - 3-Dec-16 @ 2:14 PM
I live with the father of our children but we are not together. We live separate lives. He's just informed me that he doesn't have to pay child maintenance since we are living under his roof. Is this correct?
H - 10-Oct-16 @ 10:31 PM
Hi I have a question, why after 12 months of a court order been in place for my childrens maintenance of £1100 my X husband can then pay just £20 to apply to the CMS and my maintenance can then be reduced to the CMS rates which are much lower than what the court ordered. Do I have to pay again for solicitors fees to apply to court to pay what he should pay for his children if he earns well over £85000.00 a year. It's a win win situation for him.
Me - 5-Oct-16 @ 6:52 PM
s - Your Question:
Hie.i have a question. I got a woman pregnant and we did not agree on having a baby.She told me she was on the pill and lied that she took the morning after.Now she has a baby and a partenity test proved that the child is mine.Am I entitled to paying child support? And is it always the same as when two people agreed to have a child together?

Our Response:
I'm afraid that regardless of whether you agreed to have the child or not, then you are still the father and therefore financially responsibile for your child's welfare until your child finishes education.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Oct-16 @ 2:06 PM
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