If you are the parent of a child, or children, and are raising them on your own you are entitled to claim child support payments from the non resident parent. This periodic maintenance payment may be agreed by private arrangement between both parents, but it may also be collected and handled by the Child Maintenance Service, in cases where there is a breakdown of communication between the adults.
Absent parents, who refuse to pay maintenance, can also be traced by the CMS and have an enforcement issued.
Are You Entitled To Claim?
Child maintenance is a regular payment that is paid to parents who live with their children, by the parent who does not live in the same home. This periodic payment is made to assist the parent with care with the rising costs of raising a child. This payment can also be made to another family member or legal guardian if the child lives with them.
Child support is paid to a resident-parent when a couple separate or divorce, or they have children but are not living together. The payment is made to provide financial support and to confirm responsibility for the welfare of the child. These payments also help to minimise the need for other forms of benefit.
How Is Maintenance Calculated?
The CMS work out the payable rate of maintenance by applying one of a number of rates to the absent parent’s income. Income means money earned from employment, tax credits or personal pension. The gross income is then evaluated and a basic, reduced, flat or nil rate is applied. The amount is adjusted according to how many children are involved in the maintenance application.
How Much Are You Entitled To?
Child support maintenance payments are calculated by the CMS, after assessing the income and living circumstances of the non resident parent. The amount of maintenance a parent with care will receive is calculated as being 12% of the non-resident parent’s gross income – for the first, or only child. The payable amount of maintenance increases to 16% of net income for two children, and to 19% for three. Children from subsequent families are treated in the same way.
If the child stays with the non resident parent for at least one night a week the amount of payable maintenance, given to the parent with care, is reduced accordingly. This situation is called Shared Care, and the amount of maintenance is reduced by one-seventh, for each night of the week that the child stays at the non resident parent’s home.
If care is divided equally between the parents the weekly amount of payable maintenance is halved in two, and reduced again by the required 1/7th.
Flat or Base Rate
If maintenance payments are set at a nil rate, due to the non-resident parent earning less than £7 per week, shared care will mean that the maintenance payable to the parent with care is nothing. If the non-resident parent earns between £7 and £100 or if the non-resident parent is in receipt of benefits, the payments will be £7 per week.
Hi… I’m a mom ofan incredible 11 year old… he’s dad walked out his life when he was 2 months old I haven’t heard a thing from him or his family in 10 years but i need financial help and don’t know how to apply for him to pay child support as it’s been nearly 11 years and I’ve never received a penny off him plus I no nothing about him and I’ve got no idea where he lives work’s phone number nothing…. I need help what do I do
Jade Sheldon - 29-Nov-23 @ 3:38 AM
My daughter is now 16, on the autistic spectrum and will be going into college this year. Her biological father has been absent for 15 years he has never ever seen my daughter since as he abandoned her. He has never paid a penny towards her either. I just want to find out what mine and her rights are with maintenance owed to her. I’ve single handedly raised her, struggled and he has never once attempted to make contact.
Caldridge - 12-Jun-23 @ 5:05 PM
Hi for the last 16yrs my ex has never paid maintenance, years ago I put a claim in but he kidded on he wasn't working.
He had our son for 6mths 3yrs ago, and had the cheek to claim me for csa.
Can I get backdated 16yrs worth?
Caz - 14-May-21 @ 5:04 PM
I was born in 1959 and my father abandoned myself and my mother he has paid absolutely nothing to help support us I now have his name from my care records I was hoping I can get him to pay now but I am not sure if there is a time limit
Percy - 12-Apr-21 @ 7:15 PM
I have given csa my ex partners employment details, his mother's address his national insurance number and they say they can't find him. How is this possible??
Mickey - 20-Mar-21 @ 8:08 AM
I'm paying child maintenance through deo but my 3x does not have custody of kids they have been in foster care for last 10 years am I spose to still pay cm even thou the children are in care of local authority not the parent?
Dio5 - 28-Sep-20 @ 1:42 PM
My partners ex wife had the kids taken off her and put into foster care because she wouldn't end a relationship with a violent boyfriend and the kids were at risk.My partner is now applying for full custody of the kids but there won't be a decision for 6 weeks.The CSA say we have to keep paying her maintenance even though she hasn't seen the kids for months and now lives 200 miles away with her boyfriend.
Do we have to keep paying her?
Joolz - 20-Jul-20 @ 11:02 AM
Hi, I have 3 children with my ex they are 14,12 and 8 he refuses to pay anything for the children and I don’t know what he earns so I can’t do a calculation. He has them once a fortnight when he can be bothered and doesn’t buy them any essentials they may need. Can someone advise me please.
Kirst74 - 2-Jul-20 @ 9:07 PM
My children’s father is refusing to see children and he has lost his job but it engaged to someone who is working and they live together can I claim from both.
Natz - 10-Jun-20 @ 3:37 AM
I just received my letter stating my ex only has to pay the flat rate of £7 a week. Yet is part owner in 2 buisness and i know he earns more,whats my next step. Thanks
J - 17-Mar-20 @ 11:21 PM
When I was born in 1986, my mother who was ill but undiagnosed, divorced my father who was in the army at the time. My mother married my fathers corporal & 3 years later abandoned me in a house in Harrogate. Social Services too me & my brother into care, 3 years later social services tracked down my father who had re married & refused to take me & my brother on. 23 years later I made contact with my father hoping to begin a relationship, 4 years later out of the blue he decides he doesn't want to be my father, wants nothing to do with me. Is there any law compelling my father who is well off, has a nice house, nice car, nice career to financially support his sons he chose to have nothing to do with? During my time in foster care from age 3 to 18 I suffered abuse from 4 different foster carers which I am now taking action with police & law firm, I have been diagnosed with severe depression, anxiety, panic attacks which I take maximum dosage fluoxetine, antidepressants for. Is there any law, any act which I can sue my father for to provide any financial support to me his son he chose to ignore, abandon, have nothing to do with? As I say he himself re married, has 2 other sons, wonderful house & nice car so he isn't doing badly! I just think it is so unfair, and cruel that I had to suffer whilst he can rebuild his life & not have to take responsibility for his son he chose to abandon, ignore etc.
Ed - 28-Dec-19 @ 1:45 PM
I had too take my nine year old daughter away from her mum as she was harming her and kicking her over trivial matters the living conditions were dire as well as she has two other kids from another person and lives in a one bedroom flat with her mother as well the eldest child is 11 and was all sharing a double bed I got the social services involved as the family have been under the eyes of them for some years since I have had my daughter living with me her mother has not even kept In touch and has not turned up too two court hearings saying she cannot get to my location town that is only an hour away by public transportation I have done everything so she can have contact but has refused too even bother too see our daughter and then has the gall too say she is not a bad parent can I have her parental rights removed as I fear for my daughters welfare.
Daddy/ papa - 24-Nov-19 @ 1:37 PM
I am a single parent of three kids age 15, 10 and 11. My ex and I arranged payments without any authorities getting involved. He has been paying maintenance for 6 years. I have children full time where he has them one night over the weekend.
I have recently started a part time job and during a heated conversation he mentioned that he will now claim for maintenance through CSA.
Can he do that ? I earn 1100 after taxes. I am not sure how it works?
Tabi - 17-Sep-19 @ 8:48 PM
Hi my ex husband has 3 children with me and is claiming he only works 30 hours a week and he pays £50 for 3 children which just about feeds the dog!!! I’m almost positive he is working much more than that and is being a Scrooge! Yet I’m left to financially support the 3 kids!! What can I do? Does anybody know? He won’t tell me where he works either?
Mel - 13-Sep-19 @ 4:03 PM
i have been paying my step daughtera chaild maintenance for over 7 years as my husband of which now separated is hopeless with money. now we have separated can i claim this back along side the other debts he has to pay half for.
woof - 26-Aug-19 @ 12:09 AM
when your eldest child goes to university and you stop paying csa do the younger children get more money
Bob - 16-Aug-19 @ 1:40 PM
My son is in the forces and has moved away from his home base, his x is now demanding more money at present for 2 children he has been paying £400 pmfor last 3years,he buys clothing and shoes for both children, using the cms calculator he is paying what he has been
Lg - 20-Jul-19 @ 4:05 PM
My daughter bring up her two under five children. Her partner gives her some money when feels like it and she is ‘being nice’ very controlling. Now has refused to pay anything and is on universal credit and struggling. How does she apply to give this money maybe deducted from source or paid directly to her? Who does she contact?
Moo - 15-Jul-19 @ 9:04 AM
Hello I'm just wondering where I stand me and my patner split up he is refusing to give me any money leaving me to struggle
Liv - 20-Jun-19 @ 7:22 PM
My ex partner was given a nil rating when he was self employed as he managed to fix it that way by not drawing a high salary from the business. He lost the business in January and since late February he is now employed by a brewery owned pub working as a head chef.
He did not declare this to the CMS, so I did, as I feel strongly that it is just as much his responsibility to financial support our son throughout.
I received a recalculation for my son's case this morning and it is still nil rating as my ex has supplied evidence. How can this be??? He will do all he can not to pay! Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated.
HD - 20-Jun-19 @ 3:07 PM
Hi, just some help please. My 1 year old son and I split the child arrangements between us so it is 50% 50%. I earn £900 after tax and he earns £1,700 after tax. He refuses to pay and child support but earns double the amount I do, is he entitled to pay or not because we share our son equally? Thank you
Am1994 - 17-Jun-19 @ 8:56 AM
My daughter is separated and has a child with Autism. to what age will she legally be entitled to receive support from her ex?
steve - 8-May-19 @ 12:07 PM
I have an estranged daughter, who turns 18 next year. I have no contact with her. Her mum has put her against me. I have been paying maintenance religiously every month fo 15 years, never missed a payment. When she turns 18,how do I stop paying maintenance? As I have no idea if she goes to collage, working, everything is set up with rights for the mum, but what about us dads who have lost contact through no fault of theirs! The mum will try any trick in the book to keep me paying!!! Who protects us???
Shafted every time - 2-May-19 @ 11:37 PM
hi do i still have to pay csa for my son if hes 16 years old dosent go to school or college and he claims a benefit .
chazza - 2-May-19 @ 3:28 PM
My ex won’t pay for our 2 daughters, when I said I’d contact child maintenance he says carry on, as he works for cash in hand so I won’t get a penny! Is there anything I can do to get maintenance? Tia x
Amylou - 28-Apr-19 @ 6:18 PM
My son is 18 works full time and is in college full time and I pay csa to his father but he is moving to his own flat. Do i still pay? Tia
Redstar82 - 25-Apr-19 @ 8:34 PM
Hi there, my ex has been paying me £50 a week for both children for the past 6 year, I've never been able to have his pay digits as he says none of my business so how do I know I'm getting the correct amount for the children? X
Kir - 23-Apr-19 @ 11:17 PM
I have brought up my step daughter for over 10 years. Her father has 2 houses, is self employed, and has at least 2 holidays a year. As I write this, he is on his annual jaunt to America for a month. I know he owns 2 properties he rents out, and has a good income from buying and selling at furniture auctions. He has, with the help of his accountant , been able to show that his weekly income BEFORE tax etc is £46, meaning I've brought his daughter up with £7pw help from him. Can I sue him for back payment? Surely someone could serve him notice as he returns to the UK?
Sd1972 - 17-Apr-19 @ 7:45 PM
My ex partner and I have a 12 year old son, He hasn’t given me any money for over 3 years!As he has been mental unstable.
But now he’s on universal credit ! Can I clam something for our son from him!!’If I did, would it effect my child benefit?
I work part time and I am a home owner
Jane - 15-Apr-19 @ 5:01 PM
My partner pays csa to his ex .He was out of work for a while so now goes money they are asking for three hundred a week which does not earn we are on a joint benefit claim can they take it out of my benefits