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Who Has to Pay Child Support?

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 15 Jan 2024 | 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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If a son wants to lives with his father, does his mother have to pay maintenance, if he earns less than his father.
Maja - 15-Jan-24 @ 12:24 PM
Hi. I'm live my children I have 3 child I look after my child own my ex husband disappeared I have 2 children with him one boy 12 year old and girl 8year old, when he have new girlfriend never come to see the child 1year 6 month when I contact him he said I don't get pay from work anytime and block me he ignores don't pay any money live me and children don't care child have food gave clothes or not he know where children live but never come to see children. Please help me I don't have nobody to help me about him thank you so much I hope to hear from you. Kwanchanok Hyde.
Anne - 10-Jan-24 @ 8:25 PM
Does a father who has been made redundant and will receive Jobseeker’s Allowance have to pay child support?
Ncon - 27-Sep-23 @ 9:28 PM
Hi, my ex husband and I divorced 6/7 years ago. Mainly because of DA, we have a daughter who he insisted 50/50 through mediation. 7 years later the Domestic Abuse has this time happens to his recent partner but in front of our daughter. My daughter is seeking help for emotional abuse. She now refuses to live with her father. Can I claim for CSA? I’m also worried if I can claim my ex husband will somehow fix the earnings as he works for his fathers family business.
Finch - 11-Sep-23 @ 11:50 PM
My ex husband has a child from a previous relationship I have PR (biological mother not in the picture at all) and I have brought the child up as my own, but recently the child has moved in with my ex and don’t want to come see me anymore. Will I have to pay maintenance?
Jen88 - 28-Aug-23 @ 4:02 PM
I have recently change my circumstances with my ex-husband to equal access but i am still being charged child support.is this right?
Gemma - 25-Jul-23 @ 2:31 PM
I have been away from my ex for nearly 7 years, he worked for 4 years and on the sick for 3 years coming up now. He hasn't paid anything towards his child. Just half of uniforms, rarely bought anything else e.g. New shoes for school when needed. What do I do? He has a new partner and I doubt his debts are a problem now, I mean I have debts to pay and the child to pay for too.
Mum - 12-May-23 @ 2:14 PM
I'm trying to find out what your women started paying child support or if they have always paid along with men thank you
Mace - 7-Apr-23 @ 12:43 AM
We have join custody. He lives out the country.I'm in the UK and agreed my daughter to go stay with him for the year. He was court ordered to pay child support before she went to live there. He decided to stop paying me since she's there full time. Once she comes home she will live between both of us. He said he still won't pay a dime even if she's here half the time. Is he violating his court order? He said he will go for full custody.On what basis?
Trina - 1-Apr-23 @ 5:54 PM
I split with my ex husband when my daughter was one. He tried to commit suicide and had a drug problem. Even when working he never paid any money for his daughter. And then when he got himself together worked in countries that the CSA said he couldn’t be touched for maintenance as there was no agreement in place with the UK. He has been back in the uK for about 4 years. I have brought my daughter up single handily. But it’s so annoying that he has a yacht, fishing boat, three houses. And earns £1000 a day. But has never paid £1 for his daughter. She is now 24, but why can men get away with that?
Jayne - 18-Feb-23 @ 10:45 PM
Hi my ex liveswitha women with an adoptedson dose that affect my child maintance.Because he's saying my payments willgo down us this true because we have a privatearrangement but u feel he has been under payingme
Kiki - 8-Feb-23 @ 4:20 PM
Hi my ex partner left me and my daughterwithout any support She's 6 years old I make universal credit can I claim for child support and also did ti's don't affect my universal credit thanks
H - 3-Feb-23 @ 11:27 PM
My partner lives with me and helps with all household bills,including towards my son (who isn’t biologically his).He’s just started a new job and his ex isn’t happy with the amount he’s offered to pay(which is more than what he was paying in his old job) which was actually worked out through the official.gov.uk website. The website states he should be paying £372 per month for his 2 children(he’s more than happy to do this)but as he lives with another child (my son-not biologically his) she says this doesn’t count as him being financially responsible for the other child he lives with isn’t his,so in effect he should be paying £418 (according to the gov website) can anyone shed any light on this???
Cheryl - 28-Dec-22 @ 11:16 PM
My kids dad has always had custody of are child and i have never really had much dealings as always been kept out of the upbringing. The money i have paid towards my child had always been cash or bank transfers never acc csa but now my child is 16 and threatening report me saying i have never paid out. Wich is not true just tryna get what they can out me as im not important to them. Will i hAve pay 16 years worth
Unsure - 23-Dec-22 @ 7:06 PM
My partner and I recently got engaged. He pays his CSA directly with CSA calculating what he should pay. Someone recently told me once we get married the payments will also factor in my wages, is this true? Why would the mother from a previous relationship be entitled to my wages. That would be any children we have would only have access to two wages mine and my partners while my step child is entitled to 3! His own mother and father and mine. Surely that’s incorrect
Bee - 13-Dec-22 @ 4:44 PM
Hi my ex partner left me and my daughter two months ago without any support She's 9 years old I make universal credit can I claim for child support and also did ti's don't affect my universal credit
Joanna - 14-Sep-21 @ 4:46 PM
Good morning My son has just finished his A Levels and finished at school. I understand under normal circumstances I am liable to continue payments (direct pay) until end of the school year. (Sep 21). However, he started full time work 40-50 hours per week on the 10 Jun 21. Does this stop the legality of having to continue payments given he is self sufficient. I do not have contact with his mum, she communicates through my son which is difficult and is telling him the money is for her bills!. I have lodged this with the CSA but it has been 4 weeks and no response at all. I have called 4-5 times and when they put me through to a case worker I get cut off which is utterly frustrating. Please help - I want to continue supporting my son but directly.
DJS - 5-Jul-21 @ 6:49 AM
Hi I share custody of my children with their mother 50/50 I the father also receive child benefit for the children so do I pay Maintenance or does the mother pay me or does no one pay?
Jak - 8-Jun-21 @ 8:48 AM
My daughter has just turned 17. I have been paying child support voluntarily since she was born. After living with me in lockdown for 7 months she has decided to live with her grandparents. Who is responsible for paying child support to the grandparents? My daughter also dropped out of college and is starting her first year again in 5 months, can I withhold child support until her new academic year starts?
D - 6-Apr-21 @ 10:28 AM
I have two daughtersMy husband has left me without paying to support my children for 3 years now. What must I do to receive child support?
May - 26-Mar-21 @ 7:36 PM
My 14 year old son has gone to live with my parents (I have no relationship with them) my ex husband made a claim for child maintenance against me. Do I have to pay even though my son isn’t living with him?? As far as I’m aware his dad is claiming the child benefit.
Claire - 22-Jan-21 @ 1:11 PM
My son has custody of his daughter can he claim maintenance from her mother
Hells bells - 14-Nov-20 @ 10:17 PM
Hi I have an adopted son with my ex after we split I was still seeing my son only visits round her house or taking him out that was in 2015 and 16 but when I had my daughter with my partner in 20 17my ex said I couldn't see him anymore but I am paying 224 pound a month and now my son phoned me yesterday cause I asked his mum how he was doing and told me he wanted nothing to do with me and nothing off me so where the hell do I stand I dont even spend that a month on both my daughters iam sick off this I feel like iam paying towards my ex wife house and other bills any advice would be helpful
Jon - 14-Nov-20 @ 7:06 AM
I have a son 9 and a daughter 14 My son lives with me and stays with his dad 1-2 nights a week ( from 6pm-7am) My daughter “lives” with him 3 -4 nights a week “technically “ but spends all her time either with me or in school and just goes there to sleep. He doesn’t contribute to our son and only contributes to our daughter with the benefits he claims for her. It’s not fair I have to provide for 2 children while supporting them in every way with very little while he’s getting paid for it, is there anything I can do?
Mary - 7-Nov-20 @ 10:31 PM
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
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