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Who Has to Pay Child Support?

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 14 Sep 2021 | 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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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
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
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