Home > Parent's Rights > Paying Maintenance or Child Support

Paying Maintenance or Child Support

By: Angela Armes - Updated: 21 Jul 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Maintenance Paying Maintenance Child

Many parents when they split from their partners find themselves paying maintenance or child support to help with the cost of bringing up their children. This figure is designed to help the parent looking after the children cope with the financial strain after the other parent has left the marital home and thus ceased to contribute a salary.

Arranging to Pay For Your Child

There are two ways to arrange financial payment for your child who does not live with you:
  • Make a private arrangement with your ex-partner. This is often the method if the separation is more amicable.
  • You can contact the Child Support Agency (CSA) who will calculate the regular amount that you should pay for the upkeep and wellbeing of your child. This figure will be calculated on your income and outgoings and is normally paid monthly into the bank account of the person looking after your child.

What Happens if I don't pay Maintenance?

If you have entered into an agreement with your ex-partner for paying maintenance, you should maintain this agreement. If for any reason you are struggling to make the payments either on time or because of a problem with your own finances, it is best to try to talk the matter through and come to some understanding with your ex or the CSA. Perhaps a reduction in maintenance payments for a time until your problems are resolved is in order?

If you do not pay maintenance and make no effort to communicate your reasons why, your ex-partner can pursue the payment of this money – plus any outstanding payments – through the CSA. They will require you to complete a series of forms and attend an interview to ascertain why he or she has not being making the correct payments.

The CSA can retrieve these maintenance payments by placing an 'Attachment to Earnings'. If you are salaried monthly, the value of your maintenance will be deducted from your salary at source. Your employer will be contacted by the CSA and instructed (and this is a legally binding request) to deduct the value of such monies from your salary before you receive it into your bank account.

If you require further information on maintenance and Child Support and how the scheme works, contact the Child Support Agency or visit their website at www.csa.gov.uk.

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Hi there, this is a weird one. Me and my current partner have brought up her daughter ( my step daughter). She may aswell be mine as I've brought her up all her life. However her real father hasn't paid a penny. But my partner doesn't want to Contact CSA because she is simply still scared of the bloke. Can I contact CSA for her.
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ROSE - 20-Jul-18 @ 8:34 PM
Hi my ex left 5 years ago hasn't seen or paid for my two girls since what do I do the girls don't want to see him but I think he should have to pay they are his children I've done it alone for 5 years
Cheryl dowd - 19-Jul-18 @ 9:36 PM
Hi, wonder if you anyone can help me please Split with my husband and sold marital home October 2014. Money from house sale held by his solicitor. We've had the children 50/50, as he’s literal, and said he didn’t need to pay me any maintenance if we did this. I was happy to have the children with me more. I requested some maintenance support at the time of the split,as the lower earner and even though applied for tax credit was on the lowest amount (stopped receiving well over a year ago). Have been renting since selling family home, which is expensive, and takes almost half of my monthly salary. My solicitors were awful, and allowed him to drag out sorting the financial arrangements til now. We recently went to court. I am now representing myself as so broke, and had spent over £9,000 with 3 Solicitors and got nowhere. Even though I asked one of my solicitors to request maintenance, which she did, the reply back was when he had evidence of my financial assessment (Form E) which I exchanged with him and was shocked to see he was earning almost 3 times what I wasn’t the time! My solicitors never took up the maintenance request, even though I asked them, and I’m concerned now, I could’ve received some help ... and would it be possible to claim retrospectively please, does anyone know? I don’t care how hard the advice is in reply, I just need to know, thanks I’m really grateful of any help, as this has had such a stressful time on my health, having a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, Folic Acid deficiency, and Hypothyroidism in the last 3 years, causing long term sickness episodes from work. My children are now 21 and 17, only the 17yr old is in full time education. Ive never been given, or even offered any financial support from my ex, only him telling the children to ‘ask your mum’ as he has no money. Thank you most kindly
juleslim - 13-Jul-18 @ 6:15 PM
Really need advice please. Court order in place for 3 years that my girls dad has not stuck to for the past 2. They are now taking maintenance from his wages which he is spitting feathers about and I have an email from him where he says if I don't agree to drop the case with the CMS he will go for 50/50 care. This was 3 months ago. He has now started abiding by the court order doing all he should but I know this is so that he can avoid maintenance and eventually go for 50/50. Where the heck to I stand? knowing his only reason for doing this is to avoid paying. Previously he hasn't seen the children for 3 months at a time his choice not mine. I have 10 A4 pages of breaches of the court order.. what will happen if he goes for 50/50 now?
Amz77 - 7-Jul-18 @ 11:09 AM
Shelly - Your Question:
Hi please can I have some advice. My ex pays no maintenance now for 6 months. My son is 12. He is working cash in hand everyday and puts accounts into csa which say he earns less than 8 pounds a month. He is self employed. How can a tackle this ? He won't answer the phone and the CSA just tell me he doesnt earn enough which I know is a lie. He lives in a 3 bed room house and runs 2 cars. You can't do that with no job. The house is mortgaged but in his girlfriends name not his. But she only works part time. I work full time but I'm now really struggling financially and not sure what to do.Many thanks

Our Response:
This is a common scenario, and it doesn't seem there is much you can do about unfortunately. Citizens Advice may have some information about additional about places you can go for financial help.
LawAndParents - 4-Jul-18 @ 3:17 PM
Hi please can I have some advice. My ex pays no maintenance now for 6 months. My son is 12. He is working cash in hand everyday and puts accounts into csa which say he earns less than 8 pounds a month. He is self employed. How can a tackle this ? He won't answer the phone and the CSA just tell me he doesnt earn enough which i know is a lie. He lives in a 3 bed room house and runs 2 cars. You can't do that with no job. The house is mortgaged but in his girlfriends name not his. But she only works part time. I work full time but I'm now really struggling financially and not sure what to do. Many thanks
Shelly - 3-Jul-18 @ 8:51 PM
I have had a case with CSA and now CMS for several years, I’m currently owed 24K in unpaid maintenance. Ex agnores all letters and phone calls. He has no fixed aboe, self-employed and post go to his parents house. Liability orders are unless, lost count of the amount of liability orders the court have actioned. At stage now where a sauction has been granted to go to court for take away driving license or go to prison. Will this actually make him pay? I have no faith.
Jo jo - 26-Jun-18 @ 1:55 AM
Please help me my kids dad does nothing n pays nothing know he easy make 2_3 k a month .I am struggling .can look for him 13 years ago but couldn't find him.I have address for him n his wife n kids .is it too late for can help me ?
Bex - 21-Jun-18 @ 6:30 AM
chill98 - Your Question:
I've been taken by my ex through CSA but I have my kids 3 times a week wich costs me as well. can I take her through CSA. as when I have my kids who helps me to contribute towards them. I think it should be a tow way thing as I had no choice but to leave the home

Our Response:
The parent who is the main carer receives maintenance from the other one, that is the way the system works. If you were to apply for 50/50 shared care, the maintenance payments might drop/stop.
LawAndParents - 20-Jun-18 @ 12:58 PM
I've been taken by my ex through CSAbut I have my kids 3 times a week wich costs me as well . can I take her through CSA. as when I have my kids who helps me to contributetowards them . I think it should be a tow way thing as I had no choice but to leave the home
chill98 - 16-Jun-18 @ 8:00 PM
lilynoneck - Your Question:
My wife has said she is leaving and wants to take our three children with her but one of children has stated that they are not going what can I do to stop her taking the other two

Our Response:
If you can't come to an agreement (via mediation etc),you may have to apply for a child arrangements order, where a judge will make a decision based on the best interests of the children.
LawAndParents - 15-Jun-18 @ 2:59 PM
my wife has said she is leaving and wants to take our three children with her but one of children has stated that they are not going what can i do to stop her taking the other two
lilynoneck - 14-Jun-18 @ 10:35 PM
Hi, I have a court order in place which states my three children stay over with me for a full weekend every other week. My ex has now stopped me seeing the children and brought forward a whole host of false allegations against me and is trying to turn the children against me. I have applied for an enforcement order and have since recieved a report from CAFCASS that states they see no reason for my ex to stop me seeing the children, a court date is up and coming. I currently pay the CMS calculated amount for the children and have done so without fail but she is now demanding more as, as mentioned, they do not stay othernight with me. Can she do this or does the original court order work in my favour as she has breached it?
Derek - 13-Jun-18 @ 11:29 AM
Yes their is a reason why ive stopped my daughter seeing her father to cut a long story short the police are involved apparently my ex has rang cms that the police are involved and the police has told my ex don't pay cms as hes not allowed direct or indirect contact with me or my daughter cms have advised me to ring police to ask what they mean by direct or indirect cms dont understand what they mean or why the police are getting involved as he still needs to pay for his daughter an not rely on just me paying for everything for my daughter i know you can't get involved in police matters but surely my ex still needs to pay for his daughter an the police shouldn't be telling my ex not to pay
louise - 12-Jun-18 @ 5:30 PM
Thanks for your response. At the outset of our breakup I had a solicitor draw up both contact and separation agreements. My ex also has a daughter by a previous marriage for which there is a court order in place for contact. The contact agreement my solicitor drew up matched the court order for his other child. However he refused to sign thisagreement and he continues to frequently cancel/try to alter the contact times he asked me to try to meet. I have refused to move on the contact times to ensure my son has stability and routine in his young life and therefore sees his father regularly(he was 4 when we separated) surely this is the right course of action?
Confused - 11-Jun-18 @ 10:21 PM
Confused- Your Question:
My ex has paid maintenance since we split almost two years ago. He often tries to change /cancel his contact times with our son which I never agree to. He has now said he won’t pay maintenance after the last time I refused to change and he has not paid. What should I do? I cannot communicate with him effectively as he get angry

Our Response:
Maintenance and contact are two separate things and neither party should use either as some kind of bribe or bargaining tool. There has to be some flexibility to change/swap contact times to accommodate personal circumstances but both parties should be in agreement about these. If you don't have formal contact times/arrangements in place it might be worth considering mediation in order to create an agreement. This can be made legally enforceable in the courts at a later date if necessary. If maintenance hasn't been paid, you may have to consider applying to the CMS to have them take the payments on your behalf - but note, there is a charge for this service.
LawAndParents - 11-Jun-18 @ 10:43 AM
My ex has paid maintenance since we split almost two years ago. He often tries to change /cancel his contact times with our son which I never agree to. He has now said he won’t pay maintenance after the last time I refused to change and he has not paid. What should I do? I cannot communicate with him effectively as he get angry
Confused - 8-Jun-18 @ 7:31 AM
Helen - Your Question:
Hi, my ex has taken early retirement with a navy pension and lump sum he has deferred his pension until our youngest turns 18 (she's 8) and no longer has to pay maintenance, I can cope financially please help

Our Response:
CMS is calculated based on taxable income. His lump sum (if less than 25% of the "pot") would be tax free. There isn't much you can do about this apart from perhaps to share care of the children 50/50to reduce your outgoings?
LawAndParents - 6-Jun-18 @ 11:38 AM
Hi, my ex has taken early retirement with a navy pension and lump sum he has deferred his pension until our youngest turns 18 (she's 8) and no longer has to pay maintenance, I can cope financially please help
Helen - 5-Jun-18 @ 12:14 PM
Peanuts - Your Question:
I have a daughter of 18. She dropped out of her a levels and moved in with her boyfriend and his mother. I stopped claiming child benefit etc for her as I thought she had moved out as an adult. Her father and I have separated and so he paid child maintenance for her, he was happy to continue as I still provide for her when she needs something! Now I’ve found myself in a position that I didn’t think was possible, the boyfriends mother wants to claim child benefit, tax credits and child maintenance from my ex as she has applied to start college in September. The college is some miles away from home.This lady has turned extremely nasty and we suspect this was her plan all along. I have offered my child the option to live with her father, myself or grandparents but she just wants to live with her boyfriend and this lady is allowing her to do that. Nobody either parent or authority have approved this lady to claim for my child so how can it be possible. I called child benefit who stated that there was nothing I could do, but I find that hard to believe. If she was under 18 social services would get involved so how can somebody I don’t approve off receive funding to do what’s right for my child with zero approval.

Our Response:
This person is providing accommodation, heating, food, probably travel expenses to college etc for your daughter. There is probably an argument that she should not be expected to do this for nothing. You need to talk this through with your daughter, the person who's providing accommodation and also your daughter's father to see if you can come to some agreement.
LawAndParents - 29-May-18 @ 2:56 PM
louise - Your Question:
Hi my ex was paying £120 a month through cms but has now stopped paying we do not talk so can't ask him why hes stopped paying for his 3 year old daughter just like to know are there any reasons he can stop paying? He did take me to court for access but its not in the court order if I stop contact payments will stop so dont know why they have

Our Response:
You should talk to CMS about the payments and why they've stopped. Is there some reason why you have stopped contact? Is that really in the best interests of your daughter?
LawAndParents - 29-May-18 @ 1:00 PM
I have a daughter of 18. Shedropped out of her a levels and moved in with her boyfriend and his mother. I stopped claiming child benefit etc for her as I thought she had moved out as an adult. Her father and I have separated and so he paid child maintenance for her, he was happy to continue as I still provide for her when she needs something! Now I’ve found myself in a position that I didn’t think was possible, the boyfriends mother wants to claim child benefit, tax credits and child maintenance from my ex as she has applied to start college in September. The college is some miles away from home. This lady has turned extremely nasty and we suspect this was her plan all along. I have offered my child the option to live with her father, myself or grandparents but she just wants to live with her boyfriend and this lady is allowing her to do that. Nobody either parent or authority have approved this lady to claim for my child so how can it be possible. I called child benefit who stated that there was nothing I could do, but I find that hard to believe. If she was under 18 social services would get involved so how can somebody I don’t approve off receive funding to do what’s right for my child with zero approval.
Peanuts - 28-May-18 @ 3:59 PM
Hi my ex was paying £120 a month through cms but has now stopped paying we do not talk so can't ask him why hes stopped paying for his 3 year old daughter just like to know are there any reasons he can stop paying? He did take me to court for access but its not in the court order if i stop contact payments will stop so dont know why they have
louise - 28-May-18 @ 2:44 PM
Hello. My ex has signed a consent order to pay me £500 per month as long as our son continues in full time private education. I have moved him to an online private school which is covered by the £500 but my ex is saying he is not paying for this. Can he stop paying?
Stonebirds - 25-May-18 @ 5:28 AM
Confused dad- Your Question:
My youngest son is 16 and leaving school this year, he wanted to do a apprenticeship however I believe his mother has dictated to him that he needs to go to college instead so she can still receive child maintenance support.My question is as the paying father what proof am I entitled to receive from the child maintenance service that payments are to continue

Our Response:
When a child is 16 the law says they must do one of the following until they are 18:
stay in full-time education, for example at a school sixth form or a college
start an apprenticeship or traineeship
spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training
Maintenance is payble in all the above circumstances except where an apprenticeship is undertaken. Why would child maintenance need to provide you with proof of anything? Sorry your question is unclear.
LawAndParents - 11-May-18 @ 1:56 PM
My youngest son is 16 and leaving school this year, he wanted to do a apprenticeship however I believe his mother has dictated to him that he needs to go to college instead so she can still receive child maintenance support. My question is as the paying father what proof am I entitled to receive from the child maintenance service that payments are to continue
Confused dad - 10-May-18 @ 1:05 AM
CoolCool - Your Question:
Hi - my friend has been contacted to advise him that he has a 13 year old child. If the child is proven to be theirs will they be liable to pay back dated child maintenance for the last 13 years?Many Thanks

Our Response:
No, not unless a claim was made in his name previously and he simply hadn't been found.
LawAndParents - 9-May-18 @ 3:41 PM
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