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

Paying Maintenance or Child Support

By: Angela Armes - Updated: 21 May 2017 | 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. I have religiously paid child maintenance for my 2 children for the past 15 years and continue to do so. I have a private agreement with their mother. My children are nearly 16 and nearly 18. My eldest child is currently at college and has decided to spend all her time at her boyfriends house and hasn't even been home for the past 3 months. Should I really still be paying their mother for her?
Wizz2130 - 21-May-17 @ 10:19 AM
Chas- Your Question:
I've been going through the CMS for nearly 4 years and during this time on and off my ex has messed around with the payments. There's been arrears on the account for most of the time, but recently when he changed job he didn't even pay the scheduled payment for 4 months as he knew that it could be changed over to collect and pay because of his change of circumstances. There's now nearly £2000 arrears on the account which he has made an agreement to pay back at an extra £80 per month.but now he is underpaying again because he knows the system and that they won't do anything unless he underpays by the normal amount minus the arrears. I have involved my MP which seems to be a long process and not very successful. Could I take my ex to a small claims court for the arrears? And would this be backed up by all the information from the CMS do you know? I understand I would have to pay to do this, but I feel as though I am being taken for a fool, and when my children have hobbies, school trips and clothing etc that needs to be paid for why shouldn't it have to be paid back! Thanks for any advice.

Our Response:
We've replied below..........
LawAndParents - 17-May-17 @ 12:32 PM
I've been going through the CMS for nearly 4 years and during this time on and off my ex has messed around with the payments. There's been arrears on the account for most of the time, but recently when he changed job he didn't even pay the scheduled payment for 4 months as he knew that it could be changed over to collect and pay because of his change of circumstances. There's now nearly £2000 arrears on the account which he has made an agreement to pay back at an extra £80 per month...but now he is underpaying again because he knows the system and that they won't do anything unless he underpays by the normal amount minus the arrears. I have involved my MP which seems to be a long process and not very successful. Could I take my ex to a small claims court for the arrears? And would this be backed up by all the information from the CMS do you know? I understand I would have to pay to do this, but I feel as though I am being taken for a fool, and when my children have hobbies, school trips and clothing etc that needs to be paid for why shouldn't it have to be paid back! Thanks for any advice.
Chas - 16-May-17 @ 12:58 PM
Chas- Your Question:
I've been going through the CMS for nearly 4 years and during this time on and off my ex has messed around with the payments. There's been arrears on the account for most of the time, but recently when he changed job he didn't even pay the scheduled payment for 4 months as he knew that it could be changed over to collect and pay because of his change of circumstances. There's now nearly £2000 arrears on the account which he has made an agreement to pay back at an extra £80 per month.but now he is underpaying again because he knows the system and that they won't do anything unless he underpays by the normal amount minus the arrears. I have involved my MP which seems to be a long process and not very successful. Could I take my ex to a small claims court for the arrears? And would this be backed up by all the information from the CMS do you know? I understand I would have to pay to do this, but I feel as though I am being taken for a fool, and when my children have hobbies, school trips and clothing etc that needs to be paid for why shouldn't it have to be paid back! Thanks for any advice.

Our Response:
You could try but it's likely that the courts would allow your ex to pay it back in instalments just as the CMS are doing. It might be worth having a word with a solicitor though.
LawAndParents - 15-May-17 @ 11:11 AM
Can't find it on any web pages csa are saying no
Cally - 11-May-17 @ 6:11 PM
I pay maintenance to my daughter in Australia through a court order as I had to attend a court in the uk which was on behalf of Australia court I also have two children who I pay maintenance for in the uk I also have 3 children whom Iam their step father to who live with me and their mum does the child maintenance service assess the maintenance I have to pay overseas into the calculation otherwise I will hardly have enough to pay my own bills please could someone offer advice
Cally - 11-May-17 @ 6:06 PM
Biggles - Your Question:
My daughter has turned 18 and finishing her A-levels this term. she now wants to go on and do a level 2 course at college next year do I still have to pay maintenance

Our Response:
Not usually. Maitenance is only payable until a child completes the first (A level or equivalent) qualification.
LawAndParents - 4-May-17 @ 2:29 PM
My daughter has turned 18 and finishing her A-levels this term. she now wants to go on and do a level 2 course at college next year do I still have to pay maintenance
Biggles - 4-May-17 @ 8:06 AM
We were together 17years did not marry and have 3 children. Jointly owned mortgaged house. We split in 2014. I have never received any money and pay the mortgage on my own. I have seen a solicitor and she tells me the house split is 50/50 for a hetrosexual couple. If we were a same sex couple I would have more rights and get better split of the house profits. How can this be. I know he is self employed pays no tax etc, receives no benefits, I cannot get any child support. Why can I not have a better split of the house profits as he has never paid towards the children and is never likely too.
GJB - 26-Apr-17 @ 7:49 PM
I lost a court case to my ex-wife who took our children to Australia on a 4 year consent order. 6 years later she has split with her then partner and now asking me for child support although I don't see them anymore. Given she has broken a court order by not returning, can she now ask for financial support from me even though I have never been to Australia? Seems very unfair to me? FYI I always paid my maintenance here in the UK and gave her the house which is currently rented and providing an income. Thank you in advance
DaddyB - 22-Apr-17 @ 11:55 AM
Jones2008 - Your Question:
My ex partner has dropped a bombshell today. He said he is not paying anymore maintance. Instead he wants to pay the amount into an account for our son when he is older. Can he do this. My partner has always supported me and my son. Paying for uniforms, trips and other things. He says my son can have the money when he's older. Can he do this ?

Our Response:
No, maintenance is supposed to cover the costs of bringing up children. Which includes contributing towards the everday living costs of the child - this obviouslyincludes accommodation, heating, food, clothes, education etc. If he refuses to pay maintenance, you may be expected to attend mediation to come to some agreement. Talk to CM Options for advice on what to do if that fails.
LawAndParents - 20-Apr-17 @ 11:57 AM
My ex partner has dropped a bombshell today. He said he is not paying anymore maintance. Instead he wants to pay the amount into an account for our son when he is older. Can he do this. My partner has always supported me and my son. Paying for uniforms, trips and other things. He says my son can have the money when he's older. Can he do this ?
Jones2008 - 17-Apr-17 @ 6:33 PM
Jas - Your Question:
Does the CSA take into account all your outgoings a parent is paying as I'm being crippled with child benefit amounts. I'm also fighting custody for my two daughters the last 2yrs and have also been paying supervised contact payments every 2wks to see my youngest as the oldest being 10 has been poisoned by her mother. With my bills, food and mortgage payments and accumilated debt she has left me with it is all but impossible to survive. Please tell me all this is taken into account.

Our Response:
The things that are taken account of are: whether you're receiving any benefits, how many children you have, if you have any other children, what your income is and how often you have the children in your care.
LawAndParents - 30-Mar-17 @ 2:31 PM
Does the CSA take into account all your outgoings a parent is paying as I'm being crippled with child benefit amounts. I'm also fighting custody for my two daughters the last 2yrs and have also been paying supervised contact payments every 2wks to see my youngest as the oldest being 10 has been poisoned by her mother. With my bills, food and mortgage payments and accumilated debt she has left me with it is all but impossible to survive. Please tell me all this is taken into account.
Jas - 29-Mar-17 @ 7:12 PM
Hi my daughter is nearly 10 her dad had a accident 4 years ago at work and stopped paying he always said once he got his claim through he would bak pay me, ive dropped our daughter off pick her up from his done all the running about as he couldnt drive cos of his hand hes just had a pay out of nearly 250,000 and paid me 2,700 what a joke this was up till jan 2017 now ive asked him for payments he said he can only afford 10.00 per month he only has our daughter 3 hrs afterschool on a wednesday which i drop and pick her up then overnight 1pm saturdaytill 1pm sunday every 2 weeks then the week after its sunday 1 till 6 again dropping her and picking her up i work he doesnt im paying for child care whilst hes not doing anything? What can i do just to add hes since had a baby bought a car house and getting married in april your help will be greatly appeciated
Rr - 6-Mar-17 @ 8:20 PM
Hi! Is it possible to get my husband to pay child support despite us still being together and leaving together? I'm a full time mum and I've never had financial freedom, my husband controls the money and doesn't give me or the kids pocket money. He gives as and when he feels suitable and it's never enough.
Sandy - 6-Mar-17 @ 6:50 PM
Hi,I have a son who is 11years old.his father is a police officer.every time I want money to buy my sons school uniform or food,or anything I ask for my son he said he will help.bt knowing very we'll tht he will not do tht.I went to maintenance court in 2008 nd the court tell him to pay R500each month.first time he paid the money forsome few months tht 500 he was demanded to pay nd tht same he use to 350 or 450.nd I didn't complain to him abt y he give me half money coz he suppose to give 500.so his started to give me some stories nd some month he didn't send de money,some he did nd he in 2011 he pays for only 4months in de year for de whole yr.as well as 2012.worse thing he doesn't come nd tell me y he didn't pay or make me understand y.since from de he gave me problems. 2012 he pays 7 months nd 13 he pays 3months.2014he pays 4months.2015 1month,2016 2 months nd nothing for 2017.plz plz help me.what should I do
Nono - 20-Feb-17 @ 6:12 PM
Hello. I have 3 children & my eldest moved out the last week of one month ( he has ODD so he can be difficult).My ex refuses to pay that month for him as he was here for 21 days of the month not the full month. Please advise if he's within his rights. He pays only child support since they started high school (nothing for clothes shoes etc which he is to supply those things when they're there so very little).
Kjw - 6-Feb-17 @ 11:42 PM
Hi, I am a mum of a 3 (nearly 4 year old) girl. I work full time and she goes to full time nursery. The only benefit I get is help towards the nursery fees, nothing else. My childs father doesn't work. There is no reason for him not to work. He is a young healthy man. He was working on and off but now since months before christmas he doesn't. He lives with his mother and claims he has no income. He sees the child 2 nights per week. He does not support her financially at all. I do not get anything from him. Like I said he is claiming he has no income and as far as I know he doesn't work. But what I do know is that he is always out with his friends, he has a car that he is able to run, he smokes a lot and he is able to buy cigaretts, he has a mbile phone he has to pay for, he is also able to buy new clothes and shoes in which I see him in when he comes to collect his daughter. He is not claiming jobseekers allowance. My question is - how do I find out where is he getting the money from. He clearly has enough money to lead a good carefree life without having to pay anything towards his child. I suggested e sees her more so that I could reduce her nursery hours and pay less - afterall he sits at home all day everyday. But he did not agree. I am so fed up and frustrated with the whole situaution and the fact he can just get away with it. Any suggestions?
Confused - 23-Jan-17 @ 2:47 PM
I have been receiving regular payments from my ex husband for our son for the 14 year or so but he has never increased this value over this time period although the cost of living has clearly increased.The amount agreed was on the divorce agreement so he says that what was agreed so that is what he has paid.Surely this cannot be correct?Do I have grounds to force him to backpay an increased value at all?
Bel - 23-Jan-17 @ 12:18 PM
Hello, my ex of our now 16 year old child paid on off and now has figured a way of not declaring any income nor claiming benefits. I have no knowledge of his whereabouts or life standard for years but he always strived as a self employed petrol pump owner. What can I do to find any details? I've no money for private detective. CSA put trace on him through hmrc since July 2016 with no return of information What can I do?
Elein - 19-Jan-17 @ 4:50 PM
My ex is paying an amount throughcsa, however 6 months ago he stopped seeing the kids therefore payments should have been recalculated as l informed them. At the same time l put in a variation order inas he has 2 properties on rent and csa rules state if his capital is over £65000 then it counts as some sort of income. The confusing part is that both propertiesare in joint names however we have a court agreement that states he is the sole owner of both properties.He wasn'table to transfer mortgage into his sole name hence court agreement. Its been 7months since l made the application and l feel as if l have been fobbedoff every time I call. Can l take this to court for the arrearsas well
Li - 6-Jan-17 @ 12:18 PM
Jce - Your Question:
My ex partner has decided to go on holiday for 3 weeks (without our child) to Australia and is adamant that he doesn't have to pay me child maintenance while he is away as he won't be earning money (he's self employed). Is this right? I am under the assumption that if he can afford to go on an expensive holiday he should still be paying me money for his child as he won't be having her for 3 weeks.

Our Response:
Child maintenance is usually calculated using annual earnings (from the self assessment form) sohe should continue to pay.
LawAndParents - 24-Nov-16 @ 2:31 PM
My ex partner has decided to go on holiday for 3 weeks (without our child) to Australia and is adamant that he doesn't have to pay me child maintenance while he is away as he won't be earning money (he's self employed). Is this right? I am under the assumption that if he can afford togo on an expensive holiday he should still be paying me money for his child as he won't be having her for 3 weeks.
Jce - 23-Nov-16 @ 10:24 PM
I have been paying CSA for 10 years to my ex for our son and she also drew up an agreement stating that I have to pay extra outside of the CSA for stuff like school meals and extra curricular activities like football practice. This agreement is not legal or anything it was just written by her and she told me if I don't pay she will keep my son away from me. 10 years on I just can't afford to pay CSA (which is usually around £350 pm) on top of the extra amount (which is always £200 plus pm) I just want to know if she has any rights to take my access away from me if I stop paying the extra cash to her - I just can't afford it anymore but I'm so scared that she will take my boy away! Does anyone have any advice or know if she can take him away if I am still happy to pay the CSA?
JJ - 7-Nov-16 @ 10:46 PM
Confused - Your Question:
Does my partner legally need to pay csa to his ex for his daughter if he is no longer working but I am

Our Response:
He should use the Child Maintenance Calculator to establish how much he'd be required to pay. Sometimes household income is taken into account, sometimes flat rate of £5 is taken if a person is on certain benefits, like ESA etc.
LawAndParents - 13-Sep-16 @ 12:16 PM
Does my partner legally need to pay csa to his ex for his daughter if he is no longer working but i am
Confused - 11-Sep-16 @ 7:33 PM
Hi, I am contacting on behalf of my friend, she has split from her partner 3 years ago, he was suppose to be paying money from his benefits but she received nothing, then ahe found out he was working and claiming so after a couple of years trying to get this sorted and numerous calls to csa she has been getting no where, so now I have been chasing it for her where now she is told that she is due nothing even tho he is back to work but states he is unemployed, we have contacted thw fraud squad, but its so frustrating for her. Where can we go from here
Lawzie - 8-Sep-16 @ 9:15 PM
KA - Your Question:
I had a family based child maintenance arrangement set up with my ex. He was supposed to pay £200 per month (standing order through the bank) for our two children, contribute towards uniform and school trips and after school activities and have them every other weekend. He paid the money and had them every other weekend till about 3 years ago. In 2014 he stopped paying the £200 also without informing me. Once I realised I contacted him and he informed me it was due to a change of job and it would continue once he had got his first pay. It never did. I contacted him and few times after that with no joy resulting in him now not awnsering my calls or texts, he hardly has the children but when he does he picks them up when he knows Im working and drops them then shoots off before I get out to speak with him. I have now contacted the CSA for future payments. However I would like to know if I can take him to the small claims court for the missed payments from August 2014 to this month?

Our Response:
You could try the small claims courts. The CSA will not be able to claim back the arrears as they can only do this from the date of the first CSA claim.
LawAndParents - 17-Aug-16 @ 1:43 PM
I had a family based child maintenance arrangement set up with my ex. He was supposed to pay £200 per month (standing order through the bank) for our two children, contribute towards uniform and school trips and after school activities and have them every other weekend. He paid the money and had them every other weekend till about 3 years ago. In 2014 he stopped paying the £200 also without informing me. Once I realised I contacted him and he informed me it was due to a change of job and it would continue once he had got his first pay. It never did. I contacted him and few times after that with no joy resulting in him now not awnsering my calls or texts, he hardly has the children but when he does he picks them up when he knows Im working and drops them then shoots off before I get out to speak with him. I have now contacted the CSA for future payments. However I would like to know if I can take him to the small claims court for the missed payments from August 2014 to this month?
KA - 16-Aug-16 @ 10:08 PM
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