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

Paying Maintenance or Child Support

By: Angela Armes - Updated: 27 Mar 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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Mugbyname - Your Question:
I have 4 children 2 of these lives with there Mother’s I pay a voluntary payment each month both kids have nothing to do with me although I pay there mobile phone bills and get no response from either. One is 17 and the other is 13 I pay over the odds already for what I earn but I keep getting asked by the14 year olds mum for half the school bus pass ( note he lives 8hrs away from me) every term and I also pay for music lessons that supposedly happens every Saturday! Do I have to cave in and say yes I’ll pay when I really know I can’t afford to but I do as it’s got my kids that I would desperately like to spend time with but it’s my other two at home that miss out on bits because one of the mothers want more every time what rights do I have on this please

Our Response:
This is entirely up to you to agree with the mother. The law only says that you should pay child maintenance, you can calculate what you should be paying, using the child maintenance calculator
LawAndParents - 28-Mar-18 @ 3:05 PM
Dusty - Your Question:
My wife and I separated 2 years ago and she contacted the CMS but we reached an agreement of a monthly amount £160 and it has been paid without fail since that day and I also collect the children from school 3days a week and have them every other weekend and that has not stopped unless she stops it as she has in the last 5 days. I am also paying £200 per month on an extension we got at our family home. Today I received a letter from CMS and they are requesting I now pay £240 per month.Can this be done as I have not in any way broken our agreement and simply cannot afford what is being asked. All of this has come about since she was reported to the police for an attack carried out Monday evening.

Our Response:
If you ex chooses to use the CMS route instead of your agreement she can do, but make sure they are aware of the amount of time you spend with the children etc. You will have to talk to your ex about the amount you are spending on the original family home. TheChild Maintenance Calculator might help you.
LawAndParents - 27-Mar-18 @ 12:47 PM
I have 4 children 2 of these lives with there Mother’s I pay a voluntary payment each month both kids have nothing to do with me although I pay there mobile phone bills and get no response from either. One is 17 and the other is 13 I pay over the odds already for what I earn but I keep getting asked by the14 year olds mum for half the school bus pass ( note he lives 8hrs away from me) every term and I also pay for music lessons that supposedly happens every Saturday! Do I have to cave in and say yes I’ll pay when I really know I can’t afford to but I do as it’s got my kids that I would desperately like to spend time with but it’s my other two at home that miss out on bits because one of the mothers want more every time what rights do I have on this please
Mugbyname - 27-Mar-18 @ 8:59 AM
My wife and I separated 2 years ago and she contacted the CMS but we reached an agreement of a monthly amount £160 and it has been paid without fail since that day and i also collect the children from school 3days a week and have them every other weekend and that has not stopped unless she stops it as she has in the last 5 days. I am also paying £200 per month on an extension we got at our family home. Today i received a letter from CMS and they are requesting I now pay £240 per month. Can this be done as i have not in any way broken our agreement and simply cannot afford what is being asked. All of this has come about since she was reported to the police for an attack carried out Monday evening.
Dusty - 24-Mar-18 @ 9:59 PM
Daddycool - Your Question:
HiI have been paying maintainance as worked out and agreed by the child maintainance calculator for 2 years now as well as extras for school trips etc, my ex now wants more and more money and is threatening to take it to the CSA. If I am paying what I should be (and helping out / paying a lot more on top for extras) what can they do??

Our Response:
CSA is now CMS, they cannot take more from you just because the other parent demands it. They will calculate the maintenance payable on same basis as the online child maintenance calculator.
LawAndParents - 21-Mar-18 @ 12:32 PM
Hi I have been paying maintainance as worked out and agreed by the child maintainance calculator for 2 years now as well as extras for school trips etc, my ex now wants more and more money and is threatening to take it to the CSA. If I am paying what I should be (and helping out / paying a lot more on top for extras) what can they do??
Daddycool - 19-Mar-18 @ 5:31 PM
Lisa - Your Question:
My ex husband has just been diagnosed with MS and is going through an assessment to see if he is fit to work will he still pay maintainance if he can’t work?

Our Response:
Maintenance is usually based on income, so it depends what other means of income he has. The child maintenance calculator may help you.
LawAndParents - 13-Mar-18 @ 12:39 PM
I divorced and escaped my violent ex wife 10 years ago after a long (2 year) court battle to keep my 3 boys safe. Finally the court ruled in my favour, giving full custody of my children to me. Since then I have received a total of £65 'maintenance' for the 3 of them. (And not each kid!) My ex has always found a way to avoid paying,whether it's not officially working or handing all of her own benefits to her husband (signing them over to him). She only sees the kids once every 2 months, for 2 nights!! The system is floored and an utter disgrace. It's not that I want her money, but I feel the boys have been cheated in some way.
Davey - 10-Mar-18 @ 2:43 PM
My ex husband has just been diagnosed with MS and is going through an assessment to see if he is fit to work will he still pay maintainance if he can’t work?
Lisa - 10-Mar-18 @ 2:11 PM
Right where do I begin? In feb 2016 my son was born and since his birth me and my ex partner made a mutual agreement for me to pay her £40 a week, in Dec 2016 I was attacked by her and had to call the police, I still paid her the £40 a week after the attack but she insisted if I wanted to see my son again I had to go through the family court system. So In feb 2017 I seeked legal advise from my local solicitor and I was working at the time so this was not a free service. With no compliance from my ex partner we had to go to the next step of mediation which again she didn’t want to comply with. This meant I had to file a c100 form to the court which cost me another £215. With having to spend money to seek legal advice my finances were hard to keep up with and therefore stopped her payments in July 2017. In October 2017 she made an application to csa. The court case ended on 9th feb 2018 and the court gave me no contact with my son. 2 weeks later she lost her job with her company going into liquidation. A week after I had csa on the phone telling me I owed £863 because I never paid her £51.33 from the dates starting from Dec 15th 2017- 12th January 2018. How can she treat me like this. Most women see the fathers as just a pay cheque and this isn’t fair when she originally stopped the contact after attacking me in Dec 2016. I lost my job on the 3rd jan2018 and have been out of work since and now not earning any income now at all until I can find work again. On his 1st bday in 2017 I was not allowed to see him but my mom was so she took over his gifts for me which were clothed related, she refused these from my mom and said she wanted nothing from me. So I have lots of brand new clothes sitting at my house that His never been able to wear. I give up with the girl!!
Potter - 7-Mar-18 @ 4:26 PM
lol lou - Your Question:
We split up 5 years ago he only started paying 2 years ago.he gives me 100 a month and has no other children and is currently earning over 25.000 a year, sometimes he makes me wait a week or 2 weeks if I ask for it he gets nasty and says he will pay it when he's ready not when I ask for it, am fed up of asking him now he loves been in control is there anything I can do??

Our Response:
You can make an application to have the maintenance collected via the Child Maintenance Service. Take a look at CM Options for more information.
LawAndParents - 6-Mar-18 @ 11:37 AM
Anne - Your Question:
Hi my ex and I have been separated for 7 years and I recently asked if he could have his 2 children for a week in the summer holidays and his reply was he'd have to see about annual leave and he also said he's not paying child maintenance for that month if he has to look after them for a week can he do that if we have a personal arrangement thanks

Our Response:
If you have a personal arrangement then you would usually have arrangements related to contact as well. The usual procedure if both parents work is to share school holidays etc. Maintenance usually only changes if there is an arrangement for 50/50 shared care in place and will sometimes also depend on each parties' income. If you can't agree on this, you should try mediation.
LawAndParents - 5-Mar-18 @ 3:40 PM
Hi my ex and I have been separated for 7 years and I recently asked if he could have his 2 children for a week in the summer holidays and his reply was he'd have to see about annual leave and he also said he's not paying child maintenance for that month if he has to look after them for a week can he do that if we have a personal arrangement thanks
Anne - 4-Mar-18 @ 5:41 AM
we split up 5 years ago he only started paying 2 years ago.he gives me 100 a month and has no other children and is currently earning over 25.000 a year, sometimes he makes me wait a week or 2 weeks if i ask for it he gets nasty and says he will pay it when he's ready not when I ask for it, am fed up of asking him now he loves been in control is there anything i can do??
lol lou - 3-Mar-18 @ 4:23 PM
Hi, my ex has quit/lost job 4 times in the last 6 months. The last time was the end of December and he had another job within a week but he claimed benefits too (he told me this). This caught up with him and after reducing my payments from 210 per month to around £7 a week they have now gone up to 310 per month which includes arrears of 327 spread over 8 months. When he was ‘on benefits’ he paid 120 for the monthrather than the £7 per wk, so has decided he will only pay 220 this month. I’ve tried to explain to CMS the arrears are as he wasn’t out of work but they didn’t understand and said he has over paid for this month and last. By paying 220. I don’t want to the arrears spread over 8 months and he can’t afford 310 and said he will quit and not pay it. So I am now 100 behind for the last 2 months due to his lies and I’m on a short budget as it is. He has her hardly ever and was rained off work during half term and I didn’t even get a call to say hi to her. It’s so difficult to budget when you get not even a weeks notice sometimes of a change to the payments, why is this never considered?
JB - 3-Mar-18 @ 12:46 PM
I applied for child support of my ex November. He never replied to any letter or phone call of your. You worked out he should paid me £116 a month but because he was ignoring the letters your did a deduction of earnings but of course this took mouths. My first payment should have been the 19th of Jan and the week it was due (after waiting ages) he quit his job! he's still not replied to any phone call letter so where do I stand with this please? Iv paid £20 for this and he's kit paid a penny since our child was born
Te - 19-Feb-18 @ 11:57 PM
my son is just turning 18 is in collage partime and wondering when i should stop payments? he did come out of collage for a little while he changed courses.
sargy - 19-Feb-18 @ 3:46 PM
Hola90 - Your Question:
Divorced for 3 years and have always had money paid from ex, even though it has gone down over the years and at its lowest now (due to him having another child). Would this be seen to cover paying into the mortgage too as he has recently stopped this extra money and I'm struggling to afford the payments on my own. I've looked into taking mortgage on myself and at this time this isn't an option. Is he legally obliged to pay into this (his name is still on mortgage) due to his 2 children living here? I mean aside from the maintenance payments (which barely pay for bills?!) thanks in advance

Our Response:
Arrangements are usually made as part of a divorce settlement and maintenance but if you feel you are not receiving enough you can renegotiate using a mediation service. If that fails, the courts can decide.
LawAndParents - 16-Feb-18 @ 10:57 AM
ridmeister- Your Question:
I have been paying Child Maintenance for my 16 year old daughter through a family arrangement after the CSA closed our case last April. I pay £250 per month to my ex via bank transfer. My daughter was going to college but I had heard that she has left and is now in paid employment. I have just ceased payments and have emailed my ex asking her to confirm my daughters attendance at college. Am I entitled to hold back payment and even seek money back from my ex if I have paid when my daughter was not in full time education.

Our Response:
You should establish whether your daughter has indeed finished full time education before stopping payments really. You should be entitled to claim the money back from your ex for the weeks when the maintenance wasn't payable. It's worth checking how much your daughter is earning, or whether she's on an apprenticeship as the mother will still need to pay heating, accommodation, food bills etc.
LawAndParents - 14-Feb-18 @ 3:39 PM
I have been paying Child Maintenance for my 16 year old daughter through a family arrangement after the CSA closed our case last April. I pay £250 per month to my ex via bank transfer. My daughter was going to college but I had heard that she has left and is now in paid employment. I have just ceased payments and have emailed my ex asking her to confirm my daughters attendance at college. Am I entitled to hold back payment and even seek money back from my ex if I have paid when my daughter was not in full time education.
ridmeister - 14-Feb-18 @ 9:50 AM
Divorced for 3 years and have always had money paid from ex, even though it has gone down over the years and at its lowest now (due to him having another child). Would this be seen to cover paying into the mortgage too as he has recently stopped this extra money and I'm struggling to afford the payments on my own. I've looked into taking mortgage on myself and at this time this isn't an option. Is he legally obliged to pay into this (his name is still on mortgage) due to his 2 children living here? I mean aside from the maintenance payments (which barely pay for bills?!) thanks in advance
Hola90 - 13-Feb-18 @ 8:05 PM
Tmelody - Your Question:
Advice welcomed please.My Ex husband and I made an agreed arrangement for Maintenance payments 5 years ago. I am now living with a new partner (along with my Son) and we have a 7 month old but we are not married. My Ex sees my son weekly but never has him overnight. He has now asked to reduce his payments based on the fact that my partner is “contributing to household costs”. Am I in a difficult position if I challenge this, (based on recent acknowledgements made by the court of law (Grey and Grey)) and should I be expected to accept the reduction? It’s a mine-field! Many thanks.

Our Response:
He is entitled to ask you to reduce the maintenance paid on the basis that someone else is now contributing to your living costs. But you don't necessarily have to agree. You should seek help from a mediator or failing that, the courts in order to come to some agreement.
LawAndParents - 12-Feb-18 @ 9:48 AM
Advice welcomed please. My Ex husband and I made an agreed arrangement for Maintenance payments 5 years ago. I am now living with a new partner (along with my Son) and we have a 7 month old but we are not married. My Ex sees my son weekly but never has him overnight. He has now asked to reduce his payments based on the fact that my partner is “contributing to household costs”. Am I in a difficult position if I challenge this, (based on recent acknowledgements made by the court of law (Grey and Grey)) and should I be expected to accept the reduction? It’s a mine-field! Many thanks.
Tmelody - 9-Feb-18 @ 4:24 AM
Steve - Your Question:
I have been paying my ex regularly for my son as we have an agreement in place where I pay her a certain amount and the rest gets paid out for a joint loan and a phone contract. I have agreed to put the money she gets up when the contract ends and the final bill paid is paid. She was wrongly under the impression that it would go up on th 28th of last month but as the bill wasn't paid until the 1st of feb it was due to go up the 28th of this month. But she is already threatening me to go to the CSA. the problem is if goes to them they wont take into account the money for the joint loan we have and it will be a nightmare to get it off her so what can I do?

Our Response:
The CSA no longer exists, it would have to be the CMS (which charges for the service it provides). We don't know whether a joint loan would be taken into consideration in their calculations.
LawAndParents - 6-Feb-18 @ 12:40 PM
Jon - Your Question:
I am after advise I have got a agreement for a amount for my 18 Yr old daughter which I pay her I have proof that I pay her now her Mom is moaning she wants csa to deal with as she wants me to pay her instead of my daughter am I wrong for making the payment to my daughter.

Our Response:
Payments for children still in full time education are usually made to the parent with the majority care.
LawAndParents - 5-Feb-18 @ 11:46 AM
I have been paying my ex regularly for my son as we have an agreement in place where i pay her a certain amount and the rest gets paid out for a joint loan and a phone contract.I have agreed to put the money she gets up when the contract ends and the final bill paid is paid. She was wrongly under the impression that it would go up on th 28th of last month but as the bill wasn't paid until the 1st of feb it was due to go up the 28th of this month. But she is already threatening me to go to the CSA.the problem is if goes to them they wont take into account the money for the joint loan we have and it will be a nightmare to get it off her so what can i do?
Steve - 5-Feb-18 @ 11:39 AM
I am after advise I have got a agreement for a amount for my 18 Yr old daughter which I pay her I have proof that I pay her now her Mom is moaning she wants csa to deal with as she wants me to pay her instead of my daughter am I wrong for making the payment to my daughter.
Jon - 2-Feb-18 @ 4:09 PM
Flowerlilly22 - Your Question:
My ex husband has been particularly vile lately and has decided to stop my child maintenance payments out of pure spite. Will the CSA be able to get involved as previously the arrangent has always been between ourselves.

Our Response:
You can refer a case to the CMS, but note that there is a charge for doing it this way.
LawAndParents - 2-Feb-18 @ 3:16 PM
My ex husband has been particularly vile lately and has decided to stop my child maintenance payments out of pure spite. Will the CSA be able to get involved as previously the arrangent has always been between ourselves...
Flowerlilly22 - 1-Feb-18 @ 7:12 PM
Mother of 6- Your Question:
Hi my son is 18 and in college and as a part time job he as a baby and his girlfriend wants £120 off him every week and she don’t let him take the baby at all he can only see the baby if he goes to her house what can he do

Our Response:
If the girlfriend will not allow him to see the child, he may have to consider a mediation service or court application. While he may have to maintenance, this should not relate to seeing the child in anyway and £120 per week is too much. Check the Child Maintenance Calculator to see how much the CMS say he should pay.
LawAndParents - 30-Jan-18 @ 3:41 PM
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