Child Maintenance is regular financial support to assist with a child’s everyday living costs. It is paid to the parent the child lives with (referred to as the ‘receiving parent’) by the parent without the main day to day care of the child (known as the ‘paying parent’).
Both parents are responsible for the costs of raising their children, even if they do not see them. Child Maintenance should not be linked to the arrangements for a child – these are separate issues.
How is Child Maintenance Calculated?
Child Maintenance is calculated using a formula set by the Child Maintenance Service, ‘CMS’ (previously known as the Child Support Agency).
It is based on a percentage of the paying parent’s gross income, less contributions towards their pension. However, there are various factors that are taken into account when calculating the child maintenance payment and the amount may be reduced if the children stay overnight with the paying parent.
Sorting it out yourselves
In many cases child maintenance can be agreed directly between parents and you can use the online calculator free of charge to calculate the amount payable based on your circumstances.
However, where this is not possible, our experienced family lawyers can help you try to reach a tailored and bespoke agreement with the other parent. Every family is different and therefore we will be able to advise you what is appropriate in your circumstances.
Applying to the Child Maintenance Service
If you cannot agree or there are difficulties agreeing the amount payable, you can apply to the CMS to ask them to calculate the appropriate amount based on your circumstances. You will need to complete an application and pay a fee of £20.00. The CMS will then contact the other parent to get information about their circumstances to enable them to calculate the maintenance payable.
How do I receive the payments?
After the CMS has calculated the amount payable, you can agree between yourselves how and when the money will be paid. It is always preferable to set up a standing order to keep a track of the payments and have a record if things go wrong.
Alternatively, you can use the ‘collect and pay’ service, where the CMS will collect the money from the paying parent and pay it to the receiving parent – however, there are charges for using this service. It is mainly used where there are concerns the non-resident parent will not pay.
If you need help agreeing child maintenance, contact our family law team for advice.
We have the knowledge and expertise to work with you to find the best possible way forward
Free Legal Appointment
Our Family Department offers a free 30 minute appointment to all clients.
At that appointment we will discuss and review your circumstances and give you preliminary legal advice.
We will also review with you, in general terms, your options in respect of the divorce, finances or children matters and also provide a cost estimate.
The 30 minute appointment will be free of charge and there will be no obligation for you to use our services.
Please telephone the following contact numbers to arrange an appointment:
Eastbourne 01323 727321
Hailsham 01323 841481
Polegate 01323 487051
Meads 01323 407577
Alternatively, please complete the contact form below.
We will maintain complete confidentiality and discretion at all times.
Please note the above is for information purposes only and is intended to be a short summary. It should not be treated as a comprehensive guide and should not be acted on without qualified legal advice.
Further Legal Information
Click on the links below for further information on the following areas: