Child maintenance is the payment of money by one parent to the other for the benefit of the child or children. Wherever possible, it is preferable for parents to agree the amount of maintenance to be paid, which is known as a family-based arrangement. If there is a dispute, an application can be made to the Child Maintenance Service who will calculate the amount of maintenance to be paid and who can arrange for collection of funds.

The Child Maintenance Service calculator helps parents to agree the appropriate amount to be paid. You can calculate how much maintenance you should be paying or receiving here. A number of factors are taken into account in the calculation, including how many overnight stays the child has with the paying parent and whether the paying parent has other children for whom they are financially responsible. For more information about child maintenance, visit the Child Maintenance Options website.

There are only limited circumstances where the court becomes involved in child maintenance. They may do so where the payer lives abroad or where the payer’s income is above a certain level. In cases of high earners the court can order additional maintenance to be paid to top up what is due under a Child Maintenance Service assessment.

1. I’ve received an assessment from the Child Maintenance Service but my ex-partner isn’t paying me. What can I do?

You will need to contact the Child Maintenance Service to inform them of the non-payment. The Child Maintenance Service will contact the paying parent to set up an arrangement to collect payments and can enforce this if needed.

If the Collect & Pay Service is used, both the payer and payee will be charged to use the service which reduces the amount available to spend on the child. It is therefore important to be sensible and child focussed in your approach to child maintenance.

2. When does child maintenance stop being paid?

Child Maintenance must be paid until the child reaches the age of 16 or 20 if the child is in full-time secondary education. If you have a family-based arrangement, you may agree that child maintenance should be paid for a longer period.

3. Will I have to contact my ex-partner about child maintenance?

Where possible, communication between parties about child maintenance is positive. However, if you do not want to speak to your ex-partner, the Child Maintenance Service is able to arrange for the assessment and payments to be taken.

"Howes Percival LLP is ‘friendly and approachable, yet highly professional’."
- Legal 500

Get in touch

To contact us, please fill out this form and we will get back in touch as soon as possible. Your personal data will be processed in accordance with our privacy policy which can be found here.

Speak to one of our family lawyers about a free initial consultation
Legal insights
Related articles
Parents fighting infront of upset child
Summer Holidays and Separated Parents

Summer holidays are usually an exciting, if not a busy time for families. Children are looking forward…

Wedding Rings
I do, I do, I do, I do, I do

So says the ABBA song and as we hit wedding season, so will many brides and grooms. A number of them…

View more related articles Click Here