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.