We answer your Child Maintenance questions…

You are Here:

Child Maintenance

We are now some time on since the reforms were introduced regarding child maintenance and so it feels like an appropriate time to reflect upon this and look at some of the questions we are asked by families on a regular basis.

What’s the formula that is used for calculating child maintenance?

The formula used by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to calculate the level of child maintenance that should be paid is based upon a percentage of the paying parent’s gross income. However, there are so many variables as to precisely how this is calculated that the reality is that it is not time efficient to perform a manual calculation. Add to this the risk of missing one of these variables when performing a manual calculation, and it is generally far safer (not to mention easier) to use an online calculator to work out the amount that is payable.

My colleague, Alan Larkin, has created an online child maintenance calculator to make the process far easier.

The benefit of using this calculator is that it demonstrates the data which has been used when performing the calculation so that this can be shared with the other parent and they can satisfy themselves that the information which has been used is accurate.

Does child maintenance increase over time?

Whether child maintenance will increase over time will depend upon the paying parent?s income and their circumstances. If their income increases, then it is likely that they will have to pay more child maintenance. Equally, if their income decreases then it is likely that they will have to pay less child maintenance.

Furthermore, if circumstances change then that may also have an impact. For example, if the child starts staying overnight with the paying parent or the number of nights which they stay with the paying parent increases then that is also likely to affect the level of child maintenance that is due.

How do benefits affect child maintenance?

If you are the parent who is receiving child maintenance, then the fact that you are receiving benefits would not normally affect the amount of child maintenance that is payable.

If you are the paying parent and you are in receipt of benefits, then this may affect the amount of child maintenance that you are required to pay. Our online calculator provides an option for you to indicate what benefits you are receiving.

The paying party lives abroad, what do I do?

Generally speaking, if the paying parent lives abroad then a claim for child maintenance would need to be brought through the court rather than through the Child Maintenance Service. However, there are exceptions to this such as if the paying parent is a civil servant, works in Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service, is a member of the Armed Forces, works for a company that is based and registered in the UK or is working on secondment for a prescribed body such as a regional health authority or local authority.

What happens if the paying parent is made redundant?

If the paying parent is made redundant and they are paying child maintenance through the CMS then they should contact the CMS with evidence of their redundancy and ask to be reassessed.

When does child maintenance end?

As with almost all areas of family law, the devil is in the detail and the specific circumstances of each case can affect when child maintenance will end. It is impossible to outline all of the circumstances in this blog, however the following two situations are generally the most common:

Child maintenance payments are payable if a child:

  1. is under the age of 16;
  2. is under the age of 20 and in full time non-advanced education or approved training e.g. A-Levels but not a degree.

How are the payments made?

The preference of the CMS is for parents to agree the level of child maintenance between themselves without the formal involvement of the CMS if possible. However, there are occasions where parents are unable to agree the level of child maintenance that is applicable. In those circumstances it is possible to ask the CMS to carryout the calculation but the parents are then free, if they wish, to agree that the CMS does not need to be involved in the actual collection and payment of the child maintenance itself.

In the event that the CMS is involved in collecting and paying the child maintenance, the paying parent will pay an additional 20% collection fee on top of the calculated level of child maintenance and the receiving parent will have 4% deducted from the amount that they would otherwise have received.

For couples who are going through a divorce or dissolution and looking to resolve their financial arrangements, child maintenance is one of many aspects that need to be considered. Child maintenance can be a complex issue but there are tools to make the calculation and process easier.

You can use our online tool to help you work out the rate of child maintenance payable. If you have queries about child maintenance and any of the following apply then please contact us for assistance:

  • the paying parent lives abroad and is not: a paid a civil servant, working in Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service, a member of the Armed Forces, working for a company that is based and registered in the UK or working on secondment for a prescribed body such as a regional health authority or local authority.
  • the paying parent’s income exceeds £156,000 gross per annum.
  • you have a court order in place that is less than 12 months old governing the amount of child maintenance payable.

If none of the above applies to your situation and you have any queries about child maintenance you should in the first instance contact the Child Maintenance Service.

107 responses on “We answer your Child Maintenance questions…

  1. Hi. If a parent pays direct to pwc but she wont release info on education status how can this info be obtained?
    Maintenance is paid direct to pwc. No contact with children and their whereabouts is unknow.
    Children are 19 and 18 so expecting payments to stop soon but dont knie when.

    1. Thank you for your comment Steve. The payment of child maintenance is unconnected to obtaining information about your children. In view of your children’s ages they are classed as adults and therefore your ability to make an application to the court regarding them is no longer possible. You will therefore need to look at alternative solutions to try to contact your adult children. You may wish to seek assistance from a tracing agent for example.

  2. Hello. I’m a parent receiving payments but know that my ex partners job has changed within the last year. Who do I contact to see what I should be getting to get this reevaluated. He pays the minimum amount from his income. Is this done through HMRC or elsewhere? This ins’t information he will disclose? Does he also have the right to have my income reevaluated. We are both working parents but I feel that I pay more towards the children monthly than he contributes and feel this is unfair.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Katie. If your ex partner is not willing to disclose his updated income voluntarily, and assuming he is resident in the UK or working for a British organisation abroad, then the CMS are able to look at the information that has been filed with HMRC. However, the difficulty with this is that any assessment is based upon information that is one year out of date. I would suggest you contact the CMS to advise them of the change in circumstances. You may also find this calculator helpful. In relation to your income, the Child Maintenance calculation is not based upon your income and so this would not normally be taken into account.

  3. My ex partner has a child who is i6 and lives in Australia and he is saying that he has to pay until she is 18 because she is in education and cms is saying that that is true if him and the mother have an agreement is this true

    1. Dear Emma

      Thank you for your comment. Much depends upon the individual circumstances of the case and from the information you have provided it appears your situation is very complex. There are specific rules which will impact on any assessment for child maintenance e.g. where the parents and child live, where any agreement or assessment was dealt with originally etc. I therefore cannot provide you with any advice without understanding more about your situation. What I can say is that child support where all parties live in the UK is payable until the child reaches 16, or 20 if they are in full time education up to A-level or equivalent such as an apprenticeship or training. I do not know if this is the case where the child lives in Australia but you may find this link helpful which contains further information regarding child maintenance if one parent lives abroad.

  4. Hi,
    My ex just started working and CMS have said “that they have recalculated going off past tax year”. This only includes 2months of wages and benefits for 10months. When I queried,that when they do the Yrly review in Oct next yr,will have all 12months wages that will be a different figure than the one now using just the 2months wages and 10months benefit,putting him in arrears for next yr and will have to pay almost double payibg the arrears that will cause this from this yr. he has no idea this is what they are doing and that he will landed with arrears after our review next October, I don’t think he will manage when this happens. So will be forced to go back on benefits which will leave my child short now and his father unable to pay going ahead. He is not that smart and so will panic when he gets that and I have been unable to reach him for over 1yr so cannot warn him of this, he will likely get this new calculation based on only 2months wages. They are refusing to tell him this will be the case and refusing to ask him directly for his weekly in order to prevent the problems this will cause next year. Surely they cannot do this kind of calculation using just 2months self employed as 1yrs gross income knowing that will 100% cause arrears from this year.

    1. Thank you for your comment. My understanding is that the CMS will base its calculation upon the most recent information that they have from HMRC. This will always mean that the calculation will be based upon information which is out of date. However, unless/until the calculation is revised it will remain valid. For example if the CMS calculate that your ex-partner is due to pay ?5 per month and he pays ?5 per month then arrears will not be accruing. If next year following your ex-partner being employed for 12 months the CMS calculate he is due to pay ?10 per month then that rate will be applied going forwards but will not be backdated to the previous year. Therefore, arrears will not have accumulated. As you will appreciate the figures that I have adopted are purely illustrative purposes and are not representative of your ex-partners liability.

      My suspicion is that it is unlikely that the CMS will revisit their calculation unless you are able to satisfy them that your circumstances meet the criteria for a variation of their assessment. However, I would suggest that you speak with someone at the CMS to explain the change in your ex-partner?s income and to enquire as to whether this be an option.

      I hope this is of assistance.

  5. I currently pay ?270 per month child support through the cms to my ex wife for our 3 children.
    I am married again with a 3 year old.
    My wife and I are talking about separating. How will I work out how much to pay my first and second wife as I can’t pay ?270 + another amount.

    1. Thank you for your post, Kevin. Our CMS calculator will assist you in working out the calculation to take into account all your children to see what the impact would be. We hope that helps and if you need more assistance please let us know.

  6. hi I am a parent who is paying in, but I am not allowed to see my kids my ex just wants me to pay her money without me seeing the kids or contacting me. is there any possible way of me paying less of that’s the case or can I apply for something different so I can acatully see my kids without paying ?

    1. Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, you are not entitled to pay less child maintenance if you are not seeing your children. However, the level of child maintenance that is payable can vary depending upon whether your children are staying with you over night. The effect that this would have would depend upon how many nights your children were staying with you. If you are currently being prevented from spending time with your children you may need to consider applying to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order which would regulate how the day to day care for your children takes place. I would strongly recommend that you seek advice from a specialist family lawyer who is a member of Resolution as soon as possible. You may find our page about child arrangements useful. If we can help on a more formal basis please get in touch.

  7. Hi, my ex is just transitioning from the CSA to the CMS. He has a huge ?18,000 arrears debt from the many years he avoided paying us anything for our two daughters. The CMS are taking it from his salary directly as an attachment of earnings order (apparently at the rate of 40% per month). He claims that they have taken ?600 from his wages this month but I haven?t had a penny?! Where has the money gone? how long is the processing time? He was so angry about it, but at me! Not the CMS. It got so abusive that I had to call the police to step in and tell him to stop him contacting us. Do I have to have contact with him? Can?t the CMS solely deal with him?

    Also, he says he will give up work because he doesn?t want to pay it. The CSA told me a while back that if he does that, they can apply to have a second charge placed on his house to settle the debt. How does that work? Thanks.

    1. Thank you for your comment. You will need to contact the CMS directly to find out what has happened to the money that they have deducted. Given that the CMS are deducting the maintenance at source from your partner then there shouldn?t be any reason for you to have to communicate with him about this. Having said that the CMS cannot prevent your ex-partner contacting you and so you should seek independent legal advice from a Resolution lawyer on this issue particularly if he is abusive towards you. There may also be issues regarding any time that he spends with your daughters that need to be addressed.

      My understanding is that if your ex-partner stopped working then his monthly liability would reduce as this is calculated based upon income. That would not, in my view, extinguish the historic liability that you have mentioned but you would need to speak with the CMS about how they would enforce this.

  8. Hi, if my ex applies for a variation and CMS recieve my partners earnings from HMRC, are the CMS then legally permitted to disclose my partners earnings or is this a breach of her right to privacy?

    1. Thank you for your comment. Your current partner?s income would not normally be relevant in determining your child maintenance liability. However, a possible exception to this may be if your former partner were alleging that you were somehow diverting your income to your new partner in order to reduce your child maintenance liability. My understanding is that at the first stage of a maintenance calculation being challenged, the CMS will only provide limited information to your former partner but if that proceeds to an appeal then more detailed information would be provided and, potentially, a finance professional can be asked to unpick the financial circumstances in detail. I?m afraid I do not know whether this would entail your partner?s HMRC information being disclosed to your former partner. I would suggest that you contact the Child Maintenance Service directly for details as to precisely what level of information would be disclosed and at what stage.

  9. I’ve been using the online calculator but am stuck on one of the questions being how many other children live in your household I live with my partner and her daughter she is not my biological child but I raise her and am responsible for her the same do I put her down as a child in my household or does this question mean only biological children?

    1. Thank you for your comment. My understanding is that if they are the children of your new partner and you are living together as a family then they would be included regardless of whether or not they are your biological children. However, I would suggest that you may want to contact the CMS directly and clarify this to avoid any future difficulties.

  10. I?m divorced and my ex husband who lives in England. I live with our 2 children in a scandinavian country having full custody. Recentrly our children inherited quite a large amount of money. He is a trustee and I am about to be one too. He has been paying child benefit/maintenance every month on a sum that we have agreed upon. My question now is can he stop paying child benefit/maintenance and take money from the childrens inherited money and pay me? I have read some information that money can be taken out to cover school trips as an example but I find it a bit odd that the money should be able to be used for child benefit/maintenance. That would mean that the children would “pay” for their own upbringing and needs and not the parent without custody.

    1. Thank you for your comment. It would appear that you and your children?s father have agreed a sum of money that he is paying by way of child maintenance. In circumstances where payment is being made voluntarily then there is always the potential for the paying party to stop making payments. If that were to happen then you would need to consider what options are available for you to pursue child maintenance.

      Where children are resident abroad (i.e. outside England and Wales) and the paying parent lives in England and Wales then you may be able to pursue child maintenance through the English courts. However, you may also be able to pursue child maintenance through the mechanisms in place in the country where you are resident. Therefore, if the situation arises where you need to enforce child maintenance, I would suggest that you obtain advice in both jurisdictions to ascertain the options available and which would be most beneficial in your circumstances. Please do contact me if I can assist.

  11. Hi. My husband pays over a percentage of his wage and each year this is evaluated by CMS. He is a high earner so they always say he earns more than he does and their reply to questioning this is that if it’s within 20% either way it won’t be changed. When you’re a high earner a little under 20% over is a lot! How can they do this when they get the exact figure from HMRC? Why wouldn’t they use the figure given? Also we are due to have a child and don’t want the receiving parent to know as we have never had anything to do with her. Will CSA state why her payments will drop even if we don’t give them authority to disclose this personal information? Thank you

    1. Thank you for your comment. My understanding is that the Child Maintenance Service do obtain their information directly from HMRC and so I am unsure as to why they would use a different figure when calculating your husband?s liability. In terms of reassessment, my understanding is that your husband is entitled to have his income reassessed on an annual basis. However, once it has been reassessed the CMS will only change the reassessed again if the variation in income is 25% or more (or in some other limited scenarios).

      I am afraid I am unable to advise you as to whether the CMS will disclose the reason for the fall CMS payments to your husband?s former partner.

  12. Hello I have been paying csa and now a greater amount onto cms is it my understanding that I provide wage slips for the 2 months before oct for my reassessment ? If so once the calculation has been amended it can’t be changed till the following year ?

    1. Thank you for your comment. My understanding is that the CMS will obtain information about your income directly from HMRC. Once the CMS have reassessed the level of child maintenance that you are due to pay I believe that they will only reassess this after 12 months or if there is a variation in your income of 25% or more (or in some other limited scenarios). I hope this assists.

  13. Hi there
    My partner has 2 children with his ex wife. They have had a family based agreement for the past 3 years, he pays her by direct debit every month and increases the amount automatically whenever he has a pay rise. He even back dates this to ensure she never misses out on extra maintenance. He uses the CMA calculator to calculate the amount. We also pay for extra things for the children such as clothes, sports activities/clubs, school trips and school uniform. We know we shouldn’t have to pay for these things but we don’t want the children going without.
    She has been incredibly difficult the past few years and has threatened us 3 times now to force him to go through the Collect and Pay system with the CMA meaning he will have to pay a 20% fee each month (even though she will also have to pay 4%!!). Is she allowed to do this bearing in mind he has never missed a payment?

    1. Thank you for your comment. Either party can insist upon the Child Maintenance Service collecting the payments if they wish to do so. However, as you identify, the use of this does penalise both the paying party and the receiving party.

  14. Hi, my ex husband has sent me a copy of his maintenance calculator form and he has put on there the four children of his new partner who all live together, that he has no parental right to. Can he do that as she gets money through for them from their dad?

    1. Thank you for your comment. If your ex-husband is living with a new partner then the children of his new partner would be taken into account if they are living in the same household.

  15. Good Afternoon,

    My partner pays child maintenance to her ex, but also pays for all food/clothes/care when their daughter is with us.

    He has now asked for 50% towards private medical care he refused when their chid was an infant, and dose not want to get done by the NHS.

    He refuses to re-evaluate the current maintenance agreement (which could be argued can be a Family Agreement that they both pay fairly for care) despite a Shared Parenting Order and time being split.

    Obviously this puts my partner in a difficult position, as she does not want to appear unwilling to pay towards vaccinations, but is this not exactly what maintenance is for, extra costs that he incurs at his choice? Given that they both pay evenly for her care, neither one contributing to the other except for the maintenance payments, is there any way of forcing a review of maintenance, as she is more than happy to pay 50% of all unforeseen costs, but not continue paying Child Maintenance as well?

    1. Thank you for your comment. My understanding is that your partner is entitled to have her child maintenance liability reassessed on an annual basis. However, once it has been reassessed the CMS will only reassess it again if the variation in income is 25% or more (or in some other limited scenarios). She cannot be forced to pay anything over and above child support assessed by the CMS. I hope this assists.

  16. Hello,

    My current partner pays for his two children with his ex wife through CMS from a claim started in about 2014.

    I have no children, either with my partner or from previous relationships. We intend to move in together and marry. We will be living in the house that I own solely, with a mortgage and have done for years before I met him. I am the higher earner (by about ?12,000 per year) although still earn a less than average salary.

    Would the CMS be able to legally request my income, or details of my property, and could the ex wife attempt to make any claim on these on behalf of the children? They had a financial settlement following their divorce and so I know she could not try this for her own benefit.

    We have the children every week although she ensures this does not go above 103 nights per year as she does not want her income reduced and is often very difficult about this. Unfortunately the ex wife does use the children very much as a meal ticket and chooses not to work despite the children being in school all day (both are 9 years old) and would do everything she is able to get more money from us.

    We also intend to start a family, is it correct that she would have a claim on any child benefits received by me for my child/ren although we already pay for most things for her children (above what CMS require as we provide their clothes etc which she refuses to do)? We would both still be required to work and so it would likely only be the standard child benefit that we received.

    Thank you

    1. Thank you for your comment. My understanding is that your income would not normally be relevant in determining your partners child maintenance liability. However, a possible exception to this may be if your partner’s ex-wife were alleging that he was somehow diverting his income to you in order to reduce his child maintenance liability.

      If you and your partner were to have children then this would be likely to lower the child maintenance payments that he would be required to make to his ex-wife as the CMS take into account any children in the paying parties household. You can see the effect of this using an online child maintenance calculator.

      I am not aware that your partner’s ex-wife would have any direct claim over any child benefit you receive.

  17. Hi, my daughter recently got divorced with 3 kids under 10. Her x is paying CMS ?15pw each child. But he owns a business in patnership and he is showing he is just working in there,(avoiding HMRC) (fraud)but he is the main parson who is running the place.And recently on his web site his status was ? We opening another shop soon?Please is there is any law we can make him to pay his children?s rights etc.And his not helping my daughter with any financial crisis.please Email me your reply ASAP.
    Looking forward to hear from you.

    1. Thank you for your comment. It must be a very stressful time. It looks as if your daughter has already approached the CMS who have made an assessment based upon her ex-husband?s income. There are limited grounds upon which she can ask the CMS to re-assess the amount of child maintenance her ex is paying but at this stage I do not have enough information to advise as to whether they would be appropriate in your daughter?s circumstances.

      You mentioned your daughter has recently divorced. A divorce in itself does not deal with her financial claims against her former husband (or his financial claims against her). It is possible that she may be able to claim maintenance for herself (as well as other potential claims). I would strongly recommend that your daughter seek advice from a specialist family lawyer who is a member of Resolution as soon as possible to consider her options.

  18. Hi there. I recently put in a cms claim as it got very tense with my controlling ex, asking him for payments would always cause tension. He currently pays ?40 pcm. He has my daughter 3 nights a week, From 8pm, no days.
    As you know the calculation is based on nights only. Which is why he chose 3 nights.

    Can I appeal the fact he only has her sleeping there and nothing else. He doesn’t feed or clothe her or clothe in that time.. it’s 36 hours a week.

    Many thanks

    1. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it must be very difficult and frustrating for you but the CMS calculation nevertheless reflects that she is staying with him 3 nights a week. My understanding is that the CMS calculation is purely based on the number of nights that the child is with the paying parent and I am not aware of a grounds to appeal on this basis. However, you may nevertheless wish to contact the child maintenance service directly and explore this with them.

  19. Hi there, I have recently received a set aside arrears of a considerable amount from 2003/2009 I was married to my ex wife during this period dealt with the solicitor in 2009 to have my maintenance order changed what I was unaware of was the full amount that had built up over the previous period… my court order was changed and I then paid a very small amount weekly direct at source still totally unaware of the previous debt not being reduced but just set aside …. my son is now in full time employment and obviously my maintence case has closed but this has now brought back to life the old
    Debt .. my question is as I was married during the period 2003/2009 to my wife and obviously both our finances where taken into account is she liable for some of the debt?

    1. Thank you for your comment. From the information you have provided it is difficult to understand the background and what your query relates to. If an order were ?set aside? that would normally mean that the order no longer applied. However, this would not appear to be in keeping with the fact that you say you are still liable for arrears which you also say have been set aside. In the circumstances I would strongly advise you to seek advice from a Resolution lawyer who will be able to review the paperwork and advise you accordingly.

  20. Hi,
    My partner pays his ex for 2 children through the CMS. They have recently admitted fault and have been charging him too much as they didn?t take into consideration shared care. They have also received his application for contact costs and variations as he has an outstanding loan which he took out to buy the family car. When separated his ex took the car, she has now sold it and used that money to buy another car. For his variation to be considered the CMS have said she needs to agree with it, considering she lied about the amount of contact he has, we are not hopeful that she will agree with this. The CMS said if this happened they would still consider it if there was sufficient evidence. What evidence would they require considering she has sold the car?

    1. Thank you for your comment. The evidence required will depend upon the specific circumstances of your partner?s case and the grounds being used for variation. I would suggest that you meet with a Family Solicitor who is a member of Resolution so that they can advise you as to how to best position your case.

  21. Hi, my partner currently pays ?320 a month which he says was amended last year from ?220. He says the CMS now changed the way it’s calculated and take 25% of his wage for 2 children. Is this correct or not? He is unsure whether he is paying for a third child or not? If I call CMS will they tell me how many children he pays for? I’m currently pregnant so need to know the exact number of children he pays for.

    1. I was under the impression that the CMS normally send a copy of the assessment which details how the figure has been calculated to both the payer and the receiver. However, I would suggest that you contact the CMS directly to see what information they are able to provide you as this may well not be the case any longer.

  22. My partner has 3 children from a previous relationship. He had a private arrangement using the maintenance calculator and paid on time and over what he should.
    He has them 3 weekends out of 4 and a day sometimes 2 during the week. His ex has now gone to Csa/cms as she believes she is owed more money from him for the 3 children. However as she has found out she doesn’t she has stopped overnight stays and restricted his access and preventing him seeing the children with poor or no excuses for this. He is beside himself and doesn’t know where to turn next. What can he do in this instance, what proof does he need to show their previous arrangement that has been in place since the split 4 years ago, if he has proof he was paying regularly can the Cms/Csa close the case? As hopefully that would alleviate the access issue for his children

    1. Thank you for your comment. This must be a very distressing time for you and your partner. The payment of the Child Maintenance by your partner should not influence the time the children spend with their father. I would suggest that your partner contacts a Family Solicitor who is a member of Resolution as soon as possible who can advise him upon the options available to him. If we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch.

  23. Hi
    My Sons CMA payments were worked out on having his children 2 nights a week and 2 nights every other weekend, this has now changed to 2 nights a week and 3 nights every other weekend, so I his payments should change. The CMA contacted his ex to get confirmation but she has denied that the access has changed. What can he do?

    1. Thank you for your comment. I would suggest that you contact the CMS directly to explore the options that may be available where there is a dispute regarding the arrangements that are in place.

  24. I recently recieved a letter from the csa,saying that they have opened a dormant case file because of the change over to the cms.letterwas asking for 2k for my now 22 year old daughter..,i phoned the csa asking when the claim was made,they said no claim was made and they did it on the mothers behalf because she may of gone on benefits at some point.. now the cms has sent the same letter asking for this 2k…am i legally obligated to pay as no claim was filed by the mother?

    1. Thank you for your comment. I am afraid that we cannot provide specific advice within this blog. I would suggest that you meet with a family solicitor who is a member of Resolution who can consider the correspondence that you have received and advise you as to your options.

  25. Hi. My husband has been paying maintenance fairly to his ex wife for their daughter (17 yrs old) the daughter quit/dropped out of her full time college course before the end of the school year, so quite rightly so did the maintenace payments. However the ex and the daughter are now wanting her to start a different full time college/course in september (still at Alevels or equivalent) does he have to start paying maintenance again? If so would it need to start up again now, or september when/if she goes back into education? (The daughter doesn’t have a good track record of following anything through!)
    Thank you

    1. Thank you for your comment. The situation you describe is complex and any recommencement of child maintenance will be dependent upon a number of factors. Your husband will need to contact the CMS directly regarding this issue.

  26. Hi
    My husbands ex rang screaming down the phone last night that she will
    Take me (wife of 10 years) for every penny she knows her entitlements. As a business owner my husband has now joined me in my business as an employee (I did not want joint directorship due to her constant begging for money) her children are older she chooses not to work although does work cash in hand whilst receiving all of her benefits.
    My husband is salaried through my company and will be paid dividends.
    I understand she can claim from his salary. But does she have any claim over my salary? We have a son together will this effect the amount.
    We have a house together We jointly own will
    She have any claim on this? I?m
    Panicking as we have always paid monthly by standing order. So we have always done the right thing it seems she wants more for holidays for her own benefit. We buy clothes and anything her child needs. Please advise
    Many thanks in advance

    1. Thank you for your comment. I am afraid that we cannot provide specific advice in this forum as much depends upon your husband?s circumstances and the type of claim that his former partner is pursuing. If your husband and his former partner were previously married and did not address their financial claims then she may potentially be able to make a financial claim against him now despite the fact they separated some time ago. If they were not married then her claim may be limited to child maintenance only. You can check the level of child maintenance that she would be able to claim using our child maintenance calculator. I would suggest that you seek legal advice from a family lawyer who is a member of Resolution.

  27. Hi so my ex is getting my son who I don?t see because she won?t let me.. text me saying she as not had her csa for 2months but I no it?s been taken from my wage as it says it on my wage slip and she?s also saying I?m not the dad what can I do because the texts are driving me crazy I?ve payed it but she saying she don?t have it

    1. Thank you for your comment. If you have evidence that you have paid the child maintenance then it would appear unlikely that you need to take any action. The onus would be on your former partner to take enforcement action against you which you would then need to defend with proof that the payments have been made via the child maintenance service.

  28. Hi,

    My (now ex-)wife illegally abducted our 1-year old daughter to Mexico way back in 2008 (so she is eleven now). I made a Hague case to get her back, and there was a court case in Mexico (which I attended) where the judge ordered that our daughter be return to me in the UK.

    However, my wife went on the run from the authorities to avoid returning our daughter. She tried to get maintenance from me back then, (while on the run!) which was rejected by the UK authorities. After a few years of threats and demands from my wife, not knowing where my daughter was or how she was doing, the stress and strain got to me. During a rather bad bout of depression, I foolishly cancelled the Hague, which I regretted immediately.

    Now, almost 10 years after they left the UK, she is making another claim for maintenance, this time via the ‘UN Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance (1956)’. I have not seen or had contact with my daughter for years, and the last time I had contact with my ex-wife was over a year ago.

    Is my ex-wife allowed to make such a claim for maintenance, considering she committed a criminal act of abduction, and has refused to comply with a court order to return our daughter to the UK? I have been unable to find any information on this type of situation, probably because abducting parents want to avoid contact altogether normally.

    It would seem incredibly unfair and wrong to force me to pay maintenance by using the law, to a criminal who has consistently defied the law.

    I hope you are able to give me some helpful advice. I have requested an appointment with a family solicitor as well, but I wanted to see what opinion other people have before I go.

    Thank you.


    1. Dear Jason, thank you for your comment. I am afraid that we cannot provide specific advice within this forum and your case has some complex elements to it. We do have lawyers who specialise in international cases and therefore if we can assist on a formal basis please get in touch. Other I would suggest you seek advice from the solicitor with whom you have made an appointment or any other family lawyer who is a member of Resolution.

  29. My children have been removed from their mother by social services and are currently living with my family. I have contacted CSA and told them this, they have said that because my ex wife has not confirmed this to them I just carry on paying her ?650 a month. What can I do to stop this?

    1. Thank you for your comment. We are unable to provide specific advice in these comments, the advice we would give would depend on the particular circumstances of your situation. In particular, it will depend on the arrangement under which the children are placed with your family. If there is a court order in place you could provide this to the CSA as evidence that the children are no longer resident with their mother. If there is no order in place but your family receive the child benefit for the children, suggesting that this is a permanent arrangement, you should inform the CSA. I strongly recommend that you seek advice from a specialist family solicitor about your situation.

  30. Hi,
    How will the csa track down my ex to pay child maintenance? I don?t live near him and may have out of date information for him. Will they do it all through hmrc? And if he works a zero hour contract where his hours vary each week from 15-35 hours, how will they work out an average?
    Also he?s planning on joining the navy in possibly two years, will this effect him paying?

    And lastly, If he tries to not pay, what action can I or csa take?

  31. Hi, my daughters dad pays me ?20 a week which we had agreed on, however he does not help out in any other way and I am fairly certain he should have to pay more with his work wage, he refuses to aend extra ig needed as the ?20 doesnt hardly cover anything. Could I still go to CMS and claim through them as he is trying to get off lightly and pay as little as he can for his daughter and I am ending up in debt because of it? Or will it be declined due to the fact we made this agreement?

    1. Thank you for your email. Yes, you can still apply to the CMS for an assessment regardless of the fact that you have already agreed an amount with your daughter?s father. You can apply to the government?s ?statutory? service, which can make a statutory child maintenance arrangement for you. They will carry out an assessment and decide how much your daughter?s father should pay, based on a set of legal rules. You will however, have to pay an application fee for this assessment. Once the assessment has been made confirming the amount, your daughter?s father can pay child maintenance directly to you ? this is called Direct Pay. There are no charges with Direct Pay and you don?t need to be in contact with him. Alternatively, the Child Maintenance Service can also collect payments from him and pass them on to you. However, If you use this collection service you will both have to pay collection fees. We would suggest that you contact Child Maintenance Options on 0800 988 0988 or at https://www2.dwp.gov.uk/contact-cmoptions/en/contact.asp who will be able to give you more information / assist you further.

  32. My son is 18 and has recently had a child of his own do i still need to pay child maintenance to my ex?

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      Child maintenance is payable when a child is:-
      ? Under the age of 16, or
      ? Between 16 and their 20th birthday and undertaking full-time, non-advanced education, or
      ? Between 16 and their 20th birthday, registered with certain types of government-approved training courses, and child benefit is in payment.
      For more information visit the child maintenance options website at https://www.cmoptions.org/

  33. Hi
    My ex-wife and I have arranged child maintenance for our son between ourselves over the twelve years we have been divorced. It started off with a figure she chose to be right and was told by her that I would have to pay it and out of guilt and eagerness for her daily screaming at me to stop I did so. The amount has increased over the last 12 years we have been divorced again at times of her behest and normally through fear of her actions and the desire for a as peaceful relationship with her as possible.

    It presently stands at ?320p/month. I also pay for all of his clothes that he has with me as he comes with none for his overnights stays or weekly holiday spells, all of his sporting club memberships and kit, ?25 a month into the govt child fund scheme since birth, plus take him on two holidays a year helped pay for with my new wife. Upwards of over ?400 a month.

    She remarried within 24 months of us divorcing and has another child in her new relationship. I remarried last year and my new wife and I are expecting in late Nov early Dec.

    I’ve used the child maintenance calculator on the gov.uk website and calculated that on a Gross of ?600 a week, my child staying overnight with me between 52 – 103 days a year and me receiving no benefits and having one child already with my new wife I would be required to pay ?220. A significant difference from the ?320 i pay presently. With a new child on its way I cannot physically continue to pay the ?320 a month – i have been in debt for a decade now. I am willing to meet half way and pay ?270 and continue the ?25 govt fund.

    Is this fair and correct?
    How can legally inform her of this please?
    Thank you very much.

  34. does the husband or wife have to pay csa for there partners children if the ones paying doesn’t work?

    1. Thank you for your comment. The paying parent will still have to pay irrespective of whether they are in work, unless their gross weekly income from all sources is less than ?7 per week (in which case nothing is payable). Gross weekly income, which is what child maintenance is calculated on, is not limited to earnings from employment. It also includes income from benefits and all other sources. The paying parent will always have to pay a minimum of ?7 per week, provided they have a gross weekly income of ?7 or more.

  35. Hi I wasent working or claiming money for a year .The child maintenance people are telling get me I owe money to them ,But I didn’t earn a penny do I still have to pay this

    1. Thank you for your comment. I would suggest that you contact the CMS to inform them of your change of circumstances and ask them to reassess the amount which you should be paying. The CMS only carries out a review / reassessment of the paying parties circumstances every 12 months (the annual review) unless a specific request is made for a reassessment before. In that case a reassessment will only be made if there has been a variation in your income of 25% or more (or in some other limited scenarios). It is important to note that child maintenance is based on the paying parents gross weekly income, which is not just earnings from employment. It also includes income from benefits and all other sources. The paying parent will always have to pay a minimum of ?7 per week unless their gross weekly income is below ?7 (in which case nothing would be payable).

  36. Hi, I understand that calculations are made using the paying parent?s gross income. However if I were to invest in a buy to let property would this also be taken into account in addition to my wages and if so would the entire rental income be part of the calculation or just the profit after mortgage payments? (I am thinking of the new tennent tax act where the government now judge the entire rental income as taxable) thank you

    1. Thank you for your comment. Child maintenance is based on the paying parent’s gross weekly income from all sources not just wages and therefore includes rental income. The CMS assesses the paying parent’s liability by looking at the information which has been filed with HMRC for the last tax year (tax return or PAYE or both).

  37. Hello, my ex partner has moved back to Poland with our unborn baby. She?s a polish national and wants to make the baby a polish national. She?s now demanding that I pay child maintenance. Clearly I have no issue with this, but given she has taken the baby to a foreign country me giving me virtually no access – what is she entitled to from me (i.e. the same as if she was in the uk) and what are my rights in trying to bring the child back to the uk once he is born?

    1. Thank you for your comment. Child maintenance is assessed on whether or not you are having contact with your child. It is payable regardless of whether contact is taking place or not. From the information provided, your case does appear to be a fairly complex one. Where a child and parent is living abroad and the paying parent lives in England and Wales, then the parent seeking child maintenance can either pursue it through the English courts or through the mechanisms available in the country where the child is living.

      In terms of contact with your child and the possibility of having him/ her returned to the UK, if your child is born in Poland, it is likely that he/ she will be considered ?habitually resident? there. Consequently, in all likelihood the Polish court will have jurisdiction as opposed to the English court to determine whether your child should live in England or Poland going forwards and with which parent. International child law is however a complex area of law and it is very important that you obtain specialist advice at an early stage. We have solicitors with particular expertise in this area who could assist you so please do get in touch.

  38. My partner pays me ?25 A week for our son who lives with me full time. But my partner to out son away for a week. And he said he shouldn’t have to pay the ?25 for the week him had him. I feel like it’s a bit wrong but I don’t know should he not pay me if he takes our son away on hols

    1. Thank you for your comment. It is unclear from the information you have provided whether the child maintenance which your partner pays you is based on an agreement between you, or a CMS assessment. If it is a CMS assessment then your partner will need to pay the assessed amount regardless of whether he took your son away for a week / holiday periods generally. If however, child maintenance has agreed between you without involvement of the CMS (‘a family based agreement’) then it will be down to the two of you to agree whether he should pay for the week he took your son away. If you cannot reach agreement about what should happen in holiday periods then you may wish to contact with CMS for an assessment.

  39. Hi I?ve had my letter in advance of my annual review and it is still stating an income based on my 2017 p60 which is now two years out of date as HMRC failed to update their systems with my 2018 p60 until 2 days after CMS did their HMRC check. They have said I should contact them if the details are incorrect before the renewal date which I have done but are refusing to make any adjustments saying they only take the figures available 30 days before renewal date and the change is not 25%. This means for two years I will be paying at an income ?7k more than what I actually earn. Should they not recheck the HMRC database on the renewal date otherwise why even send the letter 30 days before renewal for me to query? What can I do, this is simply unfair?

    1. Thank you for your email.

      From the information which you have provided, it would appear that the CMS has carried out the calculation on your behalf. The CMS look at information which has been filed with the HMRC. The difficultly in this, as you have experienced, is that the information is one year out of date. It must be frustrating to you that the CMS have not considered your change of circumstances. As you know, they will only reassess this after 12 months or if there is a variation in your income of 25% or more (or in some other limited scenarios).

      It is the preference of the CMS for parents to agree the level of child maintenance between themselves. You may wish to consider using the child maintenance calculator created by Alan Larkin here at Family Law Partners, with your updated information. The benefit in using this is that you can share the data used in performing the calculation with the other parent so that they can be assured the information being used is accurate and then try to agree a revised amount based on your current gross income.

      If the CMS is also involved in in the collection and payment of the child maintenance, reaching an agreement could mean that both you and the other parent could avoid incurring the CMS collection fee in the future so there is a mutual interest for both parents in reaching an agreement.

      Alternatively, you may wish to make an official complaint to the CMS or request an appeal of the decision made. Information about this is set out in the following leaflet. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/646116/if-you-are-unhappy-cms.pdf

  40. I have paid child maintenance payments for my son (aged 18) since 2005 by court order. The court order states payment until completion of full-time secondary education. I stopped paying maintenance in May when my son finished school after completing his A levels but my ex-wife has requested I pay maintenance until the end of August. My son is not going to university and is working. The payments were based on an agreed amount per month and are not CMS/CSA based. Should I pay the additional three months?

  41. Is the receiving parent?s salary taken into account when calculating the amount to be paid by the paying parent?
    It seems strange that a paying parent must pay the same amount to a receiving parent who earns either, for example, 15 or 45 thousand pounds a year, and seems unfair if the receiving parent earns significantly more than the paying parent.

  42. Hi. I have been refused contact by the courts. What is the situation with paying child support? Do I still pay even though I cannot contact my child? Thanks.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Yes you would still be liable to pay child maintenance even if you are not having contact with your child.

  43. My ex has never paid and disputes arrears over ?7k which would be larger if I’d applied earlier instead of giving him time to sort out a family based arrangement as I felt it would be better for the kids.

    He’ll be employed, self employed then on benefits. The CMS claims to be contacting the employer and taking action after the 2 weeks for the employer to respond they won’t and then they’ll send him a “warning letter” he’ll leave his job and say he’s self employed (working as a delivery driver (same job)) and then when they get more information from hmrc he will go on benefits and still do odd jobs has he is a former mechanic and still has many contacts etc.

    He has one child for 2 nights a week (from 9pm and will bring him back at 6am so he can “work” according to the child which is very disruptive for the child on a school day) and the other child refuses to go with him.

    Every time the CMS see he’s on benefits they say I’m entitled to nothing (because he has one child for 2 nights yet the child stays less than 9 hours) and they can’t chase arrears, they don’t take swift action when he’s employed and they have full details of the employer or make any attempt to recover arrears.

    Are the CMS not able to take action for claim arrears if someone is not working or self employed? Why are the CMS so unwilling to take action in this case?

  44. hi. my ex and I have 2 kids together. he is now married and has an other child to his now wife and living together. he is claiming they aren’t married and aren’t living together. none of us told car when there new son was born 2 years ago so I am now back paying 2 years of money for over payments. the only problem I have is he is lying about paying a family based agreement with his wife for there son. so am getting more of an deduction its under half of what it used to be and having to pay back more then i should. I have proof they are married and living together. every time I ring csa I just get told they will take note of that.

  45. Any advice appreciated – my long term boyfriend has a child from a previous relationship. He pays agreed maintenance through CSA and does not have contact with the ex or child. My boyfriend and I live together in a property I own (he pays his way by covering the monthly utility bills and food costs) My concern is that if my boyfriend died, could the CSA consider my property / our furniture etc part of his “estate” for the purpose of claiming maintenance / inheritance?

    1. Thank you for your comment. If the property is owned in your sole name then it would not form part of your boyfriend?s estate if he were to die.

  46. Hi Chris, I live in NZ and my exhusband (British and still resides in the U.K) has been paying court ordered maintenance for our 17yr old daughter who lives with me. She turned 17yrs August just gone and is still in full time education here in NZ. The maintenance stopped when she turned 17 and I was not told, from what I have read she should still be entitled to the maintenance. Who do I contact to recitfy/claify? Thank you 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comment. I am afraid we cannot offer specific advice as we would need to see the court order that was made before being able to do so. However, it may be that you would be able to make an application to the original court to enforce the order or you may be able to make a fresh application for child maintenance through the court. If you would like assistance with this please do get in touch.

  47. My children’s father is currently paying an agreed amount for our two children. He also has two children with his ex partner. I have asked him to increase the amount he pays weekly which would still be less than what the online calculator says. He is refusing as he said he cannot afford it. Where do I stand with this? I’m by no means being greedy but am currently really struggling financially despite working full time.

    1. Thank you for your comment. If your children’s father is paying less than he would be required to pay under the Child Maintenance Service calculation then you may wish to consider making an application to the Child Maintenance Service. You can find out how to do that through their web site https://www.cmoptions.org/

  48. My ex has 3 children from a previous relationship and has a case with the CMS to pay maintenance. We have 2 children and I am not keen on going through the CMS for numerous reasons but I am struggling to figure out what payments he should be making towards our 2 children.
    He has 3 children from the previous relationship just over 52 nights per year, yet doesn?t have our 2 children overnight as they are very young and doesn?t have time for them. How do I calculate the maintence payments as it?s not as simple as working out payments for 5 children and splitting it 3/2 between me and his ex due to the shared care being different?

    1. Thank you for your comment. I would suggest that you use the Child Maintenance calculator that we have developed which takes into account children which your ex is already paying maintenance for. I hope this helps.

  49. My husband pays child maintenance for his daughter who is 18. She has just completed 2 years at college but because she did not attend enough last year she has to take the second year again.
    We paid maintenance all of last year even though she wasn?t attending!! Do we need to pay if she is ?re-doing? a year and if we do then surely we shouldn?t have paid last year when she wasn?t attending? Any advice?

    1. Thank you for your comment. My understanding is that child maintenance is payable until a child’s 20th birthday if they are doing a full time non-advanced course at a school or college.

  50. Hi my ex has put in a claim for child maintenece for our 2 girls on the 4th July. Cms calculated the amount I’m expected to pay and gave a payment plan which started the 23rd September.but I’m still waiting for her bank details to transfer the monthly payments .I keep ringing the cms to chase this matter up they are ringing her and have sent numerous letters but she isn’t responding to any of them I have asked the cms how long this can go on for and all they keep saying is keep the money in the bank surely with her not responding to the cms this can’t go on for months

    1. Thank you for your comment. I am afraid that this is something that you will need to discuss directly with the CMS.

  51. Why does CMS fail to take into account the true cost of running a home for your child when they are not with you? I pay for a roof over my children’s heads, that amount does not decrease when they aren’t here, the cost of heating does not go down, I still have to pay for a wardrobe full of clothes and room with toys etc. I pay for more travel costs as she refuses to meet halfway during handovers. Only true cost savings is food and a bit of electricity. But I am forced to handover more then ?120 a week. It is costing me far more then if I had them full time which is my preferred choice. But I am being forced to pay someone who took my children away and is stopping me from seeing them as much as I would like and who doesn’t even spend the money I send on my children judging by the clothes and lifestyle they have with her. If CMS is unable to workout a fair amount to be paid at the very least why dont they ensure the children see the money? CMS fail at everything they are meant to be doing.

    A non residential parent should never be forced to pay someone to stop them seeing their own child. If the residential parent can’t afford to support them the time they are in their care then why is it not in the children’s interest and everyone’s interest that the living arrangement are reviewed first before supporting payments are forced.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Your frustrations are shared by others, I am sure. If you disagree with the mechanism in which child maintenance is calculated then you may wish to raise this with your MP. If you have concerns about how often your children see you then you may wish to seek some independent legal advice on your options in this regard.

  52. I have been made aware that due to my 16 year old daughter starting a paid apprenticeship my ex no longer needs to pay child support but my question is this: I received a letter today from him stating that his payments would cease as of his last payment the weekend before. Is he not required to give me any notice?

    1. Thank you for your comment. I do not believe that there is a requirement for notice to be given. My understanding is that if the circumstances are such that Child Maintenance is no longer payable then it will cease as from that date.

  53. Hi Chris, I would appreciate your advice on the following please. My former partner was divorced with children when I met him. We then had a child but subsequently split up. Some time later he lost his tenancy due to massive arrears and as I had by then moved in my parents, alllowed him to lodge in my empty home. I informed CSA of this and they said it was fine. Now his ex is claiming we live together and that my case against him should be closed. Ultimately this would mean his salary (through the 2003 system) would only be afforded to her children but not my child. I rang CSA and explained that I am essentially his landlord, we do not live together and that the purpose of him lodging was due to his homelessness and the fact my son could stay in the home he grew up in when he is with his father. I demanded that my case remains open as I?m well aware of his inability to hold a stable job. They are suggesting it is closed. Is this not discriminatory to my son? As it happens I have sold my house so he will soon be homeless again. What are my rights to have my case stay open please? I appreciate this probably sounds complicated, it?s not. It?s a means that currently suits my childcare needs and his housing situation.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I would suggest that you go through the CMS?s complaints and appeals procedure. You should perhaps gather documentary evidence that you are residing at your parent?s address and of his payments of rent to you to support this. If your case was closed then I believe you would be able to reapply once your ex-partner had moved out of the property as this marks a change in circumstance.

  54. My partners has not seen his kids for 6 years but he has always paid his maintenance his son is now 19 are we are still paying as they have said he is in college, but we have no proof just the mothers say so as she will not provide the necessary proof and we have no idea where or what college he is attending, my partner would like to see his child but his mind as been poisoned against him. What are our legal rights to see proof of education etc in order to continue to pay maintenance, which if he is we are happy to

    1. Thank you for your comment. Assuming that your partner is paying child maintenance through the CMS, he may wish to consider contacting the CMS and asking them to confirm whether they have received evidence that his child is still doing a full time non-advanced course at a school or college.

  55. Hi,

    I have a 6 and a half year old child with my ex-partner and have been in court for 5 and a half years in relation to maintaining a 50/50 child arrangement order schedule over that period, which I’ve managed to do.

    Over this period my ex-partner has solely received both Child Tax
    credits and Child benefit for the whole of our child’s care, even though 50% of that time is spent solely in my care. I can only approximate that the value of this fraudulent misrepresentation is somewhere in the region of 30k plus, think i calculated this to around ?5400 per year. Yet aside from this she has still pursued a claim in respect of the CSA/CMS over the same period. Spoke to both the Inland revenue and the Tax Credits agencies who have both advised they have no technological provision to split the benefit paid and therefore the its the parent who is the beneficiary of this benefits responsibility to forward those monies on but they have no avenue to either enforce or assert this. The Family courts have refused over the 5 years to attend to the financial issues in relation to the upkeep of the child as their sole remit is in relation to care, the civil courts refuse to deal with it as its a family matter, the cps refuse to prosecute the fraud on the basis its not in the public interest, social services refuse all and any support. The economic duress I face is staggering in relation the above and regards my resources are spread thinly to say the least to paying for, clothing, and feeding our child when in my care and my ex-partners while at the same time being solely responsible for sustaining the stability and consistency of his care across both parties etc, in the time I have with them. Is there any avenue to address these issues though the justice system whatsoever?

    1. Thank you for your comment. In relation to the benefits relating to your children my understanding is that these are unable to be split between parents. With respect to child maintenance, if the care arrangement is exactly a 50:50 split then my understanding is that your ex-partner would not be entitled to child maintenance. However, if they have your child even slightly more than you, they will be able to make a claim.

Comments are closed.

Top of page