Child Maintenance

Child maintenance is regular, reliable financial support paid towards a child’s everyday living costs. Child maintenance is payable by a parent to the parent who has the care of any child who is under the age of 17 years or still in school education. However, this obligation can be extended to include any time that the child is in further education or training.

Family based arrangements

You and your partner may agree a private arrangement about how much maintenance will be paid. There need be no intervention by a third party.  It is helpful to put your agreement in writing but this does not make it legally binding.

Child Maintenance Service (CMS)

Formerly Child Support Agency (CSA)

If you can’t agree child maintenance with your former spouse or partner, the issue can be dealt with by the CMS.  The CMS can calculate and collect child maintenance for you.  It can find the other parent if you do not know their address and will collect and enforce payments.  Either parent can apply to the CMS.  On 30 June 2014 the CMS introduced application fees and enforcement charges.

The website details for the CMS and Child Maintenance Options are as follows:-


Court Proceedings

There are some cases where the issue of child maintenance need to be resolved by the Court. Examples are as follows:-

  • If the non-resident parent lives overseas.
  • For step children if the non-resident parent is a high earner (usually more than £2,000 per week after deductions).
  • If money is needed for school or university fees.
  • If a child is disabled.
  • For children who have completed secondary education.
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