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A Family Arrangement

The quickest and easiest way to arrange child maintenance is for you and the other parent to agree things between yourselves. More than half a million children in the UK now benefit from this kind of family arrangement. 

It doesn’t only have to be about money – it can include other kinds of support, for example, providing school uniforms (we call this ‘payments in kind’). 

There are lots of benefits to having a family arrangement:

  • It’s quick and easy to set up, so payments can start being exchanged straight away.
  • If you can keep lawyers and theCSAout of it, it’s a lot easier to keep things friendly.  When there’s less conflict, it’s the children who benefit.
  • People tend to respect their own promises. When both parents agree things together, payments are more likely to be made in full and on time.
  • A family arrangement is totally private. No one else needs to get involved in your affairs.
  • It’s flexible, because you can make special arrangements or change it at any time, quickly and easily. You can also be flexible about how, what and when payments should be made.
  • You can make an arrangement even if your ex-partner lives or moves abroad. You can’t always do this with other arrangement options.
  • It’s not legally binding. If it doesn’t work out you can change things. Or Child Maintenance Options can talk to you about your other options, including asking the CSA to set up an arrangement.

Child Maintenance Options can talk you through all aspects of a family arrangement and help you to get started.

Their Child Maintenance Calculator  gives you an indication of what your payments could be. You could use this amount as a starting point for your family arrangement. You could also keep a record of the payments or exchanges that you make or receive, just in case you need it in future.

You can also use the Child Maintenance Options family-based arrangement form to keep a record of what you have agreed with the other parent.


Call Child Maintenance Options in confidence on freephone*

0800 988 0988 From 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday / From 9 am to 4 pm Saturday

Visit Options online at

* Calls to 0800 numbers are free from BT landlines but you may have to pay if you use another phone company, a mobile phone, or if you are calling from abroad.

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