Child maintenance

One of the key considerations for separating parents is how to provide ongoing financial support for children. One method is child maintenance. What is child maintenance and how does it work?


The old CSA system has now been replaced by the Child Maintenance Service. For up to date information on the new service please refer to our section on the CMS HERE 

About child maintenance

The parent who does not have the main day to day care of the child may have to pay child maintenance to the other parent to cover the child's living costs. Child maintenance will continue until the child is 16 or until 20 if they are in approved education or training.

If you are unable to agree how much child maintenance should be paid directly with the other parent you can ask the Child Maintenance Service to carry out a calculation. 

How is child maintenance calculated?

Child maintenance is calculated by applying the following rates to the paying parent's gross weekly income:

  • basic rate - income between £200 and £3000 
  • reduced rate - income between £100.01 and £199.99
  • flat rate - income between £7 and £100 or receiving benefits
  • nil rate - income below £7 

How much child maintenance is payable will depend on:

  • how many children you have
  • how much time the children spend with the paying parent
  • the paying parent's gross income taking into account any pension payments 
  • whether the paying parent is paying child maintenance for any other children  

If there is a shared care arrangement in place for the children you will not need to pay child maintenance.  If the children spend time with you it will reduce the amount of child maintenance you will have to pay for each child according to how many nights they stay with you.

If the children stay with you between:

- 52 and 103 nights - child maintenance is reduced by 1/7th for each child

- 104 and 155 nights - child maintenance is reduced by 2/7th for each child

- 156 and 174 nights - child maintenance is reduced by 3/7th for each child

- 175 plus nights - child maintenance is reduced by 1/2




Hide comments (73)


  • Mike
    Mike Saturday, 12 March 2016

    Child maintenance to another country

    Hopefully I can get mediation to the issue below. I am a UK resident having a permanent job for 6 years. We have a child who and my ex as well never have been UK resident. The Local Court in the EU country where I am coming from decided 18% of my salary several years ago as the living cost in that country 1/3 compare to UK. Now my ex suits me for 18% of my UK salary. Here in this country the 18% is for 3 children in local circumstances. How does this handled in the Court of Magistrates in the UK. At the calculation of the child maintenance do they take into consideration the child is not living in th UK so her living cost is definitely much lower than it would be here in England.
    Could you offer someone who can help.

  • Team 1 Team 1 Wednesday, 08 June 2016

    Mike - thank you for your comment. We are unable to advise directly on your individual situation but if you are still having problems you could contact the child maintenance people or citizens advice. Links for both are below:

    If we can be of any further assistance please let us know.

    Many thanks

    DAD.Info Team

  • Guest
    lucie Thursday, 27 September 2018


    Hi , how did you get on ? I having similar problem and i cant find any solicitor who can help me. Child maintenance has been agreed in Slovakia last year with out me. Just had a letter from the Local Court that she wants nearly half of my income and i have co wait for court date. I rand about 11 solicitors and none of them could not help because this decision has been made abroad. Do you know where to get any advice ? I have 4 kids with 2 different woman both living abroad

  • Matthew
    Matthew Saturday, 19 March 2016


    What does child maintenance cover I.e clothes food , childcare

  • Team 1 Team 1 Wednesday, 08 June 2016

    Hi Matthew - the Child Maintenance people will be able to help you with this I'm sure - here is the link to their website:

    You could also post your question on our forum page where our community of dads and experienced moderators may be able to advise you further -

    All the best

    DAD.Info Team

  • Martin Bayes
    Martin Bayes Friday, 01 April 2016

    Mr Michael Hayes

    my teenage daughter is only agreeing to see me once or twice a year, yet I still have to pay full child maintenance

    my ex has remarried to a high earning husband with no hildren, and so obviously he has de facto become her father in all but name

    I have tried to see her every week but first my ex and certainly now my child effectively refuses to see me will not even send a Christmas card or text

    I have done nothing to cause this. She has not given any reason why she no longer sees me, nor has she to anyone else. I am poring more and more money into their household when they are almost certainly millionaires and I have no job just assets which I own

  • Team 1 Team 1 Monday, 06 June 2016

    Hi Michael

    So sorry to hear that you are having such a difficult time - it may be helpful if you post your question on our forum, link below:

    Alternatively you could get some maintenance advice from Child Maintenance Options at the following link:

    I hope this helps.

    Kind regards

    DAD.Info Team

  • Steven watkins
    Steven watkins Sunday, 17 April 2016

    I've paid Csa for my sons since birth ( 17yrs) he's now in college 2 days p/w. He has a part time job for 5 mornings p/w. Do I still pay same amount of Csa or should it be reduced??

  • Team 1 Team 1 Monday, 06 June 2016

    Hi Steven

    Have you been in touch with 'Child Maintenance Options' - their website is

    Alternatively you could post your question on our forum - the link is below:

    This is a great way for our community of Dads and our experienced moderators to be able to help you.

    Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to advise.

    Kind Regards

    Dad.Info Team

  • Guest
    Jon Badcock Thursday, 12 May 2016

    Stopping child payments

    My sons leaving college in 6 weeks and strating a full time job. im worried his mother will not advise the CSA about this and i will have to continue to pay?
    i already pay £521 a month for 1 child, which is ridiculous anyway.
    As the paying parent, am i allowed to advise the CSA of this change and they will stop payments or will they contact her to confirm.
    surely they must be able to check?
    plese advise.

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