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The old CSA system has now been replaced by the Child Maintenance Service.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)


  • Team 1 Team 1 Monday, 06 June 2016

    Hi Jon - have you tried contacting the CSA yourself to find out where you stand - if not then why not post a comment on our forum page where you may be able to get some advice from our community of Dads and experienced moderators.

    Here's the link:

    Kind regards

    DAD.Info Team

  • Guest
    Andrew Grainger Friday, 04 November 2016


    Hi Jon - this is the reason I'm on here. My Son started work and I informed the CSA but I still have to pay child support because my ex continues to claim (fraudulently) child benefit. I have told the CSA this, My MP has told the CSA this but the CSA are ruling is that while my ex continues to claim child benefit (even fraudulently) the payments will not stop. It is an utter farce - the ex ignores letters and phone calls from both the child benefit office and the CSA which means I still have to pay. So in conclusion while the mother continues to claim child benefit, you will have to pay, even if that claim is fraudulent. This actually goes against their own rules which state that payments stop when a child is no longer eligible for child benefit - clearly if a child is working they are no longer eligible for child benefit so CSA payments should stop. But they don't. Yet again the CSA hammer a paying parent because no one at the CSA has a single brain cell between them. Good luck my friend, you'll need it.

  • Guest
    s coughlan Monday, 23 May 2016


    I pay maintenance to my 17 year old daughter she is in education 6th form( trying to find out if she has been attending as communication is difficult) she has not been staying at her mothers but her boyfriends, does this alter not just the maintenance but benefit the mother is receiving for her?

  • Team 1 Team 1 Monday, 06 June 2016

    Hi there - thank you for your comment - please try the link below. You may be able to get some maintenance and benefit advice there:

    If you don't find what you need there, please come back to us.

    Kind regards

    DAD.Info Team

  • Guest
    Timmy Tuesday, 21 June 2016


    I currently give my ex £200 a month for my daughter.I see this daughter every other weekend, so give this ex less in maintenance than i do my other ex for the daughter i don't see. The ex works full-time so has to pay childcare. She has asked that I help pay towards the cost of this on top of the maintenance I already pay for my daughter. Do i have to do this or can I say No?

  • Team 1 Team 1 Tuesday, 21 June 2016

    Hi Timmy - thank you for your comment.

    Have you spoken to the child maintenance people about your predicament? If not - here is the link to their website:

    Alternatively, as we often advise, it would be great if you could post your question on the forum page as our community of Dads will be able to offer advice based on their own experiences, plus we have experienced moderators who may also be able to help. Here's the link:

    Good luck and let us know how you get on.

    Kind regards

    Dad.Info Team

  • Guest
    Andrew Young Friday, 01 July 2016

    Chipping away at my responsibility

    I have an 8 year old son who lives with my for half the week, the other half with his mother, this has only been in place since January 2015, prior to that, his mother worked odd shifts and long hours, and my son, plus his younger brother to a lesser degree, spent the majority of his time under my supervision. We agreed terms in August 2010 where by I would claim working tax credit PLUS the child tax credit for my 1 son, I would then pay her some money from my combined benefit. This worked mostly well enough until January 2015 when she decided to quit her job and make herself a stay at home single mum, she applied for all the benefits I was getting, and it took me until October 2015 to get them back, It was only last week that I found out she is taking me to a tribunal over them, but in October 2015, she changed my son's address to her address with both the school and the doctors without my knowledge. I will be representing my case at the tribunal, but am interested if there is anyone else in the same position, she is slowly trying to chip away at everything I have and have done for my son

  • Team 1 Team 1 Monday, 04 July 2016

    Hi Andrew - thank you for you comment - please could you post it on our forum page. We have a great community of Dads and experienced moderators who will be able to offer advice and encouragement based upon their previous experiences. Here is the link:

    Good luck and all the best

    DAD.Info Team

  • Guest
    Craig Monday, 11 July 2016


    I've offered to pay 20quid a week but I want to buy what my daughter needs but that was agreed buy both of us and now she wants 20 quid in cash or in her bank but I don't want to do that as she all ready bought a new tattoo alcohol and planning a night out and we only broke up a week ago does she have a right to asking me for money

  • Guest
    Stuart Monday, 25 July 2016


    I have been paying my ex maintenance for my 12 year old daughter for 2 years whilst she has been living with her. My daughter has now decided that she wants to live with me and has told my ex that this is a permanent situation.

    Who decides when the PWC becomes the NRP?


Leave your comment

Guest Tuesday, 02 June 2020

PLEASE NOTE: If you have a specific question for or for other dads, please post it on our Forum.

We may use your email address to respond to you about your comment. View our Privacy Policy for more details.