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The old CSA system has now been replaced by the Child Maintenance Service.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, 25 July 2016

    Hi Stuart - thank you for getting in touch.

    I think in this instance it might be best to get in touch with the Maintenance people and ask them what they think - here is the link to their contact page:

    It would also be a great idea if you posted your query on our forum page. We have a great community of Dads and experienced moderators who might be able to help you based upon their experiences.

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

    Kind regards

    DAD.Info Team

  • Guest
    marc Tuesday, 02 August 2016

    getting child support

    Hi just woundering I have full time care of my 7 year old boy and im thinking about going for child support but ive been told her benefits are her husbands name can I still get child support off her if thats the case

  • Guest
    Ronnie Saturday, 06 August 2016

    Need advice

    dear sir if possible if there's any one out there's who are going through what I I'm going through I'd like your advise please I have two beautiful children there's mothers getting investigated by court social work for child neglect in the past she's used so much speed her yeah fell out basically she went very ill but to her she was fine and every one around her were talking utter rubbish the children got the brunt of her drug filled anger some years ago the courts forced her to take a drug test she paid for some one els to take the hair strand test which the persons photo was taken the person bumped into me some weeks later she told me what she done my words were OMG you could go to jail for that silly act jumping to present day the mother is getting investigated by the courts now she has got to take the test again she naps given her new boy friend to put hands on to the children some one made a phone call now she has to do up to 12 family course to show she has the tools to be a respectable mother SHES not she's a good player my mental health has been put to the test the CSA want a silly amount of money which force me from one bedroom flat to being on the streets or sleeping on family's floor please lads help me from falling down iv been there before I don't think I can go through this mess again yours regards RONNIE

  • Guest
    CJ Wednesday, 10 August 2016


    My ex partner has started a claim for child maintenance even though I have been paying her every month for 8 years regardless of if I was in work or not. We had a court order which was always adhered to. but she has now decided she wants more money and has gone through the CSA to get it increased.

    I would just like to know if they take my expenditure into consideration? It costs me £136 per month in petrol just to get to and from work. I have a mortgage and other bills to pay also.

    My ex in question does not maintain/care for my children and instead, the money goes on her lifestyle, but the CSA do not seem to care about this factor.
    She has made things extremely difficult in the last year to the point where one of two children no longer come to stay and she is now suggesting (via social media - I haven't been told directly) she is moving further away which will mean I will see my other child less as he would obviously move schools which in turn will mean I will have to pay more again. I don't believe I am being treated fairly and I want to know if I have certain rights. I have to pick my children up, it's a journey of 15 miles each trip and on school days this is two return jouneys and now she has another partner which will extend it to a 60 mile return journey on weekends, they are never brought to me, I would like to know how likely this is that i'll be able to claim this back?

  • Team 2 Team 2 Monday, 15 August 2016


    Thank you for your comment on our website.

    Below is a link to a website for Child Maintenance Options which can provide you with advice and support in your situation.

    You may also be interested to look at The Children’s Legal Centre website as this provides information on issues such as access and contact. The link to their website is:

    Also our forum on the DAD.Info site has a great community of Dads and experienced moderators who may be able to offer advice based upon their previous experiences. It can be very helpful to gain the support and help of other Dads and so I have included the link for this one below as well:

    We hope you will find this helpful.

    Kind regards

    DAD.Info Team

  • Guest
    lee Thursday, 11 August 2016

    mr johnson

    hi , i have recently lost my job an havnt been able to afford the 30 pounds a week that i would normally give to my ex partner for my daughter of 8 yrs , my ex partner is on my back but i cant give her what i havnt got ? she keeps threatning me with csa . I dont know were i stand if she did do this? will i get billed for not paying towards my child for 8yrs as she is threatining to say that i havnt paid a penny in 8 yrs which is lies .

  • Guest
    Raymond Friday, 09 September 2016

    Raymond miller

    If i work night shift with a basic hourly rate but get shift allowance for night hours do they take maintanance from my shift allowance as well as my hourly rate

  • Guest
    goldernarm29 Sunday, 25 September 2016


    I work 40 hours weeks contacted but I do any extra 15hrs to put my money up! Do i pay her my basic or do i combined both togther and pay her 20% any help please

  • Guest
    Shannon Thursday, 29 September 2016

    Owed Child Support. Now 19 and want my money.

    My dad has not been paying CS. I am now 19 and want what I am owed. Am I able to get my money through the court? And how do I come across this?

  • Guest
    Ma. edelyn Panaguiton Tuesday, 18 October 2016

    Financial support

    helo, good pm..i have a question regarding to financial support for my son.i am common-law partner for almost 8 years..we broke up. then i told him to support of his son.. i want to written agreement for to make he said to me that he give to his son allowance 1thou every week because my son going to school..grade 3 boy.. then i said okay..after he came back to new zealand because his work as a dairy farm..his promise he did not make it..that time i dont have work so its so difficult for me how to handle or how to manage the situation at that time i renting a room..cause of 1,500 a month. so i decided to go in my real place. he send me 2 thou a month.. he cannot make his promise to me.. and i need to remind him that his obligation i for me i just want to know what is the that i can do..i need your help or advise thank you so much

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