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The old CSA system has now been replaced by the Child Maintenance Service.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


  • Guest
    James Saturday, 09 June 2018

    She's in contept

    So I was seeing my daughter every weekend and suddenly my x jst stopped bringing her and now when I ask to c her all I get is abuse. So I have a court order to see my daughter so she is in contept what do I do and should I still pay child maintanace

  • Guest
    Betty Saturday, 09 June 2018


    My ex stopped paying anything for my son once I was granted full custody by the courts and he was refused contact by social services would he still have to pay csa I've not received a payment in 6 months

  • Guest
    Nick Saturday, 16 June 2018

    Stopping child maintenance

    I have been paying child maintenance for 15 years and my daughter is 18 and just finishing A levels and will go to Uni. At what point does child maintenance stop? I don’t pay through the CSA and I know that it will end when she starts Uni, but when should it stop?

  • Guest
    Laimis Sunday, 01 July 2018

    Mr Laimis

    Im about to start paying child care and have no issue with that ,but how do i know the money have been spent on my son and not drugs ? Does the receiving parrent have to provide evidence receipts ?

  • Guest
    john wright Saturday, 14 July 2018


    my son was 18 in June and is going to university in September, when do i stop paying maintenance

  • Guest
    Josh Monday, 16 July 2018

    Do I have to pay if we both have 1 of the children full time


    I separated last year and our 2 sons 10/13 stayed with their mum and I have them every other weekend but now the 13year old is moving in with me permanently and the 10 year old will still come every other weekend.

    Do I still have to pay my ex as now it is a 50/50 split ? or even 55% in my favour factoring holidays etc

    Any advice gratefully appreciated.

  • Guest
    Angela Reed Friday, 27 July 2018

    Child is working 30 hours per week

    Child is working 30 hours per week and has left college, and not going back. She is 18. Lives away from home 5 - 6 night per weeks. do we still have to pay child maintenance?

  • Guest
    Rachel Wednesday, 01 August 2018

    Child maintenance

    Should my sons dad pay for his son child maintenance even though he does not see him though being abusive towards me and police have been involved now he has sent solicitors letter for contact?

  • Guest
    Josh Wednesday, 22 August 2018


    Need help to know the right about to give my baby mother every month for my child support with my income is £26,000 a year so please plus I have my bills too to settle rent feeding phone bills and have Age parent am looking after please can you advice

  • Guest
    Martin johnson Wednesday, 29 August 2018

    csa claim

    my ex has recently stopped me from seeing my child who I use to have every weekend .

    she's now going for child maintenance which I don't mind. I'm just worried I'm gonna be left with nothing each month.

    I've offered to pay £100pcm she's refused claims she can get more.

    I've check a csa calculator and she could only because I don't see my child. how is that fair if she's useing him as a weapon and refusing me seeing him. her choice NOT MINE.

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Guest Tuesday, 02 June 2020

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