How much maintenance should be agreed to pay for my children? A questions asked over and over again. Whether it is a weekly or monthly payment, the payments are for the benefit of the child(ren). They are separate from any maintenance for a spouse which is needs based. child maintenance is not.
The court does not get involved in child maintenance issues and parents should come to an agreenment. This agreement will entered into a financial settlement. The payments must be enough to ensure that the basic needs of the child(ren). For instance food, clothing and a roof over their head. Payments will usually continue until the child(ren) leave full time education or reach the age of 18. Couples will often come to an agreement to support child(ren) while they are in university.
If you are unable to agree on a figure, there are formal routes that you can go down without going to court. We guide you through the level of payments which suit your situation.
Child maintenance is about providing help with a child’s everyday living costs. This includes things like food and clothes, and helping to provide a home for your child or children.
Child maintenance is money that the parent pays for the day-to-day care of a child. If both parents agree to the sharing of care, buying extra items can form a family based maintenance.
It’s essential that parents work together to agree the upbringing of the children.
Why child maintenance is important
At the moment you may feel unable to discuss child maintenance with the other parent or, you just might not want to.
However, child maintenance can make a real difference to children as it can help pay for things like clothing, food and other essentials. It can also help to keep both parents involved with their children’s lives.
Whatever type of maintenance arrangement you put in place, it’s important to remember that it can help to give a child the best start in life and continues until your child reaches adulthood.
It’s also important to remember that paying child maintenance for your child is a legal responsibility.
Find more information about Child maintenance and the law.
How to arrange child maintenance
Over half a million families choose to make an arrangement between themselves, by agreeing the amount and type of child maintenance. This is known as a family based arrangement.
If you can’t agree, or if an arrangement between parents isn’t working, there are other ways to arrange child maintenance.
You could apply to the statutory child maintenance services, which can set up an arrangement for you.
In some cases however you can also use the courts.
What child maintenance isn’t
There are a lot of misconceptions about child maintenance. Here are a few examples:
“Child maintenance just means getting money through the Child Support Agency or Child Maintenance Service.”
Most separated parents can arrange child maintenance between themselves – either privately through a family-based arrangement or through a Child Maintenance Service ‘Direct Pay’ arrangement. The Child Support Agency stopped taking new applications in November 2013.
CMS is for parents who can’t sort out child maintenance.
“Child maintenance is a way of punishing absent parents.”
People often use the phrase absent parent, especially absent father, unfairly. Child maintenance shouldn’t be a weapon to use against parents who, for whatever reason, live apart from their child.
Most parents recognise the upkeep of a child is their responsibility. Regardless where the child lives.
“Child maintenance isn’t a state benefit.”
Child maintenance isn’t a benefit that separated parents can “claim” from the state.
When a family-based arrangement isn’t possible. Parents can use the statutory child maintenance service.
If you need help sorting out child maintenance
Nearly all separated parents agree that both parents should pay towards the upkeep of their children. But making arrangements for children after separation isn’t always easy.