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Child Maintenance

When a relationship breaks down, the parent with whom the child lives is entitled to financial support from the other parent, to meet the child’s everyday living costs.

You can agree the level of child maintenance yourself through a family-based arrangement. Or, where agreement can’t be reached, this can be done through the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), which has now replaced the Child Support Agency (CSA). The CSA is closed to new applications but still manages arrangements set up before 2013.

Family-based arrangements 

These are arrangements that you as parents agree between yourselves.

You agree how much the payments should be and when they should be made. It is helpful to put the agreement in writing, but it is not legally binding.

To work out what payments should be, you can use the child maintenance calculator to work out what it should be.

Child Maintenance Service (CMS)

If you can’t agree the level of child maintenance with your former spouse or parent, you will have to contact the CMS. They will help you:

  • Locate and liaise with the other parent
  • Calculate and arrange the maintenance payment
  • Enforce and collect payments, if payments are not made.

Either parent can apply to the CMS.

On 20th June 2014 the Government introduced application fees, collection fees and enforcement charges.

You can find out more on the following websites:

Child Maintenance Services