Child Maintenance

Child Maintenance is the name given to payments made between separated parents to help contribute towards the costs of looking after the child/children.

Financial support can go in either direction, or even in both directions, depending on what is agreed between the separated parents.

If you cannot agree on the child maintenance, then you can use the Government’s Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to help calculate what should be paid. Using the CMS system, payments are only made in one direction, from the ‘non-resident parent’ (the parent who the child lives with least), to the ‘resident parent’ (the parent with whom the child lives with most).

There is more information on Child Maintenance on the Government website here.

Child Maintenance Calculator

The Government webpage also includes a child maintenance calculator. The calculator can help:

  • give you an amount to discuss with the other parent if you’re arranging child maintenance yourselves – you do not have to use it;
  • show you what the government is likely to work out for you, if necessary.

You will not have anything to pay through the Child Maintenance Service if you are:

  • sharing care equally with the other parent;
  • a full-time student with no income;
  • in prison.

Before you start, you’ll need details of the following for the parent who’ll be paying:

  • their income, including State Pension;
  • any benefits they get;
  • the number of nights your child stays with them.