Child maintenance is a regular financial payment made towards a child’s everyday living costs when the child’s parents are separated.
Child maintenance payment amounts can be agreed between the two parents, this is called a ‘family-based arrangement’ and payments are arranged between the parents themselves without any outside intervention.
If this type of arrangement cannot be agreed privately then parents should contact the Child Maintenance options number, they can get further help and advice.
Intervention by the Child Maintenance Service must be requested by one of the child’s parents. If it is not requested by a parent they cannot act.
Child Maintenance is due for children that are:
Below 20 and in full-time education but only up to A-level or equivalent education.
Under 20 and living with a parent who has registered for Child Benefit for them. The Child MaintenanceService can help with the following:
Finding an absent parent.
Helping to sort out disagreements about parentage.
Working out how much child maintenance service should be paid.
Obtain and pass payments from the absent parent.
Review payments when parents circumstances change.
Review payments every year.
Take action if payments aren’t made.
CM Options Number 0843 455 0030.
The amount of Child Maintenance that must be paid is calculated by finding out the paying parents annual income. This is obtained from HMRC. To use the child maintenance options calculator click here. The CM Options team then consider other elements that may affect this figure such as other children to support. The yearly amount is then converted to a weekly figure and this determines the payments that will be due.
There are 5 rates of payment that can be made for child maintenance ranging from a zero payment to a Basic plus amount. The Child Maintenance Service will decide how much maintenance is to be paid. Any queries or new cases should be dealt with by calling the Child Maintenance options number. Office hours are Mon to Fri, 8.00am to 8.00pm Saturdays, 9.00am to 4.00pm.
Child Maintenance payments are reviewed each year, however, if there is a change in circumstances such as a change in the paying parent’s income or family circumstances these should be reported as soon as possible as payment amounts may need to be reviewed. Any change in circumstances should be reported via the Child Maintenance number.