Child support is paid to help cover a child’s everyday living costs and it is the non-resident parents responsibility to pay maintenance to the person who the child normally lives with.
If you are the resident parent and you do not receive Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, you do not have to use the Child Support Agency to come to an agreement over child maintenance but it may be advisable to speak with a family-law solicitor before setting up a private arrangement.
Who Can Apply For Child Maintenance?
If you apply to the Child Support Agency for payments to be made by your spouse, or your spouse applies for a payment to be made by you depending upon where the children live, the CSA will then undertake a calculation based upon the absent parents net income.
The CSA will require him/her to pay from his/her net income every week the following rates:
- 15 % if you have 1 child
- 20% if you have 2 children
- 25% if you have 3 or more children
This will not apply if your spouse is on any state benefits. If this is the case, a fixed rate of £5 per week will be payable. If you are in receipt of state benefits or will be in the future, then you will not receive the benefit of those payments, the CSA will pay them direct to the Department of Social Security.
There is a cap of £104,000 per annum and any income over and above this limit is disregarded. If your spouse’s income is in excess of £2000 per week (£104,000 per annum), or if you have to pay for additional expenses for your children such as school fees or medical expenses for a disabled child, you can apply for the court to consider this separately. However, you must first have made the application to the CSA, and the CSA will need to have issued a certificate stating that your spouses income is in excess of £2,000 per week, before an application can be made to the court for “top up” of maintenance.
Other factors that will determine maintenance include shared parenting and regular overnight contact.
Child Maintenance Calculator
If you would like to know how much maintenance might be payable please check out the CSA’s online calculator.