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How Much Child Maintenance Should I Pay?

Child Maintenance is an arrangement between you and the other parent of your child. It covers how your child’s living costs will be paid for when one of the parents no longer lives with them. It’s made when you’ve separated from the other parent.

Both parents are responsible for the costs of raising their children, even if they do not see them. Child maintenance can be arranged in various ways:

  • Privately through a family-based arrangement - This is usually the cheapest and quickest way to agree child maintenance.

  • Through a Consent Order from a court - The court has the power to set maintenance payments. To put in place both parents need to agree how much child maintenance is going to be paid and how often before going to court. This is usually the case when the paying parent has a high income and/or lives abroad.

  • Through the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) - This is a government scheme that calculates the maintenance payment for you. However, you will have to pay administrative charges and financial penalties if the child maintenance service is forced to get involved in your case.

How is child maintenance calculated?

The amount of child maintenance you should pay is determined by the CMS. You will need to pay child maintenance to your ex-partner if they are responsible for the majority of childcare. The CMS will determine how much you should pay based on several factors:

  • The amount of money you earn

  • The number of children you have with your ex-partner

  • The amount of time you spend with your children

  • If you are paying child maintenance to other children from separate relationships

Paying child maintenance for more than one child

The number of children you have with your ex-partner will increase how much child maintenance you need to pay. Assuming you are on the basic rate, you will need to pay:

  • 12% of your gross weekly income for one child

  • 16% of your gross weekly income for two children

  • 19% of your gross income for three or more children

The amount of parenting you share with your ex-partner will reduce how much child maintenance you pay for each child. Shared parenting is defined as being responsible for your children overnight.

Enforcement of child maintenance payments

Should a parent refuse to pay child maintenance, the CMS has a range of enforcement actions. These are as follows:

  • Money is recovered from the paying parent’s earnings through their employer, who will be instructed by the service to deduct money from their salary

  • Money is deducted form the paying parent’s bank or building society account: or

  • A paying parent can be taken to court over unpaid maintenance


Speak to a family law solicitor

Our experienced team of family law solicitors can help you understand your parental rights in the context of UK law. We deal with sensitive and complex cases and help our clients reach the most suitable outcomes for their family. Our friendly legal experts will explain your rights to you at every stage and aim to simplify the process as much as possible. We will always strive to ensure that your case is dealt with in the most efficient way possible to reduce stress and complications for you and your family.

Get in touch with our friendly team today to find out how we can help.


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