Latest insights from our experts

Posted 18 January 2018
by Ricky Noble

Paying Child Maintenance

Baby feet and hands

If you’re separating from your child’s other parent then you will need to arrange child maintenance.

Child maintenance often involves an agreement where the parent without main day-to-day care of the child gives money to the parent with the main caring role. It can, however, be much more flexible. It is important to reach an arrangement that best suits both parents.

You don’t have to use the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to arrange child maintenance. Many families now have arrangements in place that they have agreed upon and set up themselves.

Family-based arrangements

Family-based arrangements are agreements between both parents about who will provide what for a child. This is not necessarily restricted to the payment of money, but for example, could deal with who is to pay for school uniforms/shoes/activities.

The benefit of family-based arrangement is that they are quick and easy to set up. They are also private, meaning no third party will be involved in the arrangements.

Direct Pay

Direct Pay is a payment route offered by the CMS that lets you keep control of making and receiving payments. The CMS works out the amount of child maintenance for you but will not involve themselves in other areas, such as collecting the payments or enforcement of any missed payments, unless you ask them to do so.

This is often a good option for parents who can trust each other to stick to the agreed payments but who are having trouble agreeing between them, or discussing how much child maintenance should be paid.

Collect and Pay

The CMS also offers a full calculation, collection, payment and enforcement service for parents who can’t make a family arrangement work.

If you apply to the CMS for this service they will gather the required information from both parents and use it to work out how much child maintenance the parent without the main day-to-day care of the child will need to pay to the other parent. If payments are not made on time, the CMS can take a range of enforcement actions to collect them.

It may be the best option where there is the risk of domestic violence or abuse between parents.

If you require further information or advice in respect of divorce, or any family matter please contact our family law solicitors in Exeter on 01392 207020 or Newton Abbot on 01626 207020

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About the author

Ricky Noble


Paralegal within our family team