If you separate from your partner, you will both need to help with your child’s living costs. One parent will usually pay the other an agreed amount on a regular basis. This is the case even of one of you doesn’t have contact with the child.
Separating from your partner can be a difficult process. So remember to look after your mental health and ask for support when you need it.
A child is someone under 16 or under 20 if they’re in approved education or training.
You can get child maintenance payments if:
How you organise child maintenance payments will depend on your relationship with your ex partner. You may be able to arrange the payments between you. Or if you can’t make a private arrangement, you can use the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). You should use the CMS if you’re experiencing domestic abuse.
If you agree on child maintenance payments privately, you can decide how much and how often to pay. This can be changed at any point if you both agree it needs to. But remember that it’s not legally binding.
The government child maintenance calculator provides some guidance on how much a parent or carer should pay.
You can make an application to the CMS if you are:
Using the CMS is the best option if:
You will need to contact Child Maintenance Options before you apply.
The child maintenance process can seem intimidating and complicated. It may take a bit of time for you and your ex partner to work out what’s right for you. If you need more detail to decide on an approach, visit Citizen’s Advice and or the GOV.UK website.
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