Child maintenance payments for divorced parents

Child maintenance helps to ensure that both parents contribute towards the financial support of their child.

What is child maintenance?

Child maintenance is a payment made by one parent to the other parent to support their child.

The payment is usually made by the non-resident parent to the parent with whom the child lives most of the time.

The payment is intended to cover the cost of raising the child, including food, clothing, housing, and other essentials.

You are eligible for child maintenance until your child is 16 or under 20 when in full time education, up to A levels or an equivalent.

How is Child Maintenance Calculated?

The amount of child maintenance is calculated based on the income of the non-resident parent.

The calculation is done by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), which is a Government agency responsible for administering child maintenance.

The CMS uses a formula to determine the amount of child maintenance that should be paid, taking into account the income of the non-resident parent and the number of children they have to support.

Rights and obligations of both parents

Both parents have rights and obligations when it comes to child maintenance.

The non-resident parent has a legal obligation to pay child maintenance, and failure to do so can result in legal action being taken against them.

On the other hand, the resident parent has a responsibility to use the child maintenance payment for the benefit of the child.

The amount of nights that the child stays with each parent is considered and this means that no child maintenance will need to be paid if the time is split 50:50 between parents.

In some cases, parents may agree to a private child maintenance arrangement.

This is where the parents both agree on the amount of child maintenance to be paid without involving the CMS.

However, it’s important to note that private arrangements are not legally binding, and the non-resident parent may still be liable to pay the full amount of child maintenance as determined by the CMS.

Child maintenance ensures that both parents contribute towards the financial support of their child, and it can be a valuable source of income for the parent with whom the child lives most of the time.

Financial arrangements within divorce are completely separated from child maintenance and regardless of marriage, child maintenance is applicable to a non-resident parent.

For help and advice with family and relationship matters, please get in touch with Alison Green, Head of our Family and Relationship Team at Mackrell.Solicitors on +44 (0) 20 7240 0521 or at

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Alison Green
Alison has more than 25 years’ experience assisting clients with Family and Relationship matters. Her expertise covers matrimonial work, including divorce and the associated financial and children issues; pre and post-nuptial agreements; co-habitation disputes; civil partnership agreements and the breakdown of civil partnerships.