Do I have to pay child maintenance? And other FAQsFamily Law
If a child does not live with you, you will be required to pay child maintenance. The payment of child maintenance can either be agreed voluntarily between parents, or the Child Maintenance Service may be involved to carry out an assessment of child maintenance liability and deal with making payment.
Other Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. I don’t see my child, do I still have to pay maintenance?
Yes. Unless the Child Maintenance Service has proof that you are not a child’s parent, you are still obliged to pay maintenance.
Q. Do I only pay child maintenance if I have Parental Responsibility?
No. Your obligation to pay child maintenance does not hinge on whether you have Parental Responsibility or not.
Q. How do I work out the child maintenance I have to pay?
There’s a helpful online calculator available on the Government website - https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-child-maintenance . It works out the rate payable on the basis of the gross weekly income of the “non-resident parent” and the number of overnight contact dates spent with the child(ren). It also takes into account other factors such as whether there are other children in your household.
Q. We have a shared care arrangement, do I still have to pay maintenance?
Possibly, depending on the number of nights the children spend with you. For example, the maintenance rate will be reduced by 1/7th if your children spend between 52 and 103 nights per year with you. If your child spends equal time in both homes, child maintenance will not be payable.
Q. Can the Child Maintenance Service enforce payments if I refuse to pay?
The Child Maintenance Service have several means of enforcing payment, which could impact the pay you receive from your employer or increase the amount you actually have to pay:
i. The Collect and Pay Service, means that the paying parent has to pay an additional 20% of the child maintenance owing, as a “collection fee”.
ii. Deductions direct from your earnings, i.e. the maintenance is deducted from your salary before it is paid to you;
iii. Court action. The Child Maintenance Service can seek permission from the Court to enlist the help of bailiffs, request the sale of your property, payment from your savings or punishment by way of imprisonment, if you fail to make your child maintenance payments.