Making child maintenance arrangement



You and your child’s other parent make a child maintenance agreement. It explains how you will cover your child’s living expenses if one of their parents no longer resides with them. It’s created when one parent has divorced the other (or if you’ve never been married).

There is also a Welsh version of this guide available (Cymraeg).

Even if they do not see their children, both parents are accountable for their kid’s upbringing. Separately, you and your kids will make arrangements for access to your children.

Maintenance for a child can take the following forms:

  • You and the other guardians may have made a secret agreement.
  • Through the Child Maintenance Service, which is a government-run program.

For the children under the age of 16 (or under the age of 20 if they are enrolled in recognized school or training), you must have child maintenance arrangements in place. You can continue to pay after that if you create a private arrangement.

If you are a victim of violence or controlling behaviour, you should get help as soon as possible.

Controlling behaviour is a type of domestic abuse. As an illustration:

1. Manipulation or emotional control

2. Having financial control

3. having complete control over how you raise your children

If you don’t want to contact the other parent individually, you can use the Child Maintenance Service to arrange kids support. If you’re a victim of domestic abuse, they’ll contact the other parent on your behalf, and you will not have to pay an application fee.

What impact does it have on benefits?

Your and your children’s benefits will not be affected by child maintenance payments. They will not be subject to taxation.

It may harm your Council Tax Reduction. To check if this applies to you, contact your local municipality.

For the first time, making an arrangement

  1. Talk to your kid’s other parents about creating your plans.
  1.  If you cannot reach an agreement or are concerned about speaking with the other parent, call Child Maintenance Options for assistance and support.
  1.  If you want to apply to the Child Maintenance Service, you will be given a reference number and instructions on how to proceed.

Make your arrangements for the child upkeep.

If both parents agree, you can make arrangements for your kids. It might pay their living expenses as well as their medical care.

It is a private arrangement between you and the other parent in which you and the other parent organize everything yourself. There is no need for someone else to get engaged. It’s adaptable, so you can adjust it if your circumstances change. For example, you and your partner could agree that one parent should:

  • Do you pick up your kids from school or nursery?
  • Takes care of the kids during the holidays
  • gives a portion of their earnings to the parent who provides day-to-day care.
  • Covers expenses such as accommodation, school uniforms, field trips, and after-school clubs
  • pay a specified amount to the parent regularly with care.

Determining payment terms

If you agree to pay the maintenance regularly, the child maintenance calculator can assist you in determining how much you should pay.

Obtain assistance in putting together a deal.

You might look for a mediator in your area to assist you in reaching an agreement.

There is information on:

Child Maintenance Options is an excellent place to start if you need assistance.

Child Maintenance Options

Telephone: 0800 953 0191


Online form

Weekdays Mondays to Fridays, 8 am to 8 pm

Video relay service for (BSL) users – to check and avail the service.

Weekdays Mondays to Fridays, 8 am to 8 pm

Welsh language: 0800 408 0308

Weekdays Mondays to Fridays, 8 am to 5 pm 

Learn more about call charges

If you are staying in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to use separate contact information.

If your private arrangement falls apart

You can look for the assistance of a local mediator to figure out child support arrangements.

You may be required to pay an application fee if you decide to use the Child Maintenance Service later. If you are a victim of domestic abuse, are under 19, or live in Northern Ireland, you won’t have to pay the charge.

Using the Child Support Services

The Child Maintenance Services is for parents who cannot agree privately over their kid’s living expenses. The payments are a set sum and are made regularly.

Payments are typically handled between parents once the Child Maintenance Service establishes the maintenance amount. The payments are set amounts that are paid regularly.

You will be charged a payment every time you make or receive a payment if you utilize the service to collect and transfer money.

The Child Maintenance Services has the ability of: 

  • Determine the amount of child support you have to be paid (you can do this yourself with the calculator)
  • Make arrangements for the other parent to pay child support and follow up if payments are not made.
  • Assist in the search for the other parent (they will require information from you and will be unable to file a case if they cannot be located).
  • resolving parental disagreements
  • Check the payments to see if there have been any changes in the parents’ situation.

Later on, you can take care of kid upkeep on your own.

If your child’s other parent has abused you or is manipulating your youngster,

Tell the Child Maintenance Service if you’re concerned that your child’s other parent will contact you. The other parent is no need to be contacted.

If it’s unsafe for the other parent to know your whereabouts or personal information, such as if you’ve changed your name, notify the Child Maintenance Service.

Getting paid without having to reveal your physical location

You can accept money from your kid’s other parent without revealing your whereabouts.

If you don’t like the other parent to know your address, you can ask your bank to register a ‘non-geographical bank account. Request a letter from the Child Maintenance Service explaining your situation.

A pre-payment card that isn’t linked to a bank account can also be set up. Standing order to your pre-payment card can be established by the paying parent.


You need to have a child under the age of sixteen (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training).

You need to have the legal right to live in the UK as your primary residence.

If you are able to meet the following criteria, you are eligible to apply:

  • (you do not need to live with the child)
  • the child’s grandma or another legal guardian
  • a Scottish child above the age of 12

There’s no need to apply if you’re in prison or a full-time student with no income.

You cannot use the services if you have a court-approved consent order that is less than a year old or was issued before March 3, 2003.

If one of the parents are staying in a country other than the United Kingdom,

If the kid and the parent responsible for the child’s day-to-day care live outside of the UK, you will be unable to apply.

Only if the paying parent works for a British company outside of the UK can the service help.

The fees are £20 for the application.

If you:

  • having been abused in the home
  • they’re under the age of 19
  • be a Northern Irish citizen

How to Make an Application

Before you apply, speak with Child Maintenance Options.

They’ll talk to you about your maintenance plans, give you a reference number, and walk you through the application process.

Child Maintenance Options

Telephone: 0800 953 0191


Online form

Weekdays Mondays to Fridays, 8 am to 8 pm

Video relay service (BSL) users- check to avail the service

Weekdays Mondays to Fridays, 8 am to 8 pm

Welsh language: 0800 408 0308

Weekdays Mondays to Fridays, 8 am to 5 pm 

Learn more about call charges.

If you are living in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to use separate contact information.

What you’ll have to supply

You will need to provide that information about yourself and your family, such as:

  1. data about the kid you’re applying for, such as their parents’ full names
  2. your Social Security number
  3. your bank account information (inform the child)

Service of Upkeep if telling the other parent your name, if you’ve changed it, or your location isn’t safe)

How your data is put to use

Your information is used to set up and administer child support payments and locate the paying parent on occasion.

They will share your name and your kid’s name with the other parent by the Child Maintenance Service. They will not divulge your address to anyone.

They may disclose your contact information to other government agencies, debt collectors, or the courts. They will not discuss your situation in detail.

If neither parent can provide the information, the Child Maintenance Service may turn to others, such as:

  • the employer of the paying parent
  • government-run agencies such as Jobcentre Plus
  • local government or prison services
  • the bank or building society that the paying parent is a member.