The Child Maintenance Service is for those parents who have been unable to agree with their child’s living expenses on their own.
After you’ve established a Child Maintenance Service case, you’ll need to:
- You’ll be able to manage your case online.
- You must disclose any changes in your circumstances, such as changes in your employment, benefits, or living arrangements.
The Welsh version of this guide is also available (Cymraeg).
Payments made and received for Child Maintenance
It is possible to pay child support in the following ways:
- parents and their children
- negotiated with the paying parent’s employer, directly from their earnings
- via bank transfer
- lowering the benefits of the paying parent
The money is deposited into the bank account of the receiving parent. The youngster is mainly cared for by the receiving parent. The paying parent provides the primary day-to-day care.
If you’re having trouble paying, let the Child Maintenance Service know.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse or controlling behaviour, you should get help as soon as possible.
Notify the Child Support Agency. They can help you make payments to the other parent of your child.
You can arrange child support without the other parent knowing your new name if you’ve changed your name.
Ask your bank to open an account with a ‘non-geographic sort code if you don’t want the other parents to know where you live. The Child Maintenance Service can provide you with a letter to present to your bank explaining why this account is required.
You can make payments yourself when the Child Maintenance Service has calculated an amount.
Direct Pay is the term for this.
The standing orders are the most convenient payment method because payments are made directly from the paying parent’s bank account, building society, or Post Office account to the receiving parent’s account.
The Child Maintenance Service may still enforce missed payments. Keep track of your payments if ever you run into any issues later.
Unless there is an indication that the paying parent is unlikely to pay, either parent can choose Direct Pay without the other’s permission.
Taking care of your financial arrangements
If you can use the Child Maintenance Service to collect and distribute payments, they’ll do it according to when the paying parent receives their income, pension, or benefits.
Collect and Pay is the name for this method.
While you’re signed up for the Collect and Pay program, you must inform the Child Maintenance Service of any Direct Pay transactions you make or receive.
Fees associated with the collection
If you make or receive regular child support payments, you must pay a fee. Fees are as follows:
- A 20% discount for paying parents (which is applied to the payment)
- Receiving parents receive a 2.4% discount (subtracted from the payment).
By paying in advance, you will not be able to avoid paying collection fees.
You will not be charged:
- any expenses associated with a private arrangement
- If you use Direct Pay, you’ll have to pay a collection fee.
When are you going to pay or get the money?
If you’re the paying parent, you’ll receive a letter detailing how much and when you need to pay. It is referred to as a payment schedule.
If you are the receiving parent, you will get a letter detailing the payments to be made and when they will be made. It is referred to as a projected payment schedule.
The first payment is typically made 12 weeks after payment arrangements are set.
If a guardian fails to make a payment, the child will be placed in foster care.
If child support is not fully paid, the Child Support Service will take action.
Charges of policing
Child Maintenance Service Charge has taken action.
Order for liability
Order for a single
Request for a deduction
What is being done?
If the paying parent pays through the Child Maintenance Service, they will take prompt action.
If the paying parent calculates child maintenance using the Child Maintenance Service but pays directly, the receiving parent must request that the service take action.
When a parent denies having a kid, the Child Maintenance Service will:
- Demand proof that they aren’t the child’s biological parent. Inform the other parent of the circumstances and request proof of parental authority.
If there is no proof that they are not the parent, the Child Maintenance Service has the following options:
- Obtain a DNA test from both parents
- Request a ruling from the courts.
Parentage is presumed
If the person is named as the parent:
- At any moment between conception and birth, they were married to the child’s mother (unless they adopted the child)
- was named on the birth certificate of the child (unless they adopted the child)
- has taken a DNA test proving they are the biological parent
- has legal custody of the child
- when the child was delivered to a surrogate mother, is named as the parent in a court order
They’ll figure out how much child maintenance to pay if parenthood is assumed. Until they can establish that they are not the parent, the person labelled as the parent must pay.
Keeping up with child support payments following a divorce
When a child maintenance amount has been determined, the person listed as the parent is required to pay until proof that they are not the parent can be shown.
The case management service won’t figure out or ask for payment until the disagreement is resolved when the sum isn’t worked out. If the person is discovered to be the parent, the child support they must pay will be retroactive. The named individual demonstrates that they are not the child’s biological parent.
When this occurs, the Child Maintenance Service may take the following actions:
- Refund any payments received after they first denied being the parent or deduct the amount from future child support payments.
- Provide a refund for any DNA testing that they ordered through the program.
They may also demand that the other parent pay any child support owed to the child.
The circumstances of each case determine whether or not a refund is given.
You must notify us of any changes.
By law, you must report specific changes to the Child Maintenance Service. As soon as a change occurs, you should notify it.
By contacting the Child Maintenance Service, either parent can report a change.
If your circumstances change, the amount of child support you pay or receive may also alter. Learn how to calculate child support.
If you are in trouble paying your child maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.
You want to modify how you make and receive payments using Direct Pay or Collect and Pay because:
- You want to change how often the child stays overnight with the other parent, and you want to change who the child’s primary caregiver is.
- you are planning to relocate (give your new address within seven days of moving)
- You alter your bank account information 5. you change your phone number 6. you want someone else to handle your case.
- You add a child to the mix.
- the child no longer attends school full-time (up to and including A Level or equivalent)
- Another family has adopted the child.
- You’d like to put your case to rest.
- The child is no longer a resident of the United Kingdom.
- A person involved in the investigation passes away.
In the case of the paying parent, there are additional adjustments that must be recorded. If the paying parent:
- doesn’t pay a bill
- makes any additional voluntary payments in addition to the ones already made
- has a 25% or more significant change in income or no longer has an income
- spends more or less money to see the child, such as on transportation.
You could have been prosecuted and fined up to £1,000 if you:
1. do not provide the requested information
2. provide information that you are aware is fake
It includes anyone or any entity that is required by law to provide information to the Child Maintenance Service, such as:
- companies that hire people
- clerical personnel
- any of the parents
You will not be prosecuted or punished if you ever made a mistake when reporting your income and are the paying parent. You must notify the Child Maintenance Service as soon as possible to ensure that you are paying the correct amount of child support.
Disputes and appeals
If you’re unhappy with the service you’ve got, contact the Child Maintenance Service.
If you’re unhappy with how the Child Maintenance Service handles your complaint, ask for it to be escalated to senior management and investigated by the DWP Complaints team.
Examiner of Cases Without a Client
If you’ve already gone through the complete complaints process, you can ask the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) to look at your case.
It would be best if you waited until you’ve gotten a final response from the Child Maintenance Service before contacting the Independent Case Examiner.
If you’re unsatisfied with the Independent Case Examiner’s response, you can ask your MP to have the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman investigate.
If your claim is legitimate
The Child Maintenance Service will:
1. Express regret and explain what went wrong.
2. Make any necessary adjustments to make it right
If you’ve been maltreated, you may be eligible for a restitution payout. You do not, however, have a legal claim to it.
They can appeal a child maintenance payment of the amount determination.
You must first contact the Child Maintenance Service and request that the decision be reconsidered before you can file an appeal. ‘Mandatory reconsideration‘ is the term used to describe this process. You’ll have to explain why you think the choice is incorrect.
You can make a question to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal if you are dissatisfied with the result of the required reconsideration. The tribunal is government-free and unbiased.
The Social Security and Child Support Tribunal will hear your case.
Within one month of receiving the required reconsideration judgment, you must file an appeal with the tribunal. If you don’t file your appeal within a month, you’ll have to explain why you didn’t do it sooner.
Please fill out form SSCS2 and mail it to the address on the form.
You will need to decide whether or not you wish to attend the tribunal hearing to present your case. If you do not show up, They will resolve your appeal based on the information you have given to your appeal form and any supporting documentation.
You can provide evidence after you’ve submitted your appeal. The court will hold a hearing to discuss your appeal and the evidence with a judge and one or two experts. The judge will then conclude. The tribunal will usually consider your appeal in 6 months.
They should report changes online.
They should report changes in your situation through your online account.
Contact the Child Maintenance Service
Child Maintenance Service
Telephone: 0800 171 2345
Welsh language: 0800 232 1979
UK Relay (if you’re having trouble hearing or speaking on the phone) 18001 then 0800 171 2345
Weekdays Mondays to Fridays, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.
Learn more about call charges.
Video presentation service for British Sign Language (BSL).
Check out a video to see if you’re eligible to use the service.
To use the video relay service, go to the video relay service.
From 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday
If you are residing in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to call a different number.
Post a letter to the Child Maintenance Service.
You can also contact the Child Maintenance Service by writing to them.
Child Support Services (England, Scotland, Wales cases)
Wolverhampton WV98 2BU Child Maintenance Service 21 Mail Handling Site A
Child Support Services (Northern Ireland cases)
Wolverhampton WV98 2BU Child Maintenance Service 24 Mail Handling Site A