Understanding child maintenance
As a parent, your financial responsibility for your child doesn’t end when your relationship with the other parent ends.
Child maintenance is regular financial support towards a child’s everyday living costs. The parent who has the main day-to-day care of the child receives this from the other parent. Since 10th April 2010, all parents with the main day-to-day care have been allowed to keep all of their child maintenance without it affecting out-of-work benefits.
You have two options for arranging maintenance:
- a private arrangement
- or a statutory (legal) arrangement
The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission was formed in 2008 to help people set up both kinds of arrangements. This help is delivered through the Child Maintenance Options service and the Child Maintenance Service.
If you prefer, you and your child’s other parent can arrange child maintenance privately between yourselves. You can do this in whatever way best suits your circumstances and you don’t need any official or legal intervention. The Child Maintenance Options service offers free help and tools to set up this kind of ‘family-based child maintenance arrangement’.
If you can’t reach an agreement by yourselves, you can arrange maintenance through the Child Maintenance Service.
Legal information is liable to change, so please check gov.uk for the most up-to-date information.