Child Maintenance

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What is Child Maintenance?

  • Child maintenance is about providing help with a child’s everyday living costs. This includes things like food and clothes, and helping to provide a home for your child or children. It is payable where the child is under 16 years of age or under 20 if they are in approved education or training.


  • Child maintenance is usually money that the parent without the main day-to-day care of a child pays to the other parent. But, sharing the care of your children and buying things directly for them can also be included in family-based child maintenance arrangements, if both parents agree to it


  • About half of the children who live in separated families in Great Britain benefit from an arrangement where both parents contribute financially.


  • Family-based arrangement. This is an arrangement between parents which doesn’t involve anyone else. You might also have heard it called a family arrangement, a voluntary arrangement or private agreement.


  • Family-based arrangements give parents a greater degree of flexibility and control. For example, parents can decide between themselves what counts as child maintenance and when it should be paid.


  • Parents can also go through the courts to arrange child maintenance, if a family-based arrangement isn’t right for them.

Why is it important?

Having a child maintenance arrangement can make a significant difference to a child’s well-being, because it can help create a more stable environment for them.

What’s more, research shows that the more that both parents are interested and involved in a child’s life, the more likely they are to do well at school, stay out of trouble and develop self-esteem and healthier relationships as an adult.

Most parents want what’s best for their children, and understand that they don’t stop being a parent just because their relationship with the other parent ends. This includes being responsible for financially supporting their children.

How much child maintenance?

How much child maintenance should be paid is a common question for most separated parents. The answer will depend on the individual circumstances of you and your separated family.

Most separated parents find that the best way to agree on a child maintenance amount is to do the following:

1 – Look at how much money you and the other parent have got coming in and going out.


2 – Work out what your child needs and what these things cost.


3 – Decide between you who should pay for what.