Everything You Need To Know About Child Maintenance Fees

When you choose to separate from a partner, both are expected to make continual payments for the general care of the child. This will typically mean that one parent will be paying the other. 

This can sometimes be worked out between the parents, or you may choose to ask the Child Maintenance Service to help calculate payments if you are unable to agree on terms. 

How To Arrange Child Maintenance On Your Own 

If you plan to arrange child maintenance in a private manner with your ex-partner, this is a situation you can work out between the two of you. This is traditionally known as a family-based agreement. 

It is important to understand that these forms of arrangements are not legally binding, so a sense of trust will be needed for these to work. However, they are quite flexible to meet any possible changes or circumstances. 

There is no need to contact the Child Maintenance Service if you plan to go the route of a family based arrangement. However, it is wise to seek out the amount in which they would assess your child maintenance to ensure that it is a fair amount for both. 

It is possible to visit GOV.UK to calculate the average child maintenance payments. 

When you are deciding upon the amount of child maintenance to pay, it is good to consider what the payments should cover and how much you desire to pay. 

As an example: 

Would you prefer to help in the average cost of school uniforms and after school activities? 

Would you prefer to pay a fixed amount or would it vary to meet the changing needs of the child on a monthly basis? You may want to decide to pay extra if there is a particular school function or trip that the child would like to attend. 

Would you prefer to simply as a percentage of your work earnings? This could be particularly useful if your earnings vary on a monthly basis, considering if you were self-employed. 

How much child maintenance should you be expected to pay? 

In some instances it is not going to be possible for both parties to agree on how much should be paid. 

A mediation service could be useful to come to an agreement, however, the hurtful feeling from a separation or divorce can still make this difficult. Find out more about how to reduce child maintenance payments UK.

If you are unable to come to a conclusion about proper child maintenance payments, it is best to seek out the assistance of the Child Maintenance Service. 

Unlike family based payments, the payments that are created through the Child Maintenance Service are fully binding in legal terms. 

The Child Maintenance Service will consider the following

  • How many children are in the unit 
  • The income of the parent who is paying
  • If the parent that will be paying child maintenance has payments to children from other relationships
  • How much childcare does the paying parent provide.
  • When will child maintenance cease?

You are generally expected to pay child maintenance until the child turns 16. However, one much pay a child maintenance fee until the child turns 20 if they are a full time student studying: 

  • Highers 
  • A-Levels
  • Or an equivalent qualification

How Much Your Income Is Going To Affect Payments 

The Child Maintenance Service will calculate payments by applying a certain rate to your average gross income, this is the amount of money that you receive before you have to pay any taxes or insurance payments. 

The rates for the child maintenance are as follows: 

  • Flat Rate 
  • Basic Rate
  • Reduced Rate
  • Nil Rate

Basic Rate 

You are going to be placed on the basic rate if you have a gross weekly income between £200 and £3,000. The percentage of your income that you will pay is going to be dependent upon the number of children you are responsible for as well as the amount of childcare that you will provide. 

Assuming that you are responsible for one child, the overall child maintenance fee would be 12% of your gross income. 

Reduced Rate 

Whereas a gross weekly income of £100 but less than £200 places parents on a reduced rate. There is a standard weekly rate payment of £7 on your first £100, as well as an additional percentage of the rest of your income. 

If you are responsible for one child, there will be a payment of £7 on your first £100, as well as 17%  on the remaining gross weekly income. 

Flat Rate 

A flat rate of £7 is applied to the gross weekly income if it is under £100, or you are on benefits. 

Nil Rate 

There is no need to pay a child maintenance fee if the gross weekly income is under £7.