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Child Maintenance: How Much Do I Pay?

There have been recent changes to the law governing child maintenance and this article will set out these changes and the current rates that a "non-resident" parent will need to pay to the "resident" parent on behalf of their child/children.

A "non-resident" parent is a person who the children do not spend the majority of their time with. If that is you, you will need to pay child maintenance to the other parent, (the "resident parent") on behalf of the child/children. Please be clear that this is not negotiable if you have income.

Currently a non-resident parent will pay child maintenance to the resident parent at the following rates:

If your gross income (before you pay tax and national insurance*) is between £0-£800 per week, child support is payable at:

  • 12% of your weekly income if you have one child.
  • 16% of your weekly income if you have two children.
  • 19% of your weekly income if you have three children.

If your gross income (before you pay tax and national insurance*) is between £800-£3,000 per week (if applicable) child support is payable at:

  • 9% of your weekly income if you have one child.
  • 12% of your weekly income if you have two children.
  • 15% of your weekly income if you have three children or more.

 * Pension deductions can also be taken into account.

Example

If you have one child and you earn £2,000 gross per week you will pay:

12% on income between £0-£800 = £96 per week (£800 @ 12%)

9% on income between £800-£2,000 = £108 per week (the difference between £800 and £2000 = £1200 @ 9%)

£96 + £108 = £204 per week 

There will be deductions to this amount if the children spend a certain amount of time with you. If the children spend more than 52 nights per year with you (i.e. one night per week) then there will be a reduction to the amount of child maintenance that you pay. The reductions will increase if the children stay with you for longer periods of more than 52 nights per year. If you have any other children living in your household (which may be your children with a new partner or your step-children) further reductions can apply.

If you share the care of the children, then no child maintenance should be payable but there will be a presumption in favour of a parent who is receiving child benefit, that they should receive child maintenance from the other parent. It is possible to rebut this presumption.

If you are a resident parent of a child and a non-resident parent is refusing to pay child maintenance to you, there are a number of ways you can enforce this payment. The Child Maintenance Service can enforce the payment of maintenance on your behalf including any maintenance arrears.

You should seek legal advice urgently if a non-resident parent is refusing to pay child maintenance to you at the above rates and if arrears start to accrue, immediate action could be required.

You should also seek legal advice if you are unsure how much you should pay as a non-resident parent and how the payment should be made to the resident parent.

If you have any questions in relation to child maintenance, please do not hesitate to contact the DWF Family Team

This Article is drafted on the basis of applicable law in April 2015.

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.