Child Maintenance

Blanchards Law is a niche family law practice with divorce solicitors, mediators and collaborative lawyers. Our legal specialists can advise you on how to calculate child maintenance, and guide you through the process of getting financial support for your children.

Can we help you? Please call us on 0333 344 6302 or contact us through our enquiry form. All initial enquiries are free and without obligation.

Child Maintenance Service (CMS)

The task of collecting and enforcing child maintenance is now handled by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).

This is paid to the resident parent at least until at least the child reaches the age of sixteen, or twenty, as long as they are in ‘approved education or training’, which means A ‘Levels, Highers or equivalent. Sometimes it is paid until the end of the first degree if that child goes on to university, although that amount can be split so that some of it actually goes to the child directly. That would only happen if you have a court order extending the maintenance post-secondary education. The CMS does not cover tertiary education costs.

How to Calculate Child Maintenance

The court uses what is still known as the CMS Formula. This is calculated as a percentage of the gross weekly income of the paying parent, from £200 per week to £3,000 per week as follows:

One child: 12% of gross weekly income
Two children: 16%
Three or more children: 19%

If the earnings are more than £3,000 per week, you will need to apply to court for a ‘top-up’, but you will need to show a CMS calculation which states that your earnings are £3,000 per week or more.

You can work out what you can expect to pay/expect to receive by using this link here:

Points to note about child maintenance:

  • The income of the parent with care (PWC) is completely ignored.
  • The pension contributions of the Paying Parent are taken off the gross weekly income before the percentage split is done.
  • If the paying parent’s gross weekly income is between £200 and £3,000 and they pay child maintenance for other children, or they have other children in their household, this is taken into account when working out how much they should pay. The Child Maintenance Service simply reduces the amount of weekly income that it takes into account. For example, if the paying parent is paying for:
    One other child, their weekly income will be reduced by 11%
    Two other children, their weekly income will be reduced by 14%
    Three or more other children, their weekly income will be reduced by 16%
  • Contact between the Paying Parent and the child reduces the maintenance as follows:
Overnight Stays  of not less than Reduction of Child support
52 nights p/a 1/7th
104 nights p/a 2/7ths
156 nights p/a 3/7ths
175 nights p/a 50%


Child Maintenance Agreements

You can reach whatever agreements you like in relation to money for the children, but enforcement is a problem if one person doesn’t keep to it. As with other agreements, the court does not have to follow them, and to have the best chance of getting the order that you want, you will need to:

  • Get legal advice.
  • Not be rushed, or rush your partner into signing anything.
  • Give full financial disclosure, as this is a reason why the court may not order that an agreement must be followed.

It is important to be aware that even if you keep to these general principles, you will not necessarily get a court to uphold your agreement. The only way to secure compliance by your partner and enforcement by the court is to have the agreement drawn up into an order and approved by a judge. This can be done under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989.

Can we help you? Please call us on 0333 344 6302 or contact us through our enquiry form. All initial enquiries are free and without obligation.

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Stories & case studies to help you

Please read our blogs on our children work and practice. Like you, many client have come to us because the blogs are informative and designed to help you understand what you can do to resolve your situation.

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