Child Support

Child maintenance is financial support that helps towards your child’s everyday living expenses and is paid on a regular basis by the non-resident parent to the parent, grandparent or guardian who the child lives with, with full care of the child.

In most cases the following six steps are followed to work out how much is payable.

Step 1 – finding out the paying parent’s yearly gross income and ascertain if they’re getting benefits (student grants and loans don’t count as income).

Step 2 – check for things that could change the gross income amount like pension payments, other supported children. The yearly gross income is then converted into a weekly figure.

Step 3 – One of the five child maintenance rates will be applied based on the amount of gross weekly income:-

Below £7 If the non-resident parent earns less than £7 per week, for instance if they are a full time student, are under 16 years old, or in prison the nil rate will apply.

£100 or less £7 per week no matter how many children are involved. It’s also used if they get certain benefits, including (but not limited to):
Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments
Bereavement Allowance
Incapacity Benefit
Income Support
Employment and Support Allowance
Jobseeker’s Allowance
Pension Credit
State Pension
Training Allowance
War Disablement Pension
War or civil partners or other widows or widower’s pension or allowance
Maternity allowance
Carer’s allowance
Severe disablement allowance
Industrial injuries benefit
A social security benefit from another country

If the paying parent lives with a partner, the flat rate will be used if the partner gets:

Income Support income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance income-related Employment and Support Allowance Pension Credit

In the case of state benefits, the child maintenance is usually deducted at source. Flat

£100.01 to £199.99 £7 for the first £100 plus a percentage of their remaining gross weekly income which varies depending on how many children for instance 17% of the income for one child, 25% for two children and 31% for three or more children. Reduced

£200 to £800 a percentage of the net weekly income for one child 12%, for two children this is 16% and for three or more children it is 19%. Basic

£800.01 to £3,000 a percentage of gross weekly income as above plus the following percentage applied to the gross weekly income over £800 being 9% for 1 child, 12% for 2 children, 15% for 3 or more. Basic Plus

Step 4 – take into account number of children who the paying parent has to pay child maintenance for, and any arrangements that have been made directly between the parties. The money will normally be divided equally.

Step 5 – Using the above 4 steps a weekly amount is ascertained.

Step 6– Finally when a child a parent pays child maintenance for stays overnight with them at least 52 nights a year, a deduction is made to the weekly child maintenance amount based on the average number of shared care nights a week. For instance 52-103 nights reduction 1/7th; 104-155 nights reduction 2/7th; 156-174 nights reduction 3/7th; more than 175 nights 50% plus an extra £7 a week reduction for each child in this band.

Self employed non resident Many people are self employed and their maintenance contributions are based on the earnings of the previous tax year and if it is a new business then the gross income of the business to date. Deduction of reasonable business expenses and any VAT are allowed to ascertain a weekly figure.

The amount of child maintenance is reviewed each year, when any changes in circumstances are taken into account.

Other factors can be taken into consideration such as mortgages and private school fees.


This article is a guide only and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.