Looking for a child maintenance payment calculator is part of what is a particularly difficult process.
Emotionally, it’s challenging, as you’re dealing with your child’s living costs after the breakdown of a relationship.
So, what is child maintenance?
Essentially, child maintenance is money that’s used to help pay for your child’s living costs.
It’s paid by the parent who doesn’t ordinarily live with the child to the person who has the most day-to-day care of the child.
Child maintenance is often referred to as child support, and you can get it if:
- You’re the main carer for the child
- The other parent doesn’t live with you as part of your family
A child is defined as either someone who’s under 16 or under 20 if they’re in approved education or training.
You’ll need to pay child maintenance if:
- You are the child’s biological or adoptive parent
- You don’t live with the child as part of their family
- You are the child’s legal parent
Child maintenance is usually a regular payment, often monthly, towards your child’s everyday living costs, and could also be a payment towards bills or rent for the home in which your child lives.
You don’t need to pay tax on any child maintenance you receive, and if you’re a taxpayer then you won’t be eligible for any tax relief on the child maintenance payments you make.
How can I calculate child maintenance?
There are plenty of accurate child maintenance calculators in the UK you can find online, but the most accurate is available on gov.uk HERE.
Many factors contribute to how much you’ll be required to pay or how much you’ll receive, but it’s always best to arrange child maintenance directly with the other parent.
This might not be possible if the relationship has deteriorated or there’s reluctance from one parent, when it might be wise to seek legal advice.
If you’re getting divorced or ending a civil partnership, then a child arrangement might be a part of your discussions and arrangements.
You can ask the Child Maintenance Service for a ruling on the amount of child maintenance to be paid, and it’s worth noting that in any calculation you’ll need to provide information on:
- how much the paying parent earns
- how many children the paying parent is or will be paying maintenance for
- how many nights a week the child spends with the paying parent
- if any other children live with the paying parent
It’s also worth noting that if the parent who has is on certain benefits, then the other parent will receive a maximum of £7 per week.
Eligible benefits include:
- Carer’s Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
- State Pension
- Universal Credit calculated on the basis that they have no income
How long will a CMS assessment take?
You should hear from the CMS within 4 weeks barring any difficulties in locating the paying parent – the result will be sent to you with accompanying details.
It’s then over to you to agree it’s correct before the CMS sends a payment schedule to both parents for the year, showing when payments should be made, and including any backdated payments.
What else do I need to know about calculating child maintenance?
There are two options when paying/receiving child maintenance:
- Direct pay – payments go directly from the paying parent to the parent caring for the child
- Via the CMS – this is known as collect and pay, and means money is transferred via the CMS
If you’re intending to set up a direct payment, then you can make your own arrangements. This could be money paid directly into your bank account.
However, you can ask the CMS to set up a non-geographical bank account if you don’t want the payee to know where you live.
You might be required to go to court to arrange child maintenance – this will be necessary if the parent paying maintenance either:
- Lives outside the UK
- Earns more than £3,000 per week and you want to top up the maintenance you receive
You’ll also need to go to court to ask for more maintenance if you need to pay for extra costs such as your child’s education or costs associated with a disability.
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