What is Child Maintenance Payment

Child maintenance payment is usually paid by the parent (legally known as ‘paying parent’) who does not have the day-to-day care of their children to their ex-partner (legally known as ‘receiving partner’) when the couple has separated/divorced. The Child maintenance amount which the paying parent pays depends on gross weekly income, number of child for which the maintenance has to be paid, factors affecting the gross weekly income, other children the partner has in their current household and if any social benefit they receive. Child maintenance calculator will help you understand the minimum amount the paying partner has to pay for child maintenance. Any of the partners can contact The Child Maintenance Service to arrange where the children will live, how much time they will spend with each partner and the amount that is to be paid by the paying partner.

Factors affecting child maintenance payment –

There are certain prominent factors on which the child maintenance payment depends.

These child maintenance payment factors are related to the paying parent

  • Gross weekly income of the paying parent
  • Factors affecting the gross income like jobseeker’s allowance, state pension, war allowance
  • Number of children for which maintenance has to be paid
  • Number of the children the paying parent has in their current household
  • Number of days the children will stay with the paying parent i.e ‘shared care’

How to use child maintenance calculator?

  • Put in the gross weekly income of the paying parent after deducting any amount that has been paid for pension scheme. You need not deduct national insurance contribution or income tax
  • Select the number of children you would be paying maintenance for – 1, 2, 3 or more.
  • If you pay any private pension, then put that weekly amount
  • Select in which band your shared care falls into. This band determines how much less you will pay towards child maintenance. If the child stays with paying parent more over a course of year, then the amount to be paid by the paying parent will be less.

How income of paying parent determines the amount to be paid ?

The Child Maintenance Service has given a rate band depending on which the amount is decided. The band for 2018-19 is given below –

Band Paying parent's gross weekly income (£) Number of children for whom maintenance is required Amount/Percentage of income to be paid
Nil Rate Less than £7 1 £0
2
3 or more
Flat Rate £7 to £100 1 £7
2
3 or more
Reduced Rate £100.01 to £199.99 1 £7 + (17% of amount above the flat rate)
2 £7 + (25% of amount above the flat rate)
3 or more £7 + (31% of amount above the flat rate)
Basic Rate £200 to £800 1 12% of weekly income
2 16% of weekly income
3 or more 19% of weekly income
Basic Plus Rate £800.01 to £3000 1 £96 + (9% of amount above basic rate)
2 £128 + (12% of amount above basic rate)
3 or more £152 + (15% of amount above basic rate)
Unknown Rate Weekly income is unknown 1 £38
2 £51
3 or more £64

The rates are divided into 6 distinct bands

  • Nil Rate If the paying parent’s income is less than £7 a week, then they fall under this band. In this case no amount has to be paid. Other cases where the nil rate applies are – paying parent is less than 16 years old, is between 16 to 19 years old but receives support like jobseeker allowance, income related support and other allowance, stays at prison or in other home care facility.
  • Flat Rate The paying parent pays a fixed amount of £7 per week if their gross weekly earning is less than £100. Other cases where the flat rate is applicable are - contribution based jobseeker’s allowance or support allowance, Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments – War Disablement Pension – War Widow’s Pension, War Widower’s Pension, or Surviving Civil Partner Pension – Bereavement Allowance – Maternity Allowance – Carer’s Allowance – Severe Disablement Allowance – Industrial Injuries Benefit – Widowed Mother’s Allowance – Widowed Parent’s Allowance – Widow’s Pension.
  • Reduced Rate A fixed percentage is applicable on the amount above £100 till £199.99 depending on the number of children for whom maintenance has to be paid. In addition to this add £7 each week. The paying parent has to pay 17% of the amount above £100 for 1 children, 25% for 2 children and 31% for 3 children or more.
  • Basic Rate If the weekly income falls in the range of £200 to £800, then only a fixed percentage is applicable. 12% of total income for 1 children, 16% for 2 children and 19% for 3 or more children. Note, the total amount of paying parent is to be taken rather than only the band/partial payment.
  • Basic Plus Rate If the weekly income falls between the range of £800 to £3000, this rate is applicable. After applying the basic rate, the rate to be involved is 9% for 1 child, 12% for 2 children and 15% for 3 children. If the paying parent’s income is more than £3000 per week, then the receiving parent can apply to court for more child maintenance support.
  • Unknown Rate This is the case when the income of the paying parent cannot be determined. This might be due to various reasons – paying parent has not submitted his returns, the employer has not shared payment details. In such a case a fixed amount is taken into consideration till the actual income is known. If the child maintenance rate is more after figuring out the paying parents income, then the balance is to be paid later along with the new rates.

How ‘shared care’ affects child maintenance payment?

If both the parents have agreed on to shared care, then the paying parent has to pay less amount. The amount that has to be deducted depends upon the number of nights the child spend with the paying parent.

Number of nights of shared care each year Reduction to child maintenance (for each child)
(less than once a week/less than 52 a year) No reduction
( 1 to 2 nights a week/52 to 103 a year) 1/7th
( 2 to 3 nights a week/104 to 155 a year) 2/7th
(3 nights a week/156 to 174 a year) 3/7th
(more than 3 nights a week/175 or more a year) ½ (50%) plus an extra £7 a week reduction for each child in this band

For the reduction to take place, the paying parent should inform the agency in advance on how many days they would like to share the care of the children. If the band changes in terms of number of days the children stays with the paying parent, then the agency should be informed who will revise the value of amount to be paid.

How having other children of paying parent reduces child maintenance payment?

If the paying parent has other children in their household or is paying for children from another partner, then a certain percentage is deducted from the gross weekly income. The percentage of deduction depends on the number of other children. The rate table is given below-

Other Children Reduction percentage
1 11%
2 14%
3 or more 16%

Note that this will only decrease the gross weekly payment which will subsequently lead to slightly lower child maintenance payment. Also this is only applicable when the paying parents income is in the range of £200 to £3000.

How to contact Child Maintenance Service?

Online www.gov.uk/child-maintenance By phone 0345 266 8792 0345 266 8795 By post Child Maintenance Service PO Box 249 MITCHELDEAN GL17 1AJ

When does the child maintenance payment stops?

When does the child maintenance payment stops?
  • When the child has reached 16 years or 20 years in case they are in full time education up to A level or equivalent
  • When the paying parents income is less than £7 a week or their age is 16 or less.
  • When the paying parent stays in prison or in some home care facility

Also Read: Calculate & Check Maternity Pay Amount for Employee

Also Read: Calculate Paternity Pay Amount for Full-Time Employees

Understanding Child Maintenance Calculation with Example

Richard is the paying parent for two children - Sue and Joe. Richard’s annual income is £90,000. Richard and his ex-partner has agreed on to shared care of 160 nights every year for Joe only.Sue will stay with Richard for 100 nights. Richard also has two children with his current partner who stays with him. Additionally he also pays annually an amount of £5000 towards his private pension.

Step 1 – Income

As per Richard’s statement, his current gross annual income is £45,000. Since the difference between the one he claims and the one for which HMRC has record is more than 25 percent, the lower of the two amounts will be taken for calculation purposes.

Step 2 –Factors Affecting Income

Reduction for private pension After deducting £5000 from his annual income, the gross annual income is £40,000 To get weekly income, we divide this amount by 365 and then multiply by 7. So gross weekly income is £767.12. Reduction for other children Since Richard has two other children staying with him from his other partner, 14% will be deducted from his weekly income. 14% of £767.12 works out to be £107.39. So the gross weekly income that has to be considered for child maintenance payment will be £659.73.

The gross weekly income to be considered is £659.73 which falls under Basic Rate.

Step 3 – Number of children for which maintenance has to be paid

Richard has two children – Sue and Joe for whom maintenance is sought.

Step 4 – Weekly maintenance rate

When income falls under the bracket of Basic rate and maintenance is required for two children then, 16% of the weekly amount is given. So 16% of £659.73 works out to be £105.55.

Step 5 – Shared Care

Since £105.55 is to be paid, this amount is divided equally among Sue and Joe which turns out to be £52.77. Deduction from Sue’s child maintenance due to shared care Since Sue stays with her father for 100 nights, 1/7th of the weekly income is to be deducted from Sue’s rate. This works out to be £7.53 Deduction from Joe’s child maintenance due to shared care Since Joe stays with his father for 160 nights, 3/7th of the weekly income is to be deducted from Sue’s rate. This works out to be £22.61 So the total amount that is deducted is £30.14. Deducting this amount from £105.55 gives £75.41. So Richard has to pay weekly £75.41 for child maintenance for his two children.

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