Child Support & Maintenance Experts
How the Child Maintenance Service work out child maintenance
In most cases, six steps are followed when the CMS work out how much child maintenance a paying parent must pay.
1 - Income
Finding out a paying parents yearly gross income and whether they are getting benefits.
2 - Things that affect income
Checking certain things that could change the gross income amount, such as pension payments, or other children who the paying parent supports.
The yearly gross income is also converted into a weekly figure.
3 - Child maintenance rates
One of four rates is applied based on the amount of gross weekly income.
4 - Children we take into account
The number of children who the paying parent must pay child maintenance for and any family-based arrangements.
5 - Weekly amount of child maintenance
Information from the first four steps is used to make a decision about a weekly maintenance amount.
6 - Shared care
If this applies, a deduction to the weekly amount of child maintenance will be applied, depending on the average number of “shared care” nights a week. “Shared care” is when a child, a paying parent must pay child maintenance for stays overnight with them.
Following all six steps gives a total weekly amount of child maintenance.
The decision will last until the date of the Annual Review
Even though child maintenance may be paid monthly, fortnightly, or weekly, child support law says it must be worked out as a weekly amount.
Before the annual review happens, the amount of child maintenance could change if either a paying parent or a receiving parent tells us about a change of circumstances.
You can get more information about child maintenance at www.gov.uk/child-maintenance
Information and leaflets can be found there and more about the services they offer.
If you would like to take to someone at the CMS about your case, then they can be contacted on 0800 171 2345.
You will need your customer reference number when you contact the CMS. This is a 12-digit number starting with the number 12. It will be shown as “your reference” at the top of any letter they have sent you.
Calls may be recorded so they can improve their services and to train their employees.
If you do not have a case with the CMS, you can call Child Maintenance Options on 0800 988 0988 between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday and between 9am and 4pm on Saturdays.
Please get in contact with Whittaker & Co and let us advise you on this difficult subject