Both parents are legally responsible for the financial costs of bringing up their children. If you split up, and you’re the parent who doesn’t have the main day-to-day care of the children, you may have to pay money to the person looking after the children. This is called child maintenance. Sometimes it’s also called child support.
Child maintenance usually takes the form of regular payments towards the child’s everyday living costs. Depending on your circumstances, you can either arrange this yourselves or use a government scheme. If your situation is complicated, you may need to get a court order.
If you can agree it yourselves under a family-based arrangement it will be cheaper as under the latest Child Maintenance Scheme 2012, the government has introduced fees and charges. These apply to new parents who want to use the 2012 Scheme and existing parents already on it. This is to encourage parents to reach their own agreement through a private family-based arrangement or paying each other directly rather than asking the Child maintenance Service to collect it for you.
There is a fee of £20 to apply and from 11th August 2014 both parents will be charges for collection – 20% for the paying parent and 4% for the receiving parent.