You can arrange child maintenance yourself if both parents agree. This is called a ‘family-based arrangement’.

Family-based arrangements

A family-based arrangement is a private way to sort out child maintenance.

Parents arrange everything themselves and no-one else has to be involved. It’s flexible and can be changed if circumstances change.

You agree how much the payments should be and when they should be made. There’s no official paperwork but you can write down your agreement in case of future disagreement.

For example, you could both agree that the paying parent pays:

  • a proportion of their income
  • for things like school clothes instead of giving money
  • a regular set amount directly to the parent with care

Family-based arrangements aren’t legally binding. If there are problems, you can still apply to make a legally-binding arrangement.

Working out payments

If you agree to have a regular set amount, you can use the child maintenance calculator to work out what it should be.

Get help to agree payments

Contact Child Maintenance Options for free information on setting up a family-based arrangement and getting help to agree payments.

Child Maintenance Options
Telephone: 0800 0835 130
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 9am to 4pm
Find out about call charges

If you can’t agree on payments

You can get Child Maintenance Service to collect payments if you can’t agree between you - this is called a ‘statutory arrangement’. You must contact Child Maintenance Options first.

You’ll have to pay a fee if you arrange payments through the Child Maintenance Service.