You can arrange child maintenance yourself if both parents agree.

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

You can download a form from Child Maintenance Options to help you write down your agreement.

Working out payments

If you agree to make regular payments, you can use the child maintenance calculator to work out how much payments 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

Welsh language: 0800 408 0308
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

If you agree and want a formal arrangement

Family-based arrangements aren’t legally binding. Child Maintenance Options has information about asking a court to formalise your agreement to make it legally binding.

If you disagree now or in the future

You might be able to use the Child Maintenance Service to make a new formal arrangement instead. 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.