You can arrange child maintenance yourself with a ‘family-based arrangement’ if both parents agree.
The ‘paying parent’ is the parent the child doesn’t live with. The parent or carer the child lives with is called the ‘receiving parent’.
A family-based arrangement is a quick and easy way of sorting out child maintenance if you and the other parent agree. There’s little paperwork and it means you can:
- agree how much the payments should be and when they should be made
- pay for or get things like clothing for your child instead of money, if you both agree
For example, you could both agree that the paying parent pays:
- a proportion of their income
- a lump sum at different points in the child’s life
- for things like school clothes instead of giving money
- a regular set amount directly to the parent with care
If you agree to have a regular set amount, you can use the child maintenance calculator to work out what it should be.
You can find out more about family-based arrangements on the Child Maintenance Options website.
You can also arrange child maintenance and enforce payments through the courts. This is done using a consent order.
Child maintenance is usually arranged this way if you’re already going to court for another reason, eg to get a divorce.
Going to court just to arrange child maintenance will be expensive - legal aid won’t cover the costs.