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’.

Family-based arrangements

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.

Court orders

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.

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