Use the Child Maintenance Service or Child Support Agency (CSA)


Child maintenance is financial support towards your child’s everyday living costs when you’ve separated from the other parent.

You and your ex-partner can arrange child maintenance yourself if you can agree. This is called a ‘family-based arrangement’.

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.

Talk to Child Maintenance Options to get impartial information.

If you cannot agree

The Child Maintenance Service is for when you and the other parent cannot agree to a family-based arrangement.

You’ll usually have to pay an application fee to use this service. You might also have to pay collection fees each time you make or receive a child maintenance payment.

You must talk to Child Maintenance Options before you can apply to the Child Maintenance Service.

The Child Maintenance Service can:

  • try to find the other parent if you do not know where they live, to sort out child maintenance
  • sort out disagreements about parentage
  • work out how much child maintenance should be paid
  • arrange for the ‘paying’ parent to pay child maintenance - the parent who does not have main day-to-day care of the child
  • pass payments on to the ‘receiving’ parent - the parent who has main day-to-day care of the child
  • look at the payments again when changes in parents’ circumstances are reported
  • review the payment amount every year
  • take action if payments are not made

Manage your Child Maintenance Service case online

You can manage your case online by setting up a self-service account or logging into an existing account.

Child Support Agency (CSA) child maintenance arrangements

The CSA only handles existing cases. New applications are dealt with by the Child Maintenance Service.

Child maintenance arrangements made through the CSA will be ending by 31 December 2017.

Get someone to manage your case for you

You can ask someone else to deal with your Child Maintenance Service case for you.