Child maintenance if one parent lives abroad
Child maintenance payments help with your child’s everyday living costs when you’re separated from the other parent.
Agreeing child maintenance
You can arrange child maintenance with an ex-partner living abroad through a family-based arrangement if both parents agree.
This is a private agreement. No one else has to be involved, but you can’t enforce it.
If you don’t agree you might be able to get a formal agreement if:
- your ex-partner works abroad for certain British organisations
- your ex-partner lives in an EU country
Speak to a solicitor if they don’t live in an EU country.
Enforcing child maintenance
You can’t enforce a family-based arrangement.
If you have a formal agreement
You can get help enforcing a decision if your ex-partner is the ‘paying parent’ and lives abroad.
How you apply depends on whether your ex-partner:
- lives abroad permanently
- works abroad for certain British organisations but is still normally resident in the UK
You can also get help if the paying parent lives in the UK and you live abroad.
Child maintenance decisions made in Scotland
Contact the Scottish government to find out how to enforce a child maintenance decision if one parent lives abroad.
The Scottish Government Justice Directorate
Central Authority and International Law Team
St Andrew’s House
Child maintenance decisions made in Northern Ireland
Contact the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service for advice on how to enforce a child maintenance if one parent lives abroad.
Business Development and Services Division
Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service
23 – 27 Oxford Street