What child maintenance is

Child maintenance covers how your child’s living costs will be paid when one of the parents does not live with the child. It’s made when you’ve separated from the other parent or if you’ve never been in a relationship.

This is a financial arrangement between you and the other parent of your child. Making arrangements to see your child happens separately.

This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

You must have a child maintenance arrangement if your child is under 16 (or under 20 if they are still in full-time education).

Both parents are responsible for the costs of raising their children, even if they do not see them.

Options for arranging child maintenance

Child maintenance can be arranged:

The Child Maintenance Service can:

If you do not want your child’s other parent to contact you or your child

You can use the Child Maintenance Service to arrange child maintenance if you do not want your child’s other parent to know your location or personal information - for example, if you’ve experienced domestic abuse or controlling behaviour.

How it affects benefits

Child maintenance payments will not affect any benefits that you and your children get. You will not have to pay tax on them.