Your child needs to be under 16 - or under 20 if they are in full-time education, up to and including A level or equivalent.

You need to live in the UK as your main home and have the right to live here.

You can apply if you’re:

  • either parent (you do not need to live with the child)
  • a grandparent with main day-to-day care of the child
  • the child’s guardian
  • a child over 12 living in Scotland

If you do not have an income and you’re either a full-time student or in prison, you do not have to pay child maintenance. There’s no need to apply.

You cannot use the Child Maintenance Service if you have an existing consent order approved by a court that is either:

  • less than a year old
  • made before 3 March 2003

If one of the parents lives outside the UK

You cannot apply if the child and the parent with main day-to-day care live outside the UK.

The Child Maintenance Service can only help if the parent without main day-to-day care works outside the UK for a British organisation.