How to apply

You can either arrange child maintenance:

  • privately between parents, if both parents agree
  • through the Child Maintenance Service

Get help arranging child maintenance

Use the ‘Get help arranging child maintenance’ tool to:

  • find out about your options for paying or getting support for your child
  • find out how to make a private arrangement, if you choose to do this
  • apply to the Child Maintenance Service, if you choose to use it

There is a different service if you live in Northern Ireland.

Start now

If you cannot use the ‘Get help arranging child maintenance’ tool, call the Child Maintenance Service.

If you decide to use the Child Maintenance Service

When you contact the Child Maintenance Service, you’ll need:

  • the reference number you got from the ‘Get help arranging child maintenance’ tool
  • your bank details
  • your National Insurance number

If you do not have day-to-day care of the child, you’ll also be asked about:

  • your employment details
  • your income and any benefits you get
  • private pension contributions

Tell the Child Maintenance Service if it’s not safe for the other parent to know your name (if you’ve changed it) or your location.

Tell the Child Maintenance Service if the paying parent has other income or expenses that you want them to consider when working out payments. This is called ‘applying for a variation’. Either parent can apply.

How your information is used

The Child Maintenance Service will use your information to:

  • share your name and your child’s name with the other parent (your address is not shared)
  • share your contact details with other government organisations, debt collection agencies or the courts, if needed (details about your case are not shared)
  • look for the paying parent if you do not know their address

If the Child Maintenance Service cannot get the information from you or the other parent, they’ll contact:

  • the paying parent’s employer
  • government organisations like Jobcentre Plus
  • prison services or local councils
  • the paying parent’s bank or building society