3. How to apply

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

Make a new arrangement

Your first step is to contact Child Maintenance Options.

Child Maintenance Options
Telephone: 0800 0835 130
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturdays, 9am to 4pm
Find out about call charges

They’ll talk with you about arrangement options. If you decide to use the Child Maintenance Service, they’ll give you a reference number and explain how to apply.

Child Maintenance Options can’t discuss existing CSA or Child Maintenance Service cases.

If you apply to the Child Maintenance Service

You’ll need to give information about you and your family, eg:

  • details about the child you’re applying for - including the full names of their mother and father
  • your National Insurance number
  • your bank account details, if the Child Maintenance Service needs to collect and pass on payments

Fees

The application fee is £20.

You won’t have to pay this if you’re:

  • a victim of domestic violence
  • under 19 years of age
  • in Northern Ireland

How your information is used

Your information is used to set up and manage child maintenance payments, and sometimes to try and find the paying parent.

Your name and address won’t be given out to anyone unless ordered to by a court, but information might be shared with other government organisations, debt collection agencies or the courts.

If the Child Maintenance Service or CSA can’t get the information from either parent, they might ask others, eg:

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

The receiving parent has main day-to-day care of the child. The paying parent doesn’t have main day-to-day care.

Read more about how the Child Maintenance Service or the CSA use your information.

How long it takes

Most child maintenance cases are set up within a month. Sometimes this can take longer if there’s a problem with contacting the paying parent.

The first child maintenance payment is usually made within 6 weeks of making payment arrangements.

If the contact details for the paying parent aren’t known, the service will try to find them - but if they can’t, the receiving parent can’t open a case.