Making a child maintenance arrangement

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Arrange child maintenance yourself

You can make arrangements for your children if both parents agree. This might cover their living costs and care.

This is a private arrangement where you and the other parent organise everything yourselves. No one else has to be involved. It’s flexible and can be changed if your circumstances change. For example, you could both agree that one parent:

  • does school or nursery pick ups
  • looks after the children in the holidays
  • pays a proportion of their income to the parent with day to day care
  • pays for things like housing, school uniform, trips or after school clubs
  • pays a regular set amount directly to the parent with care

Working out payments

If you agree to make regular payments, you can use the child maintenance calculator to help you decide how much payments should be.

Get help to make an arrangement

You can search for a local mediator to help you reach agreement about an arrangement.

You can read guidance on:

You can contact Child Maintenance Options for support.

Child Maintenance Options
Telephone: 0800 953 0191
Online form
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm

Video relay service for British Sign Language (BSL) users - check you can use the service
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm

Welsh language: 0800 408 0308
Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

There are different contact details if you live in Northern Ireland.

If your private arrangement stops working

You can search for a local mediator to help you work out child maintenance arrangements.

If you later decide to switch to using the Child Maintenance Service you may have to pay an application fee. You will not need to pay the fee if you’ve experienced domestic abuse, you’re under 19 years old or you live in Northern Ireland.