What is child maintenance?

Child maintenance is where one parent sometimes referred to as the absent parent i.e. the parent with whom the child does not spend the majority of their time with, pays maintenance to the other parent for that child’s support. Please note that what that parent does with the money is up to them, they may save it, they may use it to pay bills, they may use it to pay for a holiday i.e. the paying parent has no control over what the money is used for. 

If parents share the care of the child(ren) then it may be that no child maintenance will be paid but in order to work this out you have to count the actual number of nights a child spends with both parents and if it is seven nights out of fourteen, then it is likely to be deemed true shared care.  However, if it is only three nights out of seven, then one parent will be deemed to be the parent with care. If you can agree maintenance all well and good, if you cannot agree maintenance then you can make an application to the CMS (Child Maintenance Service) for them to determine child maintenance. Child maintenance is worked out on a formula and is based on your gross income and on a percentage basis according to the number of children you have and the number of nights they stay overnight with you.