Child Support FAQ
U.K. Child Support Agency (CSA) manages child maintenance schemes that offer financial support for a child’s everyday living expenses, when the parents are separated. The Child Support Agency manages the statutory child maintenance schemes introduced in 1993 and 2003, whereas the 2012 scheme is managed by the Child Maintenance Service. Under these schemes, the parent not living with the child makes a weekly payment to the parent with whom the child is living. The Child Support helpline can help with most of these questions and more, too.
Who is eligible to apply for Child Support Maintenance?
Child maintenance is available for children who are under 16 years of age, under 20 years of age and in full-time education not higher than A-Level, or under 20 years of age and living with a parent who has registered for Child Benefit.
Both the child and the parent receiving the Child Support should be residing in U.K, in normal circumstances.
How to get Child Support Benefit?
Application for child maintenance support may be made by either parents, a grandparent, or a guardian of the child. Children above 12 years of age in Scotland can apply for themselves.
New applications for Child Support are entertained at Child Maintenance Options. The support executive at the helpline number 0843 487 1835 opens a new case, provides a reference number, and explains in detail how to complete the formalities. The contact details of the paying parent is required to complete the registration.
The process usually takes around a month, and the first child maintenance payment is disbursed in around six weeks from the date of registration.
How is the Maintenance Amount Worked Out
The Child Support Agency evaluates the paying parent’s net income, and apply one of the five applicable rates of child support. The rates vary depending on the income of the parent, and the number of children for which the paying parent is liable to pay child maintenance.
When children are on “shared care,” the Child Maintenance Service deducts the average number of ‘shared care’ nights a week from the weekly amount.
What Happens when the Paying Parent Misses a Payment?
Paying for child support is a statutory obligation.
When the paying parent misses a payment, Child Support will first contact the parent and warn them against possible actions if payment is not made. If the parent still refuse to pay up, Child Support has powers to take money directly from a parent’s earnings or bank account, seize property or other assets, and even send the defaulter to prison.
If the paying parent has a statutory service case is worried about missing a payment, they can contact Child Support beforehand to manage arrears payments, so that payments become more affordable to them. Child Support decides on such cases depending on the merits of the circumstances.