Solihull: 0121 705 7571
Dorridge: 01564 779393

Family Law: What is the Child Maintenance Service?

September 22, 2020

If you have children and separate from their other parent, you will hopefully be able to reach an agreement about how much money they contribute towards your children’s everyday living costs if they continue living with you.

If you are unable to reach an agreement about maintenance, you can apply to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). The application fee is £20 unless you are a victim of domestic violence or abuse, under 19 years old, or live in Northern Ireland.

In March 2020, CMS statistics showed that there were 737,600 children covered by CMS arrangements. You can use the CMS child maintenance calculator to work out how much the other parent should pay you (

The CMS will find out the other parent’s yearly gross income from information supplied by HMRC and check whether they receive any benefits. They will consider whether the other parent has other children or whether they are paying towards a pension and calculate how much they should pay based on how many times a week your children stay with you overnight.

The other parent should set up a standing order to pay you directly via the Direct Pay arrangement. In March 2020, 471,700 children were covered by this arrangement. If they do not make any payments, you can use the CMS Collect and Pay service, where the CMS will collect the payments from the other parent based on their wages, pension, and benefits and pass this money on to you. The parent who pays will have to pay an extra 20% for the payments to be collected and you will have to pay a 4% fee which is deducted from the payments you receive.

Wallace Robinson & Morgan is happy to help if you would like advice about child maintenance payments. If you would like to discuss your matter, please call and ask to speak to a member of the Family law team on 0121 705 7571.

This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.