Child Maintenance Payments, Fees & Charges

Application to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS)

Currently there is a £20 fee payable when making an application to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). The fee is payable whether a child support calculation is made as a result of the application. If the Collect and Pay service is required further charges will be applied however, if the Direct Pay service is used, fees and charges can be avoided.

Direct Pay

This is the preferred method used by the CMS as both parties have agreed that the calculated amount owed should be paid directly by the non-resident parent to the person with care. The CMS will inform each parent of the amount of any initial arrears and the date the regular payments should start. Payment by standing order is recommended or a money transfer service (such as PayPal or MoneyGram) if the person with care does not want to disclose financial details to the non-resident parent.

To maintain a case on Direct Pay and to avoid further charges the non-resident parent must make the payments the CMS have calculated. If the payment agreement breaks down, the person with care can ask to use the Collect and Pay service and charges will be applied.

Collect & Pay

If the non-resident parent fails to make the regular payments directly to the person with care, the person with care can request the payment of child support be made via the CMS.  The CMS calls this collection service ‘Collect and Pay’. Both parents must pay regular fees if the ‘collect and pay’ service is used.

The following fees will be added:

  • The non-resident parent will pay an additional 20% of the maintenance calculation.
  • The parent with care will lose 4% of any maintenance paid.
  • If enforcement action is taken, further charges may be applied.

Collect & Pay Example

Joe, the non-resident parent (NRP) of four children who live with his former partner, Susan, the resident parent (RP). Joe has been assessed as liable to pay £35 per week in Child Support to Susan. If the collection service is used, Joe must, in fact, pay £42 per week (£35 + (20% of £35)) to the CMS.

The CMS also deducts £1.40 (4% of £35) from the Child Support due to Susan, so she receives £33.60 per week. The balance of £8.40 per week is retained by the CMS.

Further examples of calculations can be found by clicking here.

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