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Legal Rights and Laws For Paying Child Support in the UK

Legal rights and laws about paying child support in the UK

Child maintenance or child support is the specific amount of money paid to the guardian or the custodian parent by the non-custodial parent. It is a percentage of money, and both parents must pay it in case of separation or divorce. If you currently live in England or Wales, you must know about the legal rights and laws regarding paying child support in the UK. When you end your relationship with each other and have children, you must know the basic rules about child support. In this article, we will deeply discuss child maintenance and its payments, eligibility, amount, and age of children for receiving child support.

Child support payments, who have to pay for it?

Child support is the duty of both parents to pay if the child is in the custody of grandparents or guardians. But if the child is in the mother’s custody, the father is responsible for paying child support to fulfil the basic needs of his child, like shelter, food, clothes, school fee, etc. The child custodian parent can claim child maintenance, and the court can forcefully order the other parent to pay it.

Percentage amount paying child support

When both parents are separated and divorced, it’s their official duty to pay for their children’s basic needs. Here is the percentage amount you must pay according to UK law:

Eligibility of claiming the child support

You can claim child support under these conditions

  • If you are under 16 years or 20 in case of full-time study
  • You are living with grandparents or a guardian
  • You are staying with your mother
  • You are living in the UK.

Which basic needs are fulfilled by child support?

The non-custodian parents are responsible for fulfilling the children’s basic needs in case of divorce. As a parent, you have to pay for these basic things.

  • Shelter/residence
  • Food
  • School fee
  • fee for school
  • Travel expenses to meet parents, if parents are far away
  • Medical or clinic fees in case of illness or injury

Is it illegal not to pay child support?

Child support payment is compulsory for both separated parents to pay. They both are responsible for bearing the raising expenses of their children. It’s a mandatory thing in Uk law. But if you deny paying child support, it’s illegal and considered a crime under British rule. You can face the court “liability order.” CMS can claim the court order, and the court can take legal action on missed or unpaid child support. The court can order the parents to sell the property or home, deduct the amount from their salary, and cause an arrest warrant to force them to pay for the child’s maintenance.

At what age do you stop child support?

 If you are paying child support as non-mandatory to another custodian parent, you can stop child support at any age. But when you have a child maintenance paying order from the court, you can only stop paying child support once your youngest child reaches the age of 16 or 20 in case of full-time studies. In British law, when children go university-level education, they can manage their expenses along with their education. But at the school level or A-level studies, parents must fulfill their education expenses. You can stop paying child maintenance at the age of 16 or above legally if kids have completed their basic and compulsory education.

At what age does child support stop?

According to law and regulations, child support stops at the age of 16 to 20 when kids complete their basic schooling or non-advanced education. Non- Advanced education means a university-level education or any skilled-based education that can lead you to an earning life. In the UK, kids start their earning cycle after schooling and can bear higher studies expenses. So, child support stops at the age of 16 and above.

How much do you have to pay for child support?

Paying child support depends on the gross income of both parents. Both parents pay for child support according to their weekly or monthly salary in case of a job. But if one parent is doing business or running a company, they will pay according to their gross income.Child Maintenance Service decides the percentage rate of your income before paying taxes or insurance. CMS has designed these categories for paying child support:

  • Basic rate
  • Less/ reduced rate
  • Flat rate
  • Nil or non-payable

Child support payment also depends on the number of your children. You must pay 12% of your gross income if you have only a child. Regarding two children, 16 % of your gross income is payable. And if you have three or more kids, you must pay 19% of your weekly gross income.


After a detailed discussion of the legal rights and law about child support in the UK, we know that both parents are responsible for raising their kids. Both parties must pay a reasonable amount of their gross monthly income to the guardians. CMS and the court decide the percentage income. And children under 16 years are eligible for this maintenance.

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Our Head Solicitor
Khurram Amir Qureshi

Khurram Amir Qureshi has been an advocate of Pakistan since 2004, a Solicitor of England and Wales since 2009, Solicitor of Ireland since 2015. He has extensive experience in family law, Immigration law, Personal injury cases, and Civil and Commercial litigation gaining over 13 years of continuous practice in England and Wales.

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