What is the best helpline number for Child Maintenance?

*This website advises that calls to 084 numbers cost 7p/min plus your phone provider’s access charge.

The Child Maintenance Service is a legal government body which belongs to the Department for Work and Pensions. The primary piece of legislation that they are responsible for is the Child Support Act 1991, and they cover the implementation and management of this legislation. This means that the Child Maintenance Service, also known as the Child Support Agency, have the duty of calculating how much child maintenance is given to the parent whose primary role is taking care of their children. How much Child Maintenance allowance is given depends on both the ages of the child or children and how many children need to be supported.

The purpose of Child Maintenance Allowance is to help with the cost of rearing a child and the day-to-day expenses associated with taking care of a child or children. Currently, the calculations are based on percentages of 15% for a single child, and then 20% for two and 25% for over three children.

How to Contact the Child Maintenance Number

The Child Maintenance Service operates a telephone line for enquiries six days a week. From Monday to Thursday the line is open from 8:00AM to 5:00PM, and closes thirty minutes earlier on Friday at 4:30PM. On Saturdays the line is open from 9:00AM until 5:00PM. Please note that these hours do not apply to holidays when different hours of service may be in operation.

Things to Remember When Calling the Child Maintenance Contact Number

  • When you call the Child Maintenance Service number, you should make sure that you have both you and your ex-partner’s details of address, current living situation, and any other benefits or allowances you receive, as this will make your call shorter and more efficient, saving you time in the long run.
  • Make sure that you write down any notes and have a general list of questions if you have a long enquiry. Quite often calls can be complex, and it makes things easier and more efficient if you take notes before your call to ensure you don’t forget anything.

Child Maintenance FAQ

I need to apply for Child Maintenance – what details do I need?

To apply, you will need some personal details regarding the child you are applying for, as well as details of both parents. This includes names, addresses, and financial and bank account details.

Also note that you will need to pay a one off cost of £20, although if you’re a victim of domestic abuse or are currently under 19 years of age, you will be exempted from paying this cost. Once you have all this information to hand call the Child Maintenance Service contact number listed above and the representative will walk you through the process.

How long is it until I receive my first payment?

This can vary depending on the details of your specific case, and arrangements and details have to be collected from both parents. Once the details have been recorded and filed however, you can expect a first payment within a maximum of six weeks.

For any other enquiries, the best course of action is to discuss your case with the service provider.

How do I know if I qualify for Child Maintenance?

There are a number of requirements and eligibility factors for receiving Child Maintenance. The child must be under 16 years old or under 20 years old and living with the parent, or under 20 years old and in full time education. Note that they must be resident in the United Kingdom. If you have additional quieries call the Child Maintenance phone number listed above.

What is ‘Child Maintenance’?

‘Child Maintenance’ is the amount of money agreed to look after your child or children. This amount is usually agreed by parents or partners after they have decided to separate. The parents may then organise when, how and to whom this money will be paid. In most cases, one parent will pay the other parent the agreed amount of Child Maintenance.

How can the Child Maintenance Service help me?

The Child Maintenance Service can step in when parents cannot agree on an amount of Child Maintenance. Before using the Child Maintenance Service, you may need to contact the Child Maintenance Options team, a company that provides advice on Child Maintenance. If you and your partner still cannot agree on a fair amount of money to be spent on your child/children, contact the Child Maintenance Service for help.

The Child Maintenance Service should be able to help come to agreements about parentage, decide a fair amount for the ‘paying’ parent to pay the ‘receiving’ parent, and take action if payments are not made. The team may be able to find a parent, if the parent making contact does not know where they are. The Child Maintenance Team are also in charge of making annual reviews of the Child Maintenance amount as well as reviewing the amount if a parent’s circumstances change.

Who is eligible for Child Maintenance?

If your child is under 16 years of age or under 20 years of age and in full-time education, you could be eligible for Child Maintenance. You may also be eligible if your child is under 20 years of age and living with a parent in receipt of Child Benefits.

Both parents living with the child or not living with the child can apply for Child Maintenance. You can also apply if you are not the parent of the child but you are their full-time guardian.

Please note: In Scotland, children over the age of 12 can apply for Child Maintenance.

How can I apply for Child Maintenance?

You can apply for Child Maintenance by contacting the team over the phone. A Child Maintenance Service employee may review the details of your circumstances and then explain how the Child Maintenance Service can help.

If you still want to apply, you should be given a reference number and details on how to apply.
You may need details about the child you are applying for, details about the child’s parents (which may include yourself), your bank account details and your National Insurance Number.

Please note: There is a fee to apply for Child Maintenance. In certain circumstance, you may not need to pay this fee.

How long does it take to set up payments with the Child Maintenance Service?

The Child Maintenance Service states on their website that most of their cases are organised within a month and the first payment is usually made within 6 weeks. However, the amount of time it takes to set up payments depends on your circumstances.

The process can take substantially longer if there are complications, such as one parent being difficult to contact or find.

What happens if I don’t know where the ‘paying’ parent is?

If you do not know where the ‘paying’ parent is, the Child Maintenance Service should try to find them using the resources they have. However, if the ‘paying’ parent cannot be found, you may not be able to open a case.

If the paying parent does not live in the UK, it could also be difficult to open a case.

How will Child Maintenance payments be made?

Child Maintenance payments are made from the ‘paying’ parent to the ‘receiving’ parent. In most cases, the ‘receiving’ parent is the individual who provides day-to-day care of the child/children and lives with them.

The payment can be taken from the ‘paying’ parent by a number of methods. If an agreement is made between the parents, the money can be paid by whatever method both parents agree on. This may include payments directly from the ‘paying’ parent’s bank account, from their earnings via their employer, via direct debit or by standing order.

If the parents cannot agree on a method for Child Maintenance payments to be made, the Child Maintenance Service may organise payments to be made. This could be in the form of a ‘Collect and Pay’ system. Keep in mind, there could be fees for both the payee and the recipient, as well as for missing payments.

The payment is usually sent directly to the ‘receiving’ parent’s bank account on a regular basis.

What happens if the ‘paying’ parent doesn’t pay Child Maintenance to the ‘receiving’ parent?

If the ‘paying’ parent does not pay a Child Maintenance payment, the Child Maintenance Service can take action in a number of different ways. If the ‘paying’ parent makes payments directly to the ‘receiving’ parent, the ‘receiving’ parent may have to inform the Child Maintenance Service of any missing payments.

If the ‘paying’ parent makes payments directly through the Child Maintenance Service, the company should take action immediately when a payment is missed.

The Child Maintenance Service can enforce payment through the ‘paying’ parent, their employer, their bank account or their building society. The company may also enforce charges or take the parent to court.

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