Maintenance and the Child Support Agency

Payment of maintenance for children is now usually dealt with by the Child Maintenance Service (Child Support Agency).

The CSA has powers to order a parent to pay maintenance for a child. The amount of maintenance is calculated using a strict formula which takes into account the parent’s income and certain essential outgoings such as mortgage and council tax.

Where the parent who cares for the child is receiving certain benefits, the CSA will often make the maintenance assessment against the other absent parent.

In cases where the carer of the child is not receiving Welfare Benefits, he or she can ask the CSA to make a maintenance assessment but this is not compulsory.

In some cases. the Court still have powers to make maintenance orders for children, for instance, against step-parents, or where ‘top-up’ maintenance over and above an amount awarded by the CSA is sought.