UK Child Support Calculator

UK Child Support Calculator | Guidelines – 2023

Regular payments made to the resident parent for the benefit of the kid are known as child maintenance. Normally, these payments are made each month. Usually, the parent the child lives with most of the time receives these funds.

No matter if the parents are married or not, there are child maintenance duties. Spousal maintenance is a different idea that can be explored individually.

We’ll describe how child maintenance is determined in this post, along with the particular guidelines that apply to your circumstance.

The percentage of a person’s gross income that should be paid to the child’s primary carer is determined by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), a government organization.

When both parents live in England or Wales, the CMS can help. However, the CMS lacks the authority to resolve child maintenance claims if one parent lives abroad. In these situations, the parent requesting maintenance must start a court lawsuit.

Parents Name
Wages & Income
Non-Custodial Parent
Custodial Parent

Often, negotiations supported by lawyers, mediation, or direct discussions between the parents might result in maintenance agreements.

These agreements can subsequently be made official in a court order and made enforceable against the paying party upon a judge’s approval. This article will explain to you about child support calculator in the UK.

What is child maintenance?

What is child maintenance?

When one parent no longer lives with the child, the other and the child come to a financial agreement called child maintenance to decide how to pay for the child’s rising costs. Such agreements are important when the child’s parents have divorced or are not together romantically.

The parent who does not live with the child or who does not have primary custody of the child for most of the week or month is often responsible for meeting the financial obligations stipulated in these agreements.

How much is child support in the UK?

How much is child support in the UK?

Child support is determined using child support calculator in the UK, and the precise amount might change depending on a variety of variables, including the income of the non-resident parent and the number of children involved.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS), as of my most recent update in September 2021, uses a system known as the “Gross Income Scheme” to assess child support payments.

The following are the basic child maintenance rates under this plan:

  • The non-resident parent must normally contribute 12% of their gross weekly salary for one child.
  • The percentage rises to 16% of their gross weekly income for families with two kids.
  • The rate is 19% of their total weekly income for families with three or more children.

It’s crucial to remember that these percentages can alter if the non-resident parent’s gross weekly income is more than £3,000. The CMS may perform additional calculations in such circumstances.

The calculation can be different as well, depending on how many nights the child spends with the non-resident parent. The child maintenance payments may be reduced the more overnights the child stays with the non-resident parent.

The most current and correct information on child support payments should always be obtained from the Child Maintenance Service or a lawyer, as these amounts are subject to change over time as a result of changes in governmental regulations and legal developments.

How to calculate child support in the UK?

How to calculate child support in the UK?

In the UK, there are multiple processes involved in calculating child support, and the procedure might change depending on the unique circumstances of the parents and children involved.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS), which utilizes a formula known as the “Gross Income Scheme” to compute child maintenance payments, is primarily responsible for determining child support in the UK with the help of child support calculator in the UK.

Step 1: Determine Gross Weekly Income

Finding the non-resident parent’s gross weekly income is the first step in determining child support. Wages, salaries, self-employment earnings, and several other forms of income are all included in gross income. State benefits and tax credits, for example, are not included in the calculation of gross income.

When determining the gross weekly income, the CMS will take into account the following sources of revenue:

1. Employment Income:

Included in this category are earnings from a job, such as wages or a salary. The non-resident parent’s gross weekly income, if they have a job, is normally calculated using their regular salary before tax and National Insurance deductions.

2. Self-Employed Income:

For those who are self-employed, the CMS takes into account the earnings listed on their tax return, often for the most recent tax year.

3. Other Income:

This can be through investments, rental income, or other sources.

4. Pension Income:

Some pension income might also be taken into account, while some pension plans might be exempt.

5. Benefits and Tax Credits:

While some state benefits and tax credits are excluded from the calculation of child maintenance, others may be included.

6. Overseas Income:

This income may also be taken into account if the non-resident parent resides abroad or derives income from foreign sources.

Step 2: Deduct Allowable Expenses

After calculating the parent’s gross weekly income, a number of permitted costs and deductions are taken out to arrive at the parent’s “net income.” Expenses that are allowable include:

1. Income Tax:

Based on the non-resident parent’s income level, the CMS subtracts an estimated amount for income tax.

2. National Insurance Contributions:

National Insurance contributions are estimated and subtracted, just as income tax.

3. Pension Contributions:

If the non-resident parent meets certain requirements, voluntary pension contributions made by them may be deducted.

4. Specific Loan Payments:

Certain loan or debt payments may be subtracted.

Step 3: Calculate the Net Weekly Income

The net weekly income of the non-resident parent is the amount left over after deducting permitted expenses. The child maintenance payment is based on this income.

Step 4: Calculate the Child Maintenance Percentage

The number of children involved determines the portion of the non-resident parent’s net income that will be paid as child support:

  • The rate is 12% of net income for one child.
  • The cost for two kids is 16%.
  • It’s 19% for families with three or more kids.

Step 5: Adjust for Shared Care

“Shared care” is defined as when the child spends at least one night each week with the non-resident parent. The amount of child maintenance is reduced by the number of nights the child stays with the non-resident parent.

Based on how many nights the child spends with the non-resident parent, the CMS determines how much child maintenance will be reduced. Here’s an overview of how it functions:

  • From 1 to 52 nights each year: 1/7 off each night.
  • Reduced by 2/7 for each of the 53–103 nights per year.
  • 3/7 reduction for each of the 104–155 nights per year.
  • If shared care is provided 156 or more nights per year, no child support is due.

Step 6: Calculate the Final Child Maintenance Amount

You can compute the final child maintenance payment once you’ve established the percentage for child support and made any required modifications for shared care. Applying the proportion to the non-resident parent’s net income accomplishes this.

The calculation for child support, for instance, might be as follows if the non-resident parent has one child, their weekly net income is £400, and they do not have a shared care arrangement:

One child’s share of 12% times a net income of £400 equals £48 per week.

Therefore, £48 in child support would need to be paid each week by the non-resident parent.

Additional Considerations

1. Income Over £3,000 Per Week:

The CMS may use extra calculations to compute child maintenance payments if the non-resident parent’s gross weekly income is greater than £3,000 per week.

2. Voluntary Payments:

Some parents may decide to make additional voluntary payments; however, these are not legally obligatory and are calculated separately by the CMS.

3. Change in Circumstances:

If there is a major change in either parent’s circumstances, such as a change in income or the number of children involved, child maintenance orders may be modified.

4. Arrears:

The non-resident parent may be ordered to make up missed child maintenance payments.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that child maintenance estimates can be challenging, and regulations are subject to modification.

To receive a precise estimate of their child’s maintenance responsibilities, parents can utilize the CMS’s online calculator or seek legal counsel.

Additionally, the CMS offers services to make it easier to enforce child support orders and collect unpaid amounts, guaranteeing that payments are delivered on schedule and consistently.

How do I file a claim for child maintenance support? What are the fees for filing?

How do I file a claim for child maintenance support

In the UK, there are several avenues for establishing child maintenance arrangements:

1. Family-Based Arrangement:

Parents are free to decide how to divide up child support among themselves without consulting any other organizations or services. This option enables a flexible, mutually agreed-upon arrangement and is free of charge.

2. Direct Pay:

In this case, the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) figures out how much should be paid, but the parents handle the payment arrangement themselves. The cost of using the CMS’s computation services is £20, plus there may be other expenses related to this approach.

3. Collect and Pay:

When parents choose not to handle payments themselves, the CMS determines the payment amount, collects payment from the paying parent, and transfers the money to the receiving parent. The cost of this choice, which is charged as a fee for this service, is higher as a percentage.

4. Court-Ordered Arrangement:

When there are significant costs, like private school tuition, or when the paying parent lives abroad and the primary carer is not receiving appropriate support, court involvement is often requested.

It is advised to consider alternate solutions unless absolutely required because using the court system might result in expensive legal expenses and court charges.

Modification of child support amount in the UK 

In the UK, child support agreements may be changed under specific conditions to take into account changes in either parent’s financial situation or circumstances.

If necessary, modifications to child support can be made by informal agreements, applications to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), or requests for court orders. An explanation of how child support modification works is provided below:

Informal Agreements

1. Mutual Agreement:

Parents may decide to formally alter child support by coming to a new agreement. This frequently occurs when both parents concur that a change in payments is necessary owing to changes in income, shared childcare arrangements, or other circumstances.

2. Document Changes:

To prevent future disagreements, it is advisable to record any modifications made to the child support arrangement, even in informal agreements. Emails or written correspondence can be used for this.

CMS Application

1. Income Changes:

The CMS may adjust child maintenance payments if there is a sizable change in either parent’s income. A recalculation can be necessary, for instance, if the paying parent’s income substantially increases or decreases.

2. Shared Care change:

If the shared care arrangement undergoes a significant shift, it may also have an effect on child support obligations. Based on the new shared care agreement, the CMS may recalculate compensation.

3. Modification in Parenting Arrangements:

If there are any changes to the number of children involved, such as the birth of a new child or modifications to parental responsibilities, child support may need to be adjusted.

4. Review Request:

Through the CMS, either parent may ask for a review of the child maintenance agreement. The CMS will evaluate the circumstances and revise payments as required. There might be a charge for this service.

Court-Ordered Modification

1. Complex situations:

Parents may need to file an application with the court to request a modification of child support in situations with complex or contentious concerns, such as considerable assets, self-employment income, or international components.

2. Legal Representation:

To successfully navigate a court-ordered modification, parties frequently seek legal counsel.

3. Court Costs:

It’s crucial to keep in mind that coming to court can be expensive, and the judge will take the kid’s best interests into account when deciding whether to modify child support.

Overall, where there are significant changes in circumstances, child support revisions are conceivable in the UK.

The objective is to maintain fair and appropriate child support payments based on the requirements of the child and the current situations of both parents, whether through an informal agreement, the CMS, or the courts.

The best course of action is to contact a lawyer or the CMS to better understand the laws and procedures involved in changing child support.


When does child support end?

Maintenance agreements for children last until the child turns 16 years old. Maintenance payments continue until the child is 20 years old if they continue their full-time education after turning 16 years old.

Can I appeal against a child maintenance decision?

Yes, you have the opportunity to appeal if the Child Maintenance service requests a payment amount that you find unacceptable. Contact the CM service and ask for a required reassessment of your case as the first step.

In the UK, how is child support determined?

A paying parent must pay 12 percent of their gross weekly income if they are required to pay child support for just one child. A paying parent must pay 16 percent of their gross weekly income if they are required to pay child support for two children.

Are fathers in the UK required to pay child support?

If your child is under 16 (or under 20 if they are still enrolled full-time in school), you must have a child maintenance agreement. Even if they do not see their children, both parents share financial responsibility for raising them.

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