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Circumstance Changes Parents Must Report

Some of the changes you need to report are for either parent (paying and receiving). Find out when to report a change and how reporting changes can affect your payments.

REPORTING CHANGES: Under the law, you must tell the services about certain changes in circumstances. You should contact Child Maintenance Service or CSA that manages your case.

Changes for Either Parent

Either of the parents should inform the Child Maintenance Service or the CSA if the income of the paying parent increases or decreases by:

  • 25% or more for Child Maintenance Service cases.
  • 5% or more for CSA cases beginning after 3rd of March 2003.

You must also tell the Child Maintenance Service or the Child Support Agency if:

  • You would like to close your case.
  • You want to change how to pay child maintenance payments (e.g. from a payment collection service to a Maintenance Direct service).
  • There is a change to the ‘shared care’ arrangement (the number of nights that a child stays with the paying parent).

Changes for the Paying Parent

As a paying parent you must report any changes of circumstance such as if you:

  • Move home (you must give your new address within seven (7) days of moving).
  • Start (or stop) getting welfare benefits.
  • Change your telephone number (including a mobile phone number).
  • Start (or stop) working for an employer, stop being self-employed, or become unemployed.

You might be paying child maintenance through deductions in your earnings. In this case, leaving your job means you must tell the Child Maintenance Service or the CSA:

  • The date that you left your last job.
  • The name and the address of your new employer and your new payroll number (if there is one).
  • How much you are expecting to earn.

You, or your partner, may have registered for Child Benefit. If so, you should also report details about the child or children, such as:

  • Any changes in the number of children that are living with you.
  • If any of the children that live with you reach the age of twenty (20).

Changes for the Receiving Parent

As a receiving parent you must report any time there is a change to the number of:

  • Children living with you that you receive child maintenance for.
  • Children that either you or your partner have registered for Child Benefit.
  • Nights that a child stays overnight on a regular basis with the paying parent.

You must also let the Child Maintenance Service or the CSA know if:

  • A child that you are getting child maintenance for leaves full-time education (up to and including A Level) or reaches twenty (20) years old.
  • You or any of the children that you get child maintenance for stop living in the United Kingdom.
  • You discover that the paying parent is coming off welfare benefits.
  • You are going to move home or you know that the other parent is.
  • Your telephone number changes (including a mobile number).

1993 Scheme Cases

Having a case that uses the 1993 scheme rules mean you should also make a report of:

  • Any change in housing costs.
  • A change to the income of a new partner.

Information Needed to Report a Change of Circumstance

In most cases, the typical examples of the information you will need to have when you call the service includes:

  • The contact details or payslips from your employer.
  • Information about any benefits that you receive.
  • A tax return (or your expected earnings if you are a self-employed worker).

Penalty for Giving the Wrong Information

Failing to give the right information means you could get taken to court and you could get fined up to £1,000 if:

  • You do not provide the information that the service asks you for.
  • You give information to the service that you know is incorrect or false.

The penalties also apply to any person or organisation who, according to the law, must provide information to the Child Maintenance Service or CSA. Examples include:

  • Accountants
  • Either of the parents
  • Employers

When Changes May Affect Maintenance Payments

A change in circumstances could also mean there is a change to the amount of child maintenance that you pay or you receive. Further information on how child maintenance is worked out explains how the different rules work.

Changes You Need to Report to Child Maintenance Service or CSA