There are advantages of arranging child maintenance yourself instead of using the CSA. This guide explains how both parents can arrange child maintenance using family-based arrangements.
FAMILY-BASED ARRANGEMENTS: First of all, both parents must agree to the arrangement of child maintenance.
But, if both parents agree to it, they can make a private 'family-based arrangement' to sort out payments for child maintenance.
Arranging child maintenance yourself does not involve the 'official channels' like the CSA. Thus, parents will arrange everything by themselves.
Even so, setting up this kind of child maintenance arrangement is flexible. For example, both parties can adjust the agreement if there are changes to their circumstances.
If you arrange child maintenance yourself you will need to agree the schedule. Thus, you must both concur the payment amounts and the frequency of payments.
As a rule, there will be no official paperwork if you arrange your own child maintenance agreement. But, it is good policy to keep a written copy of the agreement in case there are any disagreements in the future.
There are some standard things to agree when fixing up child maintenance by yourself. Thus, parents who live apart could agree that the paying parent will pay:
Note: Several organisations have examples if you need help to write down an agreement. One of the best is the family-based arrangement form created by 'Child Maintenance Options'.
There is further help available when parents agree to make regular payments. The child maintenance calculator helps you work out how much the payments should be.
You can also get free help from Child Maintenance Options. They offer information on setting up a family-based arrangement. They also provide assistance on agreeing payments.
Child Maintenance Options
Telephone: 0800 0835 130
Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 9am to 4pm
Welsh language: 0800 408 0308
Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm
Call charges to 0800 numbers.
There is one big disadvantage to forming a family-based arrangement yourself. As a rule, it would not be 'legally' binding. You can ask court to formalise the agreement. This would then make it a 'legally' binding arrangement. Contact Child Maintenance Options for further information.
It is not uncommon to have a disagreement during the set up or in the future. In this case, it may be better to use the Child Maintenance Service or Child Support Agency.
They will help you to make a 'statutory arrangement'. This would be a new formal arrangement instead of the one you arranged yourself.
Note: You will need to contact Child Maintenance Options before making a statutory arrangement. There is a fee for arranging payments through the Child Maintenance Service.
How to Arrange Child Maintenance Yourself in the United Kingdom