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My ex-partner will not pay me any money for our children, what can I do?

Child maintenance is a payment made by a parent with whom the child does not live with (or with whom the child lives with less often) to the parent who the child usually lives with.

Parents are encouraged to make their own arrangement, agreeing how much child maintenance ought to be paid and then arranging the payments directly. However if a parent refuses to pay, the first port of call is often the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).

As a starting point, it provides a free “no obligation” calculator on its website allowing you to calculate for yourself how much child maintenance you ought to be receiving. If you do not have enough information to use the calculator, you can ask the CMS to carry out a formal assessment. There is a charge for this service but the CMS can access your ex-partner’s tax records to see how much they earn to produce an accurate assessment.

Once you have a calculation, you can see whether your ex-partner will voluntarily agree to pay this amount. If they still refuse, you can use the “collect and pay” service through the CMS in which the CMS will collect the child maintenance payment from your ex and pay it to you. There is however a cost for using this service so it is best to try arranging it yourself if possible.