The Child Support Agency (CSA) is the government’s statutory child maintenance service. If you feel you can’t make a Private Agreement work, you can ask the CSA to work out and collect child maintenance for you. It will:
- Trace the other parent if their address is unknown.
- Collect and enforce payments.
- Allow the parents to avoid contact.
Either parent can make an application to the CSA. However, a CSA arrangement can sometimes be inflexible. For example, if your circumstances change, it can take a while to change your payments.
The CSA also offer a service called Maintenance Direct, where child maintenance is calculated by the CSA but not collected. The non resident parent makes payments directly to the parent who has the main day-to-day care of the child. With Maintenance Direct, parents can agree between themselves how and when money is paid, and child maintenance amounts can be varied if circumstances change.
The CSA are still available to give advice and guidance if any changes of circumstances mean a new calculation needs to be made, or step in if the non resident parent doesn’t make the payments that are due.
You can get an idea of how much child maintenance you might pay or receive through the CSA by using this link to access the Options Maintenance Calculator.