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There are other options for arranging child maintenance and enforcing payment, depending on where you live.

Consent order (in England and Wales)

This is an official ruling made by a court. It is normally used when parents are deciding a divorce settlement or sharing assets. Both parents normally have to work with solicitors to agree the amount of child maintenance to be paid. They then apply to the court to turn the agreement into a consent order.

A consent order means the court can enforce payment if the parent without main day-to-day care of the child fails to pay. However, getting a consent order can be expensive. Legal aid won’t cover these costs if you are only going to court to get a consent order for child maintenance.

Also, you can’t ask the CSA to make a child maintenance arrangement during the first 12 months of a consent order.

Minute of agreement (in Scotland)

If you live in Scotland, a child maintenance arrangement can be made into a legally binding contract called a ‘minute of agreement’. The sheriff officer can collect and enforce payments if the parent without main day-to-day care of the child breaks the agreement.