The Child Support Agency (CSA) will be able to deal with most but not all circumstances and deals with payments for children until they are 16 or 19 if they are in full-time education. See When to use a court for the areas where the CSA cannot help.
Payments can be made monthly or every one, two or four weeks, by Direct Debit or, if you are working, deducted from pay. Since they are made through the CSA, this avoids the need for you to have each other's contact details.
There is no charge to either you or the other parent for using the CSA for maintenance calculations or for the CSA collecting the payments.
The CSA also provides an alternative service called Maintenance Direct, which will calculate child maintenance but not collect it. One parent pays maintenance directly to the other and you can agree between yourselves how and when money is paid and vary the payments if things change. The advantage of Maintenance Direct is that the CSA can give advice if any changes mean that you need a new calculation, and they can take over if payments aren't made.
You should bear in mind that the CSA will not be able to make a child maintenance arrangement during the first 12 months following a court order made in divorce or dissolution proceedings that dealt with the arrangements for maintenance for the children.
The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC) is a non-departmental public body. These bodies have wide powers to trace parents who should be paying maintenance and to enforce payments (for example by deducting maintenance direct from wages). See Enforcing the arrangement for more details about how this is done.
Maintenance should be paid under a Child Support Agency (CSA) arrangement and a number of factors affect how much is involved.Find out more about How much maintenance?
An arrangement made through the Child Support Agency (CSA) is legally binding and the CSA can make sure that any missed payments are made good.Find out more about Enforcing the agreement
Some changes are due to be made to Child Support Agency (CSA) agreements from 2011 onwards.Find out more about Changes from 2011 onwards