If your circumstances change – for example, you lose your job, your income changes, your child develops a disability or you have a new baby – you may not be able to meet your child's needs on the maintenance you receive or you may no longer be able to afford to pay the agreed amount.
If you have a private agreement, try to talk to your former partner. Explain how your circumstances have changed and try to negotiate the higher amount you need to receive or a lower payment that you can afford to pay. If you cannot agree, you could switch to a Child Support Agency (CSA) arrangement. You could contact the Child Maintenance Options service to help you decide on the best way forward for your situation - see Useful links. Alternatively, consider getting help from a mediator or family lawyer - see Professional help and advice.
If you are paying maintenance
If you are paying maintenance under a CSA arrangement and your circumstances change, you can ask the CSA to review and alter the amount you pay.
Your payments will normally stop if the child you are supporting reaches age 16 or 19 and finishes full-time education.
If you are receiving maintenance
If the parent paying child maintenance dies, the payments will stop. To protect yourself from this event, consider taking out life insurance on the other parent's life - see Insuring child maintenance. If you are still receiving maintenance then you may be able to claim against your former partner's estate, but this is a complex area and you may need to seek advice from a solicitor - see Useful links.