Frequently Asked Questions

Please use the tabs below to search through our frequently asked questions, or alternatively, you can use our search form below.


How do I support my child financially after separation?

When parents separate they both remain responsible for the care and financial support of their children. Most parents think it is important for the children’s lives to be affected as little as possible by the separation and for them to have a similar standard of living when they are spending time with each parent. The law takes this view too.

Sometimes this means that one parent gives the other a regular amount of money, known as child support or ‘paying maintenance’, to contribute towards for example maintaining a home with heat and light, providing food, school uniform and other clothes, paying for school materials and out of school activities, and generally ensuring that their health and welfare needs are met.

How do we negotiate financial support for our child after we separate or divorce?

Because every family has different needs the government thinks it is important that parents negotiate their own arrangements for child support, and provide support to help do this.

You can find out more about family-based arrangements and making arrangements yourself on the website here.  It has resources to help you, including a child maintenance calculator to help you think about calculating how much to pay and, if you absolutely can’t agree between yourselves, find out more about statutory arrangements for paying maintenance.

The statutory Child Maintenance Service (CMS) applies charges to both the giving parent and the receiving parent for this service. For up to date charging information use the links above.

What happens to Child Benefit payments when we separate?

Child Benefit is a payment you can claim for a child you are responsible for. Only one payment is allowed per child. Different rates are payable for the first child and subsequent children. The payment can be claimed by anyone who qualifies, whatever their income or savings.

When parents separate if one is going to have more responsibility for the care of the children they will usually keep the Child Benefit. In some cases, children will live with different parents and then you can each claim for the child you are responsible for.

Sometimes parents share care, and in those situations, you can decide between you who will be the nominated parent for Child Benefit. This will generally tend to be the parent on the lower income. You will need to let the Benefits Office know that your circumstances have changed. Click here to visit the website for more about Child Benefit.

Find out more about child benefit and whether you qualify.