Child Support Agency (CSA) and Child Maintenance

If you are unable to agree child maintenance with your former spouse/partner this issue is dealt with by the Child Support Agency and not by the court. Issues relating to the Child Support Agency are complex and we have therefore provided you with a very detailed overview of the processes involved.
The Child Support Agency is now run by an independent commission known as The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, which refers to itself as ‘the Commission’.
The Commission is responsible for undertaking assessments for child maintenance and for enforcement.

At the present time there are two methods of calculating child support:

Method 1

This is a complicated formula which looks at housing needs and both parents’ income. It is applied in all cases where the original assessment was made before 3rd March 2003.

If you pay an assessment calculated using the old formula it is not possible to have this migrated to the new formula unless an application is made for another child after 3rd March 2003

Method 2

The current formula was introduced on 3rd March 2003, and is calculated by reference to the non-resident parent’s net income only. From the net income (take home pay), pension contributions are deducted in full. An allowance is made for any children living with the non-resident parent, namely:

  • 15% for one child
  • 20% for two children
  • 25% for three children or more

The balance figure is then used to calculate the formula which is:

  • 15% for one child
  • 20% for two children
  • 25% for three children

There is an allowance to the non- resident parent (NRP) for overnight stays of:

  • 1/7th for over 52 nights per year
  • 2/7ths for over 104 nights per year
  • 3/7ths for over 156 nights per year
  • 50% where there are 175 nights per year or more with the NRP.

NB: You may have read in the newspapers that the Commission will be calculating maintenance using the NRP’s gross income. This provision was introduced by an Act of Parliament in 2008 but it is not yet in force and it is not expected to be until 2011 at the earliest.

Family law solicitors

To arrange a discussion with a family law solicitor please feel free to call us or to arrange a call back click here