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The 2012 Child Maintenance Scheme - applying for maintenance

This advice applies to England

Both parents are legally responsible for the financial costs of bringing up their children. If you split up and you don’t have day- to-day care of your children, you might have to pay child maintenance to the other parent.

The Child Maintenance Service can arrange maintenance under the 2012 Child Maintenance Scheme.

How to apply

Before you apply to the Child Maintenance Service, you need to call Child Maintenance Options to discuss your choices. They'll give you a reference number and explain how to apply.

Child Maintenance Options (England, Wales and Scotland)
Tel: 0800 953 0191 (Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, Saturday from 9am to 4pm)
Textphone: 0800 988 9888
Website: www.gov.uk/making-child-maintenance-arrangement/arrange-child-maintenance-yourself

Only one parent can apply to the Child Maintenance Service - this is usually the parent who'll pay maintenance.

It costs £20 to apply for the Child Maintenance Service to manage your child maintenance.

Find out how to apply for the Child Maintenance Service on GOV.UK.

Information you need to give when you apply

When you apply to get or pay child maintenance, you’ll need to provide detailed information about yourself and your family. This will include:

  • your National Insurance number and bank account details
  • information about your children, including the full names of both parents.

If you're the parent who should be getting maintenance, you'll also need to give enough information for the Child Maintenance Service to identify and find the other parent. For example, you must give details of their name and address if you know where they live. If you can give as much information as possible, the Child Maintenance Service can be able to arrange maintenance more quickly.

If your private maintenance arrangement has broken down

If you’re applying to the Child Maintenance Service because your private child maintenance agreement has broken down, make sure you give full details of what happened when you apply.

This is because the Child Maintenance Service usually expects you to arrange making and collecting payments with the other parent using the Direct Pay scheme.

If there’s a good reason to think Direct Pay won’t work, the Child Maintenance Service can collect and pass on payments themselves through the Collect and Pay service.

If more than one person applies

If more than one person applies for the same child, the Child Maintenance Service will only deal with one application. This is usually the application they get first.

Next steps

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