This advice applies to Northern Ireland. Change country
The 2012 Child Maintenance Scheme - the residence rules
Both parents are legally responsible for the financial costs of bringing up children. If you separate, you may have to pay maintenance if you don’t have day-to-day care of any children you have.
The Child Maintenance Service can arrange maintenance under the 2012 Child Maintenance Scheme.
This page tells you about the residence rules for the 2012 Child Maintenance Scheme.
In Northern Ireland, you can arrange maintenance through the Northern Ireland Child Maintenance Service.
If you want more information about the different ways you can arrange child maintenance, go to Child Maintenance Choices at www.nidirect.gov.uk.
Therefore, when the page refers to the Child Support Agency (CSA) or the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), in Northern Ireland this means the Northern Ireland Child Maintenance Service. When the page refers to Child Maintenance Options, in Northern Ireland this means Child Maintenance Choices.
The residence rules
The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) can usually only arrange maintenance if both parents and the children are all habitually resident in the UK. This means that you are allowed to live in the UK, have made it your home and intend to live here for the time being.
If the parent who should pay maintenance works overseas
If the parent who has to pay maintenance doesn’t usually live in the UK, you can still apply for child maintenance under the 2012 Child Maintenance Scheme if they’re working overseas for:
- the civil service
- the armed forces
- a local authority
- the NHS (HPSS in Northern Ireland).
If a parent usually works overseas but their company pays them in the UK, the CMS could assess them for child maintenance. This is because the CMS has the legal power to deduct money for child maintenance from their earnings.
If the parent who should pay maintenance has other children who live overseas
The children who live overseas could be taken into account when the CMS calculate how much maintenance should be paid.