What is child maintenance or child support?

Most parents want what’s best for their children even if they don’t live with them. Child maintenance (also known as child support) is regular, reliable financial support that helps towards your child’s everyday living costs. The parent without the main day-to-day care of the child pays child maintenance to the other parent. When discussing child maintenance you may also sometimes hear it called child support.

Child maintenance can make a big difference to your child’s life. By providing financial stability, you can keep a level of continuity for your child after a separation and you can make sure that your child gets the things they need as soon as possible.

Many parents find it easier to work together with their child’s other parent once child maintenance has been sorted out.

It’s usually best for your child if you and the child’s other parent can work things out together. By doing this, you can improve the chances of keeping things civil with your child’s other parent.

  • Many separated parents find it easier to use a third party such as a friend of family member to help set up a family-based arrangement.
  • The Child Maintenance Options service provides free, impartial, information and support to help you make a family-based arrangement.
  • If you can’t make a family-based arrangement you may be able to use the Child Maintenance Service to make a statutory arrangement.

The Child Maintenance Service uses rules based on the Child Support Act.

You will need to speak to Child Maintenance Options if you want to use the Child Maintenance Service.

Where can I go next?