CS3 - The CMS System

All applications commenced in 2014 were dealt with by the Child Maintenance Service calculating on the basis of gross pay.  The principle behind this system is not particularly principled, it is simply to make it easier for the Child Maintenance Service to assess.  There is no intention under the new system to increase or decrease the amount of child maintenance assessed, the idea is purely and simply that the Child Support Agency had such difficult problems assessing net pay that by basing it on gross pay and allowing the Child Maintenance Service direct access to Inland Revenue records the system would be simpler and faster and indeed it is.  Nonetheless, with tapered support rates, reductions for children living the non-resident parent and shared care reductions it cannot be said to be easy.

Under the CS3 system the child maintenance you will pay is calculated as follows:-

Determine your gross income.  This is accomplished by the CMS obtaining information directly from HMRC regarding your gross income after deducting pension scheme contributions.

  1. Determine how many children live with you. The gross income is then reduced by 11% for one child living with you, 14% for two children, and 16% for three or more children.


  1. Apply the basic child maintenance calculation on the first £800 of gross income at 12% in respect of one child to support, 16% in respect of two children, 19% in respect of three or more children.


  1. Any income in excess of £800 per week and up to the maximum of £3,000 per week is assessed at 9% for one child, 12% for two children and 16% for three or more children.


  1. Calculate and reduce by any amount of shared care. Shared care is calculated by determining the number of nights your child stays with you.  If a child stays with you below 52 nights per annum (one night per week) the amount of child support is unchanged  If the amount of contact is between 52 and 103 nights per annum (one night per week) the child maintenance is reduced by 1/7.  If the child stays with you between 104 nights and 155 nights per annum the amount of child maintenance is reduced by 2/7.  If the contact amounts to between 156 and 174 nights per annum (three nights per week) the child maintenance is reduced by 3/7.  Contact in excess of 175 nights per annum reduces the child maintenance figure by 50% since in effect the child spends as much time with you as with the mother.  Furthermore, in those cases an extra sum of £7 for each of your children that stays overnight in excess of 175 nights per annum is deducted.

You should note that the new system does not include any enquiry into your  ex’s earnings or indeed your partner’s earnings.  Furthermore, all children that live with you are taken into account as relevant children living with you for the purposes of reducing your income even if you are not the natural father for these children and even if their natural father is paying child maintenance.

In reality since the vast majority of the public earns less than £800 gross per week, if you are living on your own you will pay 12% for one child, 16% for two children or 19% if you have three or more children.  If some of the children you have are by different mothers than the total amount of maintenance is divided by the number of children each mother is looking after.  For instance a father with three children earning £400 gross per week having two children with mother A and one child with mother B would pay £75 per week total, £50 being paid to mother A and £25 to mother B.