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Paying parent information

Change of circumstances

If your circumstances have changed for one of the following reasons, call us straightaway. You can find the number in your welcome pack or at the top of any letter we have sent to you.

We can only deal with these changes if you report them by phone so please do not report them online.

  • If you have lost your job
  • If you are temporarily receiving no income while you are self-isolating during the outbreak of coronavirus
  • If you are temporarily receiving statutory sick pay during the outbreak of coronavirus
  • If child maintenance should no longer be paid because of a change in circumstances
  • If you are adopting a child, or
  • If you are reporting a bereavement

We cannot accept details of any other changes by phone.

You should also call us if:

  • You are a paying parent and want to re-establish child maintenance payments
  • We have contacted you in the past 5 days and have asked you to call us
  • You have received notification of a court or tribunal date or in relation to a deduction order from a bank.

It is still important that you tell us about any other changes when they happen. Please also tell us about any missed child maintenance payments.

Changes must be reported on time as they can affect the amount of child maintenance you pay or receive. It is quicker to do this by registering or logging into your self-service account.

Visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus for the latest advice about coronavirus.

Shared care

If your shared care arrangements have changed temporarily due to coronavirus we will not be able to make any changes to the amount of child maintenance you pay or receive. This is because this change in care arrangement is temporary.

If this change in care arrangements continues into a longer-term arrangement, please tell us as soon as you can. You can do this by registering or logging into your self-service account.

Child maintenance payments

If you have missed a payment or we have contacted you about a missed payment you can make a payment by registering or logging into your self-service account. If you cannot make a payment online, please contact us. You can find the number in your welcome pack or at the top of any letter we have sent to you.

If your circumstances have changed and you cannot afford to make your child maintenance payments, you should pay as much as you can. Keep a record of any payments you make to the other parent.

If any payments are missed, we will review your case and may begin collection activity to recover any unpaid child maintenance. We will contact you to discuss how this can be paid.

Changing how child maintenance is paid

You can ask to change how you pay your child maintenance online. Register or login to your self-service account to change your payment method. We will make the change as soon as we can.

You should continue to pay your child maintenance through your normal method of payment. If your circumstances have changed, you could pay a revised amount based on what you can afford or what you have agreed with the other parent, if you have been able to do so.

If you missed any payments or didn’t make them all in full, we may begin collection activity to recover any unpaid child maintenance. We will contact you to discuss how this can be paid.

Sending information to us

If we have asked you to send us information you can do this online by registering or logging in to your self-service account.

If you are a sending details of your income, you can use the child maintenance calculator www.gov.uk/calculate-child-maintenance to work out how much child maintenance you should pay. Keep a record of any payments you make.

Child maintenance applications

You can still make a new application by visiting Child Maintenance Options. You can contact them by calling 0800 988 0988.

If you have already received a reference number from Child Maintenance Options but cannot apply online, you can make an application over the phone. You can find the number in the email sent to you by Child Maintenance Options.

We will contact you through your self-service account with any updates.

You do not need to wait for us to start collecting payments. You will receive a welcome pack and a payment schedule. You can pay the amount shown on your payment schedule direct to the other parent.

In most cases a family-based arrangement between parents is the quickest and easiest way to arrange child maintenance payments. You can use the child maintenance calculator www.gov.uk/calculate-child-maintenance to work out an amount.

Please call us if we have contacted you in the past 5 days and have asked you to call us. You can find the number in your welcome pack or at the top of any letter we have sent to you.

Financial support during coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you are getting less work or no work because of coronavirus, you can apply online for Universal Credit or new style Jobseekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance, if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work. You do not need to go into a Jobcentre Plus office to apply or get a payment. Your child maintenance payments will be deducted from any benefits you get. You can find out more by visiting www.gov.uk/browse/benefits

Unable to manage my case online

If you are unable to access or use the self-service website, you can contact us by phone. You can find the number in your welcome pack or at the top of any letter we have sent to you.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and domestic abuse

For anyone who feels they are at risk of abuse, it is important to remember that there is help and support available to you, including police response, online support, helplines, refuges and other services. Find out more by visiting www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-and-domestic-abuse