About Child Maintenance Options

At Child Maintenance Options, we provide free impartial information and support to help parents make informed choices about child maintenance.

The fact that we're impartial means we are here to help both parents, or anyone else with an interest in child maintenance and we aren't biased towards any one way of arranging child maintenance.

We're here to help you:

  • if you're separating from the other parent or are not living with them and you need to set up a child maintenance arrangement
  • if you have responsibility for a child who doesn't live with their parents, for example if you are a grandparent or other relative
  • if you're thinking of switching from a statutory child maintenance arrangement to a family-based arrangement, or the other way round
  • if your child maintenance arrangement has broken down or is not working as you'd like it to.

We can put you in touch with specialist organisations that can provide help and advice on other areas related to separation such as housing, employment and money.

If you're a guardian, relative or friend, or if you have a professional interest in finding out more about child maintenance, we may also be able to help you.

Child Maintenance Options is a free service provided on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Child Maintenance Service opened in 2012 and now manages all new applications for a statutory arrangement. The Child Maintenance Service uses slightly different rules to the Child Support Agency, which is closed to new applications but still manages many statutory arrangements set up before December 2013.

Child Maintenance Options is separate from the Child Maintenance Service, but we can give you information about using Direct Pay and Collect & Pay (the two ways to arrange child maintenance through the Child Maintenance Service).

If you want to use the Child Maintenance Service, you'll need to contact Child Maintenance Options before you can make an application.