Ex refusing to pay child maintenance? Here’s what you can do

Request a call from a family law solicitor


If you are the primary carer of your child, your ex-partner may be required to pay child maintenance. The amount of child maintenance your ex-partner has to pay will depend on a number of factors, such as their income, how many children they have to support, and how much time the children spend with them. Do you have an ex refusing to pay child maintenance?

The first thing you should do in this situation is to consider whether your ex partner is required to make child maintenance payments to you. If they are, you should speak to a solicitor about what you should do next based on your personal circumstances.

Is my ex required to pay child maintenance?

It’s important to note that child maintenance is the legal responsibility of both parents, and it’s designed to ensure that the child’s basic needs are met. If you and your ex-partner share equal responsibility for the child, and your partner lives with the children an equal amount of time, you may still be able to arrange child maintenance between yourselves, based on each of your financial situations and the needs of the child. This is known as a family based arrangement.

If you and your ex-partner can agree on the amount of child maintenance, you can make a private arrangement between yourselves. However, if you can’t agree, you can apply to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to arrange child maintenance for you. The CMS will calculate the amount of child maintenance your ex-partner has to pay based on their income, and they will collect and pay the maintenance for you.

Ex refusing to pay child maintenance? What can you do?

If a paying parent refuses to pay or stops paying child maintenance, you can take several steps to enforce payment.

Firstly, you can contact the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) (previously known as the Child Support Agency) to report the non-payment. The CMS can take a number of actions to enforce payment, such as collecting money directly from your ex-partner’s wages, bank or building society account, or taking legal action at court to enforce payment.

A liability order is a court order obtained by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) that requires a parent who has failed to pay child maintenance to pay the outstanding amount.

If a parent fails to pay child maintenance that has been ordered by the CMS, the CMS can apply to the court for a liability order. The liability order enables the CMS to take further enforcement action, such as:

  • Deducting money directly from the parent’s earnings or benefits
  • Seizing and selling assets belonging to the parent
  • Using bailiffs to collect the debt
  • Freezing the parent’s bank account

A liability order is a serious matter and can have significant consequences for the parent, including additional costs and legal fees. Therefore, it is important to keep up with child maintenance payments to avoid this type of action being taken.

You can also consider taking legal action yourself, by applying to the family court for a Child Maintenance Order. The process of obtaining a legally binding court order can be a time-consuming and costly process, but it may be necessary if your ex-partner continues to refuse to pay.

In extreme cases, your ex-partner’s failure to pay child maintenance can be considered a criminal offence. If this is the case, you can report the non-payment to the Child Maintenance Service or to the police.

It’s important to remember that child maintenance is a legal obligation, and both parents are responsible for financially supporting their child. If you are experiencing difficulties in receiving child maintenance, it’s important to seek advice and take action as soon as possible.

How can a solicitor help when an ex is refusing to pay child maintenance?

A family law solicitor can provide a wide range of services to assts in your child maintenance dispute. They can help you to negotiate child maintenance payments with the other parent, without going to court. They can also help you to obtain a Consent Order to make the agreement legally binding.

If you are having difficulties in obtaining child maintenance payments from your ex-partner, a solicitor can help you to negotiate an agreement that is fair and reasonable for both parties.

Solicitors can also help you to understand your legal rights and obligations, and provide guidance on the different options available to you for enforcing child maintenance payments. In some cases, a solicitor may be able to help you to resolve the issue through mediation or collaborative law, which can be a faster and more cost-effective way of resolving disputes than going to court.

If negotiations fail and you need to take legal action, a solicitor can also assist you with the court proceedings, such as preparing and filing legal documents and representing you in court.

How can Expert Family Law assist?

Expert Family Law have a panel of experienced child maintenance solicitors on hand to help you with all chid maintenance matters.

As well as assisting with child maintenance, our panel of family law teams can also advise and assist on the process of divorce and the division of assets following the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership (ancillary relief) and child arrangements.

We ensure that the family law solicitors on our panel have the skills and experience required to assist on your legal case. We can assure you that your case will be dealt with in a compassionate and understanding manner.

Get in touch today using the form at the top of the page to find out if a child arrangement solicitor from our panel could help on your case.



Divorce Proceedings

Ancillary Relief

Domestic Abuse

Child arrangements

Expert Family Law

Keep up to date with the latest family law news