Applying for child maintenance

To apply for child maintenance through the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), you will first need to contact Child Maintenance Choices. The team will talk you through all of the options available to you.

Child Maintenance Choices

Child Maintenance Choices is a free, impartial service. The team will talk you through all the facts, in confidence, about child maintenance, whatever your circumstances. It will provide support and advice to help you decide how to make the best child maintenance arrangement for you and your family.

If after your discussions, you decide not to arrange child maintenance yourself, the Choices team will help you to apply to use the Child Maintenance Service. All new applications for maintenance with the CMS are made under the 2012 Child Maintenance Scheme and charges could apply.

Information you need to give CMS

When speaking with the Choices team about applying to CMS for making or receiving payments, you will need to provide information about you and your family. This includes:

  • your National Insurance number
  • bank account details
  • details about the child you’re applying for - including the full names of their mother and father

A full list of what you need to provide is included in the child maintenance application checklist:

How the information is used

The information you give can be used to set up and manage child maintenance payments. It can also sometimes find the paying parent.

CMS won’t give out names and addresses unless ordered to by a court, but information might be shared with other government organisations, debt collection agencies or the courts.

If CMS can’t get information it needs from either parent, it might ask other people or organisations, such as:

  • the paying parent’s employer
  • government organisations like the Social Security Agency
  • prison services or local councils
  • the paying parent’s bank or building society

The Data Protection Act controls how your information is used. Contact the Child Maintenance Service for information about how it uses and stores your information.

How long does it take

You will usually get a response from CMS about your application for Child Maintenance with the 2012 Scheme within six weeks. However, it can take up to 26 weeks if there is a problem with contacting the paying parent.

If the contact details for the paying parent aren’t known, CMS will try to find them - but if it can’t, the Child Maintenance application will stop.

The first child maintenance payment is usually made within six weeks of making payment arrangements with the paying parent.

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.