Changes Child Maintenance Service needs to know

It's important both parents tell Child Maintenance Service (CMS) about any changes in their circumstances. Changes could affect how much child maintenance you pay or receive. You should report any changes within seven days. Tell CMS if you move house, change or lose your job or your benefits change.

Changes the paying parent should report

If your child doesn't live with you day to day, you're the 'paying parent' (non-resident parent, 2003 scheme). If your circumstances change, you need to report the change to CMS within seven days. 

You need to tell CMS when:

  • you move house
  • you start or stop getting benefits
  • you change your home or mobile telephone numbers
  • you start or stop working for an employer
  • you start or stop being self-employed
  • you become unemployed
  • you pay through a deduction from earnings order and you leave or move to a new job
  • you or your partner have registered any children for child benefit
  • you have a child living with you who reaches the age of 20
  • you're in a new relationship and have to support another child
     
  • Contact Child Maintenance Service

Changes the receiving parent should report

If you have day to day care of the child, you are the 'receiving parent' (parent with care, 2003 scheme).  If your circumstances change, you need to report the change to CMS within seven days. 

You need to tell CMS when:

  • you’re moving
  • you know the paying parent is moving
  • you change your home or mobile telephone numbers
  • the number of children you get child maintenance for changes
  • the number of children you or your partner have registered for child benefit changes
  • the number of nights the child regularly stays overnight with the paying parent changes
  • the child you get maintenance for leaves full-time education
  • the child you get maintenance for reaches the age of 20
  • you or the child no longer live in the UK
  • you know the paying parent is coming off benefits
     
  • Child Maintenance Service

Why CMS needs to know if your circumstances change

The information given to CMS by both parents is very important as it is needed to work out how much child maintenance should be paid.

You should tell CMS about any changes within seven days to make sure that the child maintenance you pay, or receive, is accurate.

Changes paying or receiving parent should report

​The paying or receiving parent can contact CMS to report new information that might affect how much child maintenance is paid. Either parent should tell CMS within seven days if:

  • there is an increase or decrease of 25 per cent or more in the paying parent’s gross weekly income (five per cent under the 2003 scheme)
  • there are any changes to the shared care arrangement
  • you, the other parent or the child no longer live in the UK
  • you want to close your case
  • you want to change from the Collect and Pay service to Direct Pay or vice versa
  • you want a family-based arrangement
  • the other parent or the child dies

Asking for a variation

If your circumstances change, you may be able to ask for a variation. A variation is when you can get your maintenance calculation looked at again because you:

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