What to include in your family-based arrangement

With a family-based arrangement, you and the other parent can decide between yourselves how and when you will both support your child.

For example, you could both agree that the paying parent pays:

  • a fixed regular amount
  • a larger 'lump sum' at various points in the child’s life
  • a proportion of their earnings
  • directly for items such as school uniforms or day trips
  • a mix of some or all of the above

Agreeing child maintenance amounts

If you decide that fixed regular payments would work best for you and the other parent, then the next step is to agree on an actual amount.

Some parents find that the easiest way to do this is to see what their payments would be if they used a statutory child maintenance service. They then use this amount as a starting point for their family-based arrangement.

You can get an idea of what this amount would be using our Child maintenance calculator.

Once you’ve agreed an amount, you’ll then need to think about how payments will be made. For more help with this, read about the different ways to pay child maintenance.

Paying for things for the children

Many separated parents have a family-based arrangement which says that the paying parent buys specific items for their child, instead of paying money.

For example, you could agree that the parent expected to pay child maintenance pays for clothes, toys, school uniforms or activities such as swimming lessons. Or, you could decide that the paying parent makes a contribution towards the mortgage or bills for the house where your child lives.

Sharing the care of your children

A family-based child maintenance arrangement doesn’t have to just mean one parent paying money to the other. You could decide to share the care of your child – for example they could stay with the paying parent during the school holidays, or a couple of nights a week.

It’s all about what you can both agree works best for you.