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How to arrange child maintenance

How you arrange Child Maintenance is up to you and depends on whether you can agree.

If you can come to an agreement with the other parent

You can arrange child maintenance between parents or guardians, if everyone can agree. This is known as a private or ‘family-based’ arrangement.

To make a private arrangement you should:

You can use a mediator to help you reach an agreement together.

View more about making a private arrangement on Citizens Advice Scotland.

If you want to make your private arrangement legally binding, you can ask a solicitor to draw up your agreement. This means it can be enforced in the same way as a court order.

You can also register your agreement in the Books of Council and Session.

If you can no longer make a private arrangement, you can use the Child Maintenance Service. You can use this service at any time, even after you have made a private arrangement.

If you cannot come to an agreement with the other parent

You can use the Child Maintenance Service. They can help by:

  • working out an amount to pay
  • arranging payments
  • taking action if a parent does not pay
  • sorting out disagreements about parentage
  • trying to find the other parent if you do not know where they are

If you do not want the other parent to have your contact details

You can tell the Child Maintenance Service if you do not want them to pass on your details to the other parent. The Child Maintenance Service can also collect money from the paying parent. This means you do not need to share your address, personal information, or bank details with the other parent.

Step-parents cannot use the Child Maintenance Service. If you are a step-parent, you will need to arrange child maintenance privately or through a court.

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