Child Maintenance Service Contact Number

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CMS contact number | 0843 850 2206 | 

If you require the CMS contact number (0843 850 0000), then we’ve prepared a guide to help you know what to expect before you dial. We have covered everything you could possibly need to know about child maintenance and how to contact the Child Maintenance Service. 

What is child maintenance?

Child maintenance is an arrangement between yourself and the other parent of your child. It addresses how your child’s living costs are covered in the event that one of you no longer lives with the child. As you know both parents are responsible for the costs of raising their child, even if they do not see the child daily.

Parents are defined as ‘paying’ or ‘receiving.’ This terminology is explained below:

  • The ‘paying’ parent: this is the parent who doesn’t have the day-to-day care of the child. It’s the paying parent who is subject to paying child maintenance 
  • The ‘receiving’ parent: this is the parent who is responsible for the day-to-day care of the child. They receive the money from the paying parent

Typically, child maintenance is paid in the event that parents separate. But, child maintenance is also required in the instance that the parents have never lived together or held a relationship.

According to UK law, child maintenance must be in place until the child turns 16. However, if the child stays in full-time education, child maintenance must be paid until they turn 20. 

Child maintenance is set up as either:

  • A private arrangement between the two parents 
  • Via the government scheme known as the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). This is applicable in the case that the two parents are unable to form an arrangement in private

If you wish to discuss your circumstances using the CMS phone number (0843 850 2206) it’s wise to get clued up before you call them.

CMS contact number - Photo by Steven Libralon on Unsplash

What is the Child Maintenance Service?

In the event that you are unable to agree on child maintenance with your child’s parent, you can refer to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). This is operated as an external organisation governed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Once you speak to an advisor on the CMS helpline, the CMS calculates the amount necessary. Following on from this, payments are usually arranged by yourself and the other parent. The payments are issued as a fixed amount as per the schedule. 

However, should you require it, the CMS does offer a service to handle the payments. Note that there is a fee attached.

There is also a fee of £20 to apply for child maintenance with CMS. If you are a victim of domestic abuse and do not want to have any contact with the other parent, the CMS does not charge this fee. Similarly, the fee is waived for those under 18. 

For more information about how to contact the Child Maintenance Service, scroll down. 

But first, you can find out more about how to register for self-service in this video:

How to contact the Child Maintenance Service

If you wish to use the CMS service, you can use the CMS phone number 0843 850 2206 to discuss your circumstances with an advisor. 

What is the CMS contact number?

The CMS phone number is 0843 850 2206. You may contact the CMS helpline Monday to Friday between 08:00 and 20:00. Out of these times, you will receive a pre-recorded voice message. 

All calls are charged at 7 pence per minute and calls are monitored for training purposes.

When you speak to an advisor, expect to provide the following information over the phone:

  • details about the child you’re seeking Child Maintenance for 
  • the full names of the child’s parents
  • your National Insurance number
  • your bank account information

Ensure that you collate these requirements in advance of the call. This will speed up the process and make it easier to reach an outcome. 

You can use the same CMS phone number – 0843 850 2206 – in reference to any child maintenance service complaints. 

How else do I get in touch with child maintenance?

The CMS contact number – 0843 850 2206 – is the best way to contact the Child Maintenance Service. However, before you call them you can use the handy calculation tool provided by the Department of Work and Pensions. 

You can also open a self-service account on the Child Maintenance Serice secure portal of the government’s website. 

Once you are registered, you can message the CMS via the website once you are logged into your account. The web service is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. The website is secure and in some cases, it is quicker than contacting the CMS helpline.

How to manage your child maintenance case

Once you have set up your account and have an active CMS arrangement in place, you can manage your child maintenance case online. This is the self-service we mentioned above.

To do this, you must register on the Department of Work and Pensions website. You will require:

  • Your 12-digit customer service number 
  • Your National Insurance number 
  • The 7-digit PIN you set up when your case was opened 

If you have forgotten your PIN, you can reset it on the DWP website. 

Discover more how to upload a document on the self-service website here:

Our guide to the CMS contact number

Now you know how to contact the CMS, you might want to familiarise yourself with some FAQs about child maintenance.

What happens when I apply for CMS?

As the receiving parent, you can apply for maintenance with CMS. Upon application, you will have to provide with as many details as possible about the paying parent. Next, the CMS will contact the paying parent about the application. They are required to provide their personal and financial information. 

Following on from this, the CMS will determine how much maintenance is paid. Additionally, they will set a start date of when payments will commence. Before finalising the payments, the CMS will contact both parents to double-check the figures you provided.  They will also explain how the amount was worked out.  

If either of you does not agree with the calculation provided, you can appeal to the CMS. This will prompt the CMS to review their decision. 

Once the figure is approved, the CMS will send you both a payment schedule for the following 12 months. This will show when you must make payments; usually, the first payment is due within six weeks. Furthermore, the CMS will include the amount of any arrears that have built up since the application was lodged.

What is the basic rate of child maintenance?

The basic rate of child maintenance varies based on your individual circumstances. For that reason, the best way to understand roughly how much you will pay or receive is to use the calculator tool provided by CMS.

Whether or not you intend to use the CMS, you can still refer to their guidance to calculate how you much will pay or receive.

Several factors are taken into consideration. Those are:

  • How many dependent children you have
  • The income/ State Pension of the parent subject to paying child maintenance
  • How much time the child spends with the parent subject to child maintenance
  • Whether the parent subject to paying maintenance pays child maintenance for any other children

Who do I complain to about child maintenance?

If you are unhappy with the service you have received from Child Maintenance, you can register a complaint. Child maintenance service complaints are handled by the Complaints Resolution Team and they take around 15 days to resolve. 

In order to file a complaint, you can use the CMS contact number – 0843 850 2206. 

If you’re not satisfied with your response from the Complaints Resolution Team, then you can make a secondary complaint to the Complaints Review Team.

Can I claim back overpaid child maintenance?

If there is a change in circumstances for either of you and the CMS is not notified, the paying parent may overpay. In the event of an overpayment, the Child Benefit office will write to the receiving payment with the following information: 

  • How much money has been overpaid
  • The reasons behind the overpayment
  • Whether they must pay the money back
  • How to appeal if they think the CMS wrong

Usually, an overpayment is paid back in a lump sum by a date determined by the CMS. If you believe that you have overpaid, you should reach out on the CMS contact number – 0843 850 2206. 

Find out how to update your personal details here:

Does child maintenance affect other benefits?

If you are the receiving parent and get other benefits from the government, you are able to keep all child maintenance payments. 

On the other hand, if you are the paying parent and you receive benefits, you will pay the flat rate of maintenance. Note that your current partner’s income and benefits are also taken into consideration. 

Does the CSA still exist?

In fact, the Child Support Agency (CSA) no longer exists. It was replaced by CMS as a gradual process which was completed in 2018. By now, all those who were subject to the CSA should have transitioned to the CMS.

As a final reminder, the CMS phone number is 0843 850 2206. Contact the CMS helpline for personalised advice. 

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