Do I have to pay child maintenance if I have 50% custody?

Having 50% custody doesn’t necessarily mean you’re exempt from child maintenance payments. Here’s why:

  • Child’s Needs Come First: Child support is meant to ensure your child’s well-being, regardless of custody arrangements.
  • Income Disparity Matters: Even with 50/50 custody, if there’s a significant difference in income between you and your ex, the higher earner might still contribute towards expenses.
  • Overnight Stays Count: The exact number of overnights your child spends with each parent can affect the amount. More nights with one parent might lead to a small support payment from the other.

Here’s a breakdown of some possibilities:

  • Minimal Payments or No Payment: If your income is similar to your ex’s and you genuinely have 50/50 custody with equal sharing of expenses, there might be minimal payments or no requirement to pay at all.
  • Payments Still Apply: If there’s a significant income difference or your ex covers more expenses during their parenting time, you might still be responsible for some child maintenance.

How to Know for Sure:

  • Child Maintenance Calculator: Online calculators ( for Scotland) can give a rough estimate based on income and basic details.
  • Official Guidance: The Child Maintenance Service ( website offers resources and guidance.
  • Talk to Your Ex: Open communication can help explore options.
  • Seek Legal Advice: A lawyer specializing in family law can provide specific guidance based on your situation.


  • The goal is to ensure your child’s financial needs are met.
  • Explore resources and seek professional advice if needed.

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