Make child maintenance deductions from an employee's pay



The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is a part of the Department for Communities. Its aim is to make sure that parents who live apart from their children contribute towards their upkeep by paying child maintenance.

Employers play an important role, working in partnership with CMS, in helping parents meet the financial responsibility of bringing up their children. The CMS can ask you to:

  • give information about an employee
  • deduct child maintenance from an employee's earnings
  • send an employee's child maintenance payments to the Child Maintenance Service

You can be fined £500 for each missed payment and up to £1,000 for not providing information you've been asked for.

Deduction from earnings order (DEO)

DEOs are a way of collecting child maintenance directly from a paying parent’s earnings or pension.

The paying parent is the parent who does not have main day-to-day care of the child.

When you’ll get a DEO

You’ll be sent a DEO if your employee is a paying parent who:

  • chooses to pay child maintenance directly from their earnings
  • does not already pay child maintenance that they owe
  • does not pay the correct amount
  • does not pay on time

Your legal obligations when deducting child maintenance

By law, you must:

  • give information to the Child Maintenance Service if you're asked to
  • send payments as soon as possible, to arrive no later than the 19th day of the month after the month you made the deduction
  • tell the Child Maintenance Service immediately if there are any problems with taking payments from a paying parent's earnings
  • make regular deductions

You could be taken to court if you do not send payments and do not explain why.

  • CMS employer helpline
    0800 232 1961
  • CMS text relay number
    18001 0800 171 2345
Developed with:
  • Department for Communities