Child maintenance (or Child Support) Despite the ending of your marriage you remain parents to your children. It is your responsibility and that of your ex-spouse to ensure continued care for your children. Ensure their safety and well-being. Child maintenance is regular payments paid by the non-residential parent (mostly fathers) for the purpose of providing financial support for the care and needs of the children. If your child is not living with you, you are required by law to make child maintenance payments to the parent who has primary care of the child or children. A child has a right to maintenance from their parents and action can be taken by the primary career to claim maintenance for the children. Parents are legally responsible for the financial needs and security of their children after separation or divorce even if you do not see them. Why pay child maintenance? Payments of child maintenance can make a significant difference in the lives of children after parental separation to avoid child vulnerability, poverty and homelessness. Parents are legally responsible for the financial security of their children. Children of separated mothers suffer poorer outcomes have poorer home environments and life outcomes. Studies have shown that adolescents cope the worst with parental separation. They may turn away from their family entirely dealing with the situation on their own. Payments of child maintenance can make adjustment easier, keep children focused, prevent antisocial behavior and foster better family relationships. Child maintenance age In Nigeria, child maintenance ends when the child reaches 21. However, maintenance order may be made in favour of a child above 21 years in exceptional circumstances. It terminates when the child is 18 under the children’s law. Child maintenance arrangements Family based arrangements You can work out your arrangements for the children and reach an agreement. You can come to your own agreement about financial support for your children you can both agree between yourselves how much child maintenance should be paid, how and when it should be made. If you are finding it difficult to come to an agreement or the private arrangement breaks down, you can go to mediation, you both have to be willing to go to mediation or go to court to enforce the right of the child for an order of maintenance. Getting help to reach agreements Family mediation A neutral third party mediator helps parents make decisions about financial support for the children. The mediator facilitates communication between both parents, helps them work out their financial arrangements and reach child maintenance agreements. The process promotes parental responsibility so that children receive child support from parents even if they live in separate households. Free family mediation Social welfare payments The social welfare department can help locate absent parents and enforce support obligations. Services are available to a parent with custody of the children who have a parent living outside of the home. You do not need to make contact with the other parent if you have experienced violence. if you feel at risk talking to the other parent because a private arrangement would involve being in contact or if you do not want to be in contact because you do not feel it is safe you need not talk to the other parent or tell the other parent your location. Survivors of family violence can access child maintenance services safely. The social welfare department can help calculate, collect, disburse payments. They can take action against a parent that fails to make financial provision for the children. Social Welfare Department.