DWP have looked into the number of separated families in the UK and have estimated that there are 2.5 million couples who have separated, leaving 3.9 millions children living either with one parent or between two homes. 

The research looked at the child maintenance arrangements that were in place within those 2.5 millions families, and it found that only 48% had some sort of agreement in place. 

20% had a statutory agreement, which means that the Child Maintenance Service, or the CSA before it, is responsible for collecting the maintenance from the non resident parent and paying it on to the resident parent. There is a fee involved in this option.

The alternative is a non-statutory agreement which can be a voluntary arrangement between parents, or payment of other benefits in kind. Only 31% of families benefit from this sort or arrangement, which leaves far too many children without the support they need.