This article examines the means through which parents make arrangements for the payment of child support. The chances of mothers obtaining private maintenance agreements, Child Support Agency (CSA) awards or no award are compared by examining a number of factors, including the characteristics of separated mothers and fathers. The analysis is based on data collected through the Families and Children Study. The results show that private agreements, in contrast to CSA awards, are less likely to be in place where a mother has never lived with the child's father or separated from him some time ago. Private agreements are also relatively rare where contact between a non-resident father and his child is infrequent or non-existent. Findings suggest that some facility for the registration of private agreements might be considered as part of the current child support redesign process.