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Should we Still Pay Maintenance?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 21 Sep 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Maintenance Child Support Child

Q.

My stepson is 17 years old and is working whilst also studying at college. He recently moved out of his mother's house and in with his girlfriend. Should we (his dad and myself) still pay maintenance? If so, who do we pay it to and what happens if he decides to move back in with his mother?

(Miss V.L, 30 October 2008)

A.

A person with parental responsibility for a child has a duty to provide for them until they are 18 years old – unless the child marries prior to their 18th birthday. In cases where a child’s parents have separated or divorced, the parent who does not provide the child’s main home should pay maintenance to the parent with whom the child lives.

The parents may reach an agreement between themselves about the appropriate child maintenance payments or, in some cases, the Child Support Agency (CSA) now the CMS may be required to assess and monitor the required payments. The purpose of Child Maintenance Payments is to ensure that both parents make a fair contribution to the costs of looking after and bringing up the child.

Calculating Child Maintenance

When the CSA calculates child maintenance a number of factors are taken into account – these include the non-resident parent’s income, the number of nights the child spends staying with each parent, and the number of children living in the non-resident parent’s home. If any of these circumstances subsequently changes, the CSA should be notified so that they can recalculate the child maintenance.

It is not clear from the question whether the maintenance your partner has been paying is based on a private agreement with the child’s mother, a consent order approved by a court or a CSA arrangement.

Is the Child in Full-time Education?

Child maintenance payments generally continue at least until the child reaches the age of 16. After the age of 16, payments depend on whether the child is still in full-time school education. If the child leaves school and gets a job, the payments stop in the September after they left school. If the child is still in education and is studying at least 12 hours a week towards A-Levels, payments should continue and may continue until the child is 19 years old.

However, if a child over the age of 16 is not taking a higher education course, the payments may be discontinued. If your stepson is not studying for A-Levels, it may be that the obligation to pay maintenance has already ended.

Day-to-Day Care

One of the requirements for eligibility to apply to the CSA to arrange child maintenance is that the parent (or other person applying) has the main day-to-day care of the child. If your stepson no longer lives with his mother, nor depends on her for financial support, then it would be questionable whether she would be entitled to receive CSA child maintenance payments. The situation could, however, be different if the arrangement was made under a consent order or other agreement.

If the child moves back in with his mother and is studying for A-Levels, it is possible that payments would have to be resumed. Even if the child’s father has no ongoing obligation to pay child maintenance to his son’s mother, it is possible that he has an ongoing Parental Responsibility for the child’s financial wellbeing.

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My son was 18 on 3rd September, he did a year at A level and dropped out and started alevel 3 diploma in college, do I still pay maintenance to his mother?
Garry - 21-Sep-18 @ 5:17 PM
Hi i was just wondering what age does a father stop paying maintence. His kid is turning 18 soon & doing A levels - then off to uni next year. We are unsure when the mintence payments get stopped. Is when he turns 18? When he leave school after doing his a'level? Thanks.
Alaina - 19-Sep-18 @ 5:20 PM
Cms rang my husband to say his daughter continuing into level extended diploma anyway when he rang the college the course is not running but his ex wife have failed to tell the cms? The college told my husband all students have to go onto level 4 so he rang the csa back but they want him to prove this any advice thanks
DISNEY - 11-Sep-18 @ 5:58 PM
How long would it take for the CMS to write and close a case if my husbands daughter decides not to carry on with college this september?
DISNEY - 10-Sep-18 @ 11:25 AM
Cole - Your Question:
Hello,My daughter is 19 and told me she was not going back to college. She has failed GCSE English for 3 years in a row. She told me she was not allowed to finish her course. She is on a 2 year level 3 Health and Social care course. She repeated the first year and led me to believe she failed again. I do not know if she did, she won't show or discuss any results with me. So I stopped my CSA payments. Then the CSA contacted me saying she is still at College. They said her mother says she is doing another year at College. I have paid up due to charges/fines etc. They said it is up to me to prove she is not in college. That I need to continue to pay. However if I over pay they will not refund me any over payment and I would need to approach my ex wife. However my daughter and ex wife won't communicate with me over the matter. I have contacted the College who will not tell me whether she is registered with them on a course due to data protection. I do not know what to do. I can't find out the truth and on the word of one woman (whom I know well when it comes to money, I overpaid for 18 months with my son. She told me I had to pay whilst he was on an apprenticeship and I believed her at the time - money is very tight for me on minimum wage and renting a room.

Our Response:
If your daughter's mother is in receipt of child benefit for your daughter, then you can assume that the course she's on is at the relevant level and you may have to continue to pay until age 20. Child benefit sometimes do spot checks on education etc.
LawAndParents - 10-Sep-18 @ 11:14 AM
My son has dropped out of college he turned 20 do i still have to pay maintenance?
34867 - 8-Sep-18 @ 1:28 PM
Hello, My daughter is 19 and told me she was not going back to college. She has failed GCSE English for 3 years in a row. She told me she was not allowed to finish her course. She is on a 2 year level 3 Health and Social care course. She repeated the first year and led me to believe she failed again . I do not know if she did, she won't show or discuss any results with me. So I stopped my CSA payments. Then the CSA contacted me saying she is still at College. They said her mother says she is doing another year at College. I have paid up due to charges/fines etc. They said it is up to me to prove she is not in college. That I need to continue to pay. However if I over pay they will not refund me any over payment and I would need to approach my ex wife. However my daughter and ex wife won't communicate with me over the matter. I have contacted the College who will not tell me whether she is registered with them on a course due to data protection. I do not know what to do. I can't find out the truth and on the word of one woman (whom I know well when it comes to money, I overpaid for 18 months with my son. She told me I had to pay whilst he was on an apprenticeship and I believed her at the time - money is very tight for me on minimum wage and renting a room.
Cole - 3-Sep-18 @ 3:39 PM
Paying child maintenance options for my son who is 20 in March he stared Temp work in July should I still be paying Csa
Hrj - 30-Aug-18 @ 3:40 PM
My husband pays maintance for a daughter he doesnt see or know..and has done for the last 8 years..it has come to our knowledge she has been in care of her nan the last year and we have been paying the mother..should we stop the payments..its not through csa its a standing order to her bank every 4 weeks
Allie - 28-Aug-18 @ 7:42 AM
My daughter was 17 on June 17th has a full time job but gets visits from a college to her work, I’ve always Paid to her mum Do I still have to carry on doing this If I stopped could she get CSA
Mufc20 - 26-Aug-18 @ 7:21 PM
Trish - Your Question:
Hello my son is 16 and has decided to move in with his dad , my son works cash in hand at his dads employers and his dad takes between £20 to £40 a week rent from him , my son starts a college course in September, he’s stooped maintenance which is fair enough , do I have to now pay maintenance to him even though it was my sons choice to move there

Our Response:
You may have to pay maintenance once your son starts college as you are not the parent with day to day care. You can agree an informal maintenance amount with the child's father, the child maintenance calculator will give you an idea of how much you might expect to pay.
LawAndParents - 22-Aug-18 @ 10:25 AM
Hello my son is 16 and has decided to move in with his dad , my son works cash in hand at his dads employers and his dad takes between £20 to £40 a week rent from him , my son starts a college course in September, he’s stooped maintenance which is fair enough , do I have to now pay maintenance to him even though it was my sons choice to move there
Trish - 19-Aug-18 @ 12:38 AM
I have 2 kids prior relationship aged 12 and 15 they both choose not to go to school haven’t been for a year do I carry on paying maintenance for them if they are not in school because there mum won’t get them into school
Paul1111 - 18-Aug-18 @ 12:04 PM
My daughter has turned 18, finished her A levels this summer, she is not going to Uni and is now looking for employment, I understood Child Maintenance ended when the child left full time education, however the Child Maintenance Service have said I must pay until she is 20 years old or untill she begins work, is this correct ?
Nick - 16-Aug-18 @ 3:37 PM
My son is 18 he finished college in June he was doing a full time course, while he was at college he worked part time - hours varied some weeks as much as 30 my ex is refusing to pay the last month that he was at college because he said my son was working, is this correct? Child benefit carried on paying they knew how many hours he worked but said it didn’t matter because he was still in education. should my ex pay
Mic - 15-Aug-18 @ 3:50 PM
Tim - Your Question:
Hello, my son turns 18 in November this year and he has a part time job also he studies part time at a media college, he was born in 2000 and his mum and I never married also I think because of this I do not have parental responsibility. Should I still be paying child maintenance?

Our Response:
If your name is on the birth certificate you will have parental responsibility. If your son is in education of 12 hours or more per week at a standard no higher than A level or equivalent then you should continue paying maintenance.
LawAndParents - 14-Aug-18 @ 10:58 AM
Hello, my son turns 18 in November this year and he has a part time job also he studies part time at a media college, he was born in 2000 and his mum and I never married also I think because of this I do not have parental responsibility. Should I still be paying child maintenance?
Tim - 13-Aug-18 @ 2:22 PM
Polly - Your Question:
HiMy son was 16 in April and has now decided not to do A levels In September but to do a full time vehicle technician apprenticeship, this is paid at about £166 a week. He will also spend study time at college regularly. Does his dad still have to pay maintenance for his upkeep now kids have to stay in education until 18?? Many Thanks

Our Response:
The father will not need to pay maintenance if your son is undertaking a paid apprenticeship.
LawAndParents - 13-Aug-18 @ 10:23 AM
Hi My son was 16 in April and has now decided not to do A levels In September but to do a full time vehicle technician apprenticeship, this is paid at about £166 a week. He will also spend study time at college regularly. Does his dad still have to pay maintenance for his upkeep now kids have to stay in education until 18?? Many Thanks
Polly - 11-Aug-18 @ 9:35 AM
Jezza - Your Question:
Hi My daughter is 18 on Sunday and doing her 2 year of A levels. She has now got a part time job and pays my ex £80 keep a month. So now my ex is getting said amount of me and £80 of daughter, is this right?

Our Response:
Yes it is unfortunately. It is however, unusual for a child who is still at school at A level standard or below to be asked for "keep". A part time job is usually to supplement anything given by the parents.
LawAndParents - 10-Aug-18 @ 2:50 PM
Confused - Your Question:
My daughter is waiting for A level results. I’m still receiving child benefit. Am I still entitled to child support payments for her until the start of September?

Our Response:
Yes maintenance will be payable until 31st August.
LawAndParents - 10-Aug-18 @ 2:32 PM
Hi My daughter is 18 on Sunday and doing her 2 year of A levels. She has now got a part time job and pays my ex £80 keep a month. So now my ex is getting said amount of me and £80 of daughter, is this right?
Jezza - 9-Aug-18 @ 11:32 PM
My daughter is waiting for A level results. I’m still receiving child benefit. Am I still entitled to child support payments for her until the start of September?
Confused - 9-Aug-18 @ 7:42 PM
Ingy - Your Question:
Hello, I'm a bit confused about the child maintenance that I'm paying directly to the ex wife.He is coming up 18, November,& he is at college more than 12hrs a week but not leading on towards A levels.Should I still be paying his child maintenance ?

Our Response:
If he is studying something at a similar level (i.e NVQ 3) to A level or below, you should continue paying maintenance until the course finishes or age 20 if that's earlier.
LawAndParents - 8-Aug-18 @ 1:39 PM
Hello, I'm a bit confused about the child maintenance that I'm paying directly to the ex wife. He is coming up 18, November,& he is at college more than 12hrs a week but not leading on towards A levels. Should I still be paying his child maintenance ?
Ingy - 7-Aug-18 @ 7:10 AM
Disney - Your Question:
My step daughter has confirmed on social media she’s passed her level 3 course in college but her friends who also took the same course finished and passed this in may and the started employment as the college must have placed them in employment which is what she told us two years ago when she started the course but since then she will not talk to us so the contact has gone. I’m confused as there is a third part of the level 3 an extended diploma which I assume she will go onto as her Mum will not want to lose our csa payments plus all her other benefits but there maybe a small chance she may alsoBe in employment? Any advice how I would find this out? And if she was working when would they have to cancel the child benefit plus she is at the moment on a girly holiday which again we have to pay for! Whilst she is away we won’t get a weeks reduction off so we have to pay for an 18 and half year old that goes out drinking boyfriends etc but in the governments eyes she’s a child! Any advice more on the child benefit works would it automatically cancel end of August or does the parent with care have to ring them and cancel? We have spoken to the csa and they said she may cancel child benefit by end of august? Thanks

Our Response:
Yes if the course has finished, maintenance is payable until 31st August. Child Benefit will then stop unless the course continues for some reason (i.e your daughter has to re-take elements of the course)
LawAndParents - 31-Jul-18 @ 10:44 AM
My step daughter has confirmed on social media she’s passed her level 3 course in college but her friends who also took the same course finished and passed this in may and the started employment as the college must have placed them in employment which is what she told us two years ago when she started the course but since then she will not talk to us so the contact has gone. I’m confused as there is a third part of the level 3 an extended diploma which I assume she will go onto as her Mum will not want to lose our csa payments plus all her other benefits but there maybe a small chance she may also Be in employment? Any advice how I would find this out? And if she was working when would they have to cancel the child benefit plus she is at the moment on a girly holiday which again we have to pay for! Whilst she is away we won’t get a weeks reduction off so we have to pay for an 18 and half year old that goes out drinking boyfriends etc but in the governments eyes she’s a child! Any advice more on the child benefit works would it automatically cancel end of August or does the parent with care have to ring them and cancel? We have spoken to the csa and they said she may cancel child benefit by end of august? Thanks
Disney - 30-Jul-18 @ 7:54 AM
Hi my daughter is 18 waiting on a level results. What month should the maintainence payments stop from her father
Vix - 25-Jul-18 @ 8:12 PM
Alex68 - Your Question:
My son has just turned 18,ex wife has thrown him out of the house and he is spending time between me and his friends.do I still pay her?

Our Response:
If your son no longer lives with his mother, you will not need to continue with maintenance payments.
LawAndParents - 23-Jul-18 @ 12:30 PM
My son has just turned 18,ex wife has thrown him out of the house and he is spending time between me and his friends.do i still pay her?
Alex68 - 19-Jul-18 @ 6:04 PM
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