Home > Ask Our Experts > Should we Still Pay Maintenance?

Should we Still Pay Maintenance?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 4 Dec 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
My child is starting full time work this month she's 18....do I still have to pay child maintenance to her mother.....as we're not together... if I can I'd rather pay my daughter directly. ...many thanks scott
Skyway - 4-Dec-18 @ 8:51 AM
My situation is somewhat different, for 16 yrs my children’s father refused to financially help, he saw the children whenever he wanted but even when I was struggling to feed them he refused to help and told me I need to get a 2nd and 3rd job. I went to the csa and for many years was updated with how much he owed but never got a payment! When the children were 16 although working long hours I was completely broke so he offered to take them in, mere days later the new and improved CMS wanted money and collection fees. I’ve paid this up to after the children moved out to meet with their end of August requirements. I’m now supporting my son as he basically kicked them out when their value had gone and the CMA have now got back in touch 3 months later to say they had an extra payment for him that was never disclosed to me and has accrued monthly interest... how is this fair!! I paid everything they told me to and never was an outstanding payment ever mentioned! Even though I’ve been told my outstanding csa hasn’t been closed for what their Dad owes me they refuse to do anything about it or tie it up together when it’s the same children! I feel like they’ll never go away! Their threats will never end, beyond hopeless and pushed to the edge
Amanda - 27-Nov-18 @ 8:13 PM
Do I still have to pay maintenance to my daughter she is 17, she is not in college, we didn't go with the Child Maintenance Service, we sorted out an agreement between us about paying for my daughter.
heyup - 24-Nov-18 @ 11:04 AM
Do I have to pay maintenance to my daughter she is 17, she is not in college
heyup - 24-Nov-18 @ 10:44 AM
My partners ex has made a claim with the child support agency for their 2 daughters who live with him..one is 17 and works 2 jobs and has not attended any school for over 2 years the other is 14 and is not employed and does not attend any school and has not attended any school for approximately 3 years..neither child intend to resume their education or schooling at any time and their father does not appear to be concerned a out this at all...it is my understanding that in order to qualify for child support,the child,or children for whom you are seeking child support for must be in full time education and proof of the school,college or university they attend must. E provided by the claimant,to the child support agency dealing with the claim...can you tell me if that is correct please?
Pat - 18-Nov-18 @ 10:47 PM
My child is 18 and only started claiming against both me and my partner as we’re both classed as absent parent she gets 22% from us. She left college in June and this month I stopped payments as she was no longer in college now she saying she’s in college and I have to pay I still haven’t heard back from maintenance services as I told them to provide the proof that she was in a college do I still have to pay her the months she wasn’t there please help.
Kaz - 12-Nov-18 @ 1:09 PM
My child is 17 and has dropped out of college and is working full time, I m now unable to work but am not on benefits, do I still have to continue payment support
Mac - 2-Nov-18 @ 11:13 AM
Hi My partners ex will not confirm if their son (who was 18 in march ) is still in education she has said he is taking a course at college (not A level) but there has been some discrepancy with regards to the dates he is starting college for another term. We have asked for proof that he is attending college and she has just ignored our requests for proof.My partner has always made his maintenance payments for the last 8 years without fail and now we are just asking for proof that his son is in education in order that she continues to receive her maintenance payments? What are our legal rights to obtain this information if the mother will not and surely if she is still taking payments from us this is fraud?
sazb46 - 24-Oct-18 @ 1:38 PM
Hello, I was wondering if you could help. My Daughter decided to live with my ex -Husband in January, and she currently still won't talk to me. I have been paying maintenance, which is fine - However I have learnt that my Daughter is working at least 24 + hours a week, and has since dropped one of her A Levels. I am paying the maximum amount(I have our Son half and half - I don't get any help at all!)Where do I stand with the amount that I am paying? Also, I assume that as she finishes her A levels July 2019 - then my last payment will be Aug 2019? Advise would be greatly appreciated!
Sv05 - 9-Oct-18 @ 4:25 PM
Hi could someone help I live with my parents my son is 15 and from the day he was born he has stayed with my parents he now wants to come and live here my x tells csa that my son does not stop with me he stops with his grandparents he is free to come and go how he likes .my x has her holidays and my son stops with nan and grandad they his life but when it suites her she will make him stop at home does the fact that he is at my parents home witch is also my home mean I still have to pay full csa thanks
Mit - 8-Oct-18 @ 1:45 PM
My son pays maintenance and always as done to a child he doesn't have any contact with. He's now 16 left school was going in the army but decided not to go. Instead Is apparently going to college. This as now changed to an apprenticeship with day release. How can he find out for definite what the child is doing is the mother in receipt of child benefit still. She's a scammer with kids from other dads too. There's nothing in place to help my son who as a family too. It's disgusting.
Dee - 5-Oct-18 @ 5:07 PM
My daughter left school at 16 and went into an apprenticeship. She has just turned 18 and is earning £600 per month so should I have been paying since she left school and do I still have to pay now?
Brian - 4-Oct-18 @ 10:40 AM
I am paying maintenance for my daughter who will be 17 in January. I have lost touch since December 2016. How do I know if she is still staying on in school ?
Carlos - 1-Oct-18 @ 12:51 PM
My ex is homeschooling my eldset (14) which is against my will. Does the fact he.is being homeschooled affect how much CSA i should pay either more or less.many thanks
Tuds - 28-Sep-18 @ 10:20 AM
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
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments