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Should we Still Pay Maintenance?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 5 Feb 2017 | 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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Son turned 19 last year, (in this academic year) never missed a payment have no contact so won't actually know when he finishes college. Reading the web tells me I can stop paying this year,is this right? But how do I know when to stop payments? Would really appreciate some help on this. As I will never find out when he does end college. Thanks in advance
How-much-longer - 5-Feb-17 @ 10:50 PM
My daughter is 16.. I pay an agreed amount as set out by the CSA.. She is off to college in Sept after her GCSEs.. However..she will be staying at the college at a cost of £150 per week. My ex wife only wants to pay £100 per month towards this.. (she will be using the money I give her as well)..thus leaving me to pay the remainder.. Not sure where I stand on this..? Basically..with the money I pay her already and the money for college I will be paying £500 per month..my ex wife £100... Our incomes are very similar.. Thanks for your help. Peter
Skippy - 5-Feb-17 @ 6:28 PM
My son is is 18 in a few months and now working full time, will his father still have to pay maintenance?
Flojo - 2-Feb-17 @ 1:48 PM
Payments taken from gross salary I pay tax on it Does x partner pay tax on it As it is tax ferr
Unsure - 27-Jan-17 @ 1:22 PM
Hi my stepson left school in July he's 16 since leaving school he has not worked or been in any form of education, my husband has been and is still paying maintenance to his ex, his son has now got a job of 30 hrs plus overtime (not in any education) he will now be living with a different member of his family, while he works then go back to his mum on his day off, my question is does my husband still have to pay maintenance for his son? If he does who do we pay maintenance too?
Mummy3 - 26-Jan-17 @ 1:34 PM
Coolie - Your Question:
My stepson has left school got a few jobs but always got sacked he has a wee few hours job at the moment he's now going back to college to do hmc he will be 19 in June in my divorce minutes of agreement it states maintamce payment will stop when he turns 18 where do we stand

Our Response:
If your divorce agreement says that maintenance stops at the age of 18 then it will do so. Your ex may want to extend the maintenance period if your son is still in education and she is supporting him. The courts could order an extension until the age of 20.
LawAndParents - 20-Jan-17 @ 11:58 AM
My son is staying on at college till 18 but he as decided to stay on till he is 19 but he not doing A level do I have still pay maintenance.
Macca - 19-Jan-17 @ 8:40 PM
My stepson has left school got a few jobs but always got sacked he has a wee few hours job at the moment he's now going back to college to do hmc he will be 19 in June in my divorce minutes of agreement it states maintamce payment will stop when he turns 18 where do we stand
Coolie - 19-Jan-17 @ 7:53 AM
I have just been informed by my ex husband that he is stopping child maintenance in June as my daughter will turn 18 on 4th July . She still has another year at college . I thought that he still had to pay until she finish the course but he says other wise. I will still get child benefit so thoughthe should still pay. Please help.
Julie - 18-Jan-17 @ 8:40 PM
Hi. My son is 20yr old and he's autistic. He has stopped college last year and CSA has now stopped his payment. He will start a new course end of January but it is not A levels.Does his father still need to help him financially? I cannot work full time as I need to care for him and I am still helping my daughter who is at University and he declined to help. There's anything I can do?Many thanks
Apar - 14-Jan-17 @ 11:44 AM
My partners daughter is 18 next month, and has mentioned going on to University, we think at above A level. When do maintenance payments cease? Will it be when she is 18 (after she left college) Or do I have to continue payments. I can't find anything that is clear anywhere! Please help! Many thanks
Dimples - 12-Jan-17 @ 7:52 PM
Hi my son started university in September 2016. The csa have been informed of this. I have had two letters from them the latter saying they are checking to clarify I have paid the correct amount prior to closure.I have always paid the requested amounts the csa accessed me on during that peroid 1998 - 2016. During the latter years they did not ask for my wage slips despite me having pay rises.Could they pursue money from me
tom - 12-Jan-17 @ 2:06 PM
Don2 - Your Question:
Hi, my daughter is 16 yrs old and is doing her A-Levels.she also had a 16 hr job over the Christmas period which was from Nov to Jan. Can I get a reduction in maintenance as I am really struggling and have 2 other daughters which miss out on a lot of stuff as I am struggling to make ends meet.

Our Response:
No, as long as she is in full time education of at least 12 hours per week you should continue to pay maintenance. Here part time job over christmas will not affect this.
LawAndParents - 10-Jan-17 @ 12:34 PM
Hi, my daughter is 16 yrs old and is doing her A-Levels....she also had a 16 hr job over the Christmas period which was from Nov to Jan.Can I get a reduction in maintenance as i am really struggling and have 2 other daughters which miss out on a lot of stuff as i am struggling to make ends meet.
Don2 - 9-Jan-17 @ 3:34 PM
Griff - Your Question:
My daughter who is 17 is doing an hnc more than 12 hours at collage and working part time. Do I still have to make maintenance payments?

Our Response:
Yes, payments should be made while she still in further education up to the age of 19 (sometimes 20).
LawAndParents - 5-Jan-17 @ 2:00 PM
Scruff - Your Question:
My son is 19 in June he left school last May I was paying maintenance up till August when I I was told he was signing on the dole, he didn't and got a job as he failed to get into college, I have now been told he is getting into college to do p,e, he has left his full time job Now do I have to start paying again ,and he is also working in a chippy cash in hand

Our Response:
When does the course start and what level of course is it. If it's a further education level course (such as a levels) then you may have to pay until your son is 20. If it's a degree level course, you may not have to.
LawAndParents - 5-Jan-17 @ 12:40 PM
Sue - Your Question:
Hi. My partners 14yr old boy has been living with us since may 2016. His ex wife finally agreed to inform the csa at the end of September 2016. He had been off work during a lot of this time and back payment has all been payed back to her even though he lived with us. Csa are still now to date taking the payments but she says she is not receiving them. How long should we expect to wait before the payments stop being taken, and where is the money going that's being taken now? Many thanks.

Our Response:
Tell your partner to contact the CSA if they are still taking payments when the child to which they relate is actually residing with you.
LawAndParents - 5-Jan-17 @ 12:36 PM
My daughter who is 17 is doing an hnc more than 12 hours at collage and working part time . Do I still have to make maintenance payments?
Griff - 4-Jan-17 @ 9:51 PM
My son is 19 in June he left school last May I was paying maintenance up till August whenI I was told he was signing on the dole, he didn't and got a job as he failed to get into college, I have now been told he is getting into college to do p,e, he has left his full time job Now do I have to start paying again ,and he is also working in a chippy cash in hand
Scruff - 4-Jan-17 @ 7:41 PM
Hi. My partners 14yr old boy has been living with us since may 2016. His ex wife finally agreed to inform the csa at the end of September 2016. He had been off work during a lot of this time and back payment has all been payed back to her even though he lived with us. Csa are still now to date taking the payments but she says she is not receiving them. How long should we expect to wait before the payments stop being taken, and where is the money going that's being taken now? Many thanks.
Sue - 4-Jan-17 @ 6:02 PM
Hi. I have a 18 year old daughter and a 14 year old daughter from my 1st marriage. I pay an agreed amount that I pay to my ex wife. My eldest is at college, studying a btec course not sure how many hours she attends at the moment. She also has a part time job. When can I stop paying her mum? Or do I continue until the youngest daughter finishes full time education. Regards Ian Creasey
Lofthouse - 1-Jan-17 @ 9:06 PM
Fed up - Your Question:
My son has just turned 18 and he is working , do I still have to pay Csa payments?

Our Response:
If he's left education and is working full time your payments will stop. If he's actually still in full time education (12 hours or more per week) and his job is simply a part time one, you will have to keep paying until he's completed his further education (A level standard or equivalent).
LawAndParents - 22-Dec-16 @ 1:40 PM
My son has just turned 18 and he is working , do I still have to pay Csa payments?
Fed up - 21-Dec-16 @ 8:16 PM
I pay £216 per month for my son , he is 16 and studying A levels, he also has a part time job and earns money , should i now be paying "216 per month?
tj - 14-Dec-16 @ 10:51 PM
my stepdaughter is going to go to university September 2017 she will be 18 how long does private maintenance payments need to continue? Is until 20 years?
rkb - 8-Dec-16 @ 10:34 AM
17yr old stepdaughter is attending college but only goes 3 days for a total of 10 hrs. She now also works part time possibly ona zero contract etc. When will Child support payments end as we would now like to support her direct and not her mum.
Fedup - 3-Dec-16 @ 11:11 PM
bouncy - Your Question:
My son who is now 18yrs and in full time employment as a Apprentice. He works 39.+ hours a week and is paid. do I have to continue paying csa to his mother ?

Our Response:
This depends what kind of apprenticeship he's doing. If it's "an approved" apprenticeship (backed by the government) you will need to keep paying.
LawAndParents - 29-Nov-16 @ 12:15 PM
my son who is now 18yrs and in full time employmentas a Apprentice . He works 39.+ hours a week and is paid. do i have to continue paying csa to his mother ?
bouncy - 28-Nov-16 @ 12:55 PM
Janey - Your Question:
My ex partner had worked away in Iraq since before I met him we had a daughter but I ended the relationship when she was born I tried to get csa but as he doesn't pay tax on his 13k a month job the csa don't have income down for him so he gets away with it , he had now returned to the uk to study a degree which will benefit his career further so he is still not getting income or taxed on anything but he has 250k in bank 3 properties one in the uk plus uk bank accounts also and lots more yet I don't get a penny for my daughter he says now he is in uni for 3 years and I can't touch him as he isn't earning what can I do ???

Our Response:
The CSA does not really have the power to investigate bank accounts and private dealings of individuals. A court might order that they his accounts and business/property ownership can be looked into, so it might we worth seeking legal advice.
LawAndParents - 18-Nov-16 @ 1:00 PM
My ex partner had worked away in Iraq since before I met him we had a daughter but I ended the relationship when she was born I tried to get csa but as he doesn't pay tax on his 13k a month job the csa don't have income down for him so he gets away with it , he had now returned to the uk to study a degree which will benefit his career further so he is still not getting income or taxed on anything but he has 250k in bank 3 properties one in the uk plus uk bank accounts also and lots more yet I don't get a penny for my daughter he says now he is in uni for 3 years and I can't touch him as he isn't earning what can I do ???
Janey - 17-Nov-16 @ 2:29 PM
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