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Should we Still Pay Maintenance?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 19 Jul 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 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
I am still paying child maintenance for my son for whom is 28 years old,a father himself, I was taken to court and ordered to pay a substantial amount approx £23000.00 which I did the agency after the court amount was paid still pursued me for the rest of the arrears they said I owed.I pay £150.00 per month back to them and a balance came in last week still saying i owe near £10000.00 what can I do are they correct in this who can i seek advice from
Richo - 17-Jul-18 @ 3:30 PM
My ex husband and i had an agreement when we divorced that he paid £40 a week for my son. He lost his job after a time and dropped payments only to resume to pay £20 . My son is now in further education and he has a disability. I am still recieving child benefit. But his father has stopped maintenance payments since beginning of june. Told our son he was to have his own bank account but i have not seen any paperwork to back this up. He never told me he was going to stop payments is this legal???
Shazza - 17-Jul-18 @ 10:02 AM
My daughter 13 has just gone to live permanently with her Dad, There is a resident order, which he always had good contact. 4 nights a fortnight and half holidays. Now she wants to live with him, without any contact with me following her being told off for hurting her brother. I also have two younger children. A change in the order was not agreed by me, but he is turning her against me. He was threatening to take me to court, but hasn't and has just done what he wants. Now I do not know what to do. I've let her go and hope she sees the grass isn't greener. But he will spoil her and of course gets time alone with her without her brothers. I get child tax credit for all three children. But not sure if I will now qualify for her? which will also mean that I loose free school meals for her and maintenance. He doesn't qualify for it as he earns too much. I'm on a low income. Will I end up having to pay him? Do I have to tell tax credits even though she should be here?
Worriedmum - 16-Jul-18 @ 11:20 PM
My step daughter lives with her mother She has just left school and she has been working in a hairdressers and in school holidays She has decided to go to college part time and has a part time Does maintenance still have to be paid
Babs - 16-Jul-18 @ 7:38 PM
Hi my partners daughter went to college then left went to work now left work and going to college again does he have to start paying her again?
Kealey Thompson - 15-Jul-18 @ 2:24 PM
My youngest daughter (16) will be residential at college mon-fri each week for 2 years. She will be at home friday night to Sunday night each week and in college holidays. Does her dad still have to pay maintenance? Plus does he have to pay half of the residential fees (£500 a month) for college which covers her food and lodgings at college? I think he should pay half the college fees plus some maintenance to cover the weekends plus college clothes and other college materials.
TJ - 9-Jul-18 @ 8:10 PM
My daughter is 16 and is starting an apprenticeship which is paid at minimum wage and one day at college per week. Should I still legally have to pay CSA payment ?
Mia - 7-Jul-18 @ 1:13 PM
When our marriage broke down 6 years ago both of my children lived with me. My ex paid me child support for both children. I had to move away due to work and my then 16 year old daughter did not want to come so moved in with her dad. Once this happened he stopped paying maintenance to me for my son who was then 13 years old. My daughter is now 18 and working. We have both since remarried. Should my ex husband be paying me any money for my now 15 year old?
Nikki - 5-Jul-18 @ 8:57 AM
Alski - Your Question:
Hi my son was always home tutored so never been to main stream school he was 16!in may and started work full time beginning of June. am I right in that I have to pay till end of August

Our Response:
As with Child Benefit, maintenance usually stops on 31 August on or after the child’s 16th birthday if they leave education or training.
LawAndParents - 2-Jul-18 @ 11:30 AM
Anon - Your Question:
My son finished his A levels last Tuesday and I was expecting a payment today but it hasn't arrived, I am in receipt of child benefit and understood both payments stopped on August 31st.

Our Response:
Yes, child maintenance should be paid until 31st August after a child has completed study at A level standard.
LawAndParents - 2-Jul-18 @ 11:26 AM
Hi my son was always home tutored so never been to main stream school he was 16!in may and started work full time beginning of June .. am I right in that I have to pay till end of August
Alski - 1-Jul-18 @ 11:09 PM
My son finished his A levels last Tuesday and I was expecting a payment today but it hasn't arrived, I am in receipt of child benefit and understood both payments stopped on August 31st..
Anon - 1-Jul-18 @ 9:48 AM
Hi, My son is 17 . He has left school and working . Do I have to pay maintenance until 31st August?
Mike - 30-Jun-18 @ 8:25 PM
My stepson who is 18 has just finished college. He is waiting for his results and doesn't yet have a job. His father last paid maintenance in May and now says hes not paying anymore. Does he need to pay until September like the child benefit or is he in his right to stop now?
Anon - 29-Jun-18 @ 8:08 PM
Nath - Your Question:
Hi,I've been paying maintenance for about 8 years. The payments have stopped due to my son (aged 17) as he quit college and got a full time job. He has now applied and got on a Btec course for September, so should I start to pay maintenance again once he start the course?Many Thanks.

Our Response:
Yes you may have to recommence payments once the BTEC course starts as long as it's not a higher level BTEC.
LawAndParents - 29-Jun-18 @ 3:28 PM
Azo- Your Question:
Hi, my daughter just finished A-level exams last week, her dad said this month is his last maintenance payment but I thought it was September when she goes to Uni, where can I find out for sure?

Our Response:
The maintenance payments should continue until 31st August.
LawAndParents - 29-Jun-18 @ 10:58 AM
Hi, my daughter just finished A-level exams last week, her dad said this month is his last maintenance payment but I thought it was September when she goes to Uni, where can I find out for sure?
Azo - 28-Jun-18 @ 7:26 PM
Hi, I've been paying maintenance for about 8 years. The payments have stopped due to my son (aged 17) as he quit college and got a full time job. He has now applied and got on a Btec course for September, so should I start to pay maintenance again once he start the course? Many Thanks.
Nath - 27-Jun-18 @ 9:35 PM
Anita - Your Question:
Hi just a quick question. My ex husband texted me this morning tell me he has cancelled my maintenance money for myself which is only £5aweek. Saying he had to as he has got huge bills to pay what can I do about this by law. As he has not long started to pay me. As I've remarried again and he said he would give e me maintenance that I should have. We have a daughter he's not long paid for her she is 13only started to pay for her when she was 12.please say he can't do this as it will not help me as over the month £20is a lot for me to loose

Our Response:
The best thing to do is to contact CM options for advice. If your ex is refusing to pay maintenance, you may have to ask CMS to take the payments on your behalf.
LawAndParents - 27-Jun-18 @ 3:07 PM
Sadie - Your Question:
My son is 18 left college and about too start a apprentaship which one day is at college out of 5.do I still pay child maintenance.

Our Response:
You do not usually have to continue payment maintenance once your child finishes further education at Alevel standard or below. If your son has finished an course such as 6 th form, payments may continue until 31st August.
LawAndParents - 27-Jun-18 @ 3:00 PM
Emma - Your Question:
Hi, I have a 15 year old daughter. I’m about to move in with my partner, will her child maintenance payments change as I’m moving in with someone else or will they stay as they are?

Our Response:
Sometimes a change in your circumstances will affect your CMS payments. The Child Maintenance Calculator should help.
LawAndParents - 27-Jun-18 @ 2:59 PM
TonyTJ - Your Question:
I don't see my ex or my child who has just turned 18, how do I know if my ex is still in receipt of child benefit? I have no way of knowing so do I have to pay till my child turns 20 to be safeMany thanks in advance for any advice

Our Response:
Do you use the CMS service? If so, they should be able to look into it for you.
LawAndParents - 27-Jun-18 @ 2:27 PM
Hi just a quick question. My ex husband texted me this morning tell me he has cancelled my maintenance money for myself which is only £5aweek. Saying he had to as he has got huge bills to pay what can I do about this by law. As he has not long started to pay me. As I've remarried again and he said he would give e me maintenance that I should have. We have a daughter he's not long paid for her she is 13only started to pay for her when she was 12.please say he can't do this as it will not help me as over the month £20is a lot for me to loose
Anita - 27-Jun-18 @ 12:00 PM
My son is 18has done the 2 years further education and due too start a apprentaship which one day is at college out of 5 .do I still pay child maintenance. If he stayed on for a further 3 years at college would I still have too pay child maintenance. Up too the age of 21.
Sadie - 27-Jun-18 @ 11:17 AM
Mini.s - Your Question:
Hi my step son is in full time employment apprenticeship. Will we still have to make payments or will they stop now he is in full time employment thank you

Our Response:
Maintenance payments will stop if the child is on an apprenticeship/in employment unless a private arrangement is in place between the parents.
LawAndParents - 27-Jun-18 @ 11:14 AM
My son is 18 left college and about too start a apprentaship which one day is at college out of 5 .do I still pay child maintenance.
Sadie - 27-Jun-18 @ 8:07 AM
Hi, I have a 15 year old daughter. I’m about to move in with my partner, will her child maintenance payments change as I’m moving in with someone else or will they stay as they are?
Emma - 27-Jun-18 @ 12:00 AM
I don't see my ex or my child who has just turned 18, how do I know if my ex is still in receipt of child benefit? I have no way of knowing so do I have to pay till my child turns 20 to be safe Many thanks in advance for any advice
TonyTJ - 26-Jun-18 @ 6:05 PM
Hi my step son is in full time employment apprenticeship. Will we still have to make payments or will they stop now he is in full time employment thank you
Mini.s - 26-Jun-18 @ 12:34 PM
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