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Should we Still Pay Maintenance?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 28 Mar 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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[Add a Comment]
My daughter is 17, it looks like her hours are going to reduce to 7 in her traineeship which she does in college,I still have full time care of her and she is trying to find a placement or an apprenticeship, she never stays at her dads, am I still entitled to claim maintenance for her? Thanks
loubrit1 - 28-Mar-17 @ 12:35 PM
RAZ - Your Question:
My partners daughter will be 18 in August, in September she will be going to uni full time boarder. this isn't compulsory education and she has a grant. Does he still have to pay maintenance as she wont be living at home. the guide lines on this are not very clear.many thanks

Our Response:
No, unless there is a private agreement in place, child maintenance stops when further education (A level or equivalent) stops.
LawAndParents - 24-Mar-17 @ 12:18 PM
Hs - Your Question:
My 17yr old daughter is pregnant, has currently split up with the 17yr old father. He is doing an apprenticeship, does he have to pay child maintenance??

Our Response:
This depends on how much he is earning from his apprenticeship. The Child Maintenance Calculator should help.
LawAndParents - 24-Mar-17 @ 11:13 AM
My daughter finishes her college course in June when will my maintenance stop?
Ebs - 23-Mar-17 @ 5:11 PM
My partners daughter will be 18 in August, in September she will be going to uni full time boarder.this isn't compulsory education and she has a grant.Does he still have to pay maintenance as she wont be living at home. the guide lines on this are not very clear. many thanks
RAZ - 21-Mar-17 @ 2:05 PM
yammycol - Your Question:
Hi my daughter is 18 and studying for an nvq level 3, she finishes her course in June but is looking at going back to college to undertake a further nvq level 2 or 3 she will be 19 in November. My question is when does maintenance stop being paid?

Our Response:
It will stop when she finishes any course that no higher than A level standard and she is no older than 20.
LawAndParents - 21-Mar-17 @ 12:26 PM
My 17yr old daughter is pregnant, has currently split up with the 17yr old father. He is doing an apprenticeship, does he have to pay child maintenance??
Hs - 21-Mar-17 @ 8:08 AM
Hi my daughter is 18 and studying for an nvq level 3, she finishes her course in June but is looking at going back to college to undertake a further nvq level 2 or 3 she will be 19 in November. My question is when does maintenance stop being paid?
yammycol - 18-Mar-17 @ 3:46 PM
Bluechip - Your Question:
Hi my 18 year old stepdaughter has left college and gotten an apprenticeship, which includes One 8 hour day at tech. She often fails to attend college. We are wanting to stop her maintenanceBut her mother claims we have to keep paying as she still gets child tax credits. My understanding is that we can now stop paying the mother. Does anyone know please?

Our Response:
If the apprenticeship is a paid one and the mother no longer claims Child Benefit, then maintenance is no longer payable. If it's a training apprenticeship (ie. not pay) then maintenance should continue.
LawAndParents - 13-Mar-17 @ 2:25 PM
Hi my 18 year old stepdaughter has left college and gotten an apprenticeship, which includes One 8 hour day at tech. She often fails to attend college. We are wanting to stop her maintenance But her mother claims we have to keep paying as she still gets child tax credits. My understanding is that we can now stop paying the mother. Does anyone know please?
Bluechip - 10-Mar-17 @ 9:39 PM
Hi I have a daughter who is 16yrs old which has recently moved out the family home in with her boyfriend she has been living with for the last 2 months and she is enrolled in collage but is no longer attending the course do I still have to pay child support for her as she is no longer living with the primary caregiver or attending education?
Loken666 - 6-Mar-17 @ 6:18 PM
I have shared custody with my son but I have him 70-80% of the time. I have missed work due to him being sick or snow days for his daycare when they are on her scheduled days. Can I take that out of her child support payments? She just gives excuses not to pick him up from me although I still have to pay her child support
Justin - 5-Mar-17 @ 4:43 PM
jane bower - Your Question:
Hi my son is high functioning autism. He turned 18 last October and his dad stopped maintenance. He will be in and out of education untill his 24 as he struggles with life. Am I still entitled to maintenance I receive pip for him

Our Response:
Maintenance is usually only payable up to maximum age of 20 if your child is in furtehr education. Your ex should be paying for at least another couple of years. You may need to seek a private agreement via mediation - which can then be made legally enforceable in the courts.
LawAndParents - 1-Mar-17 @ 12:40 PM
Hi my son is high functioning autism. He turned 18 last October and his dad stopped maintenance. He will be in and out of education untill his 24 as he struggles with life. Am I still entitled to maintenance I receive pip for him
jane bower - 27-Feb-17 @ 8:08 PM
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
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