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Should we Still Pay Maintenance?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 25 May 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]
Hi my son is about to leave school after his exams he is 16 years old. He is starting a part time college course and also working 2.5 days per week. He is also moving in with his girlfriends parents. Do I still need to continue paying maintainance payments for him ?
Julian - 25-May-17 @ 8:29 AM
Hi I have a son who turns 18 in October he is doin exams the now and no back to school till June but he also has a part time job of 15 hrs a week do I still need to pay maintenance many thanks
Dunk - 21-May-17 @ 9:48 AM
na - Your Question:
My son is 17 and does drama at college 3 days a week and still lives with his mum do I still need to pay maintenance ?

Our Response:
Yes if he's studying for 12 hours per week or more and the course is at A level or equivalent standard you will need to continue with maintenance payments.
LawAndParents - 17-May-17 @ 12:51 PM
my son is 17 and does drama at college 3 days a week and still lives with his mum do i still need to pay maintenance ?
na - 16-May-17 @ 3:23 PM
Leesy - Your Question:
Hi I've my son is now 16 and is going to start an apprenticeship in September. I have told my ex that payments will stop when he starts his apprenticeship, but she continues to make threats. Has she got any grounds to do so? Also I was paying naintence for a child that after a DNA test turned out not to be mine (this totalled £3000) and I have never seen a penny back, which further compounds my anger.

Our Response:
If it's a paid apprenticeship you will not need to continue payments under normal CMS rules, but if you have a private arrangement in place obviously that will be different. If the apprenticeship is unpaid/government backed, then maintenance payments should continue.
LawAndParents - 9-May-17 @ 10:17 AM
Hi I've my son is now 16 and is going to start an apprenticeship in September. I have told my ex that payments will stop when he starts his apprenticeship, but she continues to make threats. Has she got any grounds to do so? Also I was paying naintence for a child that after a DNA test turned out not to be mine (this totalled £3000) and I have never seen a penny back, which further compounds my anger.
Leesy - 7-May-17 @ 12:22 PM
Hi if my 17 year old son claims PIP do I still have to pay maintenance even if he is in college?
MR - 3-May-17 @ 7:06 PM
Pop1- Your Question:
I pay Cms and have always paid for my 17 yr old daughter (18 end of May) who is at college part time but working also. Do the payments need to continue if she is working and part time college ? Or do they change because she is working ? My assessment seems to be done on her being in full time education. Thanks.

Our Response:
While she is still in full time education up to A level standard or equivalent maintenance is still payable despite her part time job.
LawAndParents - 28-Apr-17 @ 11:05 AM
Hi my son who I pay maintenance for is 16 (17 in june) started college last September, he started a temporary job over the Easter holidays and has been took on full-time so he's left college (which I'm not happy about) to work 5 days a week, down to the point, do I still have to pay my weekly csa?
MjjjC - 27-Apr-17 @ 9:58 PM
I pay Cms and have always paid for my 17 yr old daughter (18 end of May) who is at college part time but working also . Do the payments need to continue if she is working and part time college ? Or do they change because she is working ? My assessment seems to be done on her being in full time education . Thanks .
Pop1 - 27-Apr-17 @ 8:20 AM
Hi my son is turning 17 he has left school to go to work mon-fri and getting a good wage but he has to go to collage 1 day a week for 8 hours , do I still have to pay maintenance for him Thanks
Bri96 - 24-Apr-17 @ 11:30 AM
Morselover - Your Question:
My stepdaughter is 17 and will start working full time next month. She is about to complete a college course which was three days a week. A local company paying her over the summer and are then offering a paid apprenticeship with a one day release in September. Do we :-a) need to continue to pay any maintenance b) need to inform anyone that we are ceasing paymentsc) need to continue paying until September, or can we stop in the month she starts earning?Thank you. I thought it was simple but some things seem contradictory.e.g. Whether mum will continue claiming child benefit. The answer is.we don't know. And money stopping in September or when she starts work?

Our Response:
Yes if the mother is no longer in receipt of Child Benefit you should carry on paying maintenance. If not and it's a non-foundation paid apprenticeship, maintenance payments can stop.
LawAndParents - 19-Apr-17 @ 2:16 PM
My stepdaughter is 17 and will start working full time next month. She is about to complete a college course which was three days a week. A local company paying her over the summer and are then offering a paid apprenticeship with a one day release in September. Do we :- a) need to continue to pay any maintenance b) need to inform anyone that we are ceasing payments c) need to continue paying until September, or can we stop in the month she starts earning? Thank you. I thought it was simple but some things seem contradictory....e.g. Whether mum will continue claiming child benefit. The answer is ...we don't know. And money stopping in September or when she starts work?
Morselover - 17-Apr-17 @ 12:22 PM
Reg - Your Question:
Hi I am paying maintainanceI know that it stops where children reach no schooling age But what if mother has come into a substantial inheritance that make her financially secure Plus is still claiming child tax credits

Our Response:
You should pay the maintenance regardless of your ex's income if you are not the parent with main residence.
LawAndParents - 12-Apr-17 @ 12:32 PM
Hi I am paying maintainance I know that it stops where children reach no schooling age But what if mother has come into a substantial inheritance that make her financially secure Plus is still claiming child tax credits
Reg - 11-Apr-17 @ 9:11 AM
Big jeff - Your Question:
Hi.I'm taking my 2 kids on holiday abroad for 2 weeks.do I still have to pay maintenance for them 2weeks as they will be with me and NOT at home with their mam.thanks

Our Response:
Yes, maintenance is paid to cover on going costs related to the children for the parent with majority residence. It's worked out as an average, not just for specific periods.
LawAndParents - 31-Mar-17 @ 11:31 AM
Hi.I'm taking my 2 kids on holiday abroad for 2 weeks.do I still have to pay maintenance for them 2weeks as they will be with me and NOTat home with their mam.thanks
Big jeff - 30-Mar-17 @ 11:43 AM
loubrit1 - Your Question:
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

Our Response:
Is she doing any other training or education?
LawAndParents - 29-Mar-17 @ 2:32 PM
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
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