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Should we Still Pay Maintenance?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 25 Sep 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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Hi.my son is 17 at the moment and will be 18 in december. He currently attends an automotive level 2 college course for 9 hrs a week and is attending a 3 hours a week english GCSE resit course.he has just started part time work at a local store where he works 16 hrs a week earning close to £500 a month. My partner and Icurrently pay £223a month in maintenance and was wondering where we stand legally in stopping these regular monthly payments as he is now earning his own money. Any advice would be grateful.. Thanks kev
Kev - 25-Sep-17 @ 8:21 PM
I am currently paying aliment to my ex wife for my daughter (20) who has just started university, my daughter works part time earning £200 pm approx, should I now be paying my daughter direct and if so what amount?(same as I paid my ex) We have a minute of agreement but it's not specific on this matter. Scots Law Kind regards Darren
Dazsteele - 25-Sep-17 @ 3:24 PM
I have three children living who moved to Portugal with their mother in 2002/2003. The oldest child is 24 years old, 25 in January and allegedly taking a University course in Physiotherapy albeit I have not been furnished with the start and end dates of this course. The middle daughter is 23 years old and is now living in the UK and I have recently found out she is in the taking a hairdressing apprenticeship at a top hair salon in London. The youngest who is 22 is allegedly in secondary education in Portugal, (dont ask) and lives with her boyfriend. About 3 years ago my ex obtained an attachment to earnings order and I pay £830 per month. The district judge stated that I pay until they obtain their first degree is this right and what are my next steps.My Ex still lives in Portugal
Ribs - 25-Sep-17 @ 1:56 PM
my daughter is going to be 18 in April She is at 6th and will finish in May She is going to apply for uni She may have to do an additional access course I currently pay her mother on a monthly basis by mutual consent. what happens after her birthday or in May 2018
cc - 25-Sep-17 @ 9:26 AM
Tiger - Your Question:
My stepson is 17 years old, he has just left his A Level course to take up an apprenticeship, he will be attending college 1 day a week. We have an informal weekly payment set up with my husbands ex, we were aware this was to continue until he was 19, does this change now he has started an apprenticeship?

Our Response:
This depends on whether the apprenticeship is paid or not.
LawAndParents - 18-Sep-17 @ 2:01 PM
My stepson is 17 years old, he has just left his A Level course to take up an apprenticeship, he will be attending college 1 day a week. We have an informal weekly payment set up with my husbands ex, we were aware this was to continue until he was 19, does this change now he has started an apprenticeship?
Tiger - 16-Sep-17 @ 4:34 PM
AP - Your Question:
I've had an informal arrangement (non-CSA) with my ex for years. My daughter is 17 now, and has moved out of her mum's house to live with her boyfriend, but is going to college approx 20 hrs per week. I've stopped paying maintenance direct to her mum, and now happy to pay my daughter money direct. Am I right in thinking it's up to her mum and I to informally agree what we think we should contribute to help her live, or is it still a minimum amount in the same way that I was required to pay a calculated amount of maintenance when she still lived at home,so more of a moral rather than legal obligation as her mum is asking me to pay more and more as weeks go by?

Our Response:
If your child is no longer living at home you do not need to pay maintenance to her mother and can choose to pay your daughter directly.
LawAndParents - 15-Sep-17 @ 11:28 AM
I've had an informal arrangement (non-CSA) with my ex for years. My daughter is 17 now, and has moved out of her mum's house to live with her boyfriend, but is going to college approx 20 hrs per week. I've stopped paying maintenance direct to her mum, and now happy to pay my daughter money direct. Am I right in thinking it's up to her mum and I to informally agree what we think we should contribute to help her live, or is it still a minimum amount in the same way that I was required to pay a calculated amount of maintenance when she still lived at home,so more of a moral rather than legal obligation as her mum is asking me to pay more and more as weeks go by?
AP - 12-Sep-17 @ 7:13 PM
Tink - Your Question:
My 17 year old step daughter is in 6th form studying hairdressing level 2, she goes to 6th form 2 days a week but has to be in a placement in a salon 3 days a week, to which she is, and is getting paid for it. Should we still be paying maintenance? Her mother messaged saying she will be staying in 6th form until she is 19 (her bday falls at the end of the school achedmic year) to study level 3 and that we have to pay until then, is this true? Thanks ??

Our Response:
If she is studying on a course (studying 12 hours or more per week) and is not on an actual apprenticeship then yes you continue paying. Here's the government information
LawAndParents - 12-Sep-17 @ 2:36 PM
Stooksy - Your Question:
My 19yr old daughter starts uni 25/9/17.She currently lives with her mum and I pay maintenance monthly. Will I have to continue paying her mum these payments or canni pay them directly into my girls bank account as she will need all the financial help she can get none of which will cone from her mum. I have also paid upfront payments of £750 rent and spent at least £200 on items for her flat, can I take this into account? against maintenance payments?

Our Response:
Unless you have a private maintenance agreement, you do not have to continue with the payments once your daughter starts university. She will however, be very grateful for anything you can give her directly.
LawAndParents - 12-Sep-17 @ 11:28 AM
My 17 year old step daughter is in 6th form studying hairdressing level 2, she goes to 6th form 2 days a week but has to be in a placement in a salon 3 days a week, to which she is, and is getting paid for it.Should we still be paying maintenance? Her mother messaged saying she will be staying in 6th form until she is 19 (her bday falls at the end of the school achedmic year) to study level 3 and that we have to pay until then, is this true? Thanks ??
Tink - 11-Sep-17 @ 8:56 PM
My 19yr old daughter starts uni 25/9/17.She currently lives with her mum and i pay maintenance monthly. Will i have to continue paying her mum these payments or canni pay them directly into my girls bank account as she will need all the financial help she can get none of which will cone from her mum. I have also paid upfront payments of £750 rent and spent at least £200 on items for her flat, can i take this into account? against maintenance payments?
Stooksy - 10-Sep-17 @ 7:55 PM
jonny - Your Question:
Hi my daughter is 16 in July 2018 and leaves school in 2018 she says by law she has to carry on in full time education upto the age of 18 and cant just l;eave school, and I have to keep paying for child maintenance - is this correct or can I stop paying when she is 16

Our Response:
That's correct, the law at the moment states that while you can leave school on the last Friday in June if you’ll be 16 by the end of the summer holidays, you must then do one of the following until you’re 18:
-stay in full-time education, for example at a college
-start an apprenticeship or traineeship
-spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training
You should continue paying maintenance while your daughter is still in education for more than 12 hours per week up to A level or equivalent standard.
LawAndParents - 8-Sep-17 @ 12:21 PM
BLM73 - Your Question:
My 17 yr old son left school and started work full time with a family member at which point my payments reduced. He has now decided that he wants to retake some GCSE's at college whilst working part time. My ex wife has told me that I now need to increase the payments back to what they were. Is this correct??

Our Response:
If he is in education of more than 12 hours per week at A level or equivalent then maintenance should be paid.
LawAndParents - 7-Sep-17 @ 2:47 PM
hi my daughter is 16 in July 2018 and leaves school in 2018 she says by law she hasto carry on in full time education upto the age of 18 and cant just l;eave school, and i have to keep paying for child maintenance - is this correct or can i stop paying when she is 16
jonny - 7-Sep-17 @ 1:51 PM
Brown - Your Question:
My daughter was 18 in July 17 I have paid direct maintenance mutually agreed since she was 10. Do I still need to pay ? She attends college but I am not sure on how many hours per week?

Our Response:
You need to find out what she's doing at college and how many hours. If her course is no higher than A level or equivalent (e.g BTECH or NVQ), then you can be asked to continue maintenance payments up until the maximum age of 20.
LawAndParents - 6-Sep-17 @ 12:52 PM
My 17 yr old son left school and started work full time with a family member at which point my payments reduced. He has now decided that he wants to retake some GCSE's at college whilst working part time. My ex wife has told me that I now need to increase the payments back to what they were. Is this correct??
BLM73 - 6-Sep-17 @ 12:03 PM
jamo - Your Question:
My son is 16 and in college for 25 hours per week and working 21 hours a week, I have an agreement with the mother of my child through the csa, do I still need to pay on the info I have given, I do not think my son is doing his a levels,thanks

Our Response:
If your son is in college for more than 12 hours and is studying at A level or equivalent (eg NVQs, BTECs) then yes you must continue to pay maintenance. If he's doing an apprenticeship and being paid, you may not have to pay. You will need to find out more details of what he's up to before disputing it really.
LawAndParents - 6-Sep-17 @ 11:36 AM
Big Mac - Your Question:
HiI have two children with my ex. One 15 who still lives with his mother and one who is almost 17 who has recently moved out of his mothers house to live at his Grandparents. I offered to pay her half of what I was paying when they were both living with her, and half to the grandparents. She says legally I have to pay her for my 15 year old as a separate issue now, and payments for our 17 year old be worked out between us and the grandparents. I have searched the internet high and low for the answer, but am still no closer to finding an answer. Any idea ?

Our Response:
There is nothing that specific documented relating to child maintenance payments. It's up to you to agree what's reasonable. If your 17 year old is still at school/education then your proposal seems reasonable to us. If you can't agree, you may have to get the CMS involved.
LawAndParents - 5-Sep-17 @ 1:00 PM
Betty - Your Question:
My husband has always paid maintenance for he's daughter. She is now 18 and doing a btech at college but also works nearly full time earning nearly a full wage. Should we still be paying Child maintenance?

Our Response:
Is Child Benefit still being claimed for his daughter? This is usually a good way to tell whether maintenance is still payable. In general, full time education is classed as 12 hours or more (and at the age of 18 must be no higher than A level standard).
LawAndParents - 5-Sep-17 @ 11:09 AM
Liz76 - Your Question:
Hi advice plz My step daughter left 6th form after doing Alevels at 18 and went to college to redo a level 3 education course. She will be 20 in October my partner was told although she has redone level 3 education course he still needs to pay as her mom still gets child benefit for her. Csa won't check that she as already done a level 3 course ? My partner told to pay till September is this right ? Thanks

Our Response:
Child maintenance payments can continue up to age 20 if the child is in full-time education up to A-level or equivalent such as a level 3 NVQ. From what you've said, maintenance would have been payable until 31st August. Child Benefitstops when a child leaves approved education or training -payments will stop at the end of February, 31 May, 31 August or 30 November (whichever comes first).
LawAndParents - 5-Sep-17 @ 10:07 AM
my son is 16 and in college for 25 hours per week and working 21 hours a week, i have an agreement with the mother of my child through the csa, do i still need to pay on the info i have given, i do not think my son is doing his a levels, thanks
jamo - 4-Sep-17 @ 12:29 PM
Tel- Your Question:
My daughter is 18 and not going back to college,She is looking for a job do I still have to pay csa

Our Response:
If she is no longer in full time education (of 12 hours or more)then you will not need to continue with maintenance payments.
LawAndParents - 4-Sep-17 @ 10:47 AM
Hi I have two children with my ex. One 15 who still lives with his mother and one who is almost 17 who has recently moved out of his mothers house to live at his Grandparents. I offered to pay her half of what I was paying when they were both living with her, and half to the grandparents. She says legally I have to pay her for my 15 year old as a separate issue now, and payments for our 17 year old be worked out between us and the grandparents. I have searched the internet high and low for the answer, but am still no closer to finding an answer. Any idea ?
Big Mac - 4-Sep-17 @ 12:48 AM
My husband has always paid maintenance for he's daughter.She is now 18 and doing a btech at college but also works nearly full time earning nearly a full wage.Should we still be paying Child maintenance?
Betty - 2-Sep-17 @ 6:39 PM
Hi advice plz My step daughter left 6th form after doing Alevels at 18 and went to college to redo a level 3 education course. She will be 20 in October my partner was told although she has redone level 3 education course he still needs to pay as her mom still gets child benefit for her. Csa won't check that she as already done a level 3 course ? My partner told to pay till September is this right ? Thanks
Liz76 - 2-Sep-17 @ 8:20 AM
My stepdaughter is 17 and going to college. She is currently sleeping 6 days per week at her boyfriends and her mum is not giving her money for clothes and she very rarely sees any of the money we pay her mum. Can we pay my stepdaughter direct or can we keep some of it back toï pay her boyfriends mum some of it for food
root - 29-Aug-17 @ 8:22 PM
My daughter is 18 and not going back to college,She is looking for a job do I still have to pay csa
Tel - 28-Aug-17 @ 6:57 PM
My daughter was 18 in July 17 I have paid direct maintenance mutually agreed since she was 10. Do I still need to pay ? She attends college but I am not sure on how many hours per week? Please can I have a reply to my email?
Brown - 27-Aug-17 @ 12:41 PM
Sven01 - Your Question:
My son left school at 16 and started college then had issues (mainly medical) and left in the November. Child maintenance was stoppped at around that point. He is returning to college this month and I'm wondering whether maintenance has to restart. My son is 18 in April 2018. Thanks

Our Response:
If your son is studying at A level standard or equivalent and under 19 then maintenance should still be payable.
LawAndParents - 22-Aug-17 @ 11:49 AM
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