Home > Ask Our Experts > Should we Still Pay Maintenance?

Should we Still Pay Maintenance?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 6 Aug 2022 | comments*Discuss
Child Maintenance Child Support Child


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 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Folks the age of an adult is not 18 it’s 20 do not get fooled by payments stopping at 16 or 18 , sometimes they will stop if the young adult decides to get off theirbutt and work, however in most cases the mother will convince the young person not to do higher education or work more than 24 hours a week. If the young person does nothing but stay at home then the mother will continue to get both child benefit and child maintenance, it’s a no brainer the money is to sweet .
Pablo - 6-Aug-22 @ 11:50 AM
My daughter is 17 nearly 18 going into her second year at college and works more than 12 hours a week in retail- do we legally have to keep paying maintenance ? We know she pays her mum board and contributes to a bill each month
Aharve - 18-Jul-22 @ 6:57 PM
My partners son left 6th form in April and is currently part time working. His ex is now saying because he does not officially leave school till July 19th we should still be paying his child maintenance. Please could you advise as so very unclear the boundaries to this.
Nimmy - 4-Jul-22 @ 6:16 PM
Hi my daughter is 18 of April this year. Just finished college and now has a full time job. When does my maintenance stop ? And if she decides in September to go to uni or college does my payments reignite ?
John - 22-Jun-22 @ 11:55 AM
Hi,my child is leaving school in July and is hoping to go into Army training. I understand that when my child passes out after training maintenance will stop but I’m unsure if the other parent still has to pay maintenance whilst said child is in training? Any advice is gratefully received
Mama bear - 10-Jun-22 @ 12:04 PM
Hi My partner currently pays maintenance for his 18 year old daughter, she will turn 19 in May, she has said she intends to do a catering course at college, but with her school attendance now being 50% we think it’s highly likely she will drop out or get kicked out by Christmas. At that point, does he need to continue to pay maintenance?
Kate6 - 21-Apr-22 @ 3:52 PM
My partner’s daughter left school after GCSE’s and got a job. She has subsequently left this role after 6 months. She is looking for employment but so far unsuccessful. Her mother is now insisting she returns to college in September this year by which time she us 17.5 years old. Does my partner have to resume maintenance payments? Unsure of what college course she will be able to study as her gcse results were not great. A levels are definitely not an option. level 1 courses maybe an option. Thank you
Hoolie - 24-Mar-22 @ 7:52 AM
Hi there My girlfriends children still live with thier dad with no access. Unfortunately the 18yr old has moved out due to unacceptable behaviour by dad. ( she is being looked after by council in a nice place) CMS seem reluctant to do anything about changing payment to dad even though she no longer lives there and it seems it’s his word against ours bizarrely. CMS are quick to get involved but as soon as it gets a bit complicated they do very little very slowly. Thank you
Dazler - 22-Mar-22 @ 11:06 AM
My daughter is leaving college in July when she will be 18 and going into full time work whilst still living with her mother and will also be studying to go into nursing , do I have to still pay child maintenance?
Hobo - 1-Mar-22 @ 5:09 PM
Hi my daughter has decided to move in with her dad. She has turned 16 & has decided to leave school. And is starting a Bernardo's apprenticeship. She will be getting payed £55 per week. Her dad thinks I should pay him maintance. At CSA levels for her. Her brother is 14 & still lives at home & their dad pays the minimum amount of CSA maintance for him. But my ex husband wants to deduct CSA for my daughter on the amount he pays for our son. I have had to go very PT as ourson has ADHD & has had to go to home schooling
Magoou - 10-Nov-21 @ 7:05 PM
My sons are not doing further education studying for a levels but one is doing catering and other doing building at college the older one turns 18 in November and is living with his girlfriends mother. Do I have to still pay maintenance even thoe he isn't living at his mums house
Matk - 13-Oct-21 @ 2:07 PM
My 18 year old as move out and moved in with his dad. My son is now doing a Btec course in sport and my ex husband is trying to claim maintenance. Do I need to pay when I was paying for my son to go college the past year when he wasn’t even going. I was paying him £50 a week but he wasn’t going college. His dad wasn’t hardly paying me anything and child maintenance was only getting it now and again. So cause my 18 year old son as moved in with his dad and now doing a sports course his dad is trying to get maintenance off me. do I need to pay maintainace
Lilly - 7-Oct-21 @ 8:24 PM
My son is 17 n decided to drop out of college, he's not working at the moment but due to start a part time job soon. Am I entitled to still get child maintenance from his dad?
Dawnie - 6-Oct-21 @ 10:12 AM
My step daughter is almost 18 but still in full time education but works part time and makes very little money, does her dad still have to pay maintenance for her ?
Anthony - 26-Sep-21 @ 8:44 PM
Hi have 3 step kids. Their real dad has never paid a penny. Now their teen agers they expect everything for doing nothing in return and are rude generally unpleasant. Their dad has not seen them for 9 years but their nan (his mum) has been. Because we discipline them and won't give them everything they want for nothing they want to live with her. Is a really long story but their nan has poisoned them against us, told lies to child services which qe've been cleared of all accusations and now they still want to leave when they're 16. Their nan live in a horrible area and my wife and I don't think they should go. Are we liable to pay CMS payments even though we won't agree to them going, we can't stop them when they're 16 but I don't see why I should pay for them when their real dad never has, where to I stand?
Blinx - 16-Sep-21 @ 9:02 PM
Two children are involved, aged 17 and 15, soon to be 18 and 16. The agreement is not through CMS, it's between the divorced parties. The 17 year old is on a college course which is apparently equivalent to A-Levels and plans to continue onto another year of this so he'll be almost 19 when completed. His mum also has had her long-term partner move into the household and he's been there for over a year now. Non-resident parent lives in Canada and would love to be able to have the children over more frequently when travel allows again, however whilst still paying maintenance this is difficult with the expense involved. Questions are - does the non-resident parent continue paying for the 18-year old who is on a full-time college diploma course? (Working part-time also) & do payments usually change when the resident parent starts co-habiting?
Complex - 13-Sep-21 @ 7:49 PM
My daughter has moved out of her mums house and into her own flat...do I still have to pay maintenance to her mother or should it go to her directly
Ally - 11-Sep-21 @ 1:19 PM
Hi my daughter is 18 in October she has completeone year of collage but dose not want to do any more she has not got a job yet . She is my last dependentchild Can I stop paying child management payments as of September (I've payed Sept ) Regards Michael
Mike - 4-Sep-21 @ 10:11 AM
My daughter is 16 and has left school, she started a full time job 31/8/2021, she has to work a month in hand, her mother is demanding I pay 1 more month maintenance to cover the month in hand and is threatening me with getting in touch with CSA over payments from many years ago, would the CSA get involved with this and do I need to cover the month in hand
Marco - 1-Sep-21 @ 7:15 PM
my daughter turned 18 in may 2021.she has finished school and has applied for a makeup course,i presume this is not further education as it is just a year long course which costs 600 euro?At the moment I pay 388 euros a month maintenance, she also has a part time job which she has been doing for the last year or so, she has been made up junior manager and earns approximately 1000 euros a month, she will continue to work while on her course, so question is ! do I still have to maintenance for her?
sharks - 1-Sep-21 @ 4:04 PM
If my step daughter has left school and is going to start army college ( where they are paid a substantial amount each week)at Harrogate does my other half still have to pay maintenance?
Anj - 12-Aug-21 @ 7:06 PM
My daughter currently spends 7 Australian with me and then her mum 50/50.I paid £300 a month maintenance and her mother reduced it to £200 per.According to the Gov U.K. website I should be paying a lot less.Our original maintenance was set as a voluntary arrangement through solicitors.I would never see my daughter go without but feel that my ex wife is taking me for granted.What are the rules for 50/50?
Big A - 9-Aug-21 @ 7:53 PM
My son is 17yrs old and attending Military Preparation Training Collage (MPTC), I understand that he does get payed for attending this ? £30-£50 per week, including holidays. My question is, do I still have to pay maintenance to my ex?
Bob - 7-Aug-21 @ 10:44 AM
My son turns 18 this month on August 24. He is a technology course doing barbering and works two days a week in a barbers salon. He earns £50 from his course plus £125 from his work experience. Do I still have to pay child maintenance? Thanks
cassa - 5-Aug-21 @ 11:31 PM
This is a strange situation I feel like WW3 has come. Have been looking for my children for 15 years. The mother of my children is from another continent & decided instead of honouring the court's verdict in shared responsibility she disappeared with them. Searching high & low I found them this year. I've been paying maintenance for 16 years. One of my daughters told be she cannot get a license due to her not being a uk citizen. Now this is news to us all, the mum sorted out her asylum however did not do it for the children. One was off to uni in sept..unfortunately this won't happen. Banned from using NHS, opticians, work & have a payroll number, travel, go to a port, obtain a passport etc. She has more in benefits than my annual net wages. My £450 a month I'm paying should be reduced as no one in their household is working.
M - 23-Jul-21 @ 4:10 PM
When does child maintenance stop. Boy 19 Girl 18 Boy 16 Boy 15
N/A - 13-Jul-21 @ 10:47 AM
I have a private arrangement with my ex wife regards money for my daughter. After her leaving uni approx 18 months and getting a job I discussed that the payments stopped .My ex wife was in agreement and payments ended .Now my daughter has quit her job due to anxietyand looking to back to college .Would any payments have to be restarted ? My daughter is 19 20 in January.
stevie connolly - 27-Jun-21 @ 3:52 PM
Due to the COVID situation and exams being marked by teachers, my son finished attending further education college in May, although officially term ends on 25th June. Should I continue to receive child maintenance payments until September or should they now stop?
Chesh - 11-Jun-21 @ 8:33 AM
Hi, my daughter turned 18 in March and has now finished school after doing A-levels and now is working, do maintenance payments stop now or in September? Many thanks
Dad - 8-Jun-21 @ 9:42 AM
My son's A Level course finishes at the endof May and he's goingaway to university later this year. I've been paying £446.34 a month to her for him since she left me for an ex milkman over 2 years ago. When can I stop paying maintenance is it at the end of may as he no longer studies 12 hours a week or in September when his child support payments end? Thanks.
The non adulterous p - 26-Apr-21 @ 4:11 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments