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Should we Still Pay Maintenance?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 22 Jun 2024 | 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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EVANS - 14-May-24 @ 2:01 AM
How does my partner find out if his son is still in full time education? His son will be 17 in October. He has been paying a lot of money each month for years. Thanks
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Marie Bobby - 24-Mar-24 @ 9:03 AM
Hi,my daughter is I'm still studying but working as well so my question is do I still keep paying Child maitenance,it has been very hard path for us all mostly because of nature of my daughters mother. Anyway so my question is do I still pay? How do I find out if she is in full time education as I have been said my ex doesn't need to prove anything and they will take her word for it which totally redicilous.
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oliviastephen02 - 29-Jan-24 @ 8:46 AM
If my 17 yr old is in college and now has a baby of there own do I still have to pay maintenance for him?
KL - 20-Jan-24 @ 8:10 PM
My son is be coming 18years old. He is at highschool.He has a job in McDonald and works at least 3 shifts a week. . I’m strugglingto paying his support.I asked her about . I can'ta afford anymore. I ask her she said. “we need it as we are paying mortgage at the moment”. They lied tome about seeing my kids 16 years ago I'm not signedagreement I'm not allowed to see my kidsagain saidmy exShe is marriage now I should do?
Baris - 6-Jan-24 @ 6:24 PM
Hello. I paid private arrangement for daughter, 16/17 while I worked abroad.She was unhappy at her mums/ stepdads who are in next village.She asked and I agreed for her to move home, with her boyfriend and I ceased maintenance , £900/month, and instead paid all her expenses while she lived in our comfortable home.This arrangement was Aug - Oct when we returned home, she spent a few weeks with her mum, but every weekend at our home.My ex has raised a CMS claim for arrears.£1570, 5 weeks worth I have dispute the case in writing but I think the decision will be based on what CMS define as primary carer.I pay for her mediacla cover, mu and I are both contacted for school issues , we were 50/50 share before I moved abroad.I calculate , based on arrears calc, I could be due to pay about £600 based on a new mandatory recalculation £294/week. I have offered to pay £900. So question is, what defines primary care in this situation? She was living in my home, I was paying directly to my daughter?
Happydad - 17-Dec-23 @ 10:32 AM
My son is 18years old. He is at college and then to uni. He has a job in pub and works at least 3 shifts a week. (He’s more mine than all of us) his mum and new husband have moved into a new house but still not sold his. I’m begrudgingly paying his support as he’s hardly home and her reply to me was “we need it as we are paying two mortgages at the moment” ??. They moved away from his college and job so when he works 2-3 nights a week he stays at my mums. This is random nights as he doesn’t know his shift till the weekend. It just gets to me that I am paying one of her mortgages. I’d sooner give the money to my son. Never missed a payment in 17 years.
Grash - 15-Dec-23 @ 9:53 AM
In 2009 my daughter was born. Her mother (my ex) is quite the piece of work, she excluded me from the very start. She ended our relationship whilst she was pregnant and told me never to contact her, when I did attempt to maintain contact she used to go mad and threaten to call the police and all sorts. I found out in 2009 when my daughter was born from a friend who found out on facebook. I then attempted contact as I wanted to be a father to my daughter. I had to initiate contact through a solicitor, at first by mediation which she refused to attend stating that 'it was too early for me to have any contact with my daughter as she was a newborn'. So I initiated court proceedings. Not long later I had some guys cornering me on the street threatening me and they seemed to know about me taking my ex to court. Although I can't prove it was her who got them onto me I can't see how else? I was mentally and emotionally battered and at this point scared too, so I cancelledcourt proceedings. Seven months later I managed to get my ex to let me have contact with my daughter (all arranged between ourselves and not through court or solicitors) I gave her £100 in cash which was completely off the record, and I told her that I would like to arrange regular payment and access etc... I also told her that I wanted my name on my daughters birth certificate, which she went completely mad at the situation and refused to have me added to it, as she stated that would give me parental responsibility and rights. I got to see my daughter once more after this and then my ex refused to let me have anymore contact. I kept trying to arrange more visits and I made several different offers of child maintenance that were more than what she would have received if we had used cms and I would have paid her direct, but she refused all of them. I asked her at this point if she actually wanted me to be involved in our daughters life, to which she replied this.... 'if you're only prepared to pay for her on your terms then no' At this point I made the only choice that I could make for my daughter which was to not be there for her as it would give her the most stable upbringing without me in the picture, as my ex would constantly do whatever she could to alienate me entirely. My concern is now that my estranged daughter is going to be 16 in about 18 months, will my ex be able to take me to court to chase 16 years of missed maintenance off me? (bearing in mind that no formal maintenance plan was ever agreed to between ourselves as she rejected all of my offers) I worry because this is the sort of despicable act she would attempt as she is financially driven and I think that to her our daughter is a financial opportunity. She never wanted me to have access to my daughter but at the same time I bet that she would still have liked maintenance too, but she refused my offers because she did not want to give me any access rights. So could she now pull this by contacting me and requ
Discardedfather - 13-Dec-23 @ 7:53 PM
Hello. I paid private arrangement for daughter, 16/17 while I worked abroad.She was unhappy at her mums/ stepdads who are in next village.She asked and I agreed for her to move home, with her boyfriend and I ceased maintenance , £900/month, and instead paid all her expenses while she lived in our comfortable home.This arrangement was Aug - Oct when we returned home, she spent a few weeks with her mum, but every weekend at our home.My ex has raised a CMS claim for arrears.£1570, 5 weeks worth I have dispute the case in writing but I think the decision will be based on what CMS define as primary carer.I pay for her mediacla cover, mu and I are both contacted for school issues , we were 50/50 share before I moved abroad.I calculate , based on arrears calc, I could be due to pay about £600 based on a new mandatory recalculation £294/week. I have offered to pay £900. So question is, what defines primary care in this situation? She was living in my home, I was paying directly to my daughter?
Happydad - 12-Dec-23 @ 12:13 AM
my daughter is 17 and does a couple of days at college but also works full time and earns over £600 a month do i have to still pay maintenance ?
Artificial Ignorance - 9-Dec-23 @ 4:24 PM
Hi, I’ve been paying child support for my children for the past 8 years. My oldest child is now 19 and my second child is 17. Both of them were supposed to be home schooled. They are both working and neither is attending any form of formal education. Their mother is claiming that payment is to be made until they reach the age of 20 as they are both in ‘further education’. Is the onus the mother to prove they are still undertaking further education or on myself to prove they are not? A more difficult situation I appreciate as they have been home schooled hence the reason for my seeking advice. Thanks in advance
Albert - 25-Nov-23 @ 7:52 AM
My partner is still paying maintenance for his daughter is now 17 and at college however she is now pregnant therefore when she has had the baby does he still need to pay CSA? She does plan to go back to college once baby is born
Na - 14-Nov-23 @ 7:40 PM
my son has moved out and my ex has stopped his cms payments can he do this
vic - 14-Oct-23 @ 4:13 PM
My ex wife cancelled closed the cms file for maintenance 3 years ago,stating that she didn't want my money. Suddenly she's reopened it. My daughter is 16 in November and hasn't attended school for 4 years. She won't be attending higher education. So my question is,what is the point?
Steviec - 6-Oct-23 @ 5:55 PM
My son turned 18 in march and was attending collage, now he's got a part time job working eight hours a day four days a week and he starts university in september do i still have to pay maintenance for him because i recently found out that now he's working he's being charged board by his mother. I also have a daughter that has just left high school and going in to sixth form which i understand i still have to pay for her. Me and their mother used to go through csa before it changed and we both agreed on the set monthly payments would keep going.
Nate - 16-Aug-23 @ 10:01 PM
Ok soo looking for advice I’m the paying parent and not paying is an issue I have always paid my way I’m a military personnel my annual review has just come in and gone up by £100 there in my eyes is a few things that are not being taken into consideration and need advice if this will actually change in what’s happening 1. My taxable income I was assessed on my earnings for last year which was more than my annual salary due to me being overseas my annual income is £36,000 but was £40,000 last year 2. My child is actually in boarding school (full time) so my ex doesn’t have him mon-fri and some weekends herself 3. And final one is every year it magically appears that I’m in arrears this year was £400 this happens every year the amount varies and every year I get my bank statements send them of like where is this coming from I pay on time the set amount every month and this always happens 4. I can’t physically have my son like most civilian fathers due to work and going away like does this get taken into consideration 5.I have debts I need paying that along with cost of living a Jump by £100 a month is ridiculous It’s getting to the point it feels like the system is against me doesn’t matter what I do and becoming a joke I can’t win
Gareth Hughes - 1-Aug-23 @ 6:47 AM
My son is 19 next month and my case was closedin February this year . I have as of today been told that a new case has been applied for and now I will have to start paying child maintenance again for the next two years . Is this allowed ?
Duncan - 24-Jul-23 @ 4:32 PM
My son has been looking after his daughterbecause her mum broke her foot even though he is feeding and doing everything for his child at my house dose he still have to pay my grandaughters mother maintenanceevery week that he has his daughter.
Bren - 22-Jun-23 @ 4:37 PM
My son has been looking after his daughterbecause her mum broke her foot even though he is feeding and doing everything for his child at my house dose he still have to pay my grandaughters mother maintenanceevery week that he has his daughter
Bren - 22-Jun-23 @ 4:36 PM
Hi my daughter has just finished a college course which she has been doing from home and not attending college at all not sure what she is studying as it's all top secret from her mother what exactly she is doing and how many hours but just been informed she has finished course and has to enroll again in September do I still continue payments on csa
Andy - 15-Jun-23 @ 12:00 PM
My Ex has lived in my house we’re I’ve paid the Mortgage for the last 24yrs. Since I moved out in 2009 and through mediation the house is up for sale . It’s not in the court order but she’s still perusing me for Child Maintance ? But the CMA have never persuade myself for what I don’t own . I’ve always given reason why and yet my ex wife still thinks she is entitled to money I didn’t have which I gave evidence to the CMA . What can I do ?
Sinbad - 6-Jun-23 @ 8:47 AM
Are you searching for real spell caster to get your ex back? I highly recommend this real spell caster to anyone in need of help getting their ex lover back". My husband left me and moved to California to be with another woman. I felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. I tried to be strong just for the kids but I could not control the pains that tormented my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because I was really in love with my husband. I have tried many options but he did not come back, until i met a friend that darted me to Dr.Excellent a spell caster, who helped me to bring back my husband after 11hours. Me and my husband are living happily together today, This man is powerful , you can contact him now. I will advice anyone that have marriage or relationship problem to contact Dr Excellent now he's the solution to all you problems. Here his contact. WhatsApp him at: +2348084273514 Or email him at: Excellentspellcaster@gmail. com
oliviastephen02 - 18-May-23 @ 10:04 AM
My daughter is 18 in May this year she was on a college course that started back in September and finished 1/2 way through January of this year doing 5 hours at college and 2 days voluntary work which meant it was qualifying course of full time education I have been paying maintenance but should I pay as she is doing nothing no job and no college can I stop maintenance?
Charlie - 28-Mar-23 @ 11:32 AM
My daughter is 18 and left 6th fork last august My ex has told me I still need to pay for her as she has took out a 6month extension saying she might go back to college I have notified cms and told them all this and explained that she is now also working in primark and not planning on going back to any sort of education To which they havnt replied So I stopped my payments and now I have a letter saying I have to pay and now on top there charging me 20% to collect ect This is wrong I’ve never missed a payment for her since the break And now I’m being told I still have to pay and being charged Heads battered with it all
Antonance - 24-Mar-23 @ 6:17 AM
My step daughter and step son have both had babies in the last month! One is 17 18 later this year and the other is 18 19 later this year. Now that they have become parents themselves does my husband still have to pay for them?
LMW - 22-Mar-23 @ 9:41 PM
Replying to dolly123. You muppet!!
Muppet - 19-Mar-23 @ 2:46 PM
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