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At What Age Do Child Maintenance Payments Stop?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 26 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Maintenance Payments Education

Q.

Can you please tell me at what age do payments actually stop for child maintenance? My daughter has turned 16 but is looking to go to 6th form.

(R.B, 20 April 2009)

A.

If you would like to read about Child Support Payments in more detail then take a look at our Child Support Guide, where the subject is covered in more detail along with a free downloadable guide and letter templates. So maybe take a look at our Child Support Guide.

Your Basic Responsibility

Every parent has the basic responsibility to provide for their child up until the age of 16, when they are legally allowed to leave school and get a job. After this age, it depends what your child chooses to do. If they continue in full-time non-advanced education (see below for information about the new school/education leaving age rules), not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week, then your maintenance payments will continue until your child finishes or until they turn 20.

Law Change in 2013 - Leaving School/Education Age is Raised to 18!

In 2013 the law changed, making it compulsory for all UK children to continue in some kind of further education until the age of 18 (that is the end of the school year in which they turn 18). This is not necessarily a full time college course - it can be an apprenticeship or full time employment (over 20 hours a week) that includes some education or training.

There are certain higher education courses, such as apprenticeships, that do not count as full-time education, so it is important that you check with the CSA/CMS.

If your daughter changes her mind and decides that she wants to get a job and not continue in full-time education - which includes studying for 12 hours or more a week - then your payments would end in the September after her final school term. If they have officially come to an end, you may still want to continue supporting your child.

What if You Want to Continue Support?

At this stage it will be your choice about how much you pay and also in what way. You will no longer have to pay the money to your ex and may consider helping your child in other ways. Even after they have left school it is important to be supportive, both financially and emotionally, as they find their feet in the adult world.

Higher Education

If your child is planning on attending university then they can apply to the courts for maintenance from the non resident parent. The courts do have the power to extend child maintenance to cover the duration of higher education if the non resident parent has the ability to cover the costs.

The courts will consider the genuine needs of the child for support and even if student loans are available the court may still rule that the non resident parent must pay. For more information about this you should contact a family law solicitor, most offer free 20 minute consultations.

More About Child Maintenance Payments

Child maintenance payments are put in place to make sure that both parents are paying to support the upbringing of their child. This may be agreed privately between the parents, but more often is calculated by the Child Maintenance Service (formerly CSA). If you apply for any benefits, you may find that a claim is automatically made with CMS to obtain payment from the other parent.

The non-resident parent will have to pay an agreed percentage of their monthly income to the resident parent who is responsible for the everyday care of the child.

Joint Residency

If there is Joint Residency or the non-resident parent looks after the child for a number of days each week, then this will reduce the payments.

If the child stays over night with the non resident parent on average at least one night a week, this is classed as shared care. In this case maintenance can be reduced as long as the basic rate or reduced rate is being used. For each night the child stays with the non resident parent overnight the weekly maintenance amount is reduce by 1/7th.

Further Reading

For more information on child maintenance payments have a read through our articles on:

Child Support Payments
and
Working With the CSA/CMS on Support Payments.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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[Add a Comment]
Hi , my son is 18 and at full time college , I get cams money , he has a part time job and some weeks he works over 25 hours , others he doesn’t , my ex has stopped paying me on the basis he works part time but over 25 hours some weeks , is this right
Stretch - 26-Apr-18 @ 9:36 PM
JP - Your Question:
My step daughter whom is 17, has recently left college, to begin an apprenticeship, which she is getting paid for. She has a contract of employment and her wage is being paid directly into her bank account. She is not partaking in any supervised study.As far as the internet shows, her Mother is no longer entitled to child benefit - should we still be paying maintenance?For the past few weeks my husband has been trying to sort this out and get a definitive answer. CMS have said usually child benefit will stop once a paid apprenticeship begins and subsequently Maintenance will also end.My husbands ex has only just spoke to CMS about it (not sure she has reported the changes to HMRC) and now CMS story has changed and says he has to continue to pay whilst she is working/apprenticeship of less than 24 hours a week. HMRC wont give any info due to DPA (quite rightly) and now at dead end. All info online points to that our opinion is correct. Any help/adcice who would be greatly received!

Our Response:
If child benefit has definitely stopped, then child maintenance should also stop. When your child leaves approved education or training payments will stop at the end of February, 31 May, 31 August or 30 November (whichever comes first). However, an 'extension' of 20 weeks can be granted with regards to child benefit (and therefore child maintenance) if your child works less than 24 hours per week. Please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 24-Apr-18 @ 10:37 AM
My step daughter whom is 17, has recently left college, to begin an apprenticeship, which she is getting paid for. She has a contract of employment and her wage is being paid directly into her bank account. She is not partaking in any supervised study. As far as the internet shows, her Mother is no longer entitled to child benefit - should we still be paying maintenance? For the past few weeks my husband has been trying to sort this out and get a definitive answer. CMS have said usually child benefit will stop once a paid apprenticeship begins and subsequently Maintenance will also end. My husbands ex has only just spoke to CMS about it (not sure she has reported the changes to HMRC) and now CMS story has changed and says he has to continue to pay whilst she is working/apprenticeship of less than 24 hours a week. HMRC wont give any info due to DPA (quite rightly) and now at dead end. All info online points to that our opinion is correct... Any help/adcice who would be greatly received!
JP - 23-Apr-18 @ 4:23 PM
Sandra- Your Question:
My two children are both at college and hoping to start uni in September. My ex husband has stopped paying any money to support them. Is he allowed to do this ?

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether you have a family-based child maintenance arrangement or one through CMS. If your ex pays via CMS, then he will be subjected to arrears as child maintenance payments only stop when child benefit payments do. Please see link here. If you have a family-based arrangement, then you should negotiate between you. If you think your ex should still be paying, then as CMS do not take on new cases after the age of 16, you may have to apply to court.
SeparatedDads - 20-Apr-18 @ 2:43 PM
Rudolf - Your Question:
HiMy son is turning 18 in June. He has completed a 1 yr level 2 public services. He is now finishing his 1st year in level 3 public services and will finish this course next year when he will be 19. As this course is a 2yr BTEC level 3, is this considered an A-level? basically do I have to continue paying until next year?

Our Response:
You can see what counts as 'approved education' via the link here. You will have to continue to pay child maintenance alongside the eligibility of your son's resident parent to claim child benefit.
SeparatedDads - 17-Apr-18 @ 9:52 AM
Hi My son is turning 18 in June. He has completed a 1 yr level 2 public services. He is now finishing his 1st year in level 3 public services and will finish this course next year when he will be 19. As this course is a 2yr BTEC level 3, is this considered an A-level? basically do I have to continue paying until next year?
Rudolf - 16-Apr-18 @ 1:43 PM
Jim - Your Question:
Hi, My 18yr old Son started an apprentiship back in January 2017, for some reason my ex's family allowance dstayed in payment until September 2017. I only became aware of this in April 2018 due to a phone call I made to the CMA questioning my revised maintenence payments. The CMA had informed me that my payments were going up from £472 to £520 per month. I was informed that the case was closed. Turns out that I have been paying £472 pm from September 2017 - April 2018, An overpayment of £3000 +. CMS inform me that to reclaim this over payment from my ex I would have to take civil action. Could someone advise me please.

Our Response:
If CMS states that you would have to take the matter to court, then you would have to do this in order to recoup your money. Much depends upon how the overpayment occured. It may be the fault of your child's mother, or an oversight on the part of Child Benefit Office (if it continued paying child benefit and therefore by default child maintenance continued to be paid). However, if you feel your child's mother was claiming fraudulently, then she would be liable to reimburse you the money. If you feel your ex is guilty of fraud, then a solicitor's letter requesting a reimbursement of your overpayment might work in the first instance. However, if this is not successful in order to claim the money, you would have to apply to court. A court will establish fully with whom the fault lies.
SeparatedDads - 16-Apr-18 @ 11:32 AM
Hi, My 18yr old Son started an apprentiship back in January 2017, for some reason my ex's family allowance dstayed in payment until September 2017. I only became aware of this in April 2018 due to a phone call I made to the CMA questioning my revised maintenence payments. The CMA had informed me that my payments were going up from £472 to £520 per month. I was informed that the case was closed. Turns out that I have been paying £472 pm from September 2017 - April 2018, An overpayment of £3000 +. CMS inform me that to reclaim this over payment from my ex I would have to take civil action.. Could someone advise me please.
Jim - 15-Apr-18 @ 8:53 PM
Seany - Your Question:
HelloI pay my ex partner money each month directly to her bank. Our son is 17 (Born in January) years old and still at high school. I have no idea if he attends school full time, part time etc But I do know that he works more than 20+ hours per week at the rate of £7 odds an hour.Also, I have 2 children with my current partner, both very young. I have no way of knowing if child benefits have stopped or not and cannot find this out due to Data Protection. There is no contact with my ex, or son, and so I am completely in the dark with everything. On top of that, I am the only provider for myself, my partner and our 2 young kids. My ex works full time, as does her husband, and this is all starting to feel vey backwards. I have read the articles and the above posts, but my question is how does a father in the dark know when to stop paying when they basically have no information to use? My instincts are telling me to stop paying now, but I can't unitl I know it as all safe to do so.

Our Response:
If you are paying via CMS, then once CMS gets the word that child benefit eligibility has ceased (automatic when your child leaves college) then so will child maintenance cease automatically. Your son is allowed to work on a part-time basis if he is also attending college. This would be considered as his own personal money, pocket money if you like. The money you pay towards his upkeep is deemed to be towards his day-to-day care. The fact your ex works and her husband does too, has no relevance to what you pay as the non-resident parent. Your ex is entitled to work and her husband has no financial responsibility to your son. As the father, you are by law responsible to paying towards the welfare of your son. It is unadvisable to stop paying as you will then be liable for arrears. If in doubt talk directly to CMS.
SeparatedDads - 10-Apr-18 @ 9:43 AM
Barbara - Your Question:
The current situation with the CSA is totally ridiculous. My husbands ex is fraudulently claiming child benefit for stepson who is now 18. She lied to the CSA and told them he is still at college, which we know he is not. He actually works virtually full time. Ex has reported her to benefit fraud, told the CSA etc, etc. To no avail. Unless NRP can prove his claim of the child leaving full time education, which he can't due to Data Protection laws, and the ex lying. Looks he has to continue paying regardless. The system is so wrong it stinks.

Our Response:
The college would have to report that he is not attending and dismiss him from the course in order for the situation to be officially rectified.
SeparatedDads - 9-Apr-18 @ 3:10 PM
Hello I pay my ex partner money each month directly to her bank. Our son is 17 (Born in January) years old and still at high school. I have no idea if he attends school full time, part time etc But I do know that he works more than 20+ hours per week at the rate of £7 odds an hour. Also, I have 2 children with my current partner, both very young. I have no way of knowing if child benefits have stopped or not and cannot find this out due to Data Protection. There is no contact with my ex, or son, and so I am completely in the dark with everything. On top of that, I am the only provider for myself, my partner and our 2 young kids. My ex works full time, as does her husband, and this is all starting to feel vey backwards. I have read the articles and the above posts, but my question is how does a father in the dark know when to stop paying when they basically have no information to use? My instincts are telling me to stop paying now, but I can't unitl I know it as all safe to do so.
Seany - 9-Apr-18 @ 10:57 AM
The current situation with the CSA is totally ridiculous. My husbands ex is fraudulently claiming child benefit for stepson who is now 18. She lied to the CSA and told them he is still at college, which we know he is not. He actually works virtually full time. Ex has reported her to benefit fraud, told the CSA etc, etc. To no avail. Unless NRP can prove his claim of the child leaving full time education, which he can't due to Data Protection laws, and the ex lying. Looks he has to continue paying regardless. The system is so wrong it stinks.
Barbara - 7-Apr-18 @ 1:22 PM
My two children are both at college and hoping to start uni in September. My ex husband has stopped paying any money to support them. Is he allowed to do this ?
Sandra - 6-Apr-18 @ 1:06 PM
Tony - Your Question:
My son is 18, has left school, went to college but has dropped out due to anxiety. I have paid maintenance 2 months past his 18th birthday. He has been sent a letter by the college to drop out officially but he hasn't signed it as he is thinking of attending another year of college, which I don't think will happen. Do I still have to pay child maintenance whilst he is thinking about it all?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, until your son officially leaves college or is dismissed, then you would have to continue to pay. Only when eligibility to claim child benefit stops, would you be able to legally stop. Please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 3-Apr-18 @ 2:31 PM
My son is 18, has left school, went to college but has dropped out due to anxiety. I have paid maintenance 2 months past his 18th birthday.He has been sent a letter by the college to drop out officially but he hasn't signed it as he is thinking of attending another year of college, which I don't think will happen. Do I still have to pay child maintenance whilst he is thinking about it all?
Tony - 2-Apr-18 @ 10:51 PM
Hi i have a daughter who is 16 she left school last july and signed on to a college course but only turned up twice, i have only just found out that she no longer goes can you please advise me on where i stand withpayments to her mom please thank you
Sdb - 30-Mar-18 @ 7:56 PM
My son leaves school this term and is doing an apprenticeship and going college one day a week would my payments to there mother stop
Birdy - 29-Mar-18 @ 4:37 PM
Richie - Your Question:
Hi. I'm the father who's kids have now come to live with me for the last 8 weeks full time as their mother who I separated from 4 years ago has moved to Scotland. She's still expecting but obviously isn't getting my monthly maintenance payments I used to pay before when the kids stayed at hers because I was at work.What are my rights with the whole maintenance payments?

Our Response:
You would need to let CMS/CSA know if you pay through either, as you may still be liable for back pay if you do not let them know of the change in circumstances, please see link here. You can also rightfully claim child maintenance from your ex if your ex is earning and paying tax via HMRC.
SeparatedDads - 29-Mar-18 @ 3:10 PM
Tashman - Your Question:
Hi there, apologies if this is already covered. My daughter turned 18 this month. She is in her second year of A levels. She didn’t get required grades so will sit them again and claims this will last until next year. If this is the case she will be 19 and 5 months old when she finishes said A levels.Will the child benefit continue until she is leaving 6th form in 2019? If this is the case I guess my Child Maintenence Service payments will continue until the child benefit stops.?Thanks

Our Response:
Yes, child benefit would continue to be paid up until she passes her A-Levels or turns 20, whichever comes first.
SeparatedDads - 29-Mar-18 @ 2:57 PM
Malky - Your Question:
My son who is 18 leaves college in May. He wants to do an apprenticeship. Will I still have to pay child maintenance for him. Please help.

Our Response:
It is unlikely you would have to pay child maintenance if your son is earning a wage. As child maintenance falls in line with child benefit, then they would both and simultaneously, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 29-Mar-18 @ 12:48 PM
Louey - Your Question:
My stepson has just turned 18, he works 19hours a week part-time whilst doing a 1 day college course(7 hours) a week which is an advanced diploma. He is going to leave in June after his final exam. My husband currently pays £212 a month for him so will this end then as he intends to work 20+ hours a week. I have even wondered if he should have stopped a while ago.

Our Response:
Child maintenance payments stop when yoru eligibility to claim child benefit does. You can see more via the link here .
SeparatedDads - 29-Mar-18 @ 10:15 AM
My son who is 18 leaves college in May. He wants to do an apprenticeship. Will I still have to pay child maintenance for him. Please help.
Malky - 28-Mar-18 @ 10:45 PM
My stepson has just turned 18, he works 19hours a week part-time whilst doing a 1 day college course(7 hours) a week which is an advanced diploma. He is going to leave inJune after his final exam. My husband currently pays £212 a month for him so will this end then as he intends to work 20+ hours a week. I have even wondered if he should have stopped a while ago.
Louey - 28-Mar-18 @ 2:18 PM
Hi there, apologies if this is already covered. My daughter turned 18 this month. She is in her second year of A levels. She didn’t get required grades so will sit them again and claims this will last until next year. If this is the case she will be 19 and 5 months old when she finishes said A levels. Will the child benefit continue until she is leaving 6th form in 2019? If this is the case I guess my Child Maintenence Service payments will continue until the child benefit stops.? Thanks
Tashman - 27-Mar-18 @ 9:24 PM
Hi. I'm the father who's kids have now come to live with me for the last 8 weeks full time as their mother who I separated from 4 years ago has moved to Scotland. She's still expecting but obviously isn't getting my monthly maintenance payments I used to pay before when the kids stayed at hers because I was at work. What are my rights with the whole maintenance payments?
Richie - 27-Mar-18 @ 5:09 PM
Isy - Your Question:
My step son sits his A level exams beginning of June 2018. He then intends to work full time where currently has part time hours, from June 2018. He is 18. My husband pays £350 directly to his mother. Am I right to presume we no longer make payments from End of June?? His mother would not declare he is working full time to child benefits and would therefore receive child benefit until 31 Aug 2018. My step son has no intention to continue in education following his exams.

Our Response:
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). The end of the school/colelge year is generally Aug 31, in line with when child benefit payments stop.
SeparatedDads - 26-Mar-18 @ 3:01 PM
My step son sits his A level exams beginning of June 2018. He then intends to work full time where currently has part time hours, from June 2018. He is 18. My husband pays £350 directly to his mother. Am I right to presume we no longer make payments from End of June?? His mother would not declare he is working full time to child benefits and would therefore receive child benefit until 31 Aug 2018. My step son has no intention to continue in education following his exams.
Isy - 25-Mar-18 @ 9:33 PM
Sls89 - Your Question:
Hi, my step-daughter turns 18 soon. She has no contact with my partner what so ever. He currently pays maintenance by agreement straight to S-D’s mum with no CSA involvement. S-D is starting university in September. Will my partner legally be required to continue paying maintenance after her 18th birthday?Thank you

Our Response:
Child maintenance payments end when child benefit payments stop, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 22-Mar-18 @ 3:37 PM
Ram- Your Question:
Hi my child Lutyens 16 in March and is leaving school in June 2018 and attending college 3 days a week so I still need to pay child maintenance

Our Response:
As stated in the article, you would continue to pay child maintenance if your son continues in full-time non-advanced education, not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week.
SeparatedDads - 22-Mar-18 @ 3:29 PM
Hi my child Lutyens 16 in March and is leaving school in June 2018 and attending college 3 days a week so I still need to pay child maintenance
Ram - 20-Mar-18 @ 6:59 PM
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