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At What Age Do Child Maintenance Payments Stop?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 23 Feb 2017 | 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.

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[Add a Comment]
I want to find out about the legality of a father on the child. Where my ex did not inform me before omitting my name as a father from my son's BC as i trusted her then to do the right thing but when we separated in 2007 and checked the BC i realised that my name was not there as a father, and i have sent series of email since 2007 till date without change. I approached the birth registrar and i was told that she's the only one that has the right to change it. What is the way forward.
Moto - 23-Feb-17 @ 3:42 PM
Jojo - Your Question:
I have been separated for 2 years and want to apply for a divorce. I've heard my husband has been made redundant. Can I apply to claim any of this? He gives me £200 a month for 2 of my children as other 2 are 19 and 21.

Our Response:
If you are already separated your husband can argue the redundancy package is not considered a marital asset, as he was made redundant after you had separated. Plus, it is 'his' compensation for the loss of 'his' employment. If you feel this is something you want to pursue through the courts, you would have to take legal advice.
SeparatedDads - 22-Feb-17 @ 12:03 PM
The following is my question:- My son and my daughter-in-law were divorced in the year 2001 and the custody of my grandson was given to my son by his wife at the time of divorce. Then my son died in an accident in the year 2002. As such, I am de facto guardian of my grandson. Now my grandson has attained the age of 16 and for his higher . I would like to claimfrom his mother who is earning handsome amount apex. Monthly 35000/-. I am retired govt. officer and maintain my household andexpenditure of my grandson from my pension. Can my grandson claimfor his higherfrom his mother who is non resident parent and still unmarried living with her mother (EDITED VERSION) Pankaj - 21-Feb-17 @ 11:57 AM And your Response:- Our Response: If you are living in the UK, you can apply for from your grandson's mother. You can either contact her directly and ask that you agree a family-based arrangement. If she refuses, then you can apply via the CMS. Please see link here. SeparatedDads - 21-Feb-17 @ 2:37 PM Thank you very much for your immediate response but I would like to submit that I am living not in UK but in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. What is my legal position under the present Indian Laws governing the from non resident parent. (Edited Version)
Pankaj - 22-Feb-17 @ 12:53 AM
(Our Response: If you are living in the UK, you can apply for child maintenance from your grandson's mother. You can either contact her directly and ask that you agree a family-based arrangement. If she refuses, then you can apply via the CMS. Please see link here. Separated Dads - 21-Feb-17 @ 2:37 PM) Above-mentioned is your response to my following question/query :_ (Pankaj - Your Question: My son and my daughter-in-law were divorced in the year 2001 and the custody of my grandson was given to my son by his wife at the time of divorce. Then my son died in an accident in the year 2002. As such, I am de facto guarding of my grandson. Now my grandson has attained the age of 16 and for his higher I would like to claim from his mother who is earning handsome amount apex. Monthly 35000/-. I am retired govt. officer and maintain my household and of my grandson from my pension. Can my grandson claim from his mother for his?) Thank you very much for your immediate response but I would like to submit that I am living not in UK but in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. What is my legal position under the present Indian Laws governing the child maintenance from non resident parent.
Pankaj - 22-Feb-17 @ 12:42 AM
I have been separated for 2 years and want to apply for a divorce. I've heard my husband has been made redundant. Can I apply to claim any of this? He gives me £200 a month for 2 of my children as other 2 are 19 and 21.
Jojo - 21-Feb-17 @ 5:16 PM
Pankaj - Your Question:
My son and my daughter-in-law were divorced in the year 2001 and the custody of my grandson was given to my son by his wife at the time of divorce. Then my son died in an accident in the year 2002. As such, I am de facto guarding of my grandson. Now my grandson has attained the age of 16 and for his higher I would like to claim from his mother who is earning handsome amount apex. Monthly 35000/-. I am retired govt. officer and maintain my household and of my grandson from my pension. Can my grandson claim from his mother for his?

Our Response:
If you are living in the UK, you can apply for child maintenance from your grandson's mother. You can either contact her directly and ask that you agree a family-based arrangement. If she refuses, then you can apply via the CMS. Please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 21-Feb-17 @ 2:37 PM
My son and my daughter-in-law were divorced in the year 2001 and the custody of my grandson was given to my son by his wife at the time of divorce. Then my son died in an accident in the year 2002. As such, I am de facto guarding of my grandson. Now my grandson has attained the age of 16 and for his higher I would like to claim from his mother who is earning handsome amount apex. Monthly 35000/-. I am retired govt. officer and maintain my household and of my grandson from my pension. Can my grandson claim from his mother for his?
Pankaj - 21-Feb-17 @ 10:20 AM
hi i pay child mantains for my two kids who live with there mum bug my daughter isnt at school anymore or at college shes 17 and 18 this year do i still have to pay?
adi79 - 17-Feb-17 @ 5:58 PM
My son inlaw has been paying for both his daughters via CSA and last July had a baby with my daughter, his eldest child went to college in sept then left and got a full time job in Dec which she gave up at the end of Dec and keeps saying she is going back to college next month, but hasn't yet bothered, and her mother encouraged her to give up her job so her dad would have to continue to pay, is it right that he has to pay when she isn't at college or working?
Cat - 16-Feb-17 @ 1:32 PM
Hi my daughter who is 18 in July, left home last year to go and live with her older sister who became her guardian. We passed the child benefit over to her. My daughter leaves college this year and is planning to go to university in September. We as both her parents were informed by the c s a that we had got to pay child maintenance for her which they said may have to continue until she's 20. The c s a did say that child maintenance has to continue being paid as long as my older daughter keeps receiving child benefit. What we would like to know is do we have to continue paying child maintenance if she definatly goes on to university in September. Even if she applies for a student loan.thank you.
Ste - 14-Feb-17 @ 10:43 PM
tonyd - Your Question:
I pay child support for my daughter at 16 she went on to further education. the CSA informed my of this.fair enough. they also informed me the payments will stop when she is 19 years old, which is very soon, but now the CSA or whatever they now call themselves have said the law has changed and I now have to pay until she is 20. so next year will it go up again??? she is not in further education anymore. has anyone else had serious problems with the CSA. 1 year after my child was born her mother told me I was not the father, I told the CSA and they said unless there is proof I would have to pay, I asked for a DNA test and they said it would have to be agreed by both parties and I would have to contact my ex myself, so I asked them for her contact details as I had no idea where they were at this time and the CSA refused. I have now asked them for help for 18 years. if she is mine great but if not why should I be paying for someone else's child

Our Response:
If you had any doubt about your daughter's parentage, then you could have sought legal advice and would have had the option to have taken the matter to court. The court would have ordered your ex to have the DNA test. If the test was negative payments would have stopped, positive and they would have continued. Currently, you have to pay until your daughter is 20, only if she is in full-time education. Therefore, if you think your daughter is not in full-time education, and you feel you are being treated unfairly you may wish to complain via the link here.
SeparatedDads - 13-Feb-17 @ 2:42 PM
i pay child support for my daughter at 16 she went on to further education. the CSA informed my of this...fair enough. they also informed me the payments will stop when she is 19 years old, which is very soon, but now the CSA or whatever they now call themselves have said the law has changed and I now have to pay until she is 20. so next year will it go up again??? she is not in further education anymore. has anyone else had serious problems with the CSA. 1 year after my child was born her mother told me I was not the father, I told the CSA and they said unless there is proof I would have to pay, I asked for a DNA test and they said it would have to be agreed by both parties and I would have to contact my ex myself, so I asked them for her contact details as I had no idea where they were at this time and the CSA refused. I have now asked them for help for 18years. if she is mine great but if not why should I be paying for someone else's child
tonyd - 12-Feb-17 @ 3:28 PM
Nix - Your Question:
My partner has had a private agreement with his ex, to pay child support, since she was 7. She is now 18. When his daughter started college he added travel costs to the support. He has now found out that her attendance at college has been extremely poor - less than 50%. He has now withdrawn the payment for travel. Can there be any come back on this for him.

Our Response:
If your partner has a family-based arrangement (i.e not through CSA/CMS) then he would not be liable for arrears. However, if it is arranged via CMS, then he would be liable.
SeparatedDads - 8-Feb-17 @ 2:53 PM
joe - Your Question:
Advice please, my children are now 28 and 24, I had been paying their mothers money every week from a mutual agreement I made with them until they were 16. I am getting letters now saying I have arrears of over £8,000, what do I do about this?

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which should help you further if you feel you have been unfairly treated.
SeparatedDads - 8-Feb-17 @ 11:32 AM
Advice please, my children are now 28 and 24, I had been paying their mothers money every week from a mutual agreement I made with them until they were 16. I am getting letters now saying I have arrears of over £8,000, what do I do about this?
joe - 7-Feb-17 @ 6:19 PM
Hello, my dad had a court order to pay child maintenance from when I was 2 up till I was 18. However he has never paid from the court order, am 24 now, is the court order still vialled and could I continue this?
swood007 - 7-Feb-17 @ 12:19 PM
Vee - Your Question:
My ex has been paying £20 a week for a few years and he earns £70,000 a year with three houses and no commitments to other children. My daughter is 18 and in full time education and then going to Uni. Can I apply for increased support.

Our Response:
If your ex is earning this amount of money, then you can. Obviously, much will depend upon other surrounding circumstances regarding whether you will be awarded it.
SeparatedDads - 6-Feb-17 @ 2:28 PM
Lilys - Your Question:
My dad is currently divorcing my mum, my youngest sister is 18 and is finishing her a levels in may then moving on to do a college course in September. My dad has said he is happy to give my sister money and pay for whatever she needs however he is concerned that my mum will try and get more out of him then what is required legally (using the money for other things) , what is the legal requirements for my dad in regards to paying for my sister?

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether your mother wants to take the matter to court to request financial help. However, if your sister is moving away then your father is is not obliged to pay the money directly to your mother. He should be able to pay it directly to your sister or on the likes of accommodation or fees.
SeparatedDads - 6-Feb-17 @ 12:43 PM
Nicky - Your Question:
My ex's daughter has no interest in remaining in contact with us due to her mother brainwashing her we have been paying child support all this time but she turns 19 on 2nd august and we dont know if she is leaving school, staying on or going to uni and her mum nor his daughter would reply to any calls or messages. They werent married before but is there any legal way we can find out if she is to remain in education?

Our Response:
You don't say whether the payments are being made through the CMS or are agreed mutually. If it is the former, then child maintenance will stop when child benefit does. If it is the latter, you may wish to write or telephone the child benefit office to see when her child benefit payments are due to stop. Or if you want to make the matter more official, a solicitor's letter to the mother requesting the information may work.
SeparatedDads - 6-Feb-17 @ 12:36 PM
My dad is currently divorcing my mum, my youngest sister is 18 and is finishing her a levels in may then moving on to do a college course in September. My dad has said he is happy to give my sister money and pay for whatever she needs however he is concerned that my mum will try and get more out of him then what is required legally (using the money for other things) , what is the legal requirements for my dad in regards to paying for my sister?
Lilys - 5-Feb-17 @ 9:33 PM
My ex's daughter has no interest in remaining in contact with us due to her mother brainwashing her we have been paying child support all this time but she turns 19 on 2nd august and we dont know if she is leaving school, staying on or going to uni and her mum nor his daughter would reply to any calls or messages. They werent married before but is there any legal way we can find out if she is to remain in education?
Nicky - 5-Feb-17 @ 8:54 PM
My ex has been paying £20 a week for a few years and he earns £70,000 a year with three houses and no commitments to other children. My daughter is 18 and in full time education and then going to Uni. Can I apply for increased support.
Vee - 4-Feb-17 @ 6:20 AM
my partner pays csa for his daughter she turns 20 in April. we are trying to get a mortgage and they are taking his payment into account and we were wondering if he could pay the last few months upfront as a one off last payment and if we would get a letter saying his paid in full and doesn't owe any more
mel - 2-Feb-17 @ 5:20 PM
Jools45 - Your Question:
Hi can you possibly verify to me if my ex partner is still liable to pay any maintenance to my 19 yr old son who is still in full time education? Many thanks

Our Response:
As specified in the article, if your son has continued in full-time non-advanced education, not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week, then maintenance payments will continue until your child finishes the course or until they turn 20. Also, if you are still in receipt of child benefit then you will also be entitled to child maintenance, if child benefit is no longer awarded to you for your son then your ex maintenance payments will stop.
SeparatedDads - 2-Feb-17 @ 2:31 PM
morgs - Your Question:
Hi I am currently paying child support for my 18 year old daughter who is in full time work do I still need to pay child support

Our Response:
You only have to pay if your daughter is in full-time government approved education. If your ex is no longer in receipt of child benefit for your daughter, then you can stop paying.
SeparatedDads - 2-Feb-17 @ 1:49 PM
My partner has had a private agreement with his ex, to pay child support, since she was 7. She is now 18. When his daughter started college he added travel costs to the support. He has now found out that her attendance at college has been extremely poor - less than 50%. He has now withdrawn the payment for travel. Can there be any come back on this for him.
Nix - 1-Feb-17 @ 7:56 PM
Hi can you possibly verify to me if my ex partner is still liable to pay any maintenance to my 19 yr old son who is still in full time education?Many thanks
Jools45 - 1-Feb-17 @ 5:14 PM
DP - Your Question:
My step son is 18 in June and finishing his A-levels. He is not going to uni he is getting a job. The CSA are ending their agreement early in Feb saying it has to be sorted between the 2 parents for the last few months unless they pay for it to continue (?) anyway exactly what month will he legally have to pay up to? His 18th (June) when his exams finish (June) or end of term (July) thanks

Our Response:
August 31, is classed as the end of the school term when payments stop (in line with child benefit).
SeparatedDads - 1-Feb-17 @ 1:50 PM
Stevo - Your Question:
My sons 18 and working.I was due the remaining money of 2k from my divorce sttlement.which now my ex says im missing payments from csa. Can she count this

Our Response:
Much depends on whether it was a family-based agreement or arranged through the CMS. Please see how child maintenance can be enforced if you had an official agreement and you owe arrears here. If, on the other hand, you had a family based agreement the money cannot be taken if the arrangement was informal and your son is now working/earning.
SeparatedDads - 1-Feb-17 @ 1:44 PM
Hi i am currently paying child support for my 18 year old daughter who is in full time work do i still need to pay child support
morgs - 1-Feb-17 @ 12:12 PM
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