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At What Age Do Child Maintenance Payments Stop?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 22 Jan 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]
Supersolar - Your Question:
HiDo I still need to pay child maintenance for my 18 year old daughter?She left 6th form after 1 year to do beauty level 2 at college.I presumed that I was liable for payments till she was 20 but received a confusing letter recently from the CSA Stating that I was no longer responsible for payments to my ex (through the CSA).Not sure if this is because she has recently turned 18 and her course is not classed as 'education', or because the CSA is changing the way they take payments.Thanks

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether the course is government approved. As child maintenance falls in line with when child benefits stops, you can see the link here regarding what is classed as government approved education. I hope this helps answer your question.
SeparatedDads - 23-Jan-17 @ 11:07 AM
Hi Do I still need to pay child maintenance for my 18 year old daughter? She left 6th form after 1 year to do beauty level 2at college.I presumed that I was liable for payments till she was 20 but received a confusing letter recently from the CSA Stating that I was no longer responsible for payments to my ex (through the CSA). Not sure if this is because she has recently turned 18 and her course is not classed as 'education', or because the CSA is changing the way they take payments. Thanks
Supersolar - 22-Jan-17 @ 9:40 AM
Hi after some advice , I pay CSA for two sons with an ex one is 14 the other 16 , the 16 year old was excluded from school from May 2016 , his 16th birthday was March 2016 , to my knowledge he has not attended school or college since May and his mother has excluded him from her house but to my knowledge she still claims all the benefits for him , don't get me wrong I don't mind to have to paye CSA but why should I still paye full amount when the 16 year old is not at home or in full time education or going to college . I can not get any information from the mother or contact the son . I would like to know how or who I can contact to find if this information is correct or even find if the boys is attending any college , my hands are tyed and I have other children who would benefit from some extra comming into are house hold . Many thanks chmedaph06 .
chmedaph06 - 20-Jan-17 @ 11:04 AM
Geoff - Your Question:
HiI have had a CSA arrangement and have now switched to a CMS arrangement. I have two daughters. My eldest daughter is completing her A-levels this year and wants to go to study in America. I have always assumed that once she finished her A-levels then payments would be reduced for the following September and I would be free to give my eldest daughter some money directly.My ex-wife has written to me asking for me to commit to a payment that I could make directly to my eldest daughter for her study abroad, but I'm concerned that if I do this now, and find out that the CMS payments do continue without reduction, then I will be in financial trouble. My relationship with the mother is strained at best and I know appeals would fall on deaf ears.Am I right in thinking that the CMS payments will be reduced in September? Is this something that I need to lodge with the CMS at the time or now?Many thanks

Our Response:
You should check directly with the CMS. However, as a rule child maintenance payments stop when child benefit payments do and this is at the end of the school year once your daughter has finished her A-Level study (Aug 31). Perhaps the agreement with your ex should be that as soon as your child maintenance payments stop to her, then you will move seamlessly to supporting your daughter directly.
SeparatedDads - 19-Jan-17 @ 12:46 PM
Hi I have had a CSA arrangement and have now switched to a CMS arrangement. I have two daughters. My eldest daughter is completing her A-levels this year and wants to go to study in America. I have always assumed that once she finished her A-levels then payments would be reduced for the following September and I would be free to give my eldest daughter some money directly. My ex-wife has written to me asking for me to commit to a payment that I could make directly to my eldest daughter for her study abroad, but I'm concerned that if I do this now, and find out that the CMS payments do continue without reduction, then I will be in financial trouble. My relationship with the mother is strained at best and I know appeals would fall on deaf ears. Am I right in thinking that the CMS payments will be reduced in September? Is this something that I need to lodge with the CMS at the time or now? Many thanks
Geoff - 18-Jan-17 @ 5:31 PM
Adamski - Your Question:
Hello. My ex (we were not married) sent an open letter out with my 15 year old son yesterday pointing out that as our son is now going to college in September, the maintenance payments will continue until he is 18.However, when we separated in 2005, both she and her solicitor put in writing that I had agreed to pay maintenance until his 16th Birthday, then it would stop. I agreed in writing and have been paying ever since without a single hiccup. I also got a court order in place over access etc. There were no awards of costs as we sorted between our solicitors.I have already spoken to my son prior to this letter and told him I would give him a monthly allowance (direct to his account, to be kept between us) so he can do things with his friends etc plus buy him anything else he needs like clothes etc.I know the law changed a few years ago but as we agreed as part of the settlement and its in writing, does this stand?Thank you.

Our Response:
Whilst it may give you some back-up in court, a solicitor's agreement isn't worth the paper it's written on I'm afraid. By law you are responsible to pay the day-to-day welfare of your son up until he finishes further education. Therefore, you would have to take the matter to court for the court to decide whether your previous agreement should hold or be overridden. Due to the fact the law recently changed, meaning your son 'has' to stay on at school by law (if he chooses not to get a job) then the courts will take this into account and the court will always act upon what it thinks is in your child's best interests. You may wish to seek legal advice if you wish to pursue the matter.
SeparatedDads - 16-Jan-17 @ 10:59 AM
Hello. My ex (we were not married) sent an open letter out with my 15 year old son yesterday pointing out that as our son is now going to college in September, the maintenance payments will continue until he is 18. However, when we separated in 2005, both she and her solicitor put in writing that I had agreed to pay maintenance until his 16th Birthday, then it would stop. I agreed in writing and have been paying ever since without a single hiccup. I also got a court order in place over access etc. There were no awards of costs as we sorted between our solicitors. I have already spoken to my son prior to this letter and told him I would give him a monthly allowance (direct to his account, to be kept between us) so he can do things with his friends etc plus buy him anything else he needs like clothes etc. I know the law changed a few years ago but as we agreed as part of the settlement and its in writing, does this stand? Thank you.
Adamski - 15-Jan-17 @ 6:55 AM
Hi. My partner is still paying his ex partner money for their son. The son will turn 18 in June but has not been in full time education, working or on any training schemes since he was 16 1/2. Should he still be paying his ex?
Flopsybunny - 14-Jan-17 @ 1:00 PM
New wifey - Your Question:
Hi, my partner has a family arrangement with his ex and has been paying Child maintenance for his daughter who has turned 19 in January and goes to Beauty College twice a week. He doesn't remember when they have agreed the payments to stop, and we don't know if payments should continue as per other CSA rules (until 20 when in full-time education). So, we aren't sure when to stop payments. Is the college obliged to give the info regarding her course to us, such as when is ends or how many hours she is enrolled? Also, if her lessons finish around May, should this be the last month of payment, taking into account that she does a level 3 beauty course? Thank you.

Our Response:
Payments stop when the child stops receiving child benefit (which is at the end of the college year when the course finishes, Aug 31).
SeparatedDads - 13-Jan-17 @ 2:43 PM
Hi, my partner has a family arrangement with his ex and has been paying Child maintenance for his daughter who has turned 19 in January and goes to Beauty College twice a week. He doesn't remember when they have agreed the payments to stop, and we don't know if payments should continue as per other CSA rules (until 20 when in full-time education). So, we aren't sure when to stop payments. Is the college obliged to give the info regarding her course to us, such as when is ends or how many hours she is enrolled? Also, if her lessons finish around May, should this be the last month of payment, taking into account that she does a level 3 beauty course? Thank you.
New wifey - 13-Jan-17 @ 2:04 AM
My 17 year old daughter has decided to take a year out from full time education and she has now started working part time. My question is do I still have to pay my ex wife full maintenance every week for her
Renaultbez - 11-Jan-17 @ 7:14 PM
My son got kicked out of college on 5th January 2017, at the age of 16 I have been informed by my ex that as she has got a 20 week extension on her child benefit as my son is signed up to connexions! And I still have to pay maintenance? Is this correct? I have informed my son that even though Iam no longer paying if he requires anything to get in touch and I will sort it. He actually hasn't been in college since last October but only just removed.
Garfield - 11-Jan-17 @ 5:25 PM
Hi as I don't have a very good relationship with my ex & she wouldn't tell me if she didn't get child benefit, so I'm just wondering if my son went to collage in sept 2016 then decided in January 2017 to give up the collage course, then work till sept 2017 then do another course. Do I still give maintenance? Or do I stop then start again
Dave - 11-Jan-17 @ 2:29 PM
Emmaah- Your Question:
Hi, my partner pays maintenance for his 17 year old daughter who goes to college 3 days per week and works part time also. Should he still be paying the full amount cs even though she is earning? We have got confused by it all as she pays her mum board out of her wages and pays for all her own clothes, hair cuts etc now she is earning so this seems a little unfair that her mum is taking in money by 2 different ways?

Our Response:
Regardless of whether your partner's daughter is earning, your partner is still responsible for paying towards his daughter welfare if she is in full-time government approved education up to A-Levels and while the primary carer is still in receipt of child benefit. Part-time work is generally thought of as 'pocket money'. However, what she chooses to do with that personal money is up to her.
SeparatedDads - 11-Jan-17 @ 11:59 AM
LouLou - Your Question:
My husband's daughter is due to turn 18 in April and lives with a step parent, not her biological mother. The step parent does not have any legal parental responsibility but for consistency with education his daughter decided to stay there. We have been paying an agreed amount to the step parent but want this to cease when his daughter turns 18 and to pay her directly. She is currently doing A-Levels which are due to complete this year. Can anyone advise please?

Our Response:
Regardless of who your husband's daughter is living with, he (as well as the other biological parent with PR) are equally responsible for her day-to-day financial upkeep. Therefore, child maintenance will stop in line with when she finishes her A-Levels and when her child benefit stops. Then your husband will be allowed to pay her directly if he chooses.
SeparatedDads - 11-Jan-17 @ 10:37 AM
Hi, my partner pays maintenance for his 17 year old daughter who goes to college 3 days per week and works part time also. Should he still be paying the full amount cs even though she is earning? We have got confused by it all as she pays her mum board out of her wages and pays for all her own clothes, hair cuts etc now she is earning so this seems a little unfair that her mum is taking in money by 2 different ways?
Emmaah - 10-Jan-17 @ 4:08 PM
My husband's daughter is due to turn 18 in April and lives with a step parent, not her biological mother. The step parent does not have any legal parental responsibility but for consistency with education his daughter decided to stay there. We have been paying an agreed amount to the step parent but want this to cease when his daughter turns 18 and to pay her directly. She is currently doing A-Levels which are due to complete this year. Can anyone advise please?
LouLou - 10-Jan-17 @ 10:27 AM
Hi as I don't have a very good relationship with ex's & she wouldn't tell me if she did still got child benefit, so I'm just wondering if my son went to collage in sept 2016 then decides in January 2017 to give up the collage course, work till sept 2017 then do another course. Do I still give maintenance
Pm - 9-Jan-17 @ 11:14 PM
Aus - Your Question:
Hello, we're in Scotland so I'm not sure if there are different rules but. I've paid maintenance my sons whole life with no issues, me and his mum had had a private arrangement during this time, however my son turns 18 May this year, is at college 1 or 2 days per week and works a day or two a week at a local bargain superstore, mum doesn't really keep me in the loop of her finances, she's done kind of nurse, with a partner and her and he have just bought a house. I couldn't say if she still gets child benefit or not, if I was to ask how many hours per week my son was at college I'm sure I wouldn't get a completely honest answer, if I was to ask if my sons mum was still receiving Child Benefit again I'm not sure if get an honest response. Is there Way to find this information out without relying on the honestly of my sons mum?

Our Response:
If you have PR, you could contact the college directly and ask for confirmation regarding whether your son is in government approved studying or training for 12 hours a week or more.
SeparatedDads - 9-Jan-17 @ 11:14 AM
Hello,we're in Scotland so I'm not sure if there are different rules but... I've paid maintenance my sons whole life with no issues,me and his mum had had a private arrangement during this time, however my son turns 18 May this year, is at college 1 or 2 days per week and works a day or two a week at a local bargain superstore,mum doesn't really keep me in the loop of her finances, she's done kind of nurse, with a partner and her and he have just bought a house. I couldn't say if she still gets child benefit or not, if I was to ask how many hours per week my son was at college I'm sure I wouldn't get a completely honest answer, if I was to ask if my sons mum was still receiving Child Benefit again I'm not sure if get an honest response. Is there Way to find this information out without relying on the honestly of my sons mum?
Aus - 8-Jan-17 @ 12:18 PM
lifeafter - Your Question:
Hi,If my daugther turns 18 an is therefore deemed an adult. Can I make my CMS payments directly to her?Many thanks

Our Response:
If your daughter is still living with her mother, then unless the mother agrees you can, you still have to pay your ex to help pay for your daughter's day-to-day needs.
SeparatedDads - 6-Jan-17 @ 11:33 AM
AdyPearce- Your Question:
Hi, can I get some advice please also.my partner lives with me and her two kids.Alex is 20 and works full time but Olivia is 17 (Nov 2016) and is at college 16 hours a week and doesn't work. My Partners ex husband pays maintenance currently, when will this stop?

Our Response:
As specified in the article, it will stop when his daughter finishes her course in full-time education (at the end of the school year - August 31).
SeparatedDads - 5-Jan-17 @ 3:00 PM
Hi, If my daugther turns 18 an is therefore deemed an adult. Can I make my CMS payments directly to her? Many thanks
lifeafter - 5-Jan-17 @ 1:50 PM
nomis - Your Question:
I pay maintenance for my son, who will be 19 this January (2017), he will finish the second year of his level 3 course at college in June. He is then planning on getting an apprenticeship. My question is, as he will be 19 and doing an apprenticeship, when does me paying maintenance end, unfortunately, I hardly have contact with him and his mother (my ex), but I know that she hasn't been that honest with me in the passed. She has already said that due to my son doing an apprenticeship, the maintenance will continue. I just really need clarificationThanks

Our Response:
Your child maintenance payments should stop automatically when your son's child benefit stops. If your son starts an apprenticeship then as he is earning you will not be required to continue paying child maintenance, please see link here. When a child finishes a course in full-time further education, child maintenance payments will cease at the end of the school year (August 31).
SeparatedDads - 5-Jan-17 @ 12:35 PM
Hi, can I get some advice please also.. my partner lives with me and her two kids.. Alex is 20 and works full time but Olivia is 17 (Nov 2016) and is at college 16 hours a week and doesn't work. My Partners ex husband pays maintenance currently, when will this stop?
AdyPearce - 5-Jan-17 @ 7:32 AM
I pay maintenance for my son, who will be 19 this January (2017), he will finish the second year of his level 3 course at college in June. He is then planning on getting an apprenticeship. My question is, as he will be 19 and doing an apprenticeship, when does me paying maintenance end, unfortunately, i hardly have contact with him and his mother (my ex), but i know that she hasn't been that honest with me in the passed. She has already said that due to my son doing an apprenticeship, the maintenance will continue. I just really need clarification Thanks
nomis - 4-Jan-17 @ 5:09 PM
Jay1982 - Your Question:
My son is 16 and Is currently doing an apprenticeship and is getting paid for 32 hours as well as going to college 1 day a week. Do I have to pay maintenance and if so up to what point?

Our Response:
You do not have to pay child maintenance if your son is working and earning a wage. Child maintenance stops once child benefit does.
SeparatedDads - 4-Jan-17 @ 2:24 PM
My son is 16 and Is currently doing an apprenticeship and is getting paid for 32 hours as well as going to college 1 day a week. Do I have to pay maintenance and if so up to what point?
Jay1982 - 3-Jan-17 @ 7:28 PM
Patti - Your Question:
I would like some advice please. My ex in 2012 decided to go ahead and change my daughter's surname (mine) to her new husbands surname. I still pay maintenance through the csa,but now I have found out that he has legally adopted her, and is now acting as her 'new dad'. I am quite annoyed at this especially as I don't see her at all and her mother will not let her stay over or let her come round here to my house at all. My ex makes excuses and refuses to answer my phone calls. My question is do I still have to pay child maintenance even though her stepfather pays for everything and is very affluent? Where do I stand with this situation, can you help please? Thanks

Our Response:
When a stepparent adopts their partner’s child it ends the legal relationship between that child and their other natural parent, which would mean you no longer have to pay child maintenance. However, a legal adoption cannot begin to take place without your consent, please see Family Lives link here. Therefore, it is unlikley your child has been legally adopted. Regardless of whether your child's stepfather is affluent, or whether you see your child, as your child's biological parent you are still required to pay child maintenance to help support your her. If you wish to apply for access to see your daughter, you would have to do so through the courts via a C100 contact order.
SeparatedDads - 3-Jan-17 @ 2:15 PM
Jasper - Your Question:
My stepson turned 16 in Oct 2016.does his father still have to pay csa.

Our Response:
As specified in the article, it depends upon what the child chooses to do. If they continue 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 the child finishes the course or until they turn 20. However, if your stepson is working and earning a wage, then child maintenance payments will stop. Also, if child benefit has stopped, so too will child maintenance payments, please see gov.uk link here .
SeparatedDads - 3-Jan-17 @ 12:10 PM
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