Home > Ask Our Experts > At What Age Do Child Maintenance Payments Stop?

At What Age Do Child Maintenance Payments Stop?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 23 Jul 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.

Separated Dads Chat Room & Forum

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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Dd - Your Question:
My son is 18 now 20 this Dec.he has finished his 2 yr course at college and has a part time job working at least 16hrs but now collage has finished he tends to work more hours where possible. Do I still continue to make support payments.he still lives at home with mum

Our Response:
As specified in the article, if your child is in full-time non-advanced education not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week, then your maintenance payments will continue until your child finishes the course or until they turn 20 (if they are still on the course). This means you do not have to pay child maintenance for your child once they reach age 20.
SeparatedDads - 25-Jul-17 @ 10:07 AM
My son is 18 now20 this Dec.he has finished his 2 yr course at college and has a part time job working at least 16hrs but now collage has finished he tends to work more hours where possible. Do I still continue to make support payments.he still lives at home with mum
Dd - 23-Jul-17 @ 8:43 PM
My son is 18 in Nov and is studying for a plumber qualification but he has started part time work for no less than 28 hrs. Am I right that the max hrs is 24 in a week the threshold for maintenance payments to stop.
Sutty - 19-Jul-17 @ 8:30 PM
Deek - Your Question:
My daughter starts collage in august do I still have to pay my maintenence for her she is 16 yrs old

Our Response:
As specified in the article, 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 not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week, then your maintenance payments will continue until your child finishes the course or until they turn 20.
SeparatedDads - 18-Jul-17 @ 12:46 PM
My daughter starts collage in august do i still have to pay my maintenence for her she is 16 yrs old
Deek - 17-Jul-17 @ 8:38 PM
My daughter starts collage in august do i still have to pay my maintenence for her
Deek - 17-Jul-17 @ 8:32 PM
Emmajane - Your Question:
Partners child doing level 3 national diploma with paid placement. In college for 6 hours. Does he continue to make csa payments. Child is 18.

Our Response:
As child maintenance payments fall in line with child benefit payments and when they stop. You can see what constitutes 'approved education' here.
SeparatedDads - 10-Jul-17 @ 3:14 PM
Partners child doing level 3 national diploma with paid placement. In college for 6 hours. Does he continue to make csa payments. Child is 18.
Emmajane - 8-Jul-17 @ 8:31 PM
Husbands son is now 19 years old, he hasn't attended college for a year nor is he in employment. Contacted CSA to ask them to look into this and they in turn contacted child benefit. Nothing appears to have been done & yes, definitely my step son sadly isn't attending college or working. My understanding is post 18 child benefit can continue where the child has health problems, no idea if this is the path his Mum has gone but even so benefit should have stopped by now. CSA rules prohibited CSA from contacting his sons college to check attendance. CSA now ceased and child support options come in to play. Can they check if college is being attended and if not cease payment? Deeply frustrating. We are supporting 3 other children through Uni. The money being paid to his Mum discourages her from pushing him to college or into work.She will lose child benefit, child tax credits (including poss disabled child premium) & maintenance if his son signs on for jobseekers or claimed ESA. Thanks in advance for help!
Vix - 7-Jul-17 @ 11:47 PM
Hi, My ex and I split a few years ago and maintenance was agreed between us, my son is autistic and I have no qualms about paying maintenance as long as he's bettering himself. What bothers me is that my son ( 19 years old and 20 next April), is attending college and I have never been given proof of his courses. What age does payments stop please
dave - 7-Jul-17 @ 6:29 PM
Vix - Your Question:
Husbands son is now 19 years old, he hasn't attended college for a year nor is he in employment. Contacted CSA to ask them to look into this and they in turn contacted child benefit. Nothing appears to have been done & yes, definitely my step son sadly isn't attending college or working. My understanding is post 18 child benefit can continue where the child has health problems, no idea if this is the path his Mum has gone but even so benefit should have stopped by now. CSA rules prohibited CSA from contacting his sons college to check attendance.CSA now ceased and child support options come in to play. Can they check if college is being attended and if not cease payment? Deeply frustrating. We are supporting 3 other children through Uni. The money being paid to his Mum discourages her from pushing him to college or into work.She will lose child benefit, child tax credits (including poss disabled child premium) & maintenance if his son signs on for jobseekers or claimed ESA. Thanks in advance for help!

Our Response:
We cannot give specific advice and we have no knowledge of the inner-operations of CSA/CMS. You would have to take this up directly via the link here if your husband feels he is being treated unfairly.
SeparatedDads - 7-Jul-17 @ 11:38 AM
Jenks - Your Question:
My son is 16 and is moving away to Hartpury college for 2 years to complete his A levels, he has been offered a place in the elite rugby academy. We have to pay over 400 a month for his residency. Do I still have to pay his mother money every month because he will not be living with her and I will be paying half the fees also?? We did not go through child support agency when we seperated we came to an agreement between ourselves about the money

Our Response:
If you have a family-based arrangement, this would need to be negotiated betwen you and your ex. If your son is living away from home, you may wish to undertake a different arrangement such as splitting all costs down the middle (as obviously there are additional costs for your child's welfare even though he is living away). By law you are required to support your child financially until he reaches 18 and/or finishes the course up to A'Level or equivalent.
SeparatedDads - 7-Jul-17 @ 11:31 AM
Disney - Your Question:
Just wondered if a 17 year old in college has to attend regular i.e. The percentage in attendance in order for childSupport to be paid? My husband pays his ex wife but they won't tell us her overall attendance for college?

Our Response:
Child maintenance payments are not based on the weekly or monthly attendence (even though they are registered for having to attend for 12 hours a week or more). Child maintenance will stop when his daughter finishes the government approved course.
SeparatedDads - 7-Jul-17 @ 11:06 AM
Husbands son is now 19 years old, he hasn't attended college for a year nor is he in employment. Contacted CSA to ask them to look into this and they in turn contacted child benefit. Nothing appears to have been done & yes, definitely my step son sadly isn't attending college or working. My understanding is post 18 child benefit can continue where the child has health problems, no idea if this is the path his Mum has gone but even so benefit should have stopped by now. CSA rules prohibited CSA from contacting his sons college to check attendance. CSA now ceased and child support options come in to play. Can they check if college is being attended and if not cease payment? Deeply frustrating. We are supporting 3 other children through Uni. The money being paid to his Mum discourages her from pushing him to college or into work.She will lose child benefit, child tax credits (including poss disabled child premium) & maintenance if his son signs on for jobseekers or claimed ESA. Thanks in advance for help!
Vix - 6-Jul-17 @ 8:37 PM
My son is 16 and is moving away to Hartpury college for 2 years to complete his A levels, he has been offered a place in the elite rugby academy. We have to pay over 400 a month for his residency. Do I still have to pay his mother money every month because he will not be living with her and I will be paying half the fees also?? We did not go through child support agency when we seperated we came to an agreement between ourselves about the money
Jenks - 6-Jul-17 @ 6:37 PM
Just wondered if a 17 year old in college has to attend regular i.e. The percentage in attendance in order for child Support to be paid? My husband pays his ex wife but they won't tell us her overall attendance for college?
Disney - 6-Jul-17 @ 5:50 PM
shelly82 - Your Question:
My husbands 18 yr old has just finished this course at collage (dental-nursing-level-3) its equivalent to 2 A levels, so technically a diploma (thus advanced education).I am querying if he should still be paying now that his child has left college? Also if he should have been paying, as it was an apprenticeship? So his child was only in college 1 day a week (less than 12 hours).And is it his responsibility to inform CSA?

Our Response:
If your husband's daughter has recently finished the course, then your husband will be responsible for paying child maintenance up until the end of the school year Aug 31. As child maintenance falls in line with child benefit payments and both end at the same time, you can see what courses are considered to be government approved, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 6-Jul-17 @ 10:05 AM
My husbands 18 yr old has just finished this course at collage (dental-nursing-level-3) its equivalent to 2 A levels, so technically a diploma (thus advanced education). I am querying if he should still be paying now that his child has left college? Also if he should have been paying, as it was an apprenticeship? So his child was only in college 1 day a week (less than 12 hours). And is it his responsibility to inform CSA?
shelly82 - 4-Jul-17 @ 1:04 PM
Neil - Your Question:
My daughter is 19 and earning £140 per week working in mcdonalds. she has just finshed a collage course but is starting at university next term and she will be receving a goverment grant she will be still retaining her job do I still have to pay maintinace ?? As my ex wife is stating I do ??

Our Response:
As specified in the article, payments stop when your child finishes non-advanced education at A-levels or the equivalent and when child benefit stops. You would not be expected to pay for your daughter while she is at university, unless this is an arrangement agreed with your ex or a court has ordered it.
SeparatedDads - 4-Jul-17 @ 11:40 AM
My daughter is 19 and earning £140 per week working in mcdonalds .. she has just finshed a collage course but is starting at university next term and she will be receving a goverment grantshe will be still retaining her job do i still have to pay maintinace ?? As my ex wife is stating i do ??
Neil - 3-Jul-17 @ 6:45 PM
eddy - Your Question:
My son is 18 and left college, do is still pay if he starts an apprenticeship and not in receipt of child benefits? Also if I don't have to pay anymore maintainance who determines how much arrears I have to pay monthly?

Our Response:
Once child benefit ends, then so do child maintenance payments. If your son is earning and paying tax via HMRC as part of his apprentice, then payments will end. When child maintenance stops any unpaid amounts up to that point must still be paid.
SeparatedDads - 3-Jul-17 @ 2:35 PM
Scotty - Your Question:
My daughter is 18 and going to college 3 days a week and working the other 2. Do I still have to give her mother maintenance

Our Response:
As specified in the article, if your son continues in full-time non-advanced education 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. Any additional part-time work your son decides to do while studying will not affect you having to pay towards his day-to-day care.
SeparatedDads - 3-Jul-17 @ 1:45 PM
My daughter is 18 and going to college 3 days a week and working the other 2. Do I still have to give her mother maintenance
Scotty - 3-Jul-17 @ 8:46 AM
My son is 18 and left college, do is still pay if he starts an apprenticeship and not in receipt of child benefits? Also if I don't have to pay anymore maintainance who determines how much arrears I have to pay monthly?
eddy - 1-Jul-17 @ 2:40 AM
Jacks - Your Question:
My son who is 18 has just completed his full time course at college and is working part time.currently 20hrs p.w. and he has asked for more hours at work.am I right in thinking that if he works more than 24hrs pw then child benefit will stop therefore ill be able to stop making payments to my ex wife??

Our Response:
Child Benefit stops on 31 August on or after your child’s 16th birthday if they leave education or training. It continues if they stay in approved education or training, please see link here for more information.Once child benefit stops, so does child maintenance. If your son has finished his full-time course up to A'Level standard, then your child maintenance payments and child benefit payments should automatically stop at the end of the school year (Aug 31).
SeparatedDads - 29-Jun-17 @ 12:39 PM
Dez - Your Question:
Hi help n advice pleaseI have 3 children ages 11 still living with her mom,18 living with her boyfriend, n 20 living at his moms.When I split from ex I agreed to pay morgtage as child maintenance.But I shouldnt be paying now for two of children now.Ex will not discuss matters.I am in a I.V.A. agreement so money short.I have contacted solicitors to try divorce,but they want silly money up front ,that I cant afford.What can I do??Is there one who can help.

Our Response:
You could apply to pay child maintenance directly via CMS, please see CMS calculator here to see how much you should be paying. Likewise, if you continue paying the mortgage, will you have a claim on the house when your youngest child reaches age 18? The Citizens Advice Bureau should be able to give you some free legal advice if you cannot afford to pay for it.
SeparatedDads - 29-Jun-17 @ 12:29 PM
Hello My daughter is coming up for 19doing her exams at college and wanting to go to local uni where she will continue living with her mum My question is this when they are working out the student and maintenance loan will they take my earnings into consideration? Even tho I don't live with my daughter and her mum ? Her mum earns about 15 k a year and gets £400 a month from me so she's under the 25 k threshold will they take my 50k earning into consideration even tho I'm not part of the household ? Thankyou
Simon - 27-Jun-17 @ 10:49 PM
My son who is 18 has just completed his full time course at college and is working part time....currently 20hrs p.w.and he has asked for more hours at work....am I right in thinking that if he works more than 24hrs pw then child benefit will stop therefore ill be able to stop making payments to my ex wife??
Jacks - 27-Jun-17 @ 7:03 PM
Hi help n advice please I have 3 children ages 11 still living with her mom,18 living with her boyfriend, n 20 living at his moms. When i split from ex i agreed to pay morgtage as child maintenance. But i shouldnt be paying now for two of children now. Ex will not discuss matters . I am in a I.V.A. agreement so money short. I have contacted solicitors to try divorce,but they want silly money up front ,that i cant afford. What can i do?? Is there one who can help.
Dez - 27-Jun-17 @ 6:22 PM
Lee - Your Question:
My daughter has left school which she wasnt a very good pupil and now her mum says shes going to college which im 99.9% sure is a load of s#*t so I have to keep paying child maintenance how can j find out if she does go to college

Our Response:
If you have parental responsibility, you could check with the college directly. Or you could check whether your daughter is still in receipt of child benefit as child maintenance stops in line with child benefit payments. All children when they reach 16 either have to stay on at school, go to college or get a job.
SeparatedDads - 27-Jun-17 @ 2:39 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SeparatedDads website. Please read our Disclaimer.