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At What Age Do Child Maintenance Payments Stop?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 15 Sep 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.

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]
Dylan- Your Question:
Hi, my daughter turned 18 and is staying in Edinburgh away from her mother that argues with her and throws her out all the time. She worked the summer and now is back at college, I would like to know of I still have to pay her mother anything and I'm sure it's not getting spent where it should!!

Our Response:
Much depends whether you are paying via CMS or through a family-based arrangement. If you are paying via CMS, you would have to prove your daughter is no longer living with the mother and the mother is no longer claiming child benefit and/or supporting your daughter financially. Therefore, talking to CMS is the first step here. If you pay via a family-based arrangement, then you may wish to pay the person who is currently financially supporting your daughter. If your daughter is supporting herself, you can agree with your daughter's mother that whilst she is living away from home, you will support her directly.
SeparatedDads - 18-Sep-17 @ 10:17 AM
Hi, my daughter turned 18 and is staying in Edinburgh away from her mother that argues with her and throws her out all the time. She worked the summer and now is back at college, I would like to know of I still have to pay her mother anything and I'm sure it's not getting spent where it should!!
Dylan - 15-Sep-17 @ 7:40 AM
Jimmy - Your Question:
Thanks for your reply. I have looked into the 20 week extension, but that is for 16/17 year olds only and my children are 19 next week. I have looked into the terminal dates issue the CMS wanted to invoke and can only find reference to it in the archived original version of child support legislation, it doesn't appear in the current one. Just not sure what is going on. They finished college in June and according to my ex they are looking for an apprenticeship and in these circumstances all info points to CB finishing 31st August.

Our Response:
It sounds rather curious and nothing I have come across previously in any of the questions we receive or in any of the information we have to hand. I can only suggest you either speak to Child Maintenance Options directly or complain/appeal, please see link here . If you receive an answer it would be helpful if you could share it with us. I hope you manage to resolve this issue.
SeparatedDads - 14-Sep-17 @ 1:42 PM
Annoyed isn't the world my husbands ex is still claiming child benefit even though he's 18 coming 19 in Feb and were told child support must be paid to march. This is a joke at 18 he can vote drink buy a house and even marry. Oh no his mama is simply keeping him as a cash cow. Same women that's Never and I repeat Never worked a day in her life. Surely this can't be right??
Jo - 14-Sep-17 @ 10:21 AM
My partner has a 19 year old son (turned 19 in april) who completed further education in June whilst also working. He is now going to university but his csa maintenance payments haven't stopped. When will they stop or do we have to contact the csa ourselves? My partner has also got an 18 year old daughter who works and we are not sure if she has gone back to college or not. How do we check about the payments for her?My partner and I have a five year old to support in our home and are really struggling financially any help would be really appreciated. X
Skintpartner - 13-Sep-17 @ 10:24 PM
Thanks for your reply. I have looked into the 20 week extension,but that is for 16/17 year olds only and my children are 19 next week. I have looked into the terminal dates issue the CMS wanted to invoke and can only find reference to it in the archived original version of child support legislation, it doesn't appear in the current one. Just not sure what is going on. They finished college in June and according to my ex they are looking for an apprenticeship and in these circumstances all info points to CB finishing 31st August.
Jimmy - 13-Sep-17 @ 8:29 PM
Do I still have to pay maintenance after I lost my parental rights in court and they were given to my ex partners new partner.
Russ - 12-Sep-17 @ 4:15 PM
Jimmy - Your Question:
I have been enquiring about when my CMS liability finishes as my children finished college and have just got their exam results. They are currently working part time I believe, and I have been informed my ex is still claiming Child benefit. Should this not have finished 31st August? The CMS have also invoked a "terminal date", extending the payment time until December, which I cannot find any info on. The CMS website has lots on paying, how to pay, when to pay and what happens if you don't, but nothing on when it stops! Can you shed any light?

Our Response:
As a rule payments end after your child finishes full-time government approved education. However, there are exceptions. If 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). Also, your ex can apply for an extension on child benefit for 20 weeks and subsequently child maintenance if your child leaves approved education or training and either: registers with their local careers service, Connexions (or a similar organisation) or signs up to join the armed forces.
SeparatedDads - 12-Sep-17 @ 12:04 PM
Paulie- Your Question:
Is it compulsory for the parent to receive a letter when the child is eighteen? Thanks.

Our Response:
Much depends upon the child's circumstances and whether child maintenance will continue or not.
SeparatedDads - 11-Sep-17 @ 3:45 PM
I have been enquiring about when my CMS liability finishes as my children finished college and have just got their exam results. They are currently working part time I believe, and I have been informed my ex is still claiming Child benefit. Should this not have finished 31st August? The CMS have also invoked a "terminal date", extending the payment time until December, which I cannot find any info on. The CMS website has lots on paying, how to pay, when to pay and what happens if you don't, but nothing on when it stops! Can you shed any light?
Jimmy - 11-Sep-17 @ 10:17 AM
Is it compulsory for the parent to receive a letter when the child is eighteen? Thanks.
Paulie - 9-Sep-17 @ 3:35 PM
Is going college for 3 days classed as full time education
Wperci - 8-Sep-17 @ 6:44 PM
Wperci - Your Question:
Hi I pay my ex an amount of money for our daughter which I have no problem with, my 17yr old daughter works a part time job and wants to go college 3 times a week which is in another town, my question is can I stop paying my ex because I would like to give the money directly to my daughter for traveling expenses, I just don't want csa on my back if I stopped paying my brother has said I actually don't have to pay anymore to her mother don't know if this is true or not.

Our Response:
Unless the resident parent agrees, while your daughter is in full-time education to A-Levels or the equivalent, then you would have to pay the resident parent directly.
SeparatedDads - 8-Sep-17 @ 12:41 PM
Hi I pay my ex an amount of money for our daughter which I have no problem with, my 17yr old daughter works a part time job and wants to go college 3 times a week which is in another town, my question is can I stop paying my ex because I would like to give the money directly to my daughter for traveling expenses, I just don't want csa on my back if I stopped paying my brother has said I actually don't have to pay anymore to her mother don't know if this is true or not.
Wperci - 7-Sep-17 @ 8:11 PM
Ahmad- Your Question:
My ex has remarried and has a family of her own. I have full custody of my three kids. Cut a long story short, my ex now wants to take full responsibility for the children in that she wants them to go live with her. If this happens am I legally obliged to pay child support maintenance given that my ex has remarried?

Our Response:
Yes, as you are the biological father of your children and the non-resident parent you will be responsible for paying child maintenance to your ex by law. Just as your ex is responsible for paying child maintenance to you if she is currently the NRP.
SeparatedDads - 7-Sep-17 @ 4:07 PM
Kev - Your Question:
I rang csa in 2015 because my boy was in full time work I paid a extra year maintenance because he was working to help him.like I said I rang about April time they informed me I had to keep paying till the Sept because that when year ends and to ring again in the Sept to conferm.i rang again Sept to be told I owe back them £2500 because my my weekly maintenance went up by £6 five year ago and never informed me and never even informed my work.they lied and said they tried contacting me which they had my address and phone number.they have now admitted they didn't inform my works and offered me £50 for my troubles then that went up to £100 and is now £200 but still say I got to pay.like I said I even played extra year for my child which I'm being charged for as well.can you advise me please

Our Response:
Your only recourse is to complain, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 7-Sep-17 @ 3:59 PM
Minty - Your Question:
My partners son started a paid apprenticeship 21st August. CMS advised this likely means payments can stop, but would be confirmed when they get the child benefit list 1st Sep which would show he's no longer entitled to child benefit. But that payments are in arrears. We can't get through to CMS this week. How much should we pay to cover to the 21st? I'm worried if we pay the full amount we would never get back the difference.

Our Response:
I'm afraid this is beyond our remit to advise, your partner would have to speak directly to CMS.
SeparatedDads - 7-Sep-17 @ 10:37 AM
Lisa - Your Question:
My son is 17 in full time education a levels but is working a part time job his father wants to know does he still have to pay child support

Our Response:
Yes, if his son is still in receipt of child benefit and studying in full-time education for A-Levels, please see link here. The fact he has a part-time job does not affect this. Only if he decides to get a job instead of studying full-time education would payments stop.
SeparatedDads - 7-Sep-17 @ 10:21 AM
I rang csa in 2015 because my boy was in full time work I paid a extra year maintenance because he was working to help him ..like I said I rang about April time they informed me I had to keep paying till the Sept because that when year ends and to ring again in the Sept to conferm..i rang again Sept to be told I owe back them £2500 because my my weekly maintenance went up by £6 five year ago and never informed me and never even informed my work...they lied and said they tried contacting me which they had my address and phone number ...they have now admitted they didn't inform my works and offered me £50 for my troubles then that went up to £100 and is now £200 but still say I got to pay ...like I said I even played extra year for my child which I'm being charged for as well ..can you advise me please
Kev - 7-Sep-17 @ 10:10 AM
My ex has remarried and has a family of her own. I have full custody of my three kids. Cut a long story short, my ex now wants to take full responsibility for the children in that she wants them to go live with her. If this happens am I legally obliged to pay child support maintenance given that my ex has remarried?
Ahmad - 7-Sep-17 @ 12:18 AM
My partners son started a paid apprenticeship 21st August. CMS advised this likely means payments can stop, but would be confirmed when they get the child benefit list 1st Sep which would show he's no longer entitled to child benefit. But that payments are in arrears. We can't get through to CMS this week. How much should we pay to cover to the 21st? I'm worried if we pay the full amount we would never get back the difference.
Minty - 6-Sep-17 @ 3:53 PM
My son is 17 in full time education a levels but is working a part time job his father wants to know does he still have to pay child support
Lisa - 6-Sep-17 @ 1:04 PM
Lamps72 - Your Question:
My 17 year old son has done 12 months at college but has now left and will start a traineeship for the next 12 months with a regular wage of the national minimum wage and 36 hours a week.This is only a short term stop as he intends to join the Navy next yearHow do I stand with my payments.I made arrangements with my ex to pay her direct into her bank account after the CSA would not be continuing to collect the paymentsAny advice pleaseI will still support my son by paying him direct instead of his mother

Our Response:
If yoru son is beginning work and will be earning a wage, then you can cease payments on September 1 (the official end of the school year). This should fall in line with the ending of child benefit payments.
SeparatedDads - 5-Sep-17 @ 3:21 PM
Haze_13 - Your Question:
My partner's son is about to turn 17 and about to become a father himself, do we still have to pay maintenance for him even when he becomes a father? If he thinks he's grown up enough to be a parent he should be able to support himself surely. Thank you.

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether he remains in full-time education. If he stays in education, then your partner still has parental responsibility for him until he reaches 18. If his son decides to get a job, then child maintenance payments would stop. However, while he is still in receipt of child benefit the child maintenance payments will stay in place.
SeparatedDads - 5-Sep-17 @ 2:01 PM
Olive - Your Question:
My partners daugjter 16 yrs old is doing an apprenticeship and gets paid. Do we stop maintenance payments as we font think her mother's told cms

Our Response:
If your partner's daughter is earning money via her apprenticeship then child maintenance will stop in line with child benefit payments. Child benefit payments should stop at the end of the official school year, August 31. CMS should inform your partner that his payments will also cease.
SeparatedDads - 5-Sep-17 @ 1:38 PM
hazzy - Your Question:
Hi I'm 27 yrs still getting a maintenance 4rm my father coz am doing my last year so I want to know dat if I finish my studies dis year November I should stop getting maintenance support even I haven't get a job

Our Response:
If you are 27 years of age, you are classed as an adult and therefore any maintenance paid by your father is voluntary not mandatory.
SeparatedDads - 5-Sep-17 @ 12:35 PM
My partner's son is about to turn 17 and about to become a father himself, do we still have to pay maintenance for him even when he becomes a father? If he thinks he's grown up enough to be a parent he should be able to support himself surely. Thank you.
Haze_13 - 5-Sep-17 @ 8:28 AM
Forgot to add she has left school. Would cms know or ask her daugjter what she is doing because it's Sept and they've not told us the payments will stop due to daugjter is living away from home doing the apprenticeship
Olive - 4-Sep-17 @ 11:36 PM
My partners daugjter 16 yrs old is doing an apprenticeship and gets paid.Do we stop maintenance payments as we font think her mother's told cms
Olive - 4-Sep-17 @ 11:33 PM
hi i'm 27 yrs still getting a maintenance 4rm my father coz am doing my last year so i want to know dat if i finish my studies dis year November i should stop getting maintenance support even i haven't get a job
hazzy - 4-Sep-17 @ 9:57 PM
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