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At What Age Do Child Maintenance Payments Stop?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 12 Jul 2020 | 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]
I've been paying my ex wife maitenance and now my son who is nineteen has finished his three year college course and the c s a has sent me a letter saying I have to pay till Sept 2021 surely this can't be right
Nobby - 12-Jul-20 @ 5:31 AM
I had a court order to pay for my son until he reached the age of 19 or left full time education, which ever came first. I have always paid for the last 11 years and actually have paid more than the required amount. Unfortunately I have been made redundant with the COVID and will have no salary. My son will be 18 at this stage. I want o pay my way but with no salary it is not going to be easy. Can I stop paying for him since I will no longer have a salary or can I be forced to pay from my savings?
JB77 - 11-Jul-20 @ 3:25 PM
Hi, I could really do with some advice please. My Son has just finished his A levels and planning to go to University which I believe he is being pressured into as previously told he wants to do an apprenticeship. Hi Mother has told me I have to pay maintenance until he is 20. Firstly she said I have to pay it to her then she told me I can pay it directly to him. If this is the law and I have to pay do I have to pay what I have paid his Mother since he was 3 when we divorced. I understand and respect if this is what I have to pay. I would help him financially every now and then if he needed it but see this as an adult decision with adult responsibity and stand on his own 2 feet like I had to do. I hope that doesn't come across harsh. Thank you
Charlie - 10-Jul-20 @ 4:29 PM
Do I still have to pay maintenance to my 19 year old son who is autistic, when he is not in any type of education and us not working and is living with his mum in the marital home
Scunnyspur - 4-Jul-20 @ 7:50 PM
I have two children aged 18 and 21,both living at home and in full time education.My eldest daughter left college for a year when she was 18 and she got a part time job while deciding on another college course,While she was out of college her father paid no maintenance.She has been in full time education since then.He continues to cease paining maintenance for her during college holidays as she has a part time job in the retail sector.He recently told me he will no longer be paying maintenance for her as her sister will start college in September.Please advise me as to what my children are entitled to.
m - 23-Jun-20 @ 11:31 AM
My son is 19 in November, he has just finished college doing a city and guilds in a cooking course,he has just let me know that he intends to do another third year,do I still have to continue to pay child maintenance during this third year, Thanks
Mr g - 22-Jun-20 @ 6:25 PM
Hi my 19 year old special needs son is due to finish education in July 2020.....Would his dad need to stop paying then or in August 2020
Meem - 18-Jun-20 @ 1:26 PM
My son turns 20 on 2nd July 2020. Do I continue to pay child maintenance beyond that date?
Godfrey - 18-Jun-20 @ 8:45 AM
Hi, I pay maintenance for my son who is now 16. I have read that child benefit normally stops on 31st August after his 16th Birthday that’s if he is not studying. I have been informed by mutual friends that he hasn’t been attended any classes but I’m still making maintenance payments. Can I stop payment and find legal Advice to ask for Attendance records before continuing paying. I don’t have any contact with my son and never have. I only found out he was my son when he was 3years old. never been a relationship there between me and him or myself and his mother so I have no way of asking her for any prof. Many thanks for any advice Sam
Samba - 13-Jun-20 @ 6:05 AM
My son is 16 but doesn't go to school he is supposedly being home schooled since last year does this effect payment? This is not related to corona virus.
Firepit - 5-Jun-20 @ 8:33 AM
Hi my son is 16 and I’ve paid every month since he was born to his mother. When can I legally stop paying her and pay direct to my son instead? He’s planning on going into 5th year at school so I understand I still have to pay but would rather the money went direct to him rather than her. Thanks
Brian - 3-Jun-20 @ 2:27 PM
Hi All My daughter turned 18 in Feb 2020 and is about to finish her A levels. She has no plans to go to university and is researching colleague courses/apprenticeships for September. Can I stop paying her mum after 18 years of doing so
CROLL - 1-Jun-20 @ 4:38 PM
Anyone know if a daughter leaves her mothers home to live with her sister she has one year left at school but maintenance is still being paid to the mother. Can anyone give any advice please.do I keep paying??
Wright - 28-May-20 @ 3:34 PM
My son who was 18 in February has decided to go back to college to continue his A-levels after having over a year off. I have recently separated from my ex and he is now asking for child support even though my son has been earning his own money for the last year. I already pay £340 a month for my youngest son who is 13. Do I have to start paying for my 18 year old? My ex also gets child benefit and claims tax credits.
Hayleyj - 19-May-20 @ 11:46 AM
Hi, Im paying maintenance for my son who is in higher education, but now also working, do I still have to pay maintenance?
Ian - 17-May-20 @ 12:47 PM
My son is 17 in full time education and his mum earns over 50k so not entitled to child benefit. Do I still need to pay maintenance?
Razor76 - 13-May-20 @ 6:57 AM
@jack.after reading your post .i myself don’t no if my daughter is in school and if she has her own baby now .(i have never been apart of her life) .but if she has her own baby now (good luck them) .as you want advice on whether you should be paying child support I can’t give you any (I have never paid support) .(but on the off chance her mother reads this )my advice to her is don’t ever come me even if I am (70 years old) .i have seen her around my place in the past that is very foolish her behalf .(truth is I am not like the others guys or women that she dates )in my world she wronged me and I want vengeance and always will she only got a pass because off( my daughter) so she better not take my (kindness for weakness ).because (gods truth I planned on killing this women for my honour)it was only the thought of my daughter been without parents for the rest off her life and her been in foster care that stop me (I swear the on the bible ).but truth is now my daughter (grown up )and if I seen her mother now I wouldn’t kill her gods truth .(so if see does read this take what I say a serous this is no laughable matter ).
Chris - 3-May-20 @ 11:03 PM
@jack.after reading your post .i myself don’t no if my daughter is in school and if she has her own baby now .(i have never been apart of her life) .but if she has her own baby now (good luck them) .as you want advice on whether you should be paying child support I can’t give you any (I have never paid support) .(but on the off chance her mother reads this )my advice to her is don’t ever come me even if I am (70 years old) .i have seen her around my place in the past that is very foolish her behalf .(truth is I am not like the others guys or women that she dates )in my world she wronged me and I want vengeance and always will she only got a pass because off( my daughter) so she better not take my (kindness for weakness ).because (gods truth I planned on killing this women for my honour)it was only the thought of my daughter been without parents for the rest off her life and her been in foster care that stop me (I swear the on the bible ).but truth is now my daughter (grown up )and if I seen her mother now I wouldn’t kill her gods truth .(so if see does read this take what I say a serous this is no laughable matter ).
Chris - 3-May-20 @ 10:35 PM
Hi guys could anyone shed some light on my complicated situation, My daughter is 15 I’ve always payed Child support ,but last year she stopped going to school so sheS not had any education the last 1.1/2 years plus she has a baby girl now herself . So she’s living with my ex Partner not going to school bringing up her own little baby daughter her mother is claiming child tax credit for the little baby & child benefit because my daughter is only 15 she’s to young to claim for her own child. Should I still be paying child support for her even through all this.Any advice would be greatly appreciated thanks
Jack - 1-May-20 @ 6:51 PM
My daughter turned 18 in March, I have paid her mother maintenance for 10yrs. I know she started college and has got some kind of placement apprenticeship? In a drama school in London when do I stop my payments??
Wonder 65 - 1-May-20 @ 9:52 AM
I’ve always paid maintenance for my 3 beautiful children, it’s never been a problem for me. I have a good relationship with my sons, they are both working now and are over 19. My daughter is 16 and is now on a 3 year college course. I pay 15% of my salary, like I said not an issue for me. But unfortunately I never see my daughter it breaks my heart sometimes. She lives about 30 miles away (they all moved 12 years ago) I’ve probably seen her 4 times in the last 3 years. She doesn’t answer text or phone (I try a lot to contact her. She has a boyfriend now which is fine, I’ve met him he’s a nice lad, Because of the distance our relationship never blossomed like a normal one would have. Since they moved away it’s been difficult I drive there every weekend to see my boys, but she never wants to join us. The x wife just says she can make her own decisions about who and when she sees me. It’s very hard to be ignored every time I try to invite her along. We have done some shopping trips, birthdays and Xmas. It always involves spending money, where my sons will see me in the normal sense and stay over. Does anybody else have this experience and does anyone have any ideas of who I could improve my relationship with my daughter??
Blue - 30-Apr-20 @ 6:20 AM
I’ve always paid maintenance for my 3 beautiful children, it’s never been a problem for me. I have a good relationship with my sons, they are both working now and are over 19. My daughter is 16 and is now on a 3 year college course. I pay 15% of my salary, like I said not an issue for me. But unfortunately I never see my daughter it breaks my heart sometimes. She lives about 30 miles away (they all moved 12 years ago) I’ve probably seen her 4 times in the last 3 years. She doesn’t answer text or phone (I try a lot to contact her. She has a boyfriend now which is fine, I’ve met him he’s a nice lad, Because of the distance our relationship never blossomed like a normal one would have. Since they moved away it’s been difficult I drive there every weekend to see my boys, but she never wants to join us. The x wife just says she can make her own decisions about who and when she sees me. It’s very hard to be ignored every time I try to invite her along. We have done some shopping trips, birthdays and Xmas. It always involves spending money, where my sons will see me in the normal sense and stay over. Does anybody else have this experience and does anyone have any ideas of who I could improve my relationship with my daughter??
Blue - 30-Apr-20 @ 6:06 AM
My daughter is just finishing her level 2. At collage. Hoping to go onto level 3. She dose 3 day's aweek. Do i have to still pay maintenance for her. She will be 18 this year.
Leigh - 26-Apr-20 @ 7:52 PM
My son is 16doing a level 2, 3 days a week.Do I still pay maintenance???
Nic - 25-Apr-20 @ 7:18 AM
My daughter is just finishing her level 2. At collage. Hoping to get on to level 3. She dose 3 day's aweek. Do i have to still pay maintenance for her. She will be 18 this year.
Badger - 21-Apr-20 @ 5:20 PM
When or if my child decides to leave the mother's home to further education am. I right in saying I pay my child the maintenance and not the mother?
Hazza123 - 15-Apr-20 @ 9:05 AM
Hi. My oldest son is 18 and was meant to be until June however due to the corunavirus he wont be going back to college. Does this meen I dont have to pay csa for my son anymore
Jimmymel - 10-Apr-20 @ 12:01 PM
Hi, so my partner has his children through the covid 19 pandemic and we usually have them 2 nights a weeks and we pay 309.00 per month. However since c19 we have been having them 3 ti 4 nights a week. My question is, should we still be paying her 309.00 per month if it's now nearly 50 / 50? because I dont think we should. Also she is extremely controlling and difficult and has lied to the CSA last year when the new arrangements started. She said they started kn july the 2 nights a week and they didnt, they only started in September when the kids went back to school. We had them FULL TIME OVER SUMMER and CSA did nothing! and made us back pay it all because we didnt have PROOF. since then I have logged all dates down but if my partner contacts CSA and explains we are having them more now, will they listen and take him on as she lies.
deb - 10-Apr-20 @ 8:38 AM
Hi, I've been struggling to find information about whether I can still claim child maintenance fees from my "dad" who went abroad before an agreement was made and hasn't sent fees since. I'm currently 19 but I did further education till 18 and a few months later my mum passed and the only money I have is her will money. However my dad finally came back in contact with me and I have not forgiven him cause he used to beat my mum whilst she still had me and threw my money out before I was born. I think he still had to pay for my brother and sisters as there were 6 of us. Anyway I want to know if I can still claim or get money out from him
HarryR - 10-Apr-20 @ 7:16 AM
@colzer.well you are a better men then me .i guess in your eyes I’m the lowest off society you have a right to your opinion.you sound like the mother off my daughter and we will get nowhere just go around in circles back and forth.so it’s better to walk away and move on .for the record I don’t care what they do as a family just as long as her new husband is (paying) for the fish and chips because he was the one who took on the responsibility off the child when he took the mother on poor bastard.so it’s he’s responsibility.i just hang out with the other lowlifes off society and a party lowlife style .peace and god bless .
Chris - 5-Apr-20 @ 8:14 PM
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