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At What Age Do Child Maintenance Payments Stop?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 19 Sep 2018 | 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 have paid maintenance for my son (now aged 18) for the last 16 years. My son left full time education in May and undertook his A levels finishing on the 12th June. I continued to pay maintenance until the 31st May but my ex is requesting (via court) further payment until the 31st August. My son has not gone to university and is now working. We have a voluntary court order for maintenance, not paid via CMS or CSA. The judge at our first hearing could not reach a conclusion and has asked to more information to support our position. I think as my son has not been in full time education (i.e. over 12 hours in a tutor based environment) since leaving school on the 25th May I should not pay for a further three months. Any clarification would be much appreciated. Many thanks
Big Jim - 19-Sep-18 @ 4:43 PM
pb - Your Question:
My son is 16 but in last year of school do I still need to carry on paying

Our Response:
Yes, you would need to continue paying until your child's other parent is no longer eligible to receive child benefit, please see the link here .
SeparatedDads - 18-Sep-18 @ 12:24 PM
beanie - Your Question:
I separated from my ex when our twins were 1 year old, from then on he had paid £80 per month for both boys until now, they have just turned 18 years old , I did get child tax credit for them but now its stopped, I never said I received the £80 because it was £10 pocket money for each of them, now I don't receive anything for them even though they still live at home, Should I speak to csa about it ???

Our Response:
Child maintenance payments stop when child benefit payments do. If you are still in receipt of child benefit for your sons then you can claim child maintenance from your sons' other parent.
SeparatedDads - 17-Sep-18 @ 3:12 PM
my son is 16 but in last year of school do I still need to carry on paying
pb - 17-Sep-18 @ 8:48 AM
I separated from my ex when our twins were 1 year old, from then on he had paid £80 per month for both boys until now, they have just turned 18 years old ,I did get child tax credit for them but now its stopped,I never said I received the £80 because it was £10 pocket money for each of them,now I don't receive anything for them even though they still live at home, Should I speak to csa about it ???
beanie - 16-Sep-18 @ 9:09 PM
Sunshine - Your Question:
My son turns 17 this December, & unfortunately I don’t have any contact with him or his sister. I have been told by family friends, that they are both being home educated by their mother? Which I find hard to believe, but you never know!How can I find out if this is actually happening?And will this affect the monthly child maintenance payment?

Our Response:
Being home-educated will not affect the monthly child maintenance payment. You will pay child maintenance as long as your children's mother is eligible to receive child benefit. Once child benefit stops then child maintenance payments will also end.
SeparatedDads - 13-Sep-18 @ 3:35 PM
Johnny Cash - Your Question:
My Daughter has left full time education, has just turned 18 and is attending college around 3 days per week. Do I have to continue paying her Mum maintenance. I'm unsure if her Mum still reveives benefits. We live in Scotland. I believe I need to continue with support direct to my daughter if I cease paying directly to her Mum.Can you clarify please?

Our Response:
When 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). Please see the link here . Child maintenance payments stop when eligibility to child benefit payments do.
SeparatedDads - 13-Sep-18 @ 12:02 PM
@sunshine .home schooled is that actually still around ?.i no rural families that send there children to the city for education .i don't have any contract with my daughter i would spit chips if my x was home schooling my daughter we be going to[ straight to court] and i will[ win ].my daughter be sent to a normal school with a real teacher .not raised and home schooled like the manson family .
chris - 12-Sep-18 @ 6:44 PM
My son turns 17 this December, & unfortunately I don’t have any contact with him or his sister. I have been told by family friends, that they are both being home educated by their mother? Which I find hard to believe, but you never know! How can I find out if this is actually happening? And will this affect the monthly child maintenance payment?
Sunshine - 11-Sep-18 @ 10:00 PM
My Daughter has left full time education, has just turned 18 and is attending college around 3 days per week. Do I have to continue paying her Mum maintenance. I'm unsure if her Mum still reveives benefits. We live in Scotland. I believe I need to continue with support direct to my daughter if I cease paying directly to her Mum. Can you clarify please?
Johnny Cash - 11-Sep-18 @ 5:29 PM
Twirl - Your Question:
My daughter starts uni the end of September but will still be living at home, does maintence stop?

Our Response:
Yes, child maintenance stops when child benefit does. When your child leaves approved education or training (after A-Levels or the equivalent) both payments will stop at the end of February, 31 May, 31 August or 30 November (whichever comes first). If you feel that your child's other parent should still be supporting your daughter, you would have to make an application to court. In which case, you may wish to seek legal advice.
SeparatedDads - 11-Sep-18 @ 10:01 AM
My daughter starts uni the end of September but will still be living at home, does maintence stop?
Twirl - 10-Sep-18 @ 12:27 PM
My son is 18 on 23/9 but at college full time( 3 days a week) studying to be a chef and will start his 2nd year next week, am I correct in saying his father need to continue paying maintenance? Let me know ASAP Many thanks Emma Jones
Emmsy - 7-Sep-18 @ 2:06 PM
My husband has been paying a standing order arrangement to the CSA for 20 years - each month an amount is taken by SO.The child was 20 in June 2018.We have never seen the child. He and his mother have lived in the middle east for 14 years.We have no idea whether he works or is in education.Should my husband still be having to pay each month ?
Confused.com - 3-Sep-18 @ 11:11 PM
My daughter has just finished her first year at colledge and isnt going back..she is now starting work at twenty hours a week..she is allso redoing her maths exam for three hours a week max for the rest of the year..i pay my ex an agreed amount between us and i am unsure as of when i can stop paying my maintainance payments ....any help would be great .....
Daza - 3-Sep-18 @ 5:37 PM
T Bone - Your Question:
I pay my ex 750 a month, private agreement but agreed in the form of a court approved consent order, my oldest starts college next week and my ex has started complaining her tax credits are reducing and as a result wants me to increase my payments. Is this in line with policy or are the reduced tax credits deemed because the child has hit earning age ? I can’t afford to increase and quite frankly don’t feel I should have to

Our Response:
Your ex's tax credits shouldn't concern you, as this has nothing to do with the amount of child maintenance you would pay. You pay child maintenance based upon your own earnings and income not your ex's. Child Tax Credit usually stops on 31 August after your child turns 16 but can continue for children under 20 in approved education, training or registered with a careers service. You can see more via the link here. If your daughter is not in approved education and training and both tax credits and child benefit stops, then child maintenance payments will also cease.
SeparatedDads - 3-Sep-18 @ 2:45 PM
Ally - Your Question:
My son left school at 16 and went to collage last sep doing an a level course but gave up after 2 months. After 3 months sitting round he started work in March which was a work experience job paid for by the collage. He has now ended a few weeks ago and wants to go back to collage to do a levels once again. As part of my divorce I agr ed to pay child support till he was 17 or left full time education.Do I have to start paying again now he wants to go back to education or can I support him directly. ??My ex wants her to have it directly ! Thanks

Our Response:
If the resident parent of your son (your ex) is still eligible to receive child benefit for your child, then as child benefit and child maintenance go hand-in-hand you would have to continue to pay. Please see the link here for more information.
SeparatedDads - 3-Sep-18 @ 1:40 PM
Mazda - Your Question:
How do I find out if my daughter is going to college( as we don’t speak).as I would like to find out if I still have to pay child maintenance.

Our Response:
If your daughter is not in government approved further education or training, then child benefit eligibility will stop, at which time so will child maintenance payments automatically (if you pay via CMS).
SeparatedDads - 3-Sep-18 @ 11:25 AM
Photorock - Your Question:
My daughter is starting college tomorrow and is 18. I understand I have to pay maintenance to my ex until she is 20 while at college. She is planning to set up home with her bf this October. Do I still have to pay my Ex maintenance until daughter reaches 20?

Our Response:
You will have to pay child maintenance while your ex is still in receipt of child benefit for your daughter. Once this stops, so will child maintenance payments. You might wish to check with CMS.
SeparatedDads - 3-Sep-18 @ 11:23 AM
My son left school at 16 and went to collage last sepdoing an a level course but gave up after 2 months . After 3 months sitting round he started work in March which was a work experience job paid for by the collage . He has now ended a few weeks agoand wants to go back to collage to do a levels once again. As part of my divorce I agr ed to pay child support till he was 17 or left full time education . Do I have to start paying again now he wants to go back to education or can I support him directly. ?? My ex wants her to have it directly ! Thanks
Ally - 2-Sep-18 @ 10:26 PM
My daughter is starting college tomorrow and is 18. I understand I have to pay maintenance to my ex until she is 20 while at college. She is planning to set up home with her bf this October. Do I still have to pay my Ex maintenance until daughter reaches 20?
Photorock - 2-Sep-18 @ 10:47 AM
@mazda.well this is not the official way but just stop paying close down the bank account .you soon find out cut off the funds you will get some kind of communication csa or heaven forbid your daughter might actually talk to you .i am in same boat my daughter doesn’t talk to meall the dads today been Father’s Day are waking up to new socks and jocks and gift cards So I went out and bought my own sock and jocks and payed a neighbor hood girl to act like my daughter and give them to me .
Bt 50 - 1-Sep-18 @ 9:59 PM
How do I find out if my daughter is going to college( as we don’t speak)..as I would like to find out if i still have to pay child maintenance .
Mazda - 1-Sep-18 @ 7:42 PM
I pay my ex 750 a month, private agreement but agreed in the form of a court approved consent order, my oldest starts college next week and my ex has started complaining her tax credits are reducing and as a result wants me to increase my payments. Is this in line with policy or are the reduced tax credits deemed because the child has hit earning age ? I can’t afford to increase and quite frankly don’t feel I should have to
T Bone - 31-Aug-18 @ 7:16 AM
Hi my daughter is staying in full time education and has now got a part time job. Does her dad still have to pay maintenance for her even though shes got a part time job? Many thanks
Lisaf - 26-Aug-18 @ 1:02 PM
Hi, My partners daughter is coming up to 16 He is currently paying £650 a month for her in maintiance We really cannot afford this anymore, we have no food and are close to losing our house. He has spoken to cma but they have no interest. I don't know anybody paying this amount, he doesn't earn that much. He doesn't see his daughter though no fault of his own. How can we tell if she says on education as I know her mother will lie to keep the money
Hol - 24-Aug-18 @ 9:52 AM
My daughter turned 16 in March 2018. She starts her A-levels in September and then looking to go to uni. She lives at my house or my mum and dads house 5 days a week but I still pay my ex money. Can I stop paying my ex and go after her for money?
B - 23-Aug-18 @ 8:45 AM
Hi, I have had no contact with my child for the last 5 years despite court order. I have been paying CM throughout. However, my child is now 16 and I don’t know if she is staying on at school or working/doing an apprenticeship. Is there any way I can check whether she still receives child benefit independently? I don’t have my ex wife’s address or tel number and she has a history of not being truthful about her circumstances anyway. Any advice?
DinH - 20-Aug-18 @ 4:34 AM
My step son has left school at age 17 (18 in Nov) he's is working part time and will start university on the 1st September BEng with hons. Will my husband still have to pay child maintenance for him or is this classed as higher education? TiA
Missyo - 18-Aug-18 @ 1:10 PM
Burrow - Your Question:
Hi there. My son is now 18. He is at a military preparation college as he wants to join the army. Does any one know when his csa payments will stop?

Our Response:
As a rule, when 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). However, you may have to pay child maintenance for an extended period (20 weeks) if your child leaves approved education or training and signs up to join the armed forces.
SeparatedDads - 17-Aug-18 @ 2:55 PM
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