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At What Age Do Child Maintenance Payments Stop?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 25 May 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]
Nose - Your Question:
My daughter is 18 and in full time education but it stops on the 3rd June do I still need to pay for her ?

Our Response:
Once she finishes her course, then you should be eligible to finish paying at the end of the school year, August 31. If you are paying via a family-based arrangement, then you can agree between you and your ex. If you are paying via CMS/CSA. then payments will stop automatically.
SeparatedDads - 26-May-17 @ 12:29 PM
My children's dad and I separated 9 years ago. My boy lived with me and I supported them myself. Had a claim for maintenance through CSA however they never managed to get anything from him as he worked for himself which enabled him to DODGE paying. He has a bit outstanding debt for maintenance. My case has not yet been transferred to child maintenance service. Now my son is in college and has moved in with his dad. How shocked was I when I found out I had a claim against me through child maintenance service by him. £200 deducted from my salary straight away. CAD and child maintenance service do not share info until case transferred. So I suffered bringing my boys up, working hard and paying for everything myself. Now he's managed to kick me down again by doing this. Where is the fairness in this? I'm literally shocked. We probably have an unusual case. 2 agencies migrating and child in question moves from one to the other. Child maintenance service don't care and are not interested. CSA feel my pain but can do nothing. I'm obviously an easy target and a mug!
Sara - 25-May-17 @ 10:08 PM
My daughter is 18 and in full time education but it stops on the 3rd June do I still need to pay for her ?
Nose - 25-May-17 @ 7:04 PM
Nick - Your Question:
My partner's daughter is 18 and we believe she has dropped out of college. We asked for an attendance record, which her mum provided. Her attendance was about 30%.However her Mum is now refusing to provide any evidence she is still at college and has said she is going back to 6th form, even though she will be 19 in October. If she dropped out but then goes back to education, is he still liable if there was a gap. We believe she is just using his maintenance to go out drinking, and not to support her in the correct way.

Our Response:
As long as your partner's ex wife is still in receipt of child benefit for his daughter, then he will be eligible to pay child maintenance until his daughter leaves full-time education, i.e when she finishes the course, or turns 20. At 20, child benefit will then stop automatically regardless of whether the child is in full-time education or not. Therefore, child maintenance will also cease.
SeparatedDads - 25-May-17 @ 11:16 AM
My partner's daughter is 18 and we believe she has dropped out of college. We asked for an attendance record, which her mum provided. Her attendance was about 30%.However her Mum is now refusing to provide any evidence she is still at college and has said she is going back to 6th form, even though she will be 19 in October. If she dropped out but then goes back to education, is he still liable if there was a gap. We believe she is just using his maintenance to go out drinking, and not to support her in the correct way.
Nick - 24-May-17 @ 7:59 PM
C - Your Question:
Hi,I'm a student and have been offered a place to study at Oxford University next year. My parents are divorced and I live with my mum and my stepdad. As my stepdad has relatively high earnings and is the sole earner in our household, I'm struggling to get the money together for my living expenses at uni, as the loan for living expenses is based off household income (so I get the minimum amount) and my stepdad has made it clear he will not be giving me any money towards uni. My household income also excludes me from any type of bursary, most of which I'd be eligible for based off my parental income.My dad has also told me he cannot afford to contribute anything towards my living costs at university and in all fairness he has a fair bit of debt and an average income.Do you think I'd be eligible for a child maintenance extension or is there a way to have my loan based off my parental income?Thanks

Our Response:
Your parent claiming child maintenance may be able to take the matter to court and request an extension if there is an existing child maintenance court order in place. Your receiving parent also may wish to speak directly to Child Maintenance Service who may be able to advise as extensions can and do exist. Otherwise, I can only suggest seeking advice directly from the univesity financial support department, as they are very good at giving constructive guidance. You can also see more via the savethestudent link here. While you are in a tricky situation, you are not on your own as there are many students in the same position, it unfotunately goes with the territory. God luck - what an opportunity, we hope you get there and manage to sort out your financial situation.
SeparatedDads - 19-May-17 @ 11:29 AM
Hi, I'm a student and have been offered a place to study at Oxford University next year. My parents are divorced and I live with my mum and my stepdad. As my stepdad has relatively high earnings and is the sole earner in our household, I'm struggling to get the money together for my living expenses at uni, as the loan for living expenses is based off household income (so I get the minimum amount) and my stepdad has made it clear he will not be giving me any money towards uni. My household income also excludes me from any type of bursary, most of which I'd be eligible for based off my parental income. My dad has also told me he cannot afford to contribute anything towards my living costs at university and in all fairness he has a fair bit of debt and an average income. Do you think I'd be eligible for a child maintenance extension or is there a way to have my loan based off my parental income? Thanks
C - 18-May-17 @ 6:34 PM
Alig - Your Question:
I've recently found out my son who is 17,as not been going to college since January. I'm currently paying £40 a week,and have also contributed extra in past!! As my son is not doing anything,do I need to carry on paying maintenance to his mother? Understand he his supposed to be doing some form of education,and when I found out recently he had stopped I was fuming and very disappointed!! Unfortunately it all seems out of my control. Feel as if I've been taken for a fall,not only by my ex but my son. So can I stop paying???

Our Response:
You can only stop paying when child benefit is stopped, otherwise you will be liable for arrears (if paying through CMS). You may wish to find out from your child's mother if she is in receipt of child benefit still. Although, I imagine she is if your son has not officially given up college.
SeparatedDads - 17-May-17 @ 2:28 PM
grampy - Your Question:
Hi need to find out as my son is 18 this year and not stayed on 6th form also not working at all he stays at his moms house on computer all day playing games, have I got to continue paying for him !! regards

Our Response:
If the mother of your child is still in receipt of child benefit for your son, until child benefit stops you will continue paying child maintenance.
SeparatedDads - 15-May-17 @ 12:53 PM
Jabby - Your Question:
Hi need some advice I won jpint custody of my children and my ex wife kiddnapped them on a weekend she was having them to manchester and we live in south wales. She basically ignored the court orders and set up life up there. That was two years ago. Anyway through much arguing with CSA they agreed to me paying £100 per month. All ofa sudden child maintenance have told us they have calculated we now have to pay 180 pcm which is almost double. Tried talking to them but they are only taking her word for it. I am now remarried with a new child but this is forever hanging over our heads. Any advice please?

Our Response:
If you already have a case with the Child Support Agency (CSA) and it has been transferred to CMS and your circumstances have changed since you were last assessed, then so will your payments. You can check how much you should be paying via the CMS calculator here.
SeparatedDads - 15-May-17 @ 11:08 AM
hi need to find out as my son is 18 this year and not stayed on 6th form also not working at all he stays at his moms house on computer all day playing games, have I got to continue paying for him !! regards
grampy - 14-May-17 @ 10:13 PM
Hi need some advice i won jpint custody of my children and my ex wife kiddnapped them on a weekend she was having them to manchester and we live in south wales. She basically ignored the court orders and set up life up there. That was two years ago. Anyway through much arguing with CSA they agreed to me paying £100 per month. All ofa sudden child maintenance have told us they have calculated we now have to pay 180 pcm which is almost double. Tried talking to them but they are only taking her word for it. I am now remarried with a new child but this is forever hanging over our heads. Any advice please?
Jabby - 14-May-17 @ 8:25 AM
I've recently found out my son who is 17,as not been going to college since January. I'm currently paying£40 a week,and have also contributed extra in past!! As my son is not doing anything,do I need to carry on paying maintenance to his mother? Understand he his supposed to be doing some form of education,and when I found out recently he had stopped I was fuming and very disappointed!! Unfortunately it all seems out of my control. Feel as if I've been taken for a fall,not only by my ex but my son. So can I stop paying???
Alig - 13-May-17 @ 1:39 PM
Markus - Your Question:
I have 3 boys and 2 of them have left school and are both working, my younger son is now 20 past -am still paying the amount I was told to by the csa to him directly. My son has been in full time education, he is at university but still lives with his mum- he works part time - Mum is now back working full time and hes in to his third year at university - Am just wondering what age I have to keep paying this for in Scotland ?

Our Response:
The laws are slightly different in Scotland, as applications to the court for an order that one parent pay a child’s university expenses are accepted. If this is the case, it would last until he leaves university.
SeparatedDads - 12-May-17 @ 12:54 PM
I have 3 boys and 2 of themhave left school and are both working, my younger son is now 20 past -am still paying the amount i was told to by the csa to him directly. My son has been in full time education, he is at university but still lives with his mum- he works part time - Mum is now back working full time and hes in to his third year at university - Am just wondering what age i have to keep paying this for in Scotland ?
Markus - 12-May-17 @ 1:18 AM
Tjh68 - Your Question:
Hi all. I have daft question which I hope someone can help me with.My daughter is currently 15 and walked out of school in January 2017 and never returned. Now if she turns 16 at the end of May. When do payments stop as it's highly unlikely she would do any form of education in september

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether the resident parent is still in receipt of child benefit for your daughter, please see link here. Child benefit coincides with child maintenance payments i.e when child benefit stops, so does child maintenance. By law, your daughter has to find work or remain in full-time education. Therefore, the process can be tricky if she refuses to carry out either, meaning the LEA can take action against both parents if your daughter continues to refuse. This also means the lines of whether a parent should pay child maintenance also become blurred. Therefore, you may wish to contact CMS drectly to see what its approach to this sort of issue is.
SeparatedDads - 11-May-17 @ 12:39 PM
Hi all. I have daft question which I hope someone can help me with. My daughter is currently 15 and walked out of school in January 2017 and never returned. Now if she turns 16 at the end of May. When do payments stop as it's highly unlikely she would do any form of education in september
Tjh68 - 10-May-17 @ 6:39 PM
@Matty - you do not have to pay child maintenance for your daughter if she is living away from home and in work. Your ex is having you over mate!
Joe - 10-May-17 @ 12:57 PM
My Daughter who is now 17 is no longer in any type of education. She has started working full time and lives with her boyfriend most of the week. I'm still paying her mother maintenance every month. My question is do I have to? Could I pay my daughter directly until she's 18 just to help her out. I feel my money isn't benifiting my daughter at all. In fact I know she's not getting any of it. Many thanks
Matty - 10-May-17 @ 7:36 AM
Matty - Your Question:
My Daughter who is now 17 is no longer in any type of education. She has started working full time and lives with her boyfriend most of the week. I'm still paying her mother maintenance every month. My question is do I have to? Could I pay my daughter directly until she's 18 just to help her out. I feel my money isn't benifiting my daughter at all. In fact I know she's not getting any of it. Many thanks

Our Response:
You do not have to pay the mother child maintenance if your daughter has turned 16, is earning a wage and officially living away from home.
SeparatedDads - 9-May-17 @ 1:54 PM
My Daughter who is now 17 is no longer in any type of education. She has started working full time and lives with her boyfriend most of the week. I'm still paying her mother maintenance every month. My question is do I have to? Could I pay my daughter directly until she's 18 just to help her out. I feel my money isn't benifiting my daughter at all. In fact I know she's not getting any of it. Many thanks
Matty - 9-May-17 @ 10:30 AM
TC - Your Question:
So I've paid my sons maintenance his whole life through a private arrangement with his mum via bank transfer (in Scotland) , however he is now turning 18. He is in education he tells me but looking for a job he also tells me, most of the time when I speak to him (4-5 times per week) he's not been at college that day, doesn't like college and wants to get work but tells me recently he's gonna keep going to college but wants to work too. My problem is that I have no way of knowing other than my son and his mothers word if he is still going to be receiving child benefit as the info he and his mum give me is spotty at best. So is there a way I would be able to find out if she is receiving child benefit without the need to rely on the word of his mum? Babe no issue paying but just wanna know where I stand. Thanks

Our Response:
When he officially leaves college, then his child benefit should automatically stop, please see link here. If you have parental responsibility, you could write to the DWP and request to be informed when his child benefit ceases for child maintenance purposes. Alternatively, you could request a solicitor writes a letter asking your ex to inform you when it does (as any child maintenance paid beyond this point you would expect to be reimbursed).
SeparatedDads - 9-May-17 @ 9:49 AM
So I've paid my sons maintenance his whole life through a private arrangement with his mum via bank transfer (in Scotland) , however he is now turning 18. He is in education he tells me but looking for a job he also tells me, most of the time when I speak to him (4-5 times per week) he's not been at college that day, doesn't like college and wants to get work but tells me recently he's gonna keep going to college but wants to work too. My problem is that I have no way of knowing other than my son and his mothers word if he is still going to be receiving child benefit as the info he and his mum give me is spotty at best. So is there a way I would be able to find out if she is receiving child benefit without the need to rely on the word of his mum? Babe no issue paying but just wanna know where I stand. Thanks
TC - 8-May-17 @ 8:00 AM
Hi my daughter is 17 and lives in Wales and has been on some sort of mechaniccollege course, (no qualification or paperwork)since leaving school, where they have been paying her £30 a week to turn up! Now she has packed this in and works for argos 15 hours a week. I have been paying maintenance to her mother throughout and I still am. Ihaven't been contacted at any point by CSA to say child benefit has stopped andthe maintenance is reduced(my other daughter is 16). My ex-wife dies not communicate any details at all and is a compulsive liar. Where do I stand?
Joe - 4-May-17 @ 9:07 PM
Dita - Your Question:
Dear separatedads, thank you very much for your reply, I was just wondering if you can help me to clarify last thing. My step-daughter turned 18 in April and finishes her A-levels this summer, thus it is my understanding we shall stop paying Child Maintenance on 31st August (last payment in July).- Gov.uk says (between the age of 16 and 20, if the child is enrolled full-time in school (more than 12 hours per week and the course is up to and including A level), child maintenance for the child must be paid)QUESTION: if my step-daughter decides to go to the college (after she already achieved A-level) and takes a course which would be considered non-advance education (e.g. NVQ Level 3 or BTEC), does it mean we still need to continue to pay child maintenance until her 20th birthday? Thank you very much

Our Response:
Courses are not approved if paid for by an employer or ‘advanced’, eg a university degree or BTEC Higher National Certificate and therefore both child benefit and child maintenance is stopped at this level. However, a primary carer can apply to court for additional 'tertiary' education maintenance (meaning education for people above school age, including college, university, and vocational courses) if the primary carer feels the child is in financial need.
SeparatedDads - 3-May-17 @ 2:13 PM
dear separatedads, thank you very much for your reply, I was just wondering if you can help me to clarify last thing. My step-daughter turned 18 in April and finishes her A-levels this summer, thus it is my understanding we shall stop paying Child Maintenance on 31st August (last payment in July). - Gov.uk says (between the age of 16 and 20, if the child is enrolled full-time in school (more than 12 hours per week and the course is up to and including A level), child maintenance for the child must be paid) QUESTION: if my step-daughter decides to go to the college (after she already achieved A-level) and takes a course which would be considered non-advance education (e.g. NVQ Level 3 or BTEC), does it mean we still need to continue to pay child maintenance until her 20th birthday? Thank you very much
Dita - 29-Apr-17 @ 3:40 PM
Can a child with aspergers say jump from one college course to another between the ages of 18 and 20 and still expect to receive Maintenance payments?It says in the literature A level or equivalent. Can someone define this please
Punchster - 28-Apr-17 @ 5:06 PM
Dita - Your Question:
Dear all, my stepdaughter turned 18 in April, and she is finishing her A-levels in June (results as usual in August). Do we have to pay her mom after 31st August? I know we don't have to pay afterwards if she gets a job or apprenticeship or goes to uni, but I was wondering if she goes to college do we have to keep paying child support to her mom?

Our Response:
As soon as child benefit stops, then payments can cease. This is usually at the end of the school year August 31. If you pay via CMS, then you may wish to speak to the agency directly in order to gain a specific date when your payments will stop.
SeparatedDads - 26-Apr-17 @ 1:51 PM
Dear all, my stepdaughter turned 18 in April, and she is finishing her A-levels in June (results as usual in August). Do we have to pay her mom after 31st August? I know we don't have to pay afterwards if she gets a job or apprenticeshipor goes to uni, but I was wondering if she goes to college do we have to keep paying child support to her mom?
Dita - 25-Apr-17 @ 6:13 PM
Tweety - Your Question:
Hi my daughter turns 16 this year and wants to change surname from mine to her mothers married name. How do I stand on maintenance payments im completely fine on paying just wanted to know where I legally stand on this.

Our Response:
The fact your daughter wishes to change her name has no relevance upon the fact you are her biological father and therefore you will continue to pay. Only if your child was legally adopted by a step-parent, for instance, would you be resolved of being eligible to pay child maintenance.
SeparatedDads - 24-Apr-17 @ 9:42 AM
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