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At What Age Do Child Maintenance Payments Stop?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 30 Mar 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]
Hi I pay maintenance to my ex partner, never married or resided with her, I have an agreement that I pay her monthly and have since my daughter was born , she will be 18 in a few months and has got a place at university , so do I still need to pay maintenance for her to my ex partner or can I stop , I'd rather give this to my daughter directly if that's an option to, thanks
Gazzahfc - 30-Mar-17 @ 1:25 AM
Trish - Your Question:
Hi, my ex has paid maintenance for our 3 girls by our own arrangement since we separated and eventually divorced 14 yrs ago. He paid it for the eldest two until they left college but is now saying college is a waste of time for our 16 yr old and the £27 per week will stop in August. He says she has to get an apprenticeship instead. She has got an accepted place at college and doesn't want to do an apprenticeship as she has struggled with maths and can continue it at college as I believe is now the law, alongside her chosen course. He is saying I should pay for a private tutor and then arrange for an exam. Our middle daughter did her maths at college. I think he is being unreasonable and stopping the payments will mean I can't use it for her travel expenses.I am struggling as it is. If I apply for it though Child Maintenance will they decide an amount and maybe send him an arrears bill ? I don't want that to happen, I just want him to pay as he did for the other two until she leaves college. I will still be able to claim child benefit for her as I know this is relevant to claiming maintenance. Thanks.

Our Response:
CMS will not send an arrears bill to your ex if you make a new claim. You cannot claim retrospectively (a claim only starts from the date you register). However, if you make a claim CMS will assess how much your ex should pay calculated on his taxable earnings. By law, your ex has to continue paying until your child leaves full-time further education - therefore, he has no rights to threaten to stop paying. If he does, you have a right to apply via CMS and payments will be reinstated.
SeparatedDads - 29-Mar-17 @ 11:53 AM
Hi, my ex has paid maintenance for our 3 girls by our own arrangement since we separated and eventually divorced 14 yrs ago. He paid it for the eldest two until they left college but is now saying college is a waste of time for our 16 yr old and the £27 per week will stop in August. He says she has to get an apprenticeship instead . She has got an accepted place at college and doesn't want to do an apprenticeship as she has struggled with maths and can continue it at college as I believe is now the law, alongside her chosen course. He is saying I should pay for a private tutor and then arrange for an exam. Our middle daughter did her maths at college. I think he is being unreasonable and stopping the payments will mean I can't use it for her travel expenses.I am struggling as it is. If I apply for it though Child Maintenance will they decide an amount and maybe send him an arrears bill ? I don't want that to happen, I just want him to pay as he did for the other two until she leaves college. I will still be able to claim child benefit for her as I know this is relevant to claiming maintenance. Thanks.
Trish - 28-Mar-17 @ 6:13 PM
SeperatedDads, I thank you again.I shall certainly do that.I know that it is indeed tricky and also aware that ex's DO fib here & there to get funds etc. Much appreciate this site and all of your input & advise. Kindest Regards
Georj - 28-Mar-17 @ 6:03 PM
Georj - Your Question:
Hello 'Seperateddad' and than k you so very much for responding to my query.Sadly I have no way of knowing if the twins are still in receipt of Child Benefit (or their mother)She s a very closed & secretive person & would view such a question as my prying or meddling. I only need to know whether I ought be still paying out Maintenance as they are turning 19 next week and both doing Apprenticeships & College courses. I DO know that they are definitely both being paid in their lines of work.I am not & never will fail to support them as they are my life.I merely need a way to find out if she is still entitled to the payments I have been and still am making. Thank you again kindly

Our Response:
It is always a tricky question to answer, as unless you know what courses your children are doing and whether they conform with government approved training, then it is hard to say whether you should be paying child maintenance. Some ex's can lie in order to continue their claim. I can only suggest you speak with the child maintenance agency dealing with your claim and ask directly whether your ex is still entitled to the payments and what proof she has to give in order to continue to receive payments.
SeparatedDads - 27-Mar-17 @ 12:12 PM
Hello 'Seperateddad'and than k you so very much for responding to my query. Sadly I have no way of knowing if the twins are still in receipt of Child Benefit (or their mother) She s a very closed & secretive person & would view such a question as my prying or meddling.I only need to know whether I ought be still paying out Maintenance as they are turning 19 next week and both doing Apprenticeships & College courses.I DO know that they are definitely both being paid in their lines of work. I am not & never will fail to support them as they are my life....I merely need a way to find out if she is still entitled to the payments I have been and still am making. Thank you again kindly
Georj - 26-Mar-17 @ 8:13 PM
Georj - Your Question:
Hello all.please help?? I have twins who are turning 19 at the end of this month ( March 2017) One twin is currently doing a college course ( few hours per week) and is in a paid part time job relating to the course type (I believe it's an NVQ Level Course) The other twin is also currently doing a college course ( few hours per week)and is about to be taken on doing a paid apprenticeship related to his course too. They BOTH took up their college courses as round about the ages of 16 if I'm correct I have been paying Child Support from the moment their mother took them away 7 years ago, as I love my kids deeply & would not have wanted them without. I just need to know now.am I to continue paying this £300-£500 per month via CSA of maintenance to their mother as they are 19 years old in a few weeks time. Sadly she was and still is a huge money-lover & will milk me anyway she can. Just need to know?????

Our Response:
Do you know if your chuldren are in receipt of child benefit still? If not, then child maintenance payments should stop. Child benefit will stop when your child begins an apprenticeship as the work will be paid. However, much depends upon whether your other child's course is an equivalent or above A-Level standard. if so, then payments should also stop, please see link here. When in accordance with education, child maintenance payments usually stop at the official end of the school year, Aug 31. I hope this helps answer your question.
SeparatedDads - 22-Mar-17 @ 2:16 PM
Hello all.......please help?? I have twins who are turning 19 at the end of this month ( March 2017) One twin is currently doing a college course ( few hours per week) and is in a paid part time job relating to the course type (I believe it's an NVQ Level Course) The other twin is also currently doing a college course ( few hours per week)and is about to be taken on doing a paid apprenticeship related to his course too. They BOTH took up their college courses as round about the ages of 16 if I'm correct I have been paying Child Support from the moment their mother took them away 7 years ago, as I love my kids deeply & would not have wanted them without. I just need to know now......am I to continue paying this £300-£500 per month via CSA of maintenance to their mother as they are 19 years old in a few weeks time. Sadly she was and still is a huge money-lover & will milk me anyway she can. Just need to know?????
Georj - 22-Mar-17 @ 9:46 AM
My son is 20 but still in pretty much full time education, at college. He is special needs, having had a SEN from a very young age (he is autistic). Will I need to carry on paying maintenance for him any more now he's reached 20? I do want to continue to help to support him as best I can within my means, but I have two young children also to consider. Thanks
gavinmillarrrrrrrrrr - 17-Mar-17 @ 2:31 PM
Hello all.......plese help?? I have twins who are turning 19 at the end of this month ( March 2017) One twin is currently doing a college course ( few hours per week) and is in a paid part time job relating to the course type (I believe it's an NVQ Level Course) The other twin is also currently doing a college course ( few hours per week)and is about to be taken on doing a paid apprenticeship related to his course too. They BOTH took up their college courses as round about the ages of 16 if I'm correct I have been paying Child Support from the moment their mother took them away 7 years ago, as I love my kids deeply & would not have wanted them without. I just need to know now......am I to continue paying this £300-£500 per month via CSA of maintenance to their mother as they are 19 years old in a few weeks time. Sadly she was and still is a huge money-lover & will milk me anyway she can. Just need to know?????
Georj - 16-Mar-17 @ 10:44 PM
jay - Your Question:
Hi I split with my sons dad a few years back my son is now 3 his father hasn't payed a penny for about a year and half he ardley goes down there as he says he doesn't want him so I leave it at that there can be. Few weeks where I don't even get a message from him if my sons dad sees him its from his sister. Having him would I still be entitled to child maintenance if so how much? He think he. Didn't need to provide for kayden because I am the one that gets played for him he's also on the sick and working as well witch I know this isn't aloud

Our Response:
If your ex is not earning an 'official' income i.e paying tax through the HMRC, it is very difficult to prove he is working. If he is on sick-leave and earning a wage still, then you can apply for child maintenance via CMS, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 14-Mar-17 @ 2:11 PM
Hi i split with my sons dad a few years back my son is now 3 his father hasn't payed a penny for about a year and half he ardley goes down there as he says he doesn't want him so i leave it at that there can be. Few weeks where i don't even get a message from him if my sons dad sees him its from his sister. Having him would i still be entitled to child maintenance if so how much? He think he. Didn't need to provide for kayden because I am the one that gets played for him he's also on the sick and working as well witch i know this isn't aloud
jay - 14-Mar-17 @ 12:43 AM
Hi, my CSA has gone up again, my ex wife doesn't work and never has done. We spoke with my daughter and said the extra increase in the CSA money we are going to give to her so she can spent it on herself every month as her mother gives her nothing out of the money I give her. I am still buying her clothes, she never gets money for school etc. So in affect I am still paying the full amount to the mother just giving my child the remainder. My daughter is totally happy with agreement she is 14, but the mother is not she wants it all.
Stevie - 11-Mar-17 @ 9:22 AM
Despite leaving when our son was 3 my ex evaded the then child support agency.3 years ago I found out about he was living with a woman with 2 children and having another child with her and the child maintenance services were finally about to catch up with him.My son is now 18 and in full time education.He is disabled and I stopped claiming child benefit last year and claimed Employment support allowance instead in his own right as he is unable to work.I was under the impression that I could no longer claim maintenance as I was no longer getting child benefit. I have had no money or heard anything for a year until last week when I had a phone call from the CMS asking me to clarify if my son is still in full time education (which he is). They are now chasing him again for the arrears.Is it right he is still liable as my son is still in full time education even though I do not claim child benefit?
T - 10-Mar-17 @ 10:32 PM
Moto - Your Question:
I want to find out about the legality of a father on the child. Where my ex did not inform me before omitting my name as a father from my son's BC as I trusted her then to do the right thing but when we separated in 2007 and checked the BC I realised that my name was not there as a father, and I have sent series of email since 2007 till date without change. I approached the birth registrar and I was told that she's the only one that has the right to change it. What is the way forward.

Our Response:
You would have to apply through court, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 24-Feb-17 @ 12:36 PM
I want to find out about the legality of a father on the child. Where my ex did not inform me before omitting my name as a father from my son's BC as i trusted her then to do the right thing but when we separated in 2007 and checked the BC i realised that my name was not there as a father, and i have sent series of email since 2007 till date without change. I approached the birth registrar and i was told that she's the only one that has the right to change it. What is the way forward.
Moto - 23-Feb-17 @ 3:42 PM
Jojo - Your Question:
I have been separated for 2 years and want to apply for a divorce. I've heard my husband has been made redundant. Can I apply to claim any of this? He gives me £200 a month for 2 of my children as other 2 are 19 and 21.

Our Response:
If you are already separated your husband can argue the redundancy package is not considered a marital asset, as he was made redundant after you had separated. Plus, it is 'his' compensation for the loss of 'his' employment. If you feel this is something you want to pursue through the courts, you would have to take legal advice.
SeparatedDads - 22-Feb-17 @ 12:03 PM
The following is my question:- My son and my daughter-in-law were divorced in the year 2001 and the custody of my grandson was given to my son by his wife at the time of divorce. Then my son died in an accident in the year 2002. As such, I am de facto guardian of my grandson. Now my grandson has attained the age of 16 and for his higher . I would like to claimfrom his mother who is earning handsome amount apex. Monthly 35000/-. I am retired govt. officer and maintain my household andexpenditure of my grandson from my pension. Can my grandson claimfor his higherfrom his mother who is non resident parent and still unmarried living with her mother (EDITED VERSION) Pankaj - 21-Feb-17 @ 11:57 AM And your Response:- Our Response: If you are living in the UK, you can apply for from your grandson's mother. You can either contact her directly and ask that you agree a family-based arrangement. If she refuses, then you can apply via the CMS. Please see link here. SeparatedDads - 21-Feb-17 @ 2:37 PM Thank you very much for your immediate response but I would like to submit that I am living not in UK but in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. What is my legal position under the present Indian Laws governing the from non resident parent. (Edited Version)
Pankaj - 22-Feb-17 @ 12:53 AM
(Our Response: If you are living in the UK, you can apply for child maintenance from your grandson's mother. You can either contact her directly and ask that you agree a family-based arrangement. If she refuses, then you can apply via the CMS. Please see link here. Separated Dads - 21-Feb-17 @ 2:37 PM) Above-mentioned is your response to my following question/query :_ (Pankaj - Your Question: My son and my daughter-in-law were divorced in the year 2001 and the custody of my grandson was given to my son by his wife at the time of divorce. Then my son died in an accident in the year 2002. As such, I am de facto guarding of my grandson. Now my grandson has attained the age of 16 and for his higher I would like to claim from his mother who is earning handsome amount apex. Monthly 35000/-. I am retired govt. officer and maintain my household and of my grandson from my pension. Can my grandson claim from his mother for his?) Thank you very much for your immediate response but I would like to submit that I am living not in UK but in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. What is my legal position under the present Indian Laws governing the child maintenance from non resident parent.
Pankaj - 22-Feb-17 @ 12:42 AM
I have been separated for 2 years and want to apply for a divorce. I've heard my husband has been made redundant. Can I apply to claim any of this? He gives me £200 a month for 2 of my children as other 2 are 19 and 21.
Jojo - 21-Feb-17 @ 5:16 PM
Pankaj - Your Question:
My son and my daughter-in-law were divorced in the year 2001 and the custody of my grandson was given to my son by his wife at the time of divorce. Then my son died in an accident in the year 2002. As such, I am de facto guarding of my grandson. Now my grandson has attained the age of 16 and for his higher I would like to claim from his mother who is earning handsome amount apex. Monthly 35000/-. I am retired govt. officer and maintain my household and of my grandson from my pension. Can my grandson claim from his mother for his?

Our Response:
If you are living in the UK, you can apply for child maintenance from your grandson's mother. You can either contact her directly and ask that you agree a family-based arrangement. If she refuses, then you can apply via the CMS. Please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 21-Feb-17 @ 2:37 PM
My son and my daughter-in-law were divorced in the year 2001 and the custody of my grandson was given to my son by his wife at the time of divorce. Then my son died in an accident in the year 2002. As such, I am de facto guarding of my grandson. Now my grandson has attained the age of 16 and for his higher I would like to claim from his mother who is earning handsome amount apex. Monthly 35000/-. I am retired govt. officer and maintain my household and of my grandson from my pension. Can my grandson claim from his mother for his?
Pankaj - 21-Feb-17 @ 10:20 AM
hi i pay child mantains for my two kids who live with there mum bug my daughter isnt at school anymore or at college shes 17 and 18 this year do i still have to pay?
adi79 - 17-Feb-17 @ 5:58 PM
My son inlaw has been paying for both his daughters via CSA and last July had a baby with my daughter, his eldest child went to college in sept then left and got a full time job in Dec which she gave up at the end of Dec and keeps saying she is going back to college next month, but hasn't yet bothered, and her mother encouraged her to give up her job so her dad would have to continue to pay, is it right that he has to pay when she isn't at college or working?
Cat - 16-Feb-17 @ 1:32 PM
Hi my daughter who is 18 in July, left home last year to go and live with her older sister who became her guardian. We passed the child benefit over to her. My daughter leaves college this year and is planning to go to university in September. We as both her parents were informed by the c s a that we had got to pay child maintenance for her which they said may have to continue until she's 20. The c s a did say that child maintenance has to continue being paid as long as my older daughter keeps receiving child benefit. What we would like to know is do we have to continue paying child maintenance if she definatly goes on to university in September. Even if she applies for a student loan.thank you.
Ste - 14-Feb-17 @ 10:43 PM
tonyd - Your Question:
I pay child support for my daughter at 16 she went on to further education. the CSA informed my of this.fair enough. they also informed me the payments will stop when she is 19 years old, which is very soon, but now the CSA or whatever they now call themselves have said the law has changed and I now have to pay until she is 20. so next year will it go up again??? she is not in further education anymore. has anyone else had serious problems with the CSA. 1 year after my child was born her mother told me I was not the father, I told the CSA and they said unless there is proof I would have to pay, I asked for a DNA test and they said it would have to be agreed by both parties and I would have to contact my ex myself, so I asked them for her contact details as I had no idea where they were at this time and the CSA refused. I have now asked them for help for 18 years. if she is mine great but if not why should I be paying for someone else's child

Our Response:
If you had any doubt about your daughter's parentage, then you could have sought legal advice and would have had the option to have taken the matter to court. The court would have ordered your ex to have the DNA test. If the test was negative payments would have stopped, positive and they would have continued. Currently, you have to pay until your daughter is 20, only if she is in full-time education. Therefore, if you think your daughter is not in full-time education, and you feel you are being treated unfairly you may wish to complain via the link here.
SeparatedDads - 13-Feb-17 @ 2:42 PM
i pay child support for my daughter at 16 she went on to further education. the CSA informed my of this...fair enough. they also informed me the payments will stop when she is 19 years old, which is very soon, but now the CSA or whatever they now call themselves have said the law has changed and I now have to pay until she is 20. so next year will it go up again??? she is not in further education anymore. has anyone else had serious problems with the CSA. 1 year after my child was born her mother told me I was not the father, I told the CSA and they said unless there is proof I would have to pay, I asked for a DNA test and they said it would have to be agreed by both parties and I would have to contact my ex myself, so I asked them for her contact details as I had no idea where they were at this time and the CSA refused. I have now asked them for help for 18years. if she is mine great but if not why should I be paying for someone else's child
tonyd - 12-Feb-17 @ 3:28 PM
Nix - Your Question:
My partner has had a private agreement with his ex, to pay child support, since she was 7. She is now 18. When his daughter started college he added travel costs to the support. He has now found out that her attendance at college has been extremely poor - less than 50%. He has now withdrawn the payment for travel. Can there be any come back on this for him.

Our Response:
If your partner has a family-based arrangement (i.e not through CSA/CMS) then he would not be liable for arrears. However, if it is arranged via CMS, then he would be liable.
SeparatedDads - 8-Feb-17 @ 2:53 PM
joe - Your Question:
Advice please, my children are now 28 and 24, I had been paying their mothers money every week from a mutual agreement I made with them until they were 16. I am getting letters now saying I have arrears of over £8,000, what do I do about this?

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which should help you further if you feel you have been unfairly treated.
SeparatedDads - 8-Feb-17 @ 11:32 AM
Advice please, my children are now 28 and 24, I had been paying their mothers money every week from a mutual agreement I made with them until they were 16. I am getting letters now saying I have arrears of over £8,000, what do I do about this?
joe - 7-Feb-17 @ 6:19 PM
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