If you’re paying or receiving child maintenance, one of the most important questions you’re probably looking for an answer on is when does child maintenance stop?
Or you might be in the process of arranging child maintenance payments – or even just looking at your options.
Solicitors Near Me have specialist family law solicitors waiting to help you, should you need more information.
What Is Child Maintenance?
Child maintenance is usually a regular payment, often monthly, towards your child’s everyday living costs, and could also be payment towards bills or rent for the home in which your child lives.
It’s paid by the parent who doesn’t ordinarily live with the child to the person who has the most day-to-day care of the child.
Child maintenance is often referred to as child support, and you can get it if:
- You’re the main carer for the child
- The other parent doesn’t live with you as part of your family (even if you have never lived together).
A child is defined as either someone who’s under 16 or under 20 if they’re in approved education or training not including advanced education.
Advanced education refers to University, so if your child is attending A level education or similar for more than 12 hours each week, then child maintenance is payable.
Of course, you can choose to continue to pay child maintenance for longer, but this article is detailing the time when you MUST pay child maintenance.
You’ll need to pay child maintenance if:
- You are the child’s biological or adoptive parent
- You don’t live with the child as part of their family
- You are the child’s legal parent
So, When Does Child Maintenance Stop?
The parent paying child maintenance is expected to do so until their child turns 16, or until they turn 20 if they’re in full-time education, whether that’s school or studying full-time for:
- A levels
- Or equivalent qualifications
Child maintenance payments may be halted earlier if one parent dies or the child no longer qualifies for child benefit.
Who Can Apply For Child Maintenance?
The people who can apply for child maintenance are:
- either parent (whether or not you live with the child)
- a grandaparent who has day to day care of the child
- a legal guardian of the child
How Do I Calculate Child Maintenance?
There are plenty of accurate child maintenance calculators in the UK you can find online, but the most accurate is available on GOV.UK HERE.
Many factors contribute to how much you’ll be required to pay or how much you’ll receive. It is always best to arrange child maintenance directly with the other parent.
This might not be possible if the relationship has deteriorated or there’s reluctance from one parent when it might be wise to seek legal advice.
If you’re getting divorced or ending a civil partnership, then a child arrangement might be a part of your discussions and arrangements.
You can ask the Child Maintenance Service for a ruling on the amount of child maintenance to be paid, and it’s worth noting that in any calculation you’ll need to provide information on:
- how much the paying parent earns
- how many children the paying parent is or will be paying maintenance for
- how many nights a week the child spends with the paying parent
- if any other children live with the paying parent
It’s also worth noting that if the parent who has is on certain benefits, then the other parent will receive a maximum of £7 per week.
Figures are also based on how many children you’ll be paying or receiving child maintenance for, as this will be scaled depending on the number.
For example, the default child maintenance payment is:
- £38 per week for 1 child
- £51 for 2 children
- And £61 for 3 or more children
What Do I Need To Know About Calculating Child Maintenance?
There are two options when paying/receiving child maintenance:
- Direct pay – payments go directly from the paying parent to the parent caring for the child
- Via the CMS – this is known as collect and pay, and means money is transferred via the CMS
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