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Does a parent legally have to pay child maintenance?

Father and his children
Does a parent legally have to pay child maintenance?

By law, all parents have a duty to support their children financially. When parents of a child(ren) separate, the parent who doesn’t look after the child from day to day (non-resident parent or NRP) must support the other parent (resident parent or RP) by paying child maintenance, whether they see the child(ren) or not. Paying child maintenance is a legal responsibility.

Child maintenance must be paid for any child:

  • Under the age of 16

  • Under the age of 20 if in full-time non-advanced education (e.g. A-levels or equivalent)

  • Aged 16 or 17 who is no longer in full-time education but has registered for work or training with a careers service.

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