In the initial consultations with our clients, one of the important questions we cover is ‘what age does Child Maintenance stop?’.
First, there must be an assumption that Child Maintenance is not covered in any spousal agreement; if there is a consideration or clause in a spousal agreement, that would typically take precedence.
Child Maintenance payments cease when the child/ren leave full-time non-advanced education (non-advanced means up to A level or higher, or NVQ and SVQ Level 3 and below).
Courses of degree level and above, Diploma of Higher Education, Higher National Diploma or Higher National Certificate, Diploma of Higher Education or, NVQ and SVQ Level 4 and above, count as advanced education.
The child/ren must attend a course with more than 12 hours of weekly contact time, which includes teaching, supervised study, exams and practical or project work which are part of the course, to be consider as receiving full time education.
The 12 hours minimum does not include meal times or unsupervised study, whether on or off school premises. It is the hours of education received that count, not the hours of attendance.
After leaving school or college, a young person still counts as being in full time education until Child Benefit stops being paid.
Does child maintenance stop when the child goes to university?
Child Maintenance payments stop when the child is aged 16 or when they finish leave full-time non-advanced education.
University courses of degree level and above, Diploma of Higher Education, Higher National Diploma or Higher National Certificate, Diploma of Higher Education or, NVQ and SVQ Level 4 and above, count as advanced education.
Does child maintenance stop when the child reaches 18?
You may still be required to pay Child Maintenance even when the child reaches 18. The parent paying Child Maintenance will normally be expected to continue to pay Child Maintenance until the child reaches 16 years old or 20 years old if they are in approved full-time non-advanced education or training.