Question about maintenance

(62 Posts)
vieniqua Sat 16-Mar-13 18:08:21

I have a question about when maintenance is paid until?

Is it when the kids are 18? Or is it until they have finished university, even if this is well into their 20's?

Also what does the law say, and what is the tendency (ie. to keep paying even if they don't legally have to?)

I am completely clueless, so any answers are gratefully received!

fuzzywuzzy Sat 16-Mar-13 18:12:16

If its the CSA they'll deduct money till child is under 20 & in full time education or up till the age of 16.

On a personal level, I would imagine people make arrangements according to how civil their relationships are with their ex's & on their relationship with their child(ren).

mumandboys123 Sat 16-Mar-13 18:31:31

it is up to the age of 20 if the child is in further education. If at any point they leave school or college after 16, then maintenance should stop. It is not paid when the child goes to university unless there is a court order in place which previously agreed this. A child is able to take a parent to court for financial support to get them through university - they would be ordered to pay if it is deemed they can afford it.

It is worth remembering that a child doesn't stop to cost a parent if living at home just because they age a year and some form of maintenance may well be appropriate for longer than an NRP would like to pay. I have heard of parents paying the child direct then the PWC coming to an arrangement over board and lodging with the child - this gets round the feeling that you're paying for an adult. However, the CSA will enforce now to the age of 20.

Petal02 Sat 16-Mar-13 19:54:21

Just to be clear about the definition of "further education" - this means education up to A level (or equivalent) standard. It does not mean university, as this is higher education.

So in practice, even though maintenance is payable up to age 20 if in further education, not 19/20 year olds fall into this category, unless they stay on an extra year at sixth form to re-take A levels etc.

We're just about to stop paying maintenance for DSS18 - he will finish his A levels in June, and we won't have to pay the ex another penny after that. However we plan to support DSS through university, so we're not washing our hands of him financially (just the ex).

nenevomito Sat 16-Mar-13 19:56:57

Generally up until they finish A levels, but DH has given DSD ££ to see her through uni as well. The only change was who it went to and how much was given.

Petal02 Sat 16-Mar-13 20:02:13

PS - Mumandboys, just re-read your comment that a child could take a parent to court to get them to fund them through Uni, once they've stopped paying maintenance. This is not correct. Otherwise you'd have a bizarre situation whereby divorced/separated fathers could be sued for Uni support, whereas a man in a together family wouldn't. And that would be ridiculous.

We are choosing to fund DSS through Uni because we want to, and can afford to. But he'd have no legal redress if we felt differently.

vieniqua Sat 16-Mar-13 20:53:29

Thanks for all the replies.

Dh and I have very different views about this, so I was wondering what other people did.

I like the idea of paying the "child" directly, to help with uni. That makes complete sense.

Thanks again!

Petal02 Sat 16-Mar-13 21:05:34

The whole thing feels very different when you're paying the "child" through choice instead of the ex due to a court order.

Bonsoir Sat 16-Mar-13 21:22:05

Once a child is at university the logical step is to fund that child directly, rather than funding its other parent.

Petal02 Sat 16-Mar-13 21:26:26

I should add though, that if DSS were planning to seek work, rather than go to Uni, we would still cease payments to the ex in June. It would then be up to DSS to pay his mum board and lodge out of his earnings. DH can't be expected to maintain him forever!

purpleroses Sun 17-Mar-13 15:42:19

Until end of A levels - and I imagine most people would consider it morally reasonable to pay over the summer between A levels and Uni as there's no other means of support until they start Uni.

At Uni, it would seem quite ridiculous to keep paying anything to the resident parent - most would pay any support direct to their child/student at that stage.

Though should be noted that the financial support that's available to students from the government is assessed on the basis of their "household" income - ie their resident parent and any partner of hers/his and not on their other parent's income. In other words the state is not assuming that non-resident parents contribute beyond A levels - though is (rather oddly) assuming that step parents do contribute confused

mumandboys123 Sun 17-Mar-13 16:20:09

Petal - I disagree. I believe it is possible for a child to 'sue' a parent for financial support whilst at university. How often it happens, I have no idea. Largely I imagine because most parents support as best they are able. The truly absent parents probably can't be found and I suspect most 'children' wouldn't want their support anyway. But it is possible - and until the 1st April this year, it would be possible to get legal aid to support an application (likely to change after that).

No, you can't be expected to maintain a child forever but many children live at home for an awful long time, particularly in the current economic climate. I personally struggle with the idea that the parent they choose to live with has to bear the financial burden of that and that there is nothing to be done legally in terms of making the other parent contribute. But it has to stop at some point and at 20 years old, I guess it's hard to call is 'child' maintenance!

Petal02 Sun 17-Mar-13 16:55:56

Mumandboys - I know for a fact that a student cannot sue a parent for financial support through Uni, because DH's daughter tried to do this! They had not been in touch for years (long story) and whilst DH always paid maintenance for her, he was not prepared to support her through Uni when she hadn't spoken to him for so long.

However the crafty little madam sought legal advice, to try and force DH to support her, as she knows he can afford it. However the legal view is that financial support through Uni is a "gift" from parent to child, it is totally optional, and no adult is legally obliged to make a gift to another adult. And that was the end of that. And that even if DH was a millionaire (he isn't, sadly!) this would have no bearing in the situation.

mumandboys123 Sun 17-Mar-13 17:23:47

Which may have happened in your situation. But I have seen cases in forums where it has happened - although I am not sure that it has happened successfully. Logically, a PWC's household income is taken into account when assessing for grants and loans - with an expectation that shortfalls are topped up by that household. If the NRP's income is never taken into account (which it isn't) then this is where the legal thing comes in - they can be assessed and then compelled to make a contribution. It would be interesting to see if a child has ever successfully sued 'together' parents for top up money - because I am sure it happens that no contribution is made even when it should have been.

Petal02 Sun 17-Mar-13 17:32:09

I still think you're incorrect. Some students may have sought advice and been told they have no legal claim, but that's about it. Rather like I could ask my solicitor if I could sue you (for example) for £1000, but I'd be wasting my time as the law doesn't operate like that.

When DH's daughter applied for grants etc, she used her mother's household income for the paperwork, and was assessed accordingly. There was never any mention of either household 'topping things up' voluntarily or otherwise.

Petal02 Sun 17-Mar-13 17:34:19

If such cases were ever successful in court, where would it end? Could a child sue a parent for a deposit on a house, could I sue my Dad for a new kitchen - if would be madness.

mumandboys123 Sun 17-Mar-13 17:53:51

I am struggling to find 'official' documentation about it but there are various bits and pieces here and there:

Blog from a Law firm confirms what I am saying: http://www.pannone.com/blog/family-law/family-law/does-further-education-mean-further-child-maintenance

will keep looking for something more 'official'.

mumandboys123 Sun 17-Mar-13 17:55:06

I take your point about 'where will it end?' but I think the issue with university is the expectation that the PWC's household makes a contribution towards the child's university education in all but the lowest of income households. It should therefore follow that the NRP can be compelled to also support the 'child'?

mumandboys123 Sun 17-Mar-13 18:06:34

ah, the legislation is: paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 CA1989
defined as 'special circumstances' but no clearer as to what 'special' may mean!

mumandboys123 Sun 17-Mar-13 18:09:05

and again, a solicitor's firm confirming that it's possible:
http://www.edwardsduthie.com/financial-application-for-a-child-under-schedule-1.html

It's interesting. I'm sure it's very uncommon but in circumstances, for example, where an NRP is a millionaire with that in cash rather than capital, surely they should be obliged to support their child through education if the PWC is also obliged to contribute?

MirandaWest Sun 17-Mar-13 18:22:20

I do find the fact that the assessed income for a child at university is based on the RP and the person they are living with rather than their other parent a little odd. That rather suggests a step parent should be providing for their step child which seems unfair to me. But as that position is a while away for me (both in terms of there being a step parent and DC going to university) I am trying not to worry too much about it. Will be discussing it with XH before we get divorced though.

Petal02 Sun 17-Mar-13 18:26:38

But the PWC is not legally obliged to contribute to Uni! The Dsd's mum was not willing to contribute or top up the grants, which is why DSD tried to sue her father. But even if web sites hint at success, in reality the law states that an adult is not legally obliged to make a gift to another adult.

allnewtaketwo Sun 17-Mar-13 20:15:05

The fact that the PWC household income is taken into account for funding already can really benefit the student in that one full parents income is ignored. So the funding may be quite a lot higher on that basis. Although clearly if the PWC lives with a new partner, then funding is reduced where the new partner earns more than the NRP (but then I would argue that the PWC household has benefitted quite a lot from maintenance payments towards household expenses when the PWC has a high earning partner contributing significantly to household expenses already as they should really be paying at least 50% of household fixed expense in any case)

In either case however, there is no obligation for any of the adults involved to pay anything at all

Petal02 Sun 17-Mar-13 20:24:17

Good point Allnew. DSS18 is applying for grants etc using his morher's household for details of income etc. they are a low income household, so DSS should get full grant. I doubt the ex has got the money or the inclination to top this up, but DH and I will pay for his Uni accommodation.

MarshmallowCupcake Tue 19-Mar-13 21:08:15

Has anyone known of a parent stop paying the ex maintenance when a child leaves school but to give the portion of maintenance direct to the child who is then going to college. Is it legal? As posters have said, it's supporting the child not the ex!

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