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Child maintenance - pay until "child" is 23 if in full time education?

(28 Posts)
ladydeedy Tue 20-Jul-10 14:10:25

Hello all
not sure where to post this one, so trying here as well as legal!
My DH's maintenance (agreed through solicitors, not through CSA) states that he will continue to pay child maintenance up until the time the child leaves full time education maximum 23 years of age.
We have no problem at all in supporting him through his education but my question is - why should the money be paid to the mother, not the son? At 23 (should he still be studying) he will be a man in his own right and most likely living away from his mother.
Tbh, I think my DH's solicitor at the time of the divorce wasnt brilliant and they came to an agreement at the 11th hour to avoid court costs, and my DH was in such a mess he wasnt really paying any attention to the detail.
So, I'd be grateful to know - is this normal procedure? Seems a bit odd to me... but what do I know?
Thanks!

Petal02 Tue 20-Jul-10 16:20:11

Does the court order state "full time higher education" or "full time secondary education"? I would think it would be very strange for maintenance to be paid on account of a 'child' who's studying at masters level (which I assume is what they'd be doing if they were still at uni age 23).

I think you need to be absolutely clear about what was agreed, before you start considering who any money should be paid to.

ladydeedy Tue 20-Jul-10 16:46:13

it says "until they reach the age of 17 years or cease fulltime education (provided that payments shall in any event cease upon attaining 23 years during full time education), whichever shall be the later"

Petal02 Tue 20-Jul-10 17:58:44

I think you'll find that in the context of maintenance, 'full time education' generally means up to the end of normal secondary education, ie the end of A-levels. We've just had this with my husband's ex wife. His daughter is going to uni in September, his ex expected he would pay maintenace til the daughter finished uni, but the consent order refers to 'full time education' which basically means payment up to the end of sixth form, but not beyond that. Anything that applies to university education is termed 'higher education.' Unless you're in Scotland where it's a bit different.

And as 99% of children finish full time education by 18, the 'age 23' in your husband's court order seems like something of a red herring.

I'd take some legal advice if I were you.

Petal02 Tue 20-Jul-10 18:05:40

Hi again, I've just found this info on the CSA website. I know your agreement isn't with the CSA, but apparently the courts used the same definitions as the CSA when sorting out agreeements:

http://www.csa.gov.uk/en/case/leaving-education.asp

You'll see that the CSA consider 'full time education' is 'up to, and including A levels.'

ladydeedy Tue 20-Jul-10 18:48:55

thank you Petal02! We would in any case support him through Uni, we just dont want that money to end up in ex's pocket and not make its way to him! Sorry if that sounds a bit awful.

Petal02 Tue 20-Jul-10 19:00:57

You don't sound awful at all. My ex isn't in contact with his daughter (long story) so he won't be supporting her through uni, BUT it's a different story with his son. We will glady offer him all the financial support we can, when he goes to uni, but there's no way on the planet we'd let his mother get her hands on any of it !!!!

ladydeedy Tue 20-Jul-10 19:23:55

smile thanks - yes, I agree. one tries one's best!

silverfrog Tue 20-Jul-10 19:35:23

dh's agreement says similar, but does actually stipulate tertiary education.

in his case, what he did once the children went to university was pay their share of the maintenance direct to them (his ex had said to the children she would give them "soem support", but that the majority would have to come form dh, along with the fees (no issues on the fees front). dh told the children what he was proposing, and lo and behold ex was suddenly not able to pay anything at all hmm. so what she was proposing was that dh support both children twice over hmm)

so he bit the bullet and stopped the order to the ex, and transfers it direct to the children each month. we were fairly confident she would not take it any furhter, as legally he only has to support until end of secondary education anyway. we were also confident we would win if she did decide, in a fit of madness, to take it to court, as to direct someone to pay an amount to a parent rather than a legally responsible adult would be laughable.

ladydeedy Tue 20-Jul-10 19:41:39

Thanks Silverfrog, that's heartening! dh's ex is bonkers (actually does suffer from depression so we try to be patient but it is very trying). She involves police or litigates (or threatens to, at least) at the slightest thing so it is all very exhausting.
We'll see when we get there I guess. DH will apply for a variance to the order in any case as the younger child has come to live with us and therefore the order needs changing with regard to amount payable in any case. Older one not going to uni, so that's sorted.

silverfrog Tue 20-Jul-10 19:50:02

do you have younger children in the household?

the reason we were so confident that we would "win" if ex took it to court was that we have 2 younger children, on e of whom is disabled.

whilst dh is perfectly happy supporting his children through university (the level of maintenance they get means they are not required to take out student loans, although both have done so hmm at the encouragement of their mother hmm hmm. probably in the hope that dh will clear them once they have graduated!), he was not happy with the thought that he was going to be paying a substantial amoutn to his ex, have her pass on less than half that amount to the dc and have them live on loans, and then expect him to top up the amount they were recieving too.

in his view, now that they are 18+, the money is theirs. he pays the same amount, but to them directly. since there is no obligation for parents to pay for university, I think any parent trying to bring a case on this would be laughed out of court.

there could be numerous reasons why dh didn't want to support his children at university, and indeed, many parents choose not to do so.

we figured that, since the same amount of money was being handed over each month, but cutting out the middle man, so to speak, she would not have a leg to stand on (especially if you figure in that dd1 causes us a lot of extra expense due to disability)

ladydeedy Tue 20-Jul-10 20:00:51

No, we dont have any children together and I dont have any. DH has the two from previous marriage.
I guess we'll just see! Our proposal will be "reasonable" so I hope that will all work out well.
thanks

mjinhiding Thu 22-Jul-10 13:41:32

Message withdrawn

ladydeedy Thu 22-Jul-10 15:39:56

wow, son potentially becoming a sports pro is amazing!
Likewise, had no-one to support me through Uni so had to manage that myself and kept body and soul together (didnt manage to save for a house though till much later, so am impressed with your achievement!).
As you know, mjinhiding, we may end up having court costs but honestly, if DH's ex starts to give too much grief I'll happily forego the PR piece - I gather that DH can delegate his PR to me temporarily in any case at any point when he's abroad, and doesnt need agreement of exw to do so.
In that way, we presume residence order will be granted - as she is not objecting to that bit, and therefore all parties would be in agreement.
So sorry to hear of the terrible experience that you have all lived through - and consequent aftermath that has ensued and that you will live with for some time to go yet...

mjinhiding Sat 24-Jul-10 10:01:48

Message withdrawn

ladydeedy Sun 25-Jul-10 14:28:22

Yes i understand and good approach to ensure he has some other options for the future. Good luck with it - you must be very proud smile - I know I would be!

Trudiinnes Sat 31-Oct-15 17:13:37

My partner stopped his maintenance when his son finished his A levels ( he was 19 because he failed one year) his son then went to camp America. We recieved a solicitors letter last week saying we owed £2000 in arrears and must reinstate the maintainence until he has finished his first degree as was agreed in the court order 9 years ago. Since then my partner and I have had a child, my partner has suffered a brain haemorrhage been demoted and unable to work overtime, and the only communication he gets from his son are horrible texts asking for money. We can go back to court but we have to pay. Does anyone have any advice?

m1nniedriver Sun 01-Nov-15 12:17:28

I can never understand why maintenence should be paid to the RP when the 'child' is of age?? it should be paid directly to the 'chikd' or rent/courses paid. It's very odd!

trapdooragain Sun 01-Nov-15 12:22:02

Trudiinnes you may have to get real legal advice do you have a solicitor in your area that does a free drop in session?

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Sun 01-Nov-15 12:28:23

Unless it specifies that it has to be paid to the mother then pay DSS directly.

These days, it's expected that parents will support their kids through uni, because it's just so expensive. I wouldn't expect payments to the other parent though but direct to the child. If the order says up to 23 it would be unreasonable to suggest it doesn't apply to uni.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

purpledasies Mon 02-Nov-15 17:42:54

I think it is possible to have an agreement to go on paying past 18 - if it's made privately rather than via the CSA. I only know that because my DH tells me he pushed hard in court to avoid that - he now pays the eldest who's a student directly. It wouldn't be normal to be in further (as opposed to higher) education to age 23, so if it doesn't explicately say til the end of further education, I think you would have to go on paying, or return to court to ask not to.

It seems very odd to me that there should be any cash transfer between parents' households for students who don't live with either of them, and when there's no financial oblication on the RP to support the student financially. My DSD has sufficient money from loans and a bursary (assessed on the basis of her DM's household income, which doesn't income child support!) that she doesn't really need much further financial support. And any further that DH does give her, he gives direct to her. But I do think it's possible for a court order to say you do need to keep paying the ex.

VimFuego101 Mon 02-Nov-15 17:47:46

I have read on here that court orders are not set in stone, in that after a year, either parent can decide to go to the CSA/CMS instead and pay child support through them instead and be subject to CSA/CMS rules. In that case, it sounds like it would end when the child finishes A levels or the equivalent.

maybebabybee Mon 02-Nov-15 17:58:38

My parents have this agreement, with my Dad paying until we leave full-time education. Decision was made that money should go to my mum as she uses it to help pay the mortgage and without that my siblings at university would not have a roof over their heads. She also supports them (way more than he does) in terms of food shopping, general emotional support, dropping them off/picking them up etc.

This agreement was made via solicitor. I think it's perfectly reasonable to be honest. At the end of the day the house needs to be paid for and the other siblings need to be supported.

Maintenance can't always be black and white!

Trudiinnes Mon 02-Nov-15 18:17:57

I fully understand supporting and paying for your child, but my partner walked away from this marriage with very little whereas his ex wife had a home paid for, private education and maintenance. When my partner signed a court agreement 9 years ago he did not foresee another child (with me) a demotion and a brain injury. We can change the payments to his sons name but his son has claimed all grants and burseries that they are entitled to from university and belongs an affluent family, it stinks of greed. Advice from solicitor is just pay!

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