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DSS applying to uni - can he make us pay?

(17 Posts)
GladysBerry Wed 02-Mar-16 23:20:18

A friend has told him that he can apply to the court to make his dad pay maintanance for him while he's at uni. He's almost 21 and has done nothing for the past year after deciding to take "a gap year" after college. CSA payments stopped for him last year. Can he really make a new claim for financial support from his father at almost 21 years old?? DP intends to help him out unoffially with finances but an actual court order to support an adult? We have 3 other children between us (none together) and if a court order was placed on us the rest of the children would suffer (his other child included).

ImperialBlether Wed 02-Mar-16 23:24:25

My ex had to pay until the children left full time education. He was happy to ignore the fact our daughter had a gap year from 18-19 and carried on paying me the same amount until she left university. The payments were made to me, though, not our daughter.

If CSA payments have stopped, I'd say that payments to his son have stopped. He must have had two years of not working or studying if he's now nearly 21 - is that right?

GladysBerry Thu 03-Mar-16 00:05:04

He was at college until he was 19 doing level 3 courses and then decided to take a year out. DP stopped payments at that point but still helps out in other ways. We really wouldn't be happy funding him through uni though, we always said we would expect all of our children to stand on their own two feet like we had to. It's frustrating to think he could try and force us to pay maintanance again when he's almost 21

VegasIsBest Thu 03-Mar-16 05:30:19

Suggest you look at the funding rules for Student Finance. They will show if your DSS would be assessed as independent or as dependent when they work out eligibility for loans etc. And will also explain how 'family income' for your DSS would be assessed.

squicketysquack Thu 03-Mar-16 06:21:51

Weirdly I was reading up on this yesterday after seeing a thread on here about it. I found this which was quite helpful - not sure how it would stand though that there's been a 'break' since CM stopped....

HighHeels86 Thu 03-Mar-16 07:59:50

No, he wouldn't be entitled to claim child maintenance.

If you look on the government website:

"Child maintenance payments usually stop when the child reaches 16 (or 20 if they’re in full-time education not higher than A-level or equivalent). But there are some situations in which they’ll stop sooner."

A university course will be considered higher than A-Level or equivalent and therefore payments do not need to be made.

Petal02 Thu 03-Mar-16 09:28:50

Highheels is correct. We chose to help DSS with his uni costs, but we weren't legally obliged to.

Petal02 Thu 03-Mar-16 09:33:04

PS - it's worth noting that in a 'together' family there is no legal obligation to provide financial help throughout Uni (although I'm sure most families try to help) so I'm never quite sure why people think it should be any different in separated families.

Oswin Thu 03-Mar-16 10:48:17

Petal while there is no legal obligation any help the student will get is based on the assumption the parent will support the student.

Petal02 Thu 03-Mar-16 10:52:21

Yes, that's the case with DSS. As he lives with his Mum, his maintenance grant application is based on earnings within her household, and whilst you'd like to think she would help him, she doesn't. Luckily, DH and I are in a position to pay for his Uni accommodation - not that we have to, but we want to - but he'd be struggling if no one helped him.

But like I said earlier, you can't force 'together' parents to help a student (and some simply can't afford to help) so separated parents shouldn't have a legal obligation either.

MeridianB Thu 03-Mar-16 14:54:27

Out of interest, did he ask his Dad to support him and get turned down before he came back with this info?

It seems a rather sad and cynical thing for the son to do. Presumably he is expecting his mother to fund the other half of the costs?

Petal02 Thu 03-Mar-16 15:57:59

DSD tried to take DH down the legal route with Uni payments. She chose to go NC with DH when she was around 14, then when she realised her mother couldn't/wouldn't help her financially with Uni, she asked DH for help. She wasn't trying to build bridges with their relationship, it was just a text asking if he was going to pay ..... Understandably the answer from DH was 'no', but we found out from DSS that she took legal advice to see if he could be forced to pay. I gather the answer was no.

ImperialBlether Thu 03-Mar-16 18:37:06

Gladys, my ex and I had an agreement that he would pay child support until the children left full time education. We both wanted them to go to university if they could and he paid me throughout that time. I know some people arrange it so that the child is paid directly then, but as far as I saw it there were an awful lot of costs involved in them going to university and his money helped pay for those.

Bluelilies Fri 04-Mar-16 07:40:28

I think the only way you could be forced to pay would be via a court order made at the time of divorce. My DH's ex wanted that do he would go on paying her and she could then help subsidise the kids. He refused and negotiated an order that stops at 18 (and be supports student DSD directly instead on a voluntary basis) But I gather it was an option he could have signed up to if he'd wanted.

But if the claim has always been via the CSA (not a court order) then no, DSS can't claim when he's at uni, and neither can his mum.

stressedcoversupervisor Fri 04-Mar-16 11:19:18

You can't be forced to pay. DSS will be assessed as a dependent student as he's under 25 and hasn't been self supporting for the last I think it's 3 years. I assume he lives with his mum so student finance will be based on her income. Depending on her income he may or may not have enough to live on. You can't be forced to help him and if you genuinely can't afford to there's not a lot anyone can do but I think it's good to help out if you can and he really needs it. My parents are always pretty broke but helped out with little bits - like buying the things I needed to start off with and I always appreciated it. Though if he's ungrateful and I suspect given he's threatening court he is then he probably won't see it the same way unfortunately.

GasLightShining Fri 04-Mar-16 13:54:51

I was looking at the same website as squicketysquack and also didwonder whether a gap year made a difference

CSA payments are different to supporting a child through university. CSA payments go to the resident parent whereas money for university is supposed to go to the child (I know adult really). As far as I know your DSS could apply to the courts although whether it would succeed is a different matter as each case is different. I would imagine the fact your DH is prepared to contribute would help your case.

Does your DSS think what your DH is offering isn't enough and is his mum contributing?

I am still with my DC father so it is different but we are looking at the maintenance loan covering accommodation and then us giving him £200 per month. We are expecting him to get a part time job while he is there and he is saving now from his part time here. To be honest not sure if that is realistic and it may cost us more. So technically if you are looking at half that as his mum should also be helping out.

Have a look at the higher education thread on here. There are some about what parents are contributing but obviously we are all in different financial situations. If you have an idea of what DH wife earns then also have a look as student finance calculator to give you idea of what money he can apply for. The more he borrows the more he will have to pay back

It would be good if you are able to sit down and sensibly talk through with DS what he is expecting and what you can afford

My DD is 21 and work since she left college at 18 but if she now chose to go to university her loan would be based on DH and my salary. It's shit but that's how it is

stressedcoversupervisor Sat 05-Mar-16 13:19:03

the more he borrows the more he will have to pay back

Sorry but that's a really rubbish way of looking at it. Realistically under the new payment scheme and with the cost of tuition fees those going to university now will never pay it all back. You have to be earning over 22k to pay it back and even then it's a miniscule amount that ends up being written off before anyone has paid it all off.

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