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What if Your Child's Support Payments Stop?

By: Imogen Jones LLB (hons) - Updated: 29 Jun 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Support Child Benefit Csa Child

Child Support Payments are regulated by the Child Support Agency (CSA); payments are for the support of the child from the non-resident parent to the parent with primary residency. The money is not the same as Child Benefit. Child Benefit is a set amount, state-given sum of money that is higher for the first child than for each subsequent child. 

Payments for children can also be regulated by the court.

The amount of money for maintenance is based on the money earned after appropriate deductions are made, for example, if the non-resident parent has custody of the children for a period of time, such as overnight contact. It is important to remember that the payment is a formal arrangement and can be enforced by a number of powers that the CSA has at their disposal including Bailiffs.

Non-formal arrangements are ones that are not regulated by the CSA and are based entirely on trust between the two parties as to when payments are made. This is not to say that because you have not entered into a formal arrangement you are precluded from, at least, approaching the CSA to ask about more formal maintenance payments. Any agreement that you may have entered into, not to approach the CSA, is not valid legally.

Is it a legitimate stoppage or change in payment?

If the payments stop and they are regulated by the CSA you have to consider whether the payments have ceased legitimately. There may be a very good reason as to why they have stopped and if you need to take action as a result, then you need to explore all the reasonable options. Unless you have an arrangement that is to the contrary, the CSA works along the following basic lines:

Is the child 16 and no longer in full time education? - if yes, then the payments have been correctly stopped. Payments will automatically stop a month after a child who is in full time education turns 19. This is because the maintenance payments are paid a month in arrears, so the support continues for the full year that the child is 18.

Has there been a change in circumstances that necessitated an alteration to the amount that is being paid in maintenance? - the non-resident parent informing the CSA that their financial situation has changed normally instigates alterations in payment. For example, stopping or starting work or changes in employment status to self employed, alternatively changes in benefits either starting or stopping benefits.  The resident parent can also tell the CSA if any of these changes occur. There are a number of alterations that may force the CSA to undertake a reassessment that may change the amount that is paid in maintenance.

It would be unrealistic to expect that maintenance remain static and as a result changes in amounts that are paid should be expected. If you suspect, however, that it is not a legitimate change there are ways to address this.

What if you suspect the change is not legitimate?

Maintenance can be a big source of contention between two parties and can lead to a breakdown in communication, which if your children are subject to shared access orders and custody, can affect the children and the relationship each parent has with each other and their children. This is not to say that if you genuinely suspect that there is something irregular about the payments that you should not investigate, but be careful that this does not impact your children unnecessarily.

The easiest way to raise your concerns, and your first port of call, is to speak to the CSA directly should you suspect anything. If you have any evidence, offer to send it to them and report the facts. Even if you do not have any direct evidence, investigations can be undertaken if the CSA feel they are able to conduct an investigation.

Tread Carefully

CSA payments can become a big problem between parties if one feels that the other is not contributing to shared financial responsibility of your children. It is important that the children do not suffer emotionally as a result. It is an obvious but an important point to make, that if payments stop that does not mean that contact can stop. Contact has often been court ordered and being in breach of a court order can have serious consequences. If you have concerns about maintenance payments, raise them with the CSA or Court as applicable and pursue the matter through official channels seeking professional advice where appropriate.

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[Add a Comment]
Steve - Your Question:
My daughter turned 18 last week and has just finished her A levels at a residential college. She also plans on going to uni in September. I’ve spoken to CMS and more confused now than before I rang them! I asked when I should stop paying my ex and was told it should stop 1 month after my daughter’s 18 birthday, so end of July. The reason given for this was that it can take up to a month for Child Benefit to notify them, unfortunately I can find no reference to this anywhere, everything I’ve read about it says my payments should stop on the 31st August? Would my last payment be at the end of July or the end of August?

Our Response:
As child maintenance stops at the same time child benefit does, please see link here. As a rule, it would be the end of August, the official end of the school year.
ChildSupportLaws - 29-Jun-18 @ 3:04 PM
My daughter turned 18 last week and has just finished her A levels at a residential college. She also plans on going to uni in September. I’ve spoken to CMS and more confused now than before I rang them! I asked when I should stop paying my ex and was told it should stop 1 month after my daughter’s 18 birthday, so end of July. The reason given for this was that it can take up to a month for Child Benefit to notify them,unfortunately I can find no reference to this anywhere, everything I’ve read about it says my payments should stop on the 31st August? Would my last payment be at the end of July or the end of August?
Steve - 29-Jun-18 @ 11:48 AM
Bee - Your Question:
My son turned 16 last month, now he's working 32 hours where I work doing an apprenticeship plus starting this September 1 day at catering college. Do I still have to pay maintenance, which was privately agreed. I'm in the uk.

Our Response:
If your son is earning, you would not have to pay child maintenance. As child maintenance falls in line with when child benefit payments end, you can see when you would stop via the link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Jun-18 @ 3:45 PM
My son turned 16 last month, now he's working 32 hours where I work doing an apprenticeship plus starting this September 1 day at catering college. Do I still have to pay maintenance, which was privately agreed. I'm in the uk.
Bee - 22-Jun-18 @ 3:27 PM
Doting dad - Your Question:
I've paid over and above child maintenance for my daughter from she was born and is now 7 years old. I take her once a week as this is all her mum allows and spoil her loads. I've just started new job and have to do a lying week so her mum wants to change our family agreement and is going to tell csa I've cancelled our deal. This isn't true! What can I do?

Our Response:
In this case you may wish to contact CMS directly for advice regarding this matter.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Apr-18 @ 1:41 PM
I've paid over and above child maintenance for my daughter from she was born and is now 7 years old. I take her once a week as this is all her mum allows and spoil her loads. I've just started new job and have to do a lying week so her mum wants to change our family agreement and is going to tell csa I've cancelled our deal. This isn't true! What can I do?
Doting dad - 14-Apr-18 @ 9:37 PM
Hi, I have two sons. One is almost 2 years and the other one is 6months.Their father is self employed as a builder but refuses to assist with anything, I'm not working because I'm a full time mom. Will he be able to pay child maintenance, even if he doesn't have a registered company?? Please help my children are dying of hunger ,and I can't even go look for work because I have to take care of them full time...
Miss Tee - 7-Nov-17 @ 11:01 AM
Becky0121 - Your Question:
My son is 18 in 4 months time and is at college 3 days a week but has recently got himself a part time job. Can anyone tell me when his csa payments off his dad are due to stop please? As I've struggled for years to get any sort of maintenance off him and he's only paying because he's forced to, so he'll be overjoyed at the thought of his payments coming to an end, I just want to be certain of the age before he thinks he can just stop paying me before he legally has to. Thank you.

Our Response:
A part-time job will not affect child maintenance payments. If your son is in full-time non-advanced education not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week, then maintenance payments will continue until your son finishes the course. Also, to note; child maintenance payments finish at the same time as child benefit payments.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Jul-17 @ 11:15 AM
My son is 18 in 4 months time and is at college 3 days a week but has recently got himself a part time job. Can anyone tell me when his csa payments off his dad are due to stop please?As I've struggled for years to get any sort of maintenance off him and he's only paying because he's forced to, so he'll be overjoyed at the thought of his payments coming to an end, I just want to be certain of the age before he thinks he can just stop paying me before he legally has to. Thank you.
Becky0121 - 2-Jul-17 @ 1:56 PM
My child has been placed in a special needs residential school due to severe complex needs. This is a 52 week placement and will be coming home (to mother) hopefully every 3rd weekend if progress is made. I still receive the child benefit and child tax credits. School is funded by local authority and placement is under the Education Act. Father is currently paying child maintenance but has recently contacted them asking to stop payments as child is living away from home. They have told him he still needs to pay maintenance, he hasappealled this decision. Is there any legislation covering this please? I'm worried my payments are going to stop?
sandy - 6-Jun-17 @ 6:17 PM
My son is at college 2days a week but has just got a job of 24hrs a week do my payments stop for maintenance
Trigger - 11-Jan-17 @ 6:45 PM
Hi my ex is due to retire next year. My daughters only 9. Will I still get Csa from him even no his retiering
Kez - 15-Mar-16 @ 2:40 PM
sams - Your Question:
Hi. I had a family arrangement with my child's father for him to pay maintenance which he followed and then stopped with no reason. I am now going through the CSA to arrange it. Can it be back tracked as it's over £600 he owes?

Our Response:
You can only have a claim back-tracked if you previously made a claim with the CSA/CMS. If you have had a family-based arrangement and then decided to approach the CMS/CSA as a new claim, then the claim can only begin from the day you launched it.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Dec-15 @ 11:34 AM
Hi. I had a family arrangement with my child's father for him to pay maintenance which he followed and then stopped with no reason. I am now going through the CSA to arrange it. Can it be back tracked as it's over £600 he owes?
sams - 16-Dec-15 @ 3:37 PM
I have spoken to the CSA several times regarding my ex partner who quit his job to avoid paying maintenance. The CSA simply answer 'we have to believe what he saying is true and that he's not working'. He has a legal obligation and quit his job nearly a year and a half ago. I have shown that he is on twitter daily tweeting about his travels across the U.K,chasing birds and sitting in all weathers as he's a twitcher. Apparently he quit due to ill health.....,not a hobby associated with ill Heath! Oh and he got married to a CHILD PROTECTION OFFICER! He drives an expensive car,has an IPhone,has savings has not signed on to benefits. This does not sound like a man who can not afford to pay maintenance,but unfortunately the CSA have not and will not exercise their full powers to investigate as outlined by the law! I have not contacted my local MP and will do all I can to ensure that the CSA do not allow the welfare of my two children to suffer because they cannot be bothered!
Polz - 4-Jun-15 @ 12:01 AM
@Winst - yes, unless you know of any legitimate reason why they should stop you should get in touch, as you don't want to be slapped with a large bill of arrears, which the CSA has a habit of doing.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Apr-15 @ 9:42 AM
For reasons unknown my csa payments have not been withdrawn from my bank account since December last year? ShouldI contact the CSA? I have no idea why they have not contacted me or sent a letter? I have no contact with my son or his mum. I just find it a bit weird 4 months on.
Winst - 29-Mar-15 @ 8:49 PM
@jonnyboy as long as she is in full time education then you will have to continue payments until the end of the school year in which she turns 20.
LEON - 26-Sep-14 @ 11:01 AM
My daughter turns 19in September 2014 , she still goes to college , I pay csa that is deducted out of my wage , do you know when the csa deduction will stop .
jonnyboy - 25-Sep-14 @ 9:32 PM
So payments stop and daughter is 16 and refusing to go to college. Jobs are hard to find under 18 as the Insurance is so high ! Do I now have to share my benefit money with her ? I had to stop working 8 years ago due to chronic fatigue and fibmyalgria but only got benefit 3years ago.it all seams so unfair.
Josey Jo - 12-Sep-14 @ 10:21 PM
What if the father is un-employed, actually he doesn't have a steady income, he is buying and selling cars, but he doesn't put the money in the bank, and then suddenly he went for a back operation, never paid maintenace again, with a court order?
Estie - 9-Sep-14 @ 8:59 PM
why is it if that a ex partner goes to live abroad no one can do anything about child support for their child they just get away with it which isnt right to the child and to the partner who as the child they should be made to come back passport taken away from them until the child is sixteen plus
mags - 21-Sep-11 @ 10:15 PM
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