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When does child maintenance stop?

We are often asked: when does child maintenance stop? While most parents want to do everything they can to financially support their child, the regular child support payments leaving your bank account can make money very tight.

In this article, we’ll answer the question ‘when does child maintenance stop?’, so that you know what to expect.


When does child maintenance stop: the background

Both parents are responsible for the costs involved in raising a child. Before getting into detail about when child maintenance stops, it’s important to note that the parent who pays child maintenance, is the parent who does not live with the child in question. This person is known as the non-resident parent. How much child maintenance this parent will have to pay can be worked out between the two parents or, if this is not possible, arrangements can be made through the Child Maintenance Service.

When does child maintenance stop


When does child maintenance stop: it depends on their education

You will need to make child maintenance arrangements for your children who are under 16 years old. Sixteen is the minimum age when child maintenance stops.

If you have other children who are over 16 years old and are not in approved education (see below), you will still have to pay child maintenance for the child who is under 16.

If they leave education, child maintenance stops on 31 August following your child’s 16th birthday. If they choose to continue in what is known as “approved education”, child maintenance does not stop and will continue until they turn 20 (as long as they remain in approved education).

In addition, child maintenance does not stop (until 20) if the child in question takes part in approved training. This can include Foundation Apprenticeships or Traineeships in Wales.


When child maintenance stops: what is “approved education”?

To be classed as “approved”, education has to be full time. Full-time education must be for more than an average of 12 hours per week of “supervised study or course-related work experience”.

This includes:

• A levels or equivalent
• Traineeships in England
• NVQs and other vocational qualifications (only up to level 3)

Approved education can also include home education, as long as it was started before the child’s 16th birthday.

University degrees are not classed as approved education.

If your child is in approved education, child maintenance stops when they reach 20.


Other reasons child maintenance stops

As well as a child turning 16 (and not taking part in approved education), child maintenance can stop for a variety of other reasons.

Child maintenance may stop if, for example, one parent dies or the parent who is receiving the child maintenance stops being the child’s main carer.


When does child maintenance stop: summary

When does child maintenance stop? Normally, when a child reaches 16 or 20, depending on whether or not they are in approved education or training.

As always, it’s a good idea to seek advice from an experienced family solicitor, such as Austin Kemp, to find out when child maintenance stops in your circumstances.


How can our expert divorce solicitors help you to stop child maintenance payments?

Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to how to stop child maintenance payments, including:


Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on child maintenance payments

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email

Our expert family law solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP

Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL

Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

Please contact us for more details.

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11th March 2020

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