In this article, we’ll answer the question, ‘when do I stop paying CSA / CMS’, and explain in what circumstances this could happen.
The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is a government-run service which has replaced the Child Support Agency (CSA). All new claims for child maintenance go through the CMS. The CMS also deals with parents who used to use the CSA and whose cases have been closed.
The parent paying CSA / CMS will usually be expected to continue to pay CSA / CMS until the child reaches 16 years old (CSA / CMS stops on 31 August after/on their 16th birthday), or 20 years old if they are in approved education or training.
There are some other circumstances which could result in a parent stopping paying CSA / CMS. This could happen if, for example, one parent dies.
In addition, if the parents start cohabiting, the parent paying the CSA / CMS can stop the payments.
If your child is in approved education, you may not be able to stop paying CSA / CMS until they reach 20 years old.
Approved education must be full-time (more than 12 hours per week).
Examples of approved education include:
• A levels or similar
• home education (if it began before the child was 16 years old)
• Scottish Highers
University degrees do not count as ‘approved education’.
Stopping CSA / CMS payments when a child goes to university can result in financial hardship for the child. However, the parent or the child may be able to go to court to request that the maintenance payments do not stop and continue through university. Speak to a specialist solicitor, such as Austin Kemp, about the likelihood of stopping CSA / CMS payments when your child goes to university.
If your child is in approved training, you may not be able to stop paying CSA / CMS until they reach 20 years old.
Approved training should be unpaid.
Examples of approved training include:
• Employability Fund programmes (Scotland)
• Foundation Apprenticeships or Traineeships (Wales)
Parents can stop paying CSA / CMS when the child leaves the approved training/education on whichever of these dates comes first: end of February, 31 May, 31 August or 30 November.
If your circumstances change and you believe that you are paying too much child maintenance, you can contact the Child Maintenance Service to find out whether you can pay less CSA / CMS.
Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to how to stop child maintenance payments, including:
For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email email@example.com.
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